On Monday, French citizens watched in horror as a massive fire consumed the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. The medieval structure sustained significant damage, but the fire was eventually put out. In the wake of this devastation, two French billionaires have pledged generous donations to help reconstruct the cathedral.
François-Henri Pinault and Bernard Arnault, two prominent French billionaires, are donating a total of 300 million euros to rebuild the Notre Dame Cathedral following Monday’s tragic fire.
Pinault is the chair and CEO of the luxury group Kering which owns iconic brands such as Gucci and Saint Laurent.
On Monday night, Pinault announced that he and his family planned to donate 100 million euros to the reconstruction project.
The statement was released by Pinault’s son in a Twitter post.
"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
It reads: “My father [François Pinault] and I have decided to release as of now from the funds of Artemis a sum of 100 million euros to participate in the effort that will be necessary for the complete reconstruction of Notre Dame.”
On Tuesday morning, Pinault’s pledge was doubled by another prominent billionaire—Bernard Arnault, the chair and CEO of the luxury group LVMH.
LVMH owns well-known brands including Moët & Chandon and Dior. A statement was shared on the official LVMH Twitter account.
"In the wake of this national tragedy, the Arnault family and the LVMH Group pledge their support for #NotreDame. 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." pic.twitter.com/utvJT8xJht
— LVMH (@LVMH) April 16, 2019
It reads: “In the wake of this national tragedy, the Arnault family and the LVMH Group pledge their support for #NotreDame. 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.”
In addition to these generous donations, French President Emmanuel Macron says he plans to launch a national fundraising campaign to further aid the cathedral’s reconstruction.
“We will rebuild,” Macron told reporters. “We will rebuild Notre Dame because this is what the French expect, because this is what our history deserves, because it is our destiny.”
According to the Paris fire brigade, nearly 400 firefighters took part in the 9-hour long fight to subdue the flames.
1/2 #Intervention #NotreDame : la structure de la cathédrale est sauvée et les principales œuvres d’art ont été sauvegardées, grâce à l'action combinée des différents services de l'État engagés à nos côtés. pic.twitter.com/0GJZKAdYdM
— Pompiers de Paris (@PompiersParis) April 16, 2019
“The structure of the cathedral is saved and the main artworks have been safeguarded, thanks to the combined actions of different state services,” it said.
The cause of the tragic fire is still unknown.
For more than 800 years Notre Dame has stood as an icon of French history and one of the most highly regarded examples of French Gothic architecture.