Paris (AFP)

General Jean-Louis Georgelin, commissioned by Emmanuel Macron to pilot the restoration of Notre-Dame de Paris, strongly criticized Wednesday the chief architect of the monument by asking him to "shut his mouth" about the spire of the cathedral.

The chief architect of Notre-Dame, Philippe Villeneuve, had decided in June to restore the identical arrow Viollet-le-Duc, destroyed during the fire that ravaged the cathedral April 15th.

The President of the Republic for his part expressed his desire to include a "contemporary gesture" on the emblematic building.

Wednesday, before the Committee on Cultural Affairs of the National Assembly, General Georgelin did not hide his annoyance at the words of Philippe Villeneuve.

"As for the chief architect, I already explained to him that he is closing his mouth and that we are advancing in wisdom so that we can calmly make the best choice for Notre-Dame, for Paris, for the world," he said. General Georgelin in response to a member's question.

Named by Emmanuel Macron "prefigurer of the public institution responsible for the conservation and restoration of the Notre-Dame Cathedral", Jean-Louis Georgelin also confirmed the goal of five years of work set by the head of the 'State.

"The 5 years, we get them by the rigor of the site, the choice of good expertise," he said.

It is "early 2021" that will discuss the orientation of the site, especially for the destroyed arrow. By then, he wants to "soothe the hustle and bustle" in the communication around the work.

General Georgelin was in front of the deputies to inform them of the progress of the operations. "The cathedral is still in jeopardy," he warned. "The security phase of the building is not complete and will only be completed when the old scaffolding of the spire has been dismantled".

With the arrival of winter, "we are not immune to a strong gust of wind that could destabilize this scaffolding," also said General Georgelin.

Moreover, "the cathedral does not seem to be emitting lead towards the outside of the building site", he assured.

"I am in the restoration of what exists," said architect Philippe Villeneuve in mid-October on RTL. "The future is either + I restore the same, it will be me +, or it is a contemporary arrow and it will be another," added the architect at the bedside of the cathedral since 2013.

© 2019 AFP