Billionaire pledges N40.6bn towards rebuilding burnt down 850-year-old Notre Dame Cathedral

Billionaire pledges N40.6bn towards rebuilding burnt down 850-year-old Notre Dame Cathedral

- The Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris which attracts millions of tourists yearly was on Monday, April 15, engulfed by flames

- The fire was contained but after causing devastating damages to the 850-year-old masterpiece

- President Macron said a national donation scheme will be opened towards rebuilding the church

- This saw actress Salma Hayek's husband who is the CEO of Gucci pledge N40.6 billion

François-Henri Pinault, the chairman of Kering, which owns luxury brands including Gucci has pledged $113 million (N40.6 billion) to rebuild the iconic Paris church that went up in flames.

This was after a massive fire broke out at the Notre-Dame Cathedral on the evening of Monday, April 15, causing extensive damage before it was contained by over 400 firefighters.

According to a report by Yahoo, the billionaire made the pledge hours after President Emmanuel Macron said a national donation scheme towards rebuilding the church will be opened.

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“My father (Francois Pinault) and myself have decided to release a sum of €100 million (N40.6 billion) from our Artemis funds (the family holding company) to participate in the effort that will be necessary for the complete reconstruction of Notre-Dame,” he said in a statement.

The fire had blazed for eight hours before firefighters were able to largely contain it, including saving its two iconic rectangular towers.

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Many of its precious relics, including the Crown of Thorns, said to have been worn by Jesus Christ before the crucifixion were also saved.

Macron had described the fire at the 850-year-old Gothic masterpiece as a terrible tragedy but added the worst had been avoided.

"I'm telling you all tonight, we will rebuild this cathedral together. This is probably part of the French destiny," he said.

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"Starting tomorrow, a national donation scheme will be started that will extend beyond our borders," he added.

Following in Pinault's lead, another French billionaire Bernard Arnault, who is the fourth richest person in the world and his luxury goods group LVMH pledged €200m (N94 billion).

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Pinault who is married to actress Salma Hayek is one of the richest people in Europe, thanks to his family’s fashion empire.

He is the chairman and CEO of the international luxury group Kering and also the president of the French holding company Groupe Artémis, which owns the fine arts auction house Christie’s.

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