The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Yesterday, Notre Dame burned. Today, people around the world raised millions to rebuild.

Smoke rises around the altar Tuesday inside Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. (Philippe Wojazer/Pool/Reuters)
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Less than 24 hours after a blaze tore through Notre Dame Cathedral, donors have raised hundreds of millions to aid in restoration efforts.

The donations come in as Paris officials are working to quantify the costs of the damage after the devastating fire Monday that incinerated portions of the cathedral. President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday he hoped the symbolic landmark could be reconstructed within five years.

International grass-roots fundraisers immediately sprang up online to aid in the rebuilding effort, supplemented by private pledges topping $700 million.

Some of the families behind the most notable companies in France have offered hundreds of millions of dollars in donations toward the rebuilding effort. Among them is the family of Bernard Arnault, chief executive of the LVMH luxury conglomerate and the richest man in Europe, who pledged $226 million.

Before that, François-Henri Pinault, chairman of the french luxury group Kering, offered $133 million in aid. The Bettencourt Meyers family, which owns cosmetics company L’Oreal, said Tuesday that it would match its company’s pledge of $113 million, totaling $226 million.

In a tweet, L’Oreal called the rebuilding effort a “renaissance of a precious symbol of the French heritage and common history.”

Tim Cook, chief executive of Apple, wrote Tuesday morning on Twitter that he was “heartbroken” for the French people and promised that his company would also help in the rebuilding efforts. His tweet did not specify an amount, and Apple did not immediately return a request for comment from The Washington Post.

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Donations have also come from groups such as Total, the multinational oil and gas giant, which wrote in a tweet it would also give $113 million to help with reconstruction of the cathedral, which Total called “an architectural jewel.”

The University of Notre Dame in Indiana pledged to donate $100,000 toward the renovations, writing in a statement that the cathedral’s “exquisite Gothic architecture has for centuries raised hearts and minds to God.”

These larger donations have been supplemented by smaller fundraising efforts. Among the givers is Charles Gosse, a 23-year-old business student who launched an online funding campaign that had raised over $43,000 by Tuesday afternoon.

“I am not religious myself. I’m an atheist,” he told The Washington Post. “But this is beyond religion. It is a national monument like the Eiffel Tower.”

According to Reuters, an estimate on the cost of the cathedral’s restoration could take up to a year.

“It is really going to be up to the French state and benefactors to help to restore and rebuild this,” Robert Read, head of art and private clients at Lloyd’s of London insurer Hiscox, told Reuters. The restoration itself could take up to 20 years, he added.

Here are some of the most notable pledges made so far, according to Reuters:

LVMH pledged 200 million euros ($233 million)

Kering pledged 100 million euros ($133 million)

L’Oreal and the Bettencourt Meyer family together pledged 200 million euros ($226 million)

Total pledged 200 million euros ($233 million)

BNP, a french banking group, pledged 20 million euros ($22.5 million)

JCDecaux, an advertising firm, pledged 20 million euros ($22.5 million)

AXA, an insurance firm, pledged 10 million euros ($11 million)

Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière, head of the group that runs ratings agency Fitch, pledged 10 million euros ($11 million)

Brothers Martin and Olivier Bouygues, who oversee a telecommunications company, pledged 10 million euros ($11 million)

Societe Generale, a French investment bank, pledged 10 million euros ($11 million)

The European Central Bank pledged 9 million euros ($10 million)

Quentin Aries in Paris contributed to this report.

Read more:

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