The disappearance of General Jean-Louis Georgelin

Reactions and tributes have followed one another since Saturday August 19, 2023, after the announcement of the accidental death of General Jean-Louis Georgelin. The general died on August 18, while hiking in the Pyrenees. He held the presidency of the public establishment responsible for the conservation and restoration of Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral (EPRNDP), partially destroyed by fire in 2019.

On X (ex-Twitter), President Emmanuel Macron hailed the memory of a “great soldier”lamenting that Notre-Dame lost “the architect of its rebirth”. In a press release, the Élysée also paid tribute to “a man of duty, unanimously respected for his righteousness without concessions or calculation of interests, for his radical freedom”. “General Georgelin will never see with his own eyes the reopening of Notre-Dame to the French, of which he will have been the incomparable craftsman”continues the press release. “But on December 8, 2024, he will be present with us, when he reopens, in another way, in the emotion that we will owe him, in the gratitude that we will feel towards his work, in this communion with the same ideals, against which death can do nothing. »

Philippe Jost, deputy director in charge of operations of the EPRNDP, declared that “the resolute pursuit of the restoration of the cathedral, in order to ensure its reopening for worship and visitation in 2024, so dear to the general’s heart, is the best tribute that all of us, with all our partners, with the architects, companions and craftsmen, may return to his memory. In the pain, we are tackling it with a stronger determination than ever”.

Born in 1948 in the Pyrenees, trained in Saint-Cyr, Jean-Louis Georgelin gradually rose through the ranks. He was the head of the section Studies and Prospects ” from the office ” Planning-Finance between 1988 and 1991, then commander of the 153rd infantry regiment in Mutzig (1991-1993). He then held the position of land deputy to the Prime Minister’s military chief of staff (1994-1997). Head of the planning office at the NATO Force in Bosnia (SFOR) from 1997 to 1998, he joined the planning staff of the armed forces from 1998. In 2002, he became head of the private staff of Jacques Chirac, then Chief of Staff of the French Armed Forces (CEMA) from 2006 to 2010, he supervised operations in Côte d’Ivoire, Afghanistan, the Balkans and Lebanon, before joining the Elysee.

From 2010 to 2016, he directed the chancellery of the Legion of Honor. Then he was recalled by the Élysée, which appointed him president of the public establishment responsible for the conservation and restoration of Notre-Dame Cathedral, on April 17, 2019. He had quickly given an illustration of his outspokenness when, before the Cultural Affairs Committee of the National Assembly, in November 2019, he asked Philippe Villeneuve, chief architect of Notre-Dame, to ” shut up “ about the spire of the cathedral, which the architect wanted to restore to the same.

Despite the complexity and importance of the site, the restoration work is progressing rapidly, to allow a reopening in December 2024, an ambitious date set by the president on the evening of the fire. “I’m here to make it happen without procrastination. My role is to hunt down anything that could delay [le chantier] by lack of mobilization”had hammered General Georgelin before the Senate Culture Committee, in January 2020.

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