People couldn’t believe what was unfolding before their eyes as one of the most famous – and beautiful – buildings in the world crumbled, with an insatiable blaze roaring after what was suspected to be an accident, ‘potentially linked’ to the major renovation project on the church’s spire.
French authorities were able to rule out acts or terror and arson, and thankfully, all of the art and precious artefacts within the cathedral were saved.
Speaking after the tragedy, French President Emmanuel Macron insists the 850-year-old landmark will be rebuilt, saying the ‘worst has been avoided’. He went on to say:
“We’ll rebuild this cathedral all together and it’s undoubtedly part of the French destiny and the project we’ll have for the coming years.
“That’s what the French expect [and] because it’s what our history deserves.”
Meanwhile, in an act of terrific generosity, François-Henri Pinault, the chairman of Kering, which owns brands like Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, has pledged €100 million to restore Notre Dame.
It seemed like that would be hard to be beaten, but in light of the donation, France’s richest man and head of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, Bernard Arnault, has pledged €200m (£170m).
The LVMH group said in a statement:
“The Arnault family and the LVMH group, in solidarity with this national tragedy, are associated with the reconstruction of this extraordinary cathedral, symbol of France, its heritage and its unity.
In the meantime, the LVMH Group puts at the disposal of the state and the concerned authorities all its teams, creative, architectural, financial, to help the long work of reconstruction on the one hand, and of fundraising on the other hand.“
It’s a stunning act of generosity and one that has not gone unnoticed.
Here’s to hoping that the damage can be swiftly and effectively reversed.
Images via Getty