Notre Dame Cathedral’s forecourt has opened 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 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 poisonous lead dust onto the surrounding ground.

Notre Dame Cathedral was badly damaged in a fire

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo joined senior clergy on a visit to the area

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

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

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