French Billionaire Pledges To 100 Million Euros To Help Rebuild Notre Dame
A french billionaire has pledged 100 million euros to help rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral following a destructive fire.
Businessman Francois-Henri Pinault, the chief executive of Kering which owns brands including Gucci, made the announcement only hours after the blaze started.
The major fire engulfed the 850-year-old Parisian landmark yesterday (April 15), destroying its roof and spire.
Pinault, who is married to actor Salma Hayek, released a statement via AFP, as reported by journalist William Plummer on Twitter.
The statement read:
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.
Firefighters managed to get the blaze under control nine hours after it started, saving the medieval cathedral’s main stone structure and two towers.
Although the cause is yet to be determined, it is thought to be linked to the extensive renovation works which are currently underway.
Speaking to the media at the scene shortly before midnight yesterday, French President Emmanuel Macron promised to rebuild the Gothic landmark.
According to Reuters, Macron vowed:
The worst has been avoided. I say this very solemnly tonight. We will rebuild it together. It will undoubtedly be part of French destiny and our project for the years to come, but I am committed to it.
Starting tomorrow a national subscription will be launched and well beyond our borders we will appeal to the greatest talents and there are many who will come to contribute and rebuild us.
We will rebuild the Notre Dame, because that is what the French expect, because it is what our history deserves and its because its our deep destiny.
The cathedral has stood since 1260 after work started on it in 1160. It has been modified throughout the centuries.
Regarded as being culturally significant, the Notre Dame has inspired writers such as Victor Hugo who wrote The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
World leaders have been reacting to the news, expressing solidarity with the French people.
British Prime Minister Theresa May tweeted:
My thoughts are with the people of France tonight and with the emergency services who are fighting the terrible blaze at Notre-Dame cathedral.
US President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter:
So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!
God bless the people of France.
It is thought it may take several days to completely extinguish the flames, which firefighters have brought into a manageable state.
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CreditsWilliam Plummer/Twitter and 3 others