- France’s superrich have joined together and pledged about 600 million euros, or $US677 million, to help rebuild Paris’ Notre-Dame Cathedral after it was ravaged by a fire.
- Bernard Arnault, the richest person in France and third-richest in the world, pledged to donate $US226 million to help rebuild Notre-Dame Cathedral, which went up in flames on Monday evening.
- He joins François-Henri Pinault and the Bettencourt family, who are also French billionaires, in pledging millions of dollars toward the cathedral’s reconstruction.
- The French oil giant Total and Crédit Agricole bank also pledged money.
- Many other people around the world have pledged money to help rebuild the Parisian landmark.
- The Notre-Dame fire was fully extinguished Tuesday morning, but the extent of the damage and expected cost of repairs remain unclear.
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France’s superrich have joined together and pledged about 600 million euros, or $US677 million, to help rebuild Paris’ Notre-Dame Cathedral after it was ravaged by a fire.
The cathedral went up in flames Monday evening, and its iconic spire collapsed. Its twin towers are safe, however, and several statues were removed from the top of the building last week, putting them out of harm’s way.
The fire was fully extinguished by 10 a.m. local time on Tuesday, but the extent of the damage to the more than 850-year-old building and what it might cost to restore it are unclear. The cause of the fire is also unknown.
By Tuesday afternoon, four separate donations of at least 100 million euros ($US113 million) had been pledged to fund the rebuilding efforts.
The world’s third-richest man, Bernard Arnault, pledged to donate 200 million euros ($US226 million) to help rebuild the cathedral just hours after another billionaire, François-Henri Pinault, said he would give 100 million euros.
Soon after Arnault’s pledge, the French oil giant Total pledged 100 million euros and the Bettencourt Meyers family pledged 200 million euros to the cause.
Arnault, who is the head of the family behind the French luxury conglomerate LVMH, has a net worth of about $US90 billion – making him France’s richest person and the third-richest person in the world behind Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates.
“In the wake of this national tragedy, the Arnault family and the LVMH Group pledge their support for Notre-Dame,” LVMH said Tuesday morning in a statement. “They will donate a total of 200 million euros to the fund for reconstruction of this architectural work, which is an integral part of the history of France.”
The Bettencourt Meyers family, which owns the cosmetics company L’Oréal, is the second-richest family in France behind Arnault. The family will make their 200 million euro donation alongside L’Oréal and the Bettencourt Schueller foundation, according to Reuters.
François-Henri Pinault is the CEO and chairman of the luxury group Kering – which owns luxury brands including Gucci and Alexander McQueen – and chairman of the holding company Groupe Artemis.
Pinault’s son, William, said in a statement on Twitter: “My father (François Pinault) and I have decided to release from Artemis funds a sum of 100 million euros to participate in the effort that will be necessary for the complete reconstruction of Notre-Dame.”
"Mon père (François Pinault) et moi même avons décidé de débloquer dès à présent sur les fonds d'Artemis une somme de 100 millions d'euros pour participer à l'effort qui sera nécessaire à la reconstruction complète de Notre Dame", écrit François-Henri Pinault
— William Plummer (@PlummerWilliam) April 15, 2019
Total CEO Patrick Pouyanné announced his firm’s contribution on Tuesday.
Total “has made a special donation of 100 million euros for the reconstruction of the Notre-Dame of Paris,” he tweeted. “Fluctuat nec mergitur,” he added – a Latin motto that roughly translates to “rocked by the waves, but does not sink.”
Crédit Agricole, one of France’s biggest banks, also pledged in a Tuesday statement to donate 5 million euros ($US5.6 million).
Many other donors outside France have pledged money to rebuild Notre-Dame.
The New York-based French Heritage Society on Monday launched a restoration fund for Notre-Dame, Reuters reported on Monday.
“I fight back tears as I write this,” Elizabeth Stribling, the chair of the French Heritage Society, said in a press release. “Notre-Dame is more than a religious symbol, it speaks of human achievements and great art.”
“Although it’s located in France, it is part of great world art that informs our culture and heritage. We must all spring to action,” she said.
There were more than 100 campaigns to raise funds for Notre-Dame on GoFundMe as of Tuesday morning.
A spokesman for the crowdsourcing platform told Reuters that it would be “working with the authorities to find the best way of making sure funds get to the place where they will do the most good.”
The French government will also launch a global campaign to gather donations for the reconstruction, President Emmanuel Macron said. “We will rebuild it. All together,” he said on Monday.
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