Gucci and Vuitton families donate €300m for Notre Dame restoration

Gucci and Vuitton families donate €300m for Notre Dame restoration

But pictures of the blaze relayed across the world left little doubt that rebuilding the ravaged structure, whose roof and main spire collapsed, will require enormous funds.

Notre-Dame Cathedral was built in the Gothic style and home to invaluable works of art and artifacts, including its stained-glass windows, flying buttresses, sculptures and carved-stone gargoyles, according to Lin.

Despite the dramatic image of the flaming cathedral, no one was killed.

Tchen recalled that she used to attend Christmas Eve Mass at the cathedral when she lived in Paris, and that about 10 years ago when she visited the city, officials from France's Ministry of Culture took her into the cathedral's bell tower.

French President Emmanuel Macron pledged to rebuild the beloved Roman Catholic architectural landmark, and wanted to see it completed within five years.

Benjamin Mouton, Notre-Dame's affiliated architect between 2000-2013, said it was pointless to be dogmatic about using the same materials for the restoration of a building that has already been "heavily altered, modified and reinforced". "We assume they have not been damaged by the fire but there will eventually be damage from the smoke", he added. Their archrival, the Arnault family, responded minutes later with a pledge of 200 million euros and the architectural and design resources of their LVMH fashion conglomerate. That may need to be tripled after the fire, he said. In a message to Macron, Italian President Sergio Mattarella wrote that the whole of Italy "stands in honest friendship with the people of France".

Paris prosecutors said police will conduct an investigation into "involuntary destruction by fire".

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"What's extraordinary is that Notre-Dame's roof lasted until 2019", Francois Chatillon, a prominent architect and specialist in historic monuments, told Reuters. "Our hearts are with the citizens of France and the tales of Notre Dame, true and fictional, in prayer that they will endure forever".

"We will rebuild", Macron told reporters.

Japanese philosopher Tatsuru Uchida, who is well-versed in French culture, said, "I made it a rule to visit Notre-Dame to pray for a safe trip whenever I went to Paris".

Businessman Francois-Henri Pinault, who is married to Salma Hayek, and his billionaire father Francois Pinault also said they were immediately giving 100 million euros from their company, Artemis, to help finance repairs.

In its more than 800-year history, Notre Dame has undergone extensive and costly restorations to fix and restore one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture.

Offers of assistance flowed in from around the world to help restore the 12th century tourist attraction to its former glory. People wanting to make donations can do so via the non-profit Fondation du Patrimoine, Pecresse said.

Noting the restoration of Reims cathedral which was bombarded by German forces during World War I took decades, an emotional Bern, 55, told French radio: "You know what hurts me the most?"

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