The choir of Notre Dame Cathedral sang inside the medieval landmark for the first time since last year’s devastating fire – sporting hard hats and socially distancing.
Twenty singers, also wearing protective suits as the building is a construction site, performed beneath the Paris cathedral’s stained glass windows amid the darkened church.
The concert was recorded last Saturday for broadcast on Christmas Eve and the public was not allowed in and is not expected to see the insides of Notre Dame until at least 2024.
It was called a “highly symbolic concert … marked with emotion and hope” by the diocese and a celebration of a “musical heritage that dates to the Middle Ages”.
The archbishop of Paris, Monsignor Michel Aupetit, held Thursday’s Christmas Eve services in Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois Church across from the Louvre Museum instead of Notre Dame.
The Notre Dame choir used to give 60 concerts a year inside the cathedral but has been itinerant ever since, moving among other Paris churches.
A devastating fire last April consumed the cathedral’s lead roof and destroyed its spire, and only earlier this month did workers finally stabilise the site enough to begin rebuilding.