Billionaires pledge to rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral, which burned yesterday


Notre Dame Cathedral goes up in flames in Paris

Yesterday, on the Ides of April, the Notre Dame cathedral burned down in Paris. The images were horrifying – a centuries-old Gothic structure which had survived world wars, famines, revolutions, dictatorships, terrorist attacks and more, all gone. Well, not ALL gone. Just part of it is gone now. This is how Notre Dame looked this morning:

It took nine hours to put out the fire yesterday, and there were significant concerns in Paris and around the world about the best way to even put out the fire and then, how to rebuild. One bright spot: the Medievalist reports that the art works and holy relics were all saved from the cathedral. I heard that many of the most precious pieces had already been moved because of the renovation/restoration work on the Cathedral.

As Paris burned, people were already talking about how to rebuild. Notre Dame is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of Paris’s biggest tourist attractions. I’m sure there will be a million rules and codes they’ll have to follow to rebuild. But they have support – President Macron has pledged to rebuild, UNESCO has pledged to help, and the French billionaire community has already pledged $339 million to get the process started:

The billionaires behind many of France’s top luxury brands have pledged €300 million ($339 million) to help reconstruct Paris’ Notre Dame cathedral following a devastating fire.

LVMH Group (LVMHF), which owns Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Givenchy, said Tuesday that the company, along with the family of CEO Bernard Arnault, would put up €200 million ($226 million). The company said in a statement that the donation showed “solidarity with this national tragedy” and that funds would be used to rebuild this “extraordinary cathedral” and symbol of French heritage and unity.

LVMH will also make its creative and financial teams available to help with rebuilding and soliciting donations. The family of François Pinault, which controls brands including Gucci and Alexander McQueen, has pledged an additional €100 million ($113 million).

Pinault’s son, François-Henri Pinault, who is president of the Artemis Group holding company, called the massive blaze at Notre Dame a tragedy.

“This tragedy is striking all the French people, and beyond that, all those attached to spiritual values,” he said in a statement. “Faced with this tragedy, everyone wishes to give life back to this jewel of our heritage as soon as possible,” he added.

[From CNN]

Interesting sidenote: Ralph Lauren is involved with a lot of historical-preservation work here in America too. RL has donated millions of dollars over the years to preserve American history and historical sites. It’s sort of cool that the French fashion community is committing itself to Notre Dame.

Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Radhika Jones - Arrivals

French President Emmanuel Macron visits Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris

A fiery Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris

Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris

Photos courtesy of WENN and Backgrid.

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142 Responses to “Billionaires pledge to rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral, which burned yesterday”

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  1. Maya says:

    I am a hindu but I loved this cathedral and the amazing history.

    I felt a sense of calm and peace when I visited it years ago.

    • Jan90067 says:

      The cathedral is a majestic site. But I’m wondering why is the Catholic Church so quiet. It is one of the RICHEST institutions in the world? Where is THEIR contribution to this rebuild, other than platitudes?

      • Alexamar says:

        I am Catholic but the church NEVER gives. They just ask for money.

      • holly hobby says:

        It’s used to pay off kids who were hurt by the pervert brotherhood. Don’t get me started on the Archdiocese. Where I am, they deliberately killed a school so they can close it and rent it to some big independent school for $$$. That’s their game plan for a few years now. They want to get out of the school business and become a big bad landlord.

      • jan90067 says:

        SICKENING! They’re like a robed “Trumpet”, not concerned with those they hurt, only wanting you to “feed the monster” yet not giving back. The hypocrisy is breathtaking, to say the least. (And yes, I DO know there are some very dedicated people w/in the church who *do* want to help/do “good”, but damn, it feels like this institution, as a whole, is just more interested in taking rather than giving).

      • Arpeggi says:

        Because the building belongs to la Mairie de Paris and not to the church. Lots of the churches/cathedral were built and paid for by rich families, they were vanity projects basically, it was never exactly the church that were paying for those (though of course it helped convincing the church to make your son a Cardinal or to get your nephew elected Pope…).

      • mazzie says:

        The church doesn’t give unless they’re forced to in settlements. (Am a not-great Catholic.)

