French president Emmanuel Macron has vowed to rebuild the Notre Dame Cathedral after a fire ravaged the historic landmark – and fundraising has already begun.
French billionaires the Pinault family have reportedly pledged more than 100 million euros (£86 million) to restore the 800-year-old cathedral, whose spire collapsed amid the flames.
Francois-Henri Pinault, who is married to actress Salma Hayek, is quoted in the French media as saying he and his father, Francois, had decided to donate the money to help with the “complete reconstruction” of Notre Dame.
The younger Mr Pinault is chief executive of international luxury group Kering, which owns brands such as Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, and is the president of French holding company Groupe Artemis, which owns the Christie’s auction house.
Meanwhile, France’s Fondation du Patrimoine, a private organisation which works to protect French heritage, said it would be starting an international appeal.
It tweeted: “For our Lady to be reborn from her ashes we are launching an international appeal. All donations received will be paid in full to the restoration site.”
Mr Macron said he would be looking “beyond our borders” as the fundraising campaign got under way.
In an emotional speech on Monday night, he said: “I am solemnly telling you tonight: this cathedral will be rebuilt by all of us together.”
Describing Notre Dame as “our history” and “the epicentre of our lives”, he added: “It’s probably part of France’s destiny and it will be our project for the years to come.”
Across the pond, the US-based French Heritage Society said it would be establishing a restoration fund, while several appeals have already been set up on crowdfunding sites such as Go Fund Me and Just Giving.
Picture: French President Emmanuel Macron. (Pool/ABACA/ABACA/PA).