Yesterday’s tragic fire at the Cathedrale Notre Dame in Paris shocked the world. The medieval Catholic cathedral, which first began construction in 1163, was ravaged in a blaze that lasted for several hours. People were horrified to witness the cathedral’s 850-year-old iconic spire and roof collapse before our very eyes. The cause of the fire is unknown and is under investigation – but some speculate it could have been the result of construction and renovation. As the world watched news footage in awe and processing the destruction of the historic building, some were already talking about rebuilding. The husband of Salma Hayek, billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault is donating millions of dollars to help restore the sacred church.
The Pinault family, who own luxury brands such as Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, said they would donate $113 million to assist in rebuilding the cathedral. Another French billionaire, Bernard Arnault, also joined forces with them and said he would give $226 million as well. Arnault owns Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, and Givenchy, among others.
“This tragedy is striking all the French people, and beyond that, all those attached to spiritual values,” Pinault, said in the statement, according to Fortune magazine. “Faced with this tragedy, everyone wishes to give life back to this jewel of our heritage as soon as possible.”
On Instagram, Hayek said in English and French, “As many others, I’m in deep shock and sadness to witness the beauty of Notre Dame turn into smoke. I love you Paris.”
French president Emmanuel Macron said rebuilding the Norte Dame isn’t a matter of if, but rather when.
“I’m telling you all tonight— we will rebuild this cathedral together. This is probably part of the French destiny,” Macron said, according to CNN. “Starting tomorrow, a national donation scheme will be started that will extend beyond our borders.” He added, “Notre Dame is our history, it’s our literature, it’s our imagery. It’s the place where we live our greatest moments, from wars to pandemics to liberations. This history is ours. And it burns. It burns and I know the sadness so many of our fellow French feel.”
"In the wake of this national tragedy, the Arnault family and the LVMH Group pledge their support for #NotreDame. They will donate a total of 200 million euros to the fund for reconstruction of this architectural work, which is an integral part of the history of France." pic.twitter.com/utvJT8xJht
— LVMH (@LVMH) April 16, 2019
Despite this tragic occurrence that brought many to their knees, it is so inspiring and hopeful to know that the Norte Dame will live on forever.