The man in charge of the restoration of the fire-ravaged Notre Dame cathedral has appointed professional mountain climbers to install temporary tarpaulins over the building to offset potential rain damage.

With showers set to hit the French capital this week, the architect-in-chief said he had to rush the installation of the protective covers.

Speaking to BFM TV station, Philippe Villeneuve said: “The highest priority is to protect the cathedral from the rain to come.”

France Notre Dame
A net covers one of the stained glass windows of Notre Dame (Thibault Camus/AP)

He said the installation was starting on Tuesday.

Notre Dame is not expected to reopen to the public for five or six years, according to its rector, although French president Emmanuel Macron is pushing for a quick reconstruction.

Investigators think the fire was an accident, possibly linked to renovation work.