- 16 Apr 19
Fashion moguls Bernard Arnault and François Pinault each pledge massive sums for the restoration of ancient French cathedral Notre Dame after devastating fire.
Yesterday, April 15, the scaffolding surrounding Notre Dame in Paris burst into flames, with the fire enveloping much of the cathedral over the following nine hours. Though Anne Hidalgo, Parisian mayor, says that many of the building’s priceless artifacts – including the crown of thorns of Jesus Christ and the tunic of Saint Louis – were saved during the effort to quell the blaze, the church’s iconic 19th century spire, along with close to two thirds of the roof, have collapsed permanently.
The estimated cost of repairs has risen into the billions, prompting Hidalgo and many other government officials to call for donations. These calls have already been met by several French moguls including Bernard Arnault, owner of luxury goods conglomerate LVMH, who pledged €200 million for the restoration, and François Pinault, CEO and chairman of the Kering Group – which owns brands such as Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci, and Balenciaga – who pledged €100 million.
Pinault said of the fire that "this tragedy strikes all the French and beyond all those who are attached to spiritual values," and that he and his family would go to any effort "necessary for the complete reconstruction of Notre-Dame."
Hidalgo says she is also planning a “major international conference of donors” along with a fundraising event for citizens later in the year in order to supplement the €80 million budget set aside annually for the restoration of its churches. Valérie Pécresse, President of the Île-de-France region – wherein Paris lies – stated that the regional emergency fund of €10 million had also been unlocked.
Pécresse stated that the incident has been officially labeled as an accident by French government, saying that while the Paris prosecutor’s office has only just begun an investigation into the cause of the fire, the've concluded that “this was an accident, it wasn’t intentional.”