• With choir in hard hats, fire-ravaged Notre Dame rings in Christmas

    Soprano Julie Fuchs and the Notre Dame cathedral choir recorded the Christmas concert on December 19.

    ParisFor the first time since a fire that nearly destroyed it, the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris played host to a Christmas Eve choral concert, an annual tradition in France.

    In a concession to the fact that the Gothic cathedral is still being rebuilt, the choristers wore construction hard hats and boiler suits, and there was no audience.
    The concert was recorded at the cathedral earlier this month, and was broadcast on French television just before midnight on Thursday.
    The choristers performed classical pieces by composers Mozart and Schubert, but also a more light-hearted repertoire, including "Jingle Bells."
    "It was very moving," said cellist Gautier Capucon, describing the experience of recording the concert. Along with an organist, he provided the musical accompaniment for the choir.
    Cello player Gautier Capucon and the Notre Dame cathedral choir record a Christmas concert on December 19.
    "It was the first time we had all been back at Notre Dame cathedral since the fire, so it was a moment full of emotion," he said in an interview with television station franceinfo.
    The cathedral, a landmark of Gothic architecture dating to the 13th century and a major tourist attraction, caught fire on April 15, 2019. The blaze destroyed the spire and roof.
    French President Emmanuel Macron undertook to restore the cathedral within five years.
    But to date, most work on the site has focused on making the building safe, including clearing up toxic lead from the roof and spire that melted in the fire.
    In the meantime, Notre Dame is closed to the public and masses are canceled.
    Click below for a Dec., 2023, update on the re-opening of Notre-Dame de Paris.