Billionaire art collectors and businessmen François Pinault and Bernard Arnault have pledged around $340 million to help rebuild Notre Dame announcing their gifts within hours of a devastating blaze yesterday.
Although the cathedral’s main structure and its two bell towers have survived, concerns remain about the stability of the 850 yea-old building.
François Pinault, and his son, pledged around $113 million to help fund the cathedral’s reconstruction. Son, François-Henri Pinault (husband of Salma Hayek) wrote in a statement,
“My father (François Pinault) and I have decided, as of now, to release €100 million in funds from Artémis to participate in the necessary effort towards the complete reconstruction of Notre Dame.”
This morning, Europe’s richest man, Bernard Arnault pledged a further €200 million. Arnault is the founder of the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris.
“The Arnault family and the LVMH group would like to show their solidarity at this time of national tragedy, and are joining up to help rebuild this extraordinary cathedral, which is a symbol of France, of its heritage and of French unity.”
President Macron said in a speech at the site last night, where he announced the launch of a national fundraising campaign, as well as calling for international help,
“We will rebuild this cathedral of Our Lady. All together. It is part of our French destiny.”
In addition to the major donations from the Pinaults and the Arnaults, the US-based French Heritage Society has also launched a fund to help restore the monument, and several other discrete fundraising campaigns are also underway.
Many of the cathedral’s treasures and religious relics, including what is said to be Christ’s Crown of Thorns, and a piece of the Cross, were saved. the French culture minister Franck Riester wrote in a statement.
“Some of the major pieces of Notre-Dame’s treasure are now safe at the Hôtel de Ville in Paris.”
Macron, vowed to rebuild Notre Dame, a symbol of France and World Heritage Site.
French tycoon Bernard Arnault and his luxury goods group LVMH pledge €200 million for reconstruction of Notre Dame, following reported €100 million donation from another French billionaire, Francois Pinault. https://t.co/fjtzsTKJLN pic.twitter.com/cfHriUTAJN— ABC News (@ABC) April 16, 2019
(Photo, Twitter screen grab; via Arnet News)