The Main Stone Structure Of Notre Dame Was Saved And Millions Have Been Pledged Towards Its Reconstruction
Yesterday, with great indifference and disregard for history, culture, or religion, a blazing fire tore through one of the western world’s most iconic structures. Thankfully today, though without roof or spire, Notre Dame still stands. It seems it took the dramatic spectacle of Notre Dame ablaze for it to get the care and attention it so desperately needed to stand for another 850+ years. According to CNN, in direct response to the fire, “nearly half a billion euros” in private donations have flooded in, earmarked for the rebuilding and restoration of Notre Dame. I guess self-immolation is the only way to get people’s attention these days.
French fashion powerhouse LVMH Group, which own Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Givenchy, gave the largest donation of $226 million (€200 million). Also getting a commemorative pew is Salma Hayak’s billionaire husband François-Henri Pinault. CNN reports:
Billionaires and businesses continue to pledge vast financial sums towards the rebuild of the Notre Dame.
The Pinault family, which controls French luxury conglomerate Kering (), pledged an additional €100 million ($113 million). Kering brands include Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent.
Total (), a major French oil and gas company, on Tuesday pledged €100 million ($113 million) for Notre Dame’s reconstruction. Tech and consulting firm Capgemini has promised €1 million ($1.1 million).
I guess the redistribution of wealth really is possible, under the right circumstances. While the exact cause of the fire is still unknown, according to BBC, the consensus among officials at this time seems to be that it was probably an accident linked to “extensive renovation works taking place at the cathedral”. Firefighters worked through the night to extinguish the fire, and miraculously (ok, humanly) most of the works inside were saved (via CNN):
The Paris Fire Brigade has tweeted that the stone construction of the cathedral has been “saved,” as have the “main works of art” from the building.
“The structure of the cathedral is saved and the main works of art have been put somewhere safe, thanks to the combined action of the different services of the State working together.”
Items rescued from the blaze include the Crown of Thorns, which some believe was placed on the head of Jesus during the crucifixion, and the linen Tunic of St Louis.
Crazy photo of the altar inside Notre Dame, by Reuters' Philippe Wojazer pic.twitter.com/KjRPSVKJRA
— Stefan Becket (@becket) April 15, 2019
Also intact are the three breathtaking stained glass Rose Windows, the Great Organ “one of the world’s most famous musical instruments”, and the facade that includes the famous twin bell towers (per CNN).
#Breaking: Newly released pictures from inside the cathédrale Notre-Dame de #Paris. #NotreDame in #France, from this morning showing the extensive damage and the, the Rose window was spared from the fire! pic.twitter.com/jeGhM0g0VQ
— Sotiri Dimpinoudis ❁ (@sotiridi) April 16, 2019
Whether you’ve seen it in person, in a movie, on a postcard, or on a poster hanging in an Arizona State freshman’s dorm room, millions of people all over the world share a feeling of ownership and reverence for the jewel of the Île de la Cité. I was in Paris just a few months ago myself, and decided to skip the crowds. Instead, I took a quiet moment to myself and stood on Pont Notre Dame, admiring it from afar. I was privileged to have had that opportunity, and I’m relieved to know you can’t keep a good dame down.