Saving Notre Dame

Saving Notre Dame on National Geographic on StarSat


National Geographic Cameras Granted Exclusive Access Inside the Cathedral Just Days Following the Devastating Inferno

Saving Notre Dame Premieres Thursday 19 May at 19:00 on National Geographic

Johannesburg, 28 April 2020: Notre Dame Cathedral draws millions of global citizens every year to worship and bask in the history of Paris. On April 15, 2019, during Holy Week, the same millions witnessed the horror of its near destruction by a blazing inferno, its spire atop falling to the ground. Now, one year later, National Geographic’s one-hour special, SAVING NOTRE DAME, reveals the remarkable efforts to rebuild this French symbol of national pride and global iconic landmark. National Geographic cameras were granted exclusive access into the cathedral, just days after the fire, embedding with the fearless workers for over ten months during the rebuilding efforts and capturing the most dangerous rescue and engineering operations.

SAVING NOTRE DAME, premiering on Thursday 19 May at 19:00 CAT, recounts the aftermath of the devastating fire and unprecedented one-year rescue mission to prevent the unstable Cathedral from collapsing. The one-hour special, not only brings viewers to the heart of the action to understand the steps of reconstruction but also pays tribute to the bond of solidarity and know-how of the dedicated team of craftsmen and highly skilled workers. Rebuilding efforts captured in SAVING NOTRE DAME include:

  • The intrepid rope access technicians, suspended in mid-air, carefully removing debris above a damaged vault over the north rose window.
  • First-hand accounts from the workers on the tough challenges they faced: shaky scaffolding, intense storm winds, and strict decontamination protocols due to the two-hundred tons of led released into the air by the fire.
  • Experts Daniel Libeskind, (Masterplan Architect of the World Trade Center), Candida Moss (Professor of Theology at Britain’s University of Birmingham), and Lindsay Cook (Professor of Art and Architecture, Vassar College) offer perspective on topics such as history, religion and architecture.

Additionally, National Geographic Magazine just released “Coronavirus Upended Notre Dame’s Future. WWII May Have Some Answers.” written by Nat Geo archaeology expert Kristin Romney. The story details how lessons learned from previous historical catastrophes like WWII, can help chart a course in the rebuilding of Notre Dame Cathedral. Romney also reveals how the coronavirus pandemic has halted crucial work, including stabilizing the roof, which is in serious jeopardy of collapsing.

“The Notre Dame cathedral is not only the spiritual heart of Paris but also a global symbol of the beautiful man-made creations on our planet. When the fire blazed through this iconic site last year, it struck a chord in all of us. The teams who have been working tirelessly to rebuild it deserves our admiration. SAVING NOTRE DAME promises an inside look at the intricacies and complexities of this remarkable project”, said Evert van der Veer, Vice President, Media Networks, The Walt Disney Company Africa.

SAVING NOTRE DAME is produced for National Geographic by Gedeon Programmes. Jeanine Butler is Executive Producer. ABC Documentaries provided footage and secured interviews with experts in the special including experts Daniel Libeskind, (Masterplan Architect of the World Trade Center), Candida Moss (Professor of Theology at Britain’s University of Birmingham), and Lindsay Cook (Professor of Art and Architecture, Vassar College) offer perspective on topics such as history, religion and architecture.


About National Geographic Partners LLC

National Geographic Partners LLC (NGP), a joint venture between the National Geographic Society and Disney, is committed to bringing the world premium science, adventure and exploration content across an unrivalled portfolio of media assets. NGP combines the global National Geographic television channels (National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo MUNDO, Nat Geo PEOPLE) with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, global experiences and events, archival sales, licensing and e-commerce businesses. Furthering knowledge and understanding of our world has been the core purpose of National Geographic for 132 years, and now we are committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going further for our consumers … and reaching millions of people around the world in 172 countries and 43 languages every month as we do it. NGP returns 27-percent of our proceeds to the nonprofit National Geographic Society to fund work in the areas of science, exploration, conservation and education. For more information visit or

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