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Notre Dame cathedral is pictured from the top of the Montparnasse tower, Tuesday April 16, 2019 in Paris. Firefighters declared success Tuesday morning in an over 12-hour battle to extinguish an inferno engulfing Paris' iconic Notre Dame cathedral that claimed its spire and roof, but spared its bell towers. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
AP Photo/Thibault Camus
Now the rebuilding begins.
THE WORK BEGINS

A running list of donations to rebuild Notre Dame, from luxury corporations to oil companies

By Marc Bain

The Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris survived a devastating fire that tore through its upper reaches and brought down its spire yesterday (April 15) while stunned Parisians, tourists, and people online around the world watched in shock.

Already thoughts have turned to restoring the historic architectural landmark. “I say to you very solemnly this evening: this cathedral will be rebuilt by us all together,” French President Emmanuel Macron said from the scene. “We will rebuild Notre Dame because that is what the French expect, because that is what our history deserves, because it is our destiny.”

The project will demand a great deal of effort and money, a resource Notre Dame has recently lacked for restorations, even as its facade has slowly deteriorated. But now, with a new sense of urgency to save the cathedral, benefactors including some of France’s richest families and largest corporations are promising financial help to rebuild Paris’s beloved gothic masterpiece.

Here is a list of some of the donors that are contributing to the project to restore Notre Dame:

  • François-Henri Pinault, whose family controls luxury conglomerate Kering, which owns brands including Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, has pledged €100 million ($113 million) in funds through the family’s investment arm, Artémis.
  • LVMH, the luxury giant behind brands such as Louis Vuitton, Celine, and Moët & Chandon, and the Arnault family that runs the corporation, are donating €200 million ($226 million).
  • Total, the oil producer and France’s largest company by sales, will contribute €100 million ($113 million).
  • Martin Bouygues and Olivier Bouygues, the brothers that run one of France’s largest construction companies, Bouygues, have offered €10 million ($11 million) in personal funds and said their company would help as well, including assembling the people needed to carry out the rebuilding.
  • Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière, who controls investment firm Fimalac, has committed to €10 million ($11 million).
  • Capgemini, a technology consulting firm, has pledged €1 million ($1.1 million).
  • L’Oreal, the French cosmetics company, said it would donate €200 million ($226 million) along with the Bettencourt Meyers family and the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation.

Other companies have said they will contribute unspecified amounts, or their expertise. Bloomberg reports (paywall) that banks BNP Paribas, Societe Generale, and Credit Agricole have all said they would give. Vinci Group, a large construction firm, said it would help with part of the financing and urged France’s construction firms to come together in the repair effort. And according to the AFP, the head of a French lumber company said he would work to collect the 1,300 oak beams he thinks are needed to recreate the lattice structure, known as “the forest,” that held up Notre Dame’s roof.

These efforts are aside from many independent fundraising drives that have begun and commitments by French authorities, such as €50 million that Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo said the city would make available. She also proposed a conference of international donors to help coordinate the overseas donations.

Notre Dame won’t be rebuilt overnight, and there are parts of it, such as the 13th-century beams in the lattice holding up the roof, that can never be recovered. But medieval cathedrals often burned (paywall), and were rebuilt. Notre Dame will be, too.

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