      • cheesy says:

        @holly, are you talking about Star in SF?

      • megs283 says:

        you do realize that the Catholic church is one of the largest charities in the world, right? Just because they haven’t announced something within 12 hours doesn’t mean that nothing will be done.

        I criticize the Church when needed – and there is LOTS to criticize – but this isn’t a valid point.

      • entine says:

        Really? We the communities gather and produce money to improve the conditions of the churches in our neighborhoods. The Vatican pays employees, and churches around the world are many times in deficits. I live in a country where many people do not donate the same as in, for example, the US. I visited there and was amazed at people in other christian churches giving away checks, let’s say $20 or more dollars during service (I visited family back in the late 80′s and middle 90′s) , and we in my country were giving like 1 dollar or maybe double, tops, lots of people donated just a few pesos/cents. Of course I understand rich people give any church that they belong to, more. In my country those cooperations have to be given thru a different procedure to be tax exemptions, which I think works easier in the USA.
        The art and buildings we see, usually do not belong actually to the church in many cases, they are the government, but the expenses and maintenance are paid by the church and whatever they can get. In my neighborhood they prepare and sell breakfast every other Sunday to get money for reparations and paying some monthly expenses, since people can give so little every mass. The secretary and some other salaries do come from the diocese.
        An aunt is a missionary nun. She’s elder and still works at well over 70 years old. She lives in Brazil in missionary homes and has traveled to Africa to teach alternative medicine courses (Who pays for that?), how to make medicine extracted from plants, and is knowledgeable in helping people /women to improve their economical situation, you could say, empower, of course she’s a feminist who strives for changes within the church organization. Not everything is stale and fixed.
        Overall I think that there are many expenses that you/we do not see all over the world, not only in our respective countries. They have money, but also many, many expenses going to charities around the world.

      • Megan says:

        Notre Dame is owned by the French state, not the Catholic church. Maintenance and repair work is not the responsibility of the church.

      • Ana says:

        The Catholic Church only knows how to take away. When my uncle the Catholic priest died they (the catholic church) came for all of his belongings including his house and his car and his money. None of it remained though, because my uncle had a stroke 8 years prior to his death and during all that time his sibblings took care of him and spent it all. Never did the church help with the round the clock care my uncle needed, but like vultures they came the minute he passed away.
        ETA: I also have aunts who are nuns and while they live in the convent, other uncles care for them, sending money and stuff to improve their quality of life. The church gives them nothing, the sisters have schools that make some money but it’s barely enough to go by. (Big family, a la catholic, all right)

      • Nanny to the rescue says:

        Catholic Priests are not allowed to own property, so his belongings weren’t really his. Everything they have belongs to the church. And they are not allowed to have wives and children for the same reason: so the property stays centralized & within the church (all that about chastity is bollocks – the rule exists so you don’t have kids who could legally inherit after their father even where siblings couldn’t).

        It’s a shyte system, but it’s also an old one and a known one, so the Catholic Church didn’t do anything out of the ordinary. If you actively join as a priest or a monk or nun or what have you, these rules are clear. Didn’t your family know this signing up?

      • Moco says:

        Plus many orders take a vow of poverty. I mean, you kind of go into it knowing you are devoting your life to God and service. The convent’s not going to dole out money every Saturday for you to buy extra stuff to make your life more comfortable. Your family can give you whatever they want.
        I have a friend who is a cloistered nun and she lives an extremely spartan life because she’s chosen prayer and contemplation over material possession.

      • Clementine says:

        When I was very pregnant and became suddenly single, with no job and no family in sight… Catholic Charities gave me clothes, food, toiletries, and a stipend to a low income room. They also gave me access to abuse counseling which I declined. They gave me the clothes, food, and toiletries that day, emergency housing that night, and the low income room the next month. That was about 2 years ago. They did not even ask if I was Catholic or not.

