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Hundreds of millions pledged to rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral

Wealthy donors and major companies have pledged more than 600 million euros.

Experts inspect the damage (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)
Experts inspect the damage (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)

Hundreds of millions of euros have been pledged to rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral after it was ravaged by fire.

Nearly 400 firefighters tackled the blaze, battling to stop it completely destroying the treasured facade after flames torched the roof, sending its spire crashing to the ground.

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(PA Graphics)

French President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to rebuild the historic building, and more than 600 million euros (£520 million) has been pledged already.

French luxury and cosmetics group L’Oreal and its owners, the Bettencourt Meyers family, have pledged 200 million euros (£173 million).

The family’s Bettencourt Schueller Foundation will contribute to the donation.

French tycoon Bernard Arnault and his luxury goods group LVMH have also pledged 200 million euros.

The Pinault family has pledged 100 million euros (£86 million) to help restore the 800-year-old cathedral.

Francois-Henri Pinault was quoted in the French media as saying he and his father Francois had decided to donate the money to help with a “complete reconstruction”.

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Francois-Henri Pinault with wife Salma Hayek (PA)

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 Christie’s auction house.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme it was a “shock” to see the building on fire and added: “We need to rebuild collectively this part of our history, of our culture, so it’s an urgent, urgent need to move forward, so I decided to unlock a very important amount of money to do that.”

Energy firm Total will contribute 100 million euros, chief executive Patrick Pouyanne tweeted.

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Debris inside Notre Dame (Christophe Petit Tesson/AP)

Other donations reported include a million euros (£860,000) from technology consulting firm Capgemini, and 20 million euros (£17 million) from the holding company of the JCDecaux family, owners of one of the world’s largest outdoor advertising companies.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook said on Twitter that the technology giant will donate but did not say how much.

He added: “We are heartbroken for the French people and those around the world for whom Notre Dame is a symbol of hope. Relieved that everyone is safe.

“Apple will be donating to the rebuilding efforts to help restore Notre Dame’s precious heritage for future generations.”

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.”

PA

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