The Notre Dame cathedral in Paris has begun restoring its pipe organ, which was fortunately untouched by the fire that engulfed the 850-year-old building on April 15 last year.

Although the fire did not reach the instrument, the smoke spread toxic lead particles around and within the pipes. The organ also suffered damage from a record heatwave last summer as it has been exposed to the elements since the cathedral lost its roof.

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The pipes will have to be taken out and cleaned one by one. Once restored, it will take six months just to tune the organ.

If all goes well, workers hope to have the instrument playing again by April 16, 2024, a timeline that is in line with president Emmanuel Macron’s plans to see Notre Dame reopened before the 2024 Olympic games, scheduled to take place in Paris.

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In June, the cathedral opened its forecourt to the public for the first time, after several deep clean operations were performed to remove toxic lead dust from the square.


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