Notre Dame is becoming a symbol of Macron’s gung-ho presidency | Pauline Bock

The innovation-obsessed president is at odds with most French people who would like a faithful restoration of the cathedral

To restore or to innovate? Ever since that terrible blaze laid waste to Notre Dame in April, the French nation has been divided between people who want to see the cathedral restored deliberately and precisely to its former glory, and those who prefer the view of the president, Emmanuel Macron, who vowed to “rebuild the Notre Dame so it is even more beautiful than it was”.

Macron, in his typically forceful, overambitious style, has also insisted that the cathedral will be back to its best “within five years”. “We are a people of builders,” Macron said the day after the fire. “We have so much to rebuild.”

Related: 'Even more beautiful': should Notre Dame get a modern spire?

Related: Notre Dame: time to call in the French builders with medieval skills

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