The historic Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris was engulfed in flames on Monday afternoon. The world watched as the devastating fire caused extensive damage to the 12th-century landmark. (Thankfully, some of the cathedral’s prized artworks and relics appear to have been saved from destruction). In the wake of the fire, however, two French billionaires have pledged a combined €300 million ($339 million) to help rebuild Notre-Dame.
As BuzzFeed News reports, François-Henri Pinault — chair and CEO of Kering (the luxury-goods group that owns Gucci and Saint Laurent) and husband of actress Salma Hayek — announced on Monday night that he and his family would donate €100 million ($113 million) to help cover the costs of reconstructing the parts of the cathedral affected by the fire.
Pinault’s pledge was later matched, and doubled, on Tuesday morning by Bernard Arnault, chair and CEO of LVMH, the luxury-goods group that includes Moët & Chandon and Dior. A statement from Arnault and LVMH revealed that the billionaire and his family would donate €200 million ($226 million) to the reconstruction.
French president Emmanuel Macron said on Monday, per BuzzFeed News, “We will rebuild Notre-Dame because this is what the French expect, because this is what our history deserves, because it is our destiny.” He also announced that a national fundraising campaign would be launched to help rebuild the landmark.
Firefighters were dispatched to Notre-Dame at approximately 6:50 p.m. local time Monday as the flames broke out. The AP reports that the Paris Fire Brigade believe the blaze is “potentially linked” to a $6.8 million renovation project the cathedral was undergoing.