French Billionaires and Organizations Pledge $680 Million to Help Rebuild the Notre Dame Catherdral
A massive fire on Monday left the Notre Dame Cathedral smoke damaged, chard and without a roof, but the French are committed to rebuilding the Gothic masterpiece.
According to Forbes Magazine, French President Emmanuel Macron was heartened by the overwhelming response from the French people including several French billionaires who have pledged a collective amount of $680 million to help rebuild Notre Dame.
According to ABC News, French billionaire Bernard Arnault and his luxury goods company LVMH Group pledged to donate 200 million euros to rebuild the church known as the “heart of Paris.” The Arnault family also offered “the design and architectural resources” for the restoration of the church, Forbes Magazine reports.
Another French billionaire named François-Henri Pinault – the chairman of Kering, which Forbes notes is the Parent company for designer fashion brand Gucci – offered 100 million euros to the effort.
Another affluent French family, the Bettencourt Meyers family announced that they would be donating $226 million to the rebuilding of the Notre Dame Cathedral. Forbes reports that the Bettencourt Meyers Family owns one-third of the cosmetics and hair care company L’Oréal.
Other people and organizations who have stepped up to help rebuild the famous Cathedral include French charity Fondation du Patrimoine which launched a campaign to raise funds for the project, oil monger Patrick Pouyanné who announced on Twitter that he would donate $113 million to the Fondation du Patrimoine campaign and KKR home equity group co-founder Henry Kravis shared that he would be gifting $10 million.
Paris’ major Anne Hidalgo also announced that she would be launching an “international conference of donors” which Forbes reports has already raised $90 million.
According to head of communications for Notre Dame Andrew Finot, miraculously, 80 percent of the priceless artifacts in the sanctuary were saved from the fire, but the inside of the church was destroyed. The water left behind by the firefighters who worked overnight to extinguish the flames, he noted, is at standing height. Finot also noted that the “entire roof has disappeared.”
According to ABC News, Finot does not expect the cathedral to open for several years. When asked how long he predicts Notre Dame will be closed, Finot told the outlet, “I don't know, maybe not before three years I believe. We need to create a new roof."
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Dan Kitwood/Staff