Notre Dame forecourt opens to public after long cleanup

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FILE – In this Thursday, April 25, 2019 file photo, cranes work at Notre Dame cathedral, in Paris. The body overseeing the Gothic structure’s restoration issued a statement Sunday May 31, 2020, saying that the reopening to the public of the Notre Dame Cathedral’s forecourt was finally made possible after several deep clean operations took place to remove toxic lead dust from the large forecourt. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File)

PARIS (AP) — Notre Dame Cathedral’s forecourt is being opened up to the public for the first time since the devastating fire of April 15 last year.

The body overseeing the Gothic structure’s restoration issued a statement Sunday saying that the reopening was finally made possible after several deep clean operations took place to remove toxic lead dust from the large forecourt.

Dozens of tons of lead went up in flames during the fire, sending tons of poisonous lead dust onto the surrounding ground.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo will join senior clergy on a visit to the area in the afternoon.

To protect public health, the site will continue to “be regularly cleaned and samples also taken” for monitoring and analysis.

The cathedral is still closed, and will be for several years during renovations.

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