General’s battlefield talk on Notre Dame rebuilding shocks

FILE - In this Monday, Sept. 9, 2019 file photo, the Notre Dame cathedral is pictured in Paris. General Jean-Louis Georgelin who is to oversee reconstruction of Notre Dame Cathedral, devastated by fire in April, got a public reprimand for advising the chief architect for Frances historic monuments to shut his mouth. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

PARIS – A general named to oversee reconstruction of fire-devastated Notre Dame Cathedral has received a public reprimand for advising the chief architect for France’s historic monuments to “shut his mouth.”

Gen. Jean-Louis Georgelin’s battlefield-style talk irked Culture Minister Franck Riester who tweeted on Thursday that such remarks are “unacceptable.”

The incident highlights disagreements over the medieval Paris landmark’s reconstruction.

Architect Philippe Villeneuve insists that the building’s signature 19th Century spire, which collapsed in the April fire, should be rebuilt exactly as it was — instead of being redesigned from scratch with a possible contemporary touch.

Georgelin told a parliament commission Wednesday the decision should be taken “serenely,” indicating that all options should be left open. He said he had told Villeneuve “several times ... to shut his mouth.”