      • entine says:

        Ana, a relative of my father was a priest who was left a sizable inheritance by his richer, single sister. He left the money to the church and the rest (properties) was divided more or less equitably between his nephews and nieces, they all got something that’ll help them, as some of them were struggling. he was a missionary, like my husband’s aunt that I mentioned. She has her own money which she makes use for some of her needs, not a lot, but she has some, and she expects to live her last days with the sisters in her community, probably in Brazil, where she’s been staying for the last 4 years.
        Where I live, older and ill priests who have no family, go live at the seminary boarding school, where the younger priests care for them. the former priest and the nearby church never fell into a coma during a simple gallbladder surgery procedure (was diabetic) and he stayed t the seminary for 2 years until he passed away. How sad that other communities are not as supporting their own priests.

  2. Sara says:

    As a Parisian and as a Catholic, I spend the night weeping as we watched our brave fire fighters wrestling with the fire. As a human being I prayed that this accidental tragedy will not be used to divide or to spread fake information to make vulnerable French citizens even more vulnerable.

    • Elkie says:

      A warm consoling hug for the former, sadly too late for the latter. Les Nouvelles de Renard were up to their usual tricks yesterday and Shep “the last sane presenter” Smith had to cut off two calls from right-wing conspiracy theorists spouting bigoted nonsense.

    • Lightpurple says:

      My heart and prayers are with you and the people of Paris. All that loss and destruction to a masterpiece that itself had seen so much in nearly a thousand years. The bravery of your firefighters in trying to save it. It is truly a miracle that nobody was seriously injured.

    • lucy2 says:

      My heart goes out to you and your whole city.
      I have been fortunate enough to visit Paris many times, often staying nearby Notre Dame on Ile St. Louis, and it was always my favorite sight to see, walking along there. Beautiful inside and out, and will be again. I’m so glad no one was hurt, and that so much was saved.

    • Harryg says:

      Hugs to you Sara! This is so sad, but it’s amazing people responded so quickly.

    • Kitten says:

      This was beautifully-stated. We are with you in heart and spirit.

      And I’m sorry to see that RW Americans ARE using this terrible tragedy to promote their bigotry. Not surprised but VERY sorry because France deserves so much better.

    • mazzie says:

      I am so sorry for what happened. It is a beautiful church and I too hope it won’t be used to divide us. I had to report a few on Twitter who were up to their usual machinations.

  3. LeaTheFrench says:

    Thank you for this post, Kaiser! Press reports say it took over 400 firemen to control the fire. It’s a loss that is felt very deeply and emotionally by a lot of people in France. Notre-Dame was (still is) a powerful symbol – of the craftsmanship of cathedral builders, of Paris, of France, of time and History… Watching it burn was heart-breaking.

    • Megan says:

      CNN has photos of the nave and the damage is so much less than I expected given size of the fire. When the spire fell I thought the entire cathedral might be lost.

      • lucy2 says:

        I did too, and when watching I briefly saw fire in one of the towers, and was devastated at the thought that it might all go.
        It is truly incredible how much survived.

    • Bella Bella says:

      There are pictures of the aftermath. There is only a hole in the very top of the ceiling. The inside is relatively fine, considering. So the spire and the ceiling need to be rebuilt, in addition to the smaller elements. It really is a miracle how little damage there was, considering how awful the flames were.

  4. Rapunzel says:

    Quelle horreur.

  5. Beli says:

    I was in tears watching. All of that history, all of that beautiful artistry that’s stood for hundreds of years and seen so much… gone in just a few hours. It’s devastating. And even more so for the people of France for what it stands for.

    • LizB says:

      IT IS NOT ALL GONE

      • Megan says:

        Not only is it not all gone, but fire fighters managed to remove the valuables, the organ is intact as are the paintings. This is a sad chapter in Norte Dame’s long history, but it it isn’t the end.

      • Digital Unicorn says:

        Amazingly all 3 of the rose windows survived and from the footage we are seeing today, the damage inside isn’t as bad as feared. The roof and spire bore the brunt of the fire -give the structure is made of wood it could have been so much worse.

        The french fire brigade acted quickly and in the right way – I loved their takedown of The Great Orange Fire Chief’s suggestion..

      • Mgsota says:

        Thank you @LIZB. That’s what I want to shout this morning…it’s not gone! It’s not burned down to the ground.
        It was devastating watching the news yesterday, I was fearful it would be totally destroyed. I can’t imagine how the people of France felt watching it burn. I went to Paris in 2001 and Notre Dame was one of my favorites. But she looks majestic this morning and she will continue to do so!

