Canadian PM visits ravaged Notre Dame to show solidarity

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, fourth left, French Culture Minister Franck Riester, fourth right, Notre Dame cathedral rector Patrick Chauvet, third left, and French chief architect of Historical Sites Philippe Villeneuve, second left, visit the Notre Dame de Paris cathedral, Wednesday May 15, 2019 in Paris. (Philippe Lopez/Pool via AP)
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau adresses reporters after visiting Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, Wednesday, May 15, 2019. Trudeau is in Paris for a meeting with World leaders and tech bosses to make a joint push to eliminate acts of violent extremism from being shown online. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, third left, French Culture Minister Franck Riester, right, Notre Dame cathedral rector Patrick Chauvet, second left, and French chief architect of Historical Sites Philippe Villeneuve visit the Notre Dame de Paris cathedral, Wednesday May 15, 2019 in Paris. (Philippe Lopez/Pool via AP)
French President Emmanuel Macron, right, greets Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during arrivals at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, Wednesday, May 15, 2019. Several world leaders and tech bosses are meeting in Paris to find ways to stop acts of violent extremism from being shown online.(AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Rubble lies below the Pieta sculpture and a cross inside the Notre Dame de Paris cathedral as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visits on Wednesday May 15, 2019 in Paris. (Philippe Lopez/Pool via AP)
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, second right, tours Notre Dame cathedral with Minister of Culture for France Franck Riester, left to right, Canadian Ambassador to France Isabelle Hudon and Monsignor Patrick Chauvet in Paris, France on Wednesday, May 15, 2019. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press via AP)

PARIS — A month after a fire engulfed Notre Dame Cathedral, workers are still trying to ensure the edifice is safe enough for the restoration process to begin, French Culture Minister Franck Riester said.

Riester and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wore hard hats for a visit Wednesday inside the Gothic church.

Trudeau said he wanted to show Canadians' solidarity "toward our French cousins." After the devastating April 15 fire, he said one "can't help but marvel at how so much was saved."

Operations to secure and conserve the cathedral must be completed before restoration works can start, Riester said, adding that robots were removing gravel from within to be examined both by ministry experts and police seeking clues about the fire's origin.

Most paintings, relics and the Crown of Thorns purported to have been worn by Jesus at his crucifixion are being conserved at the Louvre Museum. Several works still cannot be accessed, though they are safe, the culture minister said.

A collection of funds for the restoration has so far brought in about 850 million euros (952.2 million dollars), he said.

"It's way too early to know if we have enough money or even too much money to restore Notre Dame of Paris," Riester said. He noted there can be a difference between pledges and what is actually provided, and added that with no "diagnostic" of the damage, a price of the restoration work isn't yet known.

"The needs are obviously colossal," he said.

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