Supported by the National Recovery Plan, the Hauts-de-France Regional Directorate of Cultural Affairs (DRAC) began a major campaign in early September to restore the interiors of the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce Cathedral in Cambrai for a period of 7 years.
After a major campaign of work on the restoration of roofs between 2000 and 2007, place today at the restoration of the interior siding and stained glass windows of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce Cathedral.
This large-scale project is being carried out by the Hauts-de-France Regional Department of Cultural Affairs, together with its project manager, Pascal Prunet, Chief Architect of Historic Monuments. The site is broken down into 7 blocks of work for a total amount of €8,700,000 including taxes.
Preparations for the construction began in early September with the installation of the life base and scaffolding. This first 12-month phase of work concerns the north and south side of the nave.
The stone siding, soiled over the years, will be restored to enhance the interior of the cathedral.
The programme also includes the restoration of stained glass windows and the creation of 5 geometric mesh-patterned windows. This work will provide an opportunity to verify the compliance of electrical networks and improve lighting by creating chandeliers.
- Tranche 1: North and South Collateral | Start-up: September 2022 - 2022- 2023 (duration 12 months)
- Tranche 2: Nef | 2023-2024 (duration 12 months)
- Slice 3: Choir, Bedside and Transept Cross | 2024-2025 (duration 12 months)
- Slice 4: North Transept, Saint Joseph Chapel, South Transept, Notre-Dame de Grâce Chapel + Absidiole | 2025-2026 (duration 14 months)
- Tranche 5: North, South and East Ambulatory | 2026-2027 (8 month duration)
- Slice no. 6: South side peripheral chapels (Saint Michel, Chapter Oratory, Our Lady of Lourdes and Sacred Heart) | 2027-2028 (duration 8 months)
- Tranche 7: North-side peripheral chapels (Saint-Ghislain, Saint Antoine de Padoue, Sainte-Anne, belfry and reception) | 2028-2029 (duration 8 months)
In parallel with this restoration campaign, two additional works will be carried out by the Pascal Prunet agency:
- The restoration of the 9 large-format canvas oils (about 5.5 meters high) mounted on wooden frames, painted in grey by Martin-Joseph Geeraerts (1707-1791) and their panelling in the North and South transepts and in the sacristy. This restoration with deposit will also restore the stone siding located behind it. This work is estimated at €1,000,000.
- Intervention on the exteriors for the sealing of the masonry and the renovation of the rainwater drainage networks in order to solve the problems of capillary lifts in the North, East and South of the building. This work is estimated at €900,000 including tax.
Open to the public during construction
The cathedral remains publicly available throughout the duration of the work. The offices can be maintained with reduced capacity, however, due to the presence of indoor scaffolding. The liturgical furniture (high altar, pulpit, etc.) as well as the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce icon remain visible to parishioners and the many visitors who bring this building to life. On the other hand, the large organ will be hidden by a thermoformed tarp to protect it from dust. The organists will have access to it for training but the choir organ takes over during the services.
The church and the adjoining house known as the «guest house», which has housed the Post Office since 1911, belonged to the Abbey of the Holy Sepulchre, founded in the 11th century. Between 1696 and 1702, under the episcopate of Fénelon, the ensemble was rebuilt in the classical style advocated by Louis XIV. It is very homogeneous. The sobriety of the decoration contrasts with the exuberant baroque façade of the Jesuit chapel facing it.
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is designated as a new cathedral in 1804 by Bishop Louis Belmasafter the destruction of the Gothic cathedral during the Revolution. Burned down in 1859, it was restored by the Cambodian architect Henri de Baralle. He notably added the bell tower, the side and apse chapels. After this work, the church was consecrated in 1894 as Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.
The cathedral is classified as historical monuments by order of 9 August 1906. His property was transferred to the ministry in charge of historical monuments by the law of 17 April 1906 and the decree of 4 July 1912.