A French billionaire said he will donate a hundred million euros, or around $113 million, to rebuild Notre Dame in the aftermath of the devastating fire that destroyed its spire and caused the majority of the roof to collapse.
François-Henri Pinault is the chair and CEO of the luxury group Kering, which includes Gucci and Saint Laurent, as well as the president of the holding company that owns Christie’s, according to Buzzfeed. His announcement came shortly after authorities determined the cathedral had been saved from total destruction:
“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,” Pinault wrote in a statement, which probably sounds a little less odd when it’s not translated by Google.
Separately, President Emmanuel Macron promised that the 850-year-old cathedral would be rebuilt, and that he intended to launch a national fundraising campaign on Tuesday:
“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.”
While Notre Dame did suffer extreme damage, predictions that it would burn completely to the ground proved untrue. And luckily, several religious statues had been removed as part of a nearly $7 million restoration effort, in addition to other artifacts that were safely recovered, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said on Twitter.
“Thanks to the @PompiersParis, the police and the municipal agents, the Crown of Thorns, the Tunic of Saint Louis and several other major works are now in a safe place,” she wrote. The cathedral’s facade and two bell towers were also rescued.
The fire reportedly started in connection with renovation work, and as of now is thought to have been accidental.