French billionaires pledge 300 million euros to help rebuild Notre Dame

Bernard Arnault and François-Henri Pinault’s donations come ahead of an expected national fundraising campaign to restore the cathedral.

French billionaires pledge 300 million euros to help rebuild Notre Dame
CEO of LVMH Bernard Arnault, left, and Francois-Henri Pinault, CEO of luxury group Kering. AP Photos/Christophe Ena)

Author: Adrianna Rodriguez, Travis Pittman and Associated Press

Published: 10:39 PM EDT April 15, 2019

Updated: 4:09 AM EDT April 16, 2019

French tycoon Bernard Arnault and his luxury goods group LVMH have pledged 200 million euros ($226 million) for the reconstruction of Notre Dame, following a reported 100 million-euro donation from another French billionaire, Francois-Henri Pinault.

A statement Tuesday from LVMH said the luxury goods group and the Arnault family would make the donation to a rebuilding fund for the cathedral, which was consumed by flames Monday evening.

LVMH called the cathedral a "symbol of France, its heritage and its unity."

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Before Arnault's announcement, Francois-Henri Pinault and his billionaire father Francois Pinault said they were immediately giving 100 million euros from their company, Artemis, to help finance repairs to the cathedral devastated by fire Monday night.

A statement from Francois-Henri Pinault said: “This tragedy impacts all French people” and “everyone wants to restore life as quickly as possible to this jewel of our heritage.”

Pinault owns the company Kering, which own luxury fashion brands like Gucci and Saint Laurent, according to The Hill.

French President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to rebuild the cathedral and says a national fundraising campaign to restore Notre Dame would be launched Tuesday.

The French leader says he is seeking international help to restore the Paris landmark and calls on the world’s “greatest talents” to help.

RELATED: Notre Dame fire: French president vows to rebuild, seeks international help

The catastrophic fire engulfed the upper reaches of Paris' soaring Notre Dame Cathedral as it was undergoing renovations, threatening one of the greatest architectural treasures of the Western world as tourists and Parisians looked on aghast from the streets below.

The blaze collapsed the cathedral’s spire and spread to one of its landmark rectangular towers, but Paris fire chief Jean-Claude Gallet said the church’s structure had been saved after firefighters managed to stop the fire spreading to the northern belfry.

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