In a televised adres to the nation, French President Emmanuel Macron said that he wants the Notre Dame Cathedral, which was partly destroyed in a fire on Monday, 15 April, to be repaired within five years.
"We are a people of builders," Macron said during a five minute statement at 20:00 local time. "We have so much to repair. So yes, we will rebuild the Notre Dame cathedral even more beautifully than it was before. And I want to achieve this within five years. We can do it."
But he also warned: "Let us not fall into the trap of haste."
Macron said that the dramatic fire had brought out the best in a country that has been riven with divisions.
"What we saw last night in Paris was our capacity to mobilise and to unite," the 41-year-old leader said in the solemn address from his office in the presidential palace.
France had over the course of its history seen many towns, ports and churches go up in flames, he said.
"Each time we rebuilt them," he said, adding that the cathedral inferno had shown that "our history never stops and that we will always have trials to overcome."
Earlier in the day, architects had predicted the repairs may take longer. "“it will certainly take years, perhaps even decades, until the last damage caused by this terrible fire will be completely repaired," Cologne cathedral chief architect Peter Füssenich told tv station RTL.
Earlier on, Macron postponed a televised statement, initially scheduled for Monday night to adress concerns brought up by months of national debate in response to protests by the "yellow vests," saying that he will come back "in the next few days" so that the debate can continue. "But today is not the right time," he said.