      • WineGrrl says:

        Digital Unicorn — as a stained glass artist, the iconic Rose windows were my biggest concern. I am happy and grateful that they survived the fire. Maybe they’ll call me to help with the glass restoration… ha.

  6. Digital Unicorn says:

    It was heart breaking; 850 years standing, 200 years to build and 9 hours to burn. But it will rise from the ashes as the structure and main towers are still there. Reports are saying that at least one of the Rose windows survived.

    Plus the image of the cross shining in the middle of still smoldering embers is iconic. Time will tell what the damage is inside but the main alter is still there. It might not be as terrible as we all feared.

    Also most if not all of the relics survived as the police and firemen risked their lives to go into that inferno and rescue what they could. Real hero’s.

    • Bella Bella says:

      It did not burn down. I know everyone is heartbroken, but the firemen were heroic and the damage is not as severe as anticipated.

  7. Lauren says:

    That building stood nearly a thousand years, and survive through wars and revolutions. So many people put their entire lives into building it and making it the masterpiece that it was. This is such a tragedy for history, art and culture.

    I really hope they rebuild it exactly as the original and not go for a modernist look.

    • LizB says:

      The building still stands.

    • Arpeggi says:

      The building stands and there’s no such thing as an original version of Notre-Dame, it’s been a work-in-progress for its 800 years. In fact most of what you know of Notre-Dame was built in the 1800s and is the work of Violet-le-Duc. The spire that burnt? Installed in 1840, the previous spire had collapsed about 300 years before during a storm, no one cared about adding a new one in between.

      The cathedral has changed multiple times, Louis XIV removed all the glasswork at some point, Napoleon changed its interior, it was vandalized during the Revolution, it was used to store food for decades, it was almost in ruins when Victor Hugo wrote his book and he was the reason why Parisians started to look at the church a little again (and the reason why it was renovated, some of its foundations were moved to stabilize the structure:it was massive!). And it was about to undergo another set of massive renovations.

      By tonight, you can expect that a billion euro will have been pledged to help rebuild what was burnt, and there will be more money to come. Notre-Dame will be alright, it’s just part of its history. Parisians will be alright too.

      • lucy2 says:

        Well said, and this is true of many, if not most, structures like this. They are modified and adapted throughout history, and now we work to preserve and protect them as they are today.

      • LizB says:

        Thank you so much

  8. MCV says:

    When I saw it yesterday I cried and I don’t feel stupid about it. It’s very sad. As someone from Barcelona I imagined the Sagrada Familia burning down and honestly I would cry all day so I understand 100% parisians.

    I read this morning about François Pinault donation I thought Bernard Arnault it’s going to make a bigger donation to demonstrate that he’s much more rich than him and it really happened.

    • velourazure says:

      It’s great these people are stepping up but it’s also sad that it took a tragedy to get them to open their wallets to this extent. The stories I’ve been reading all say that France and the church have been struggling for decades trying to figure out who would pay for badly needed repairs. Maybe some of this money can be spread out over other historical sites that are struggling.

    • BorderMollie says:

      Both of them also lobbied for 90% tax cuts for the wealthy recently, so take these showy public displays of generosity with a grain of salt. The existence of billionaires and the need for charity are two very interconnected things.

      • Mel says:

        THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THAT!!!
        I imagine you are a fellow French taxpayer. Please let’s keep the thank yous to a bare minimum for them. This is not even all the taxes they haven’t been paying. And let’s not forget…they’ll get a MAJOR tax deduction for their contribution!

      • Clay says:

        yes to this. Let’s not forget that the same thing applies, although in a lesser extent ($$$$) to celebrities and charities. Whenever I hear a celeb has had some big $$$ success I count 3, 2, 1…to their new charity/foundation/ whatever ….and it happens exactly as expected! tax tax tax cut cut cut…

  9. Erinn says:

    Psst. April 15th is not the Ides of April.

    The 13th would have been the Ides. The Ides actually only falls on the 15th of March, May, July, and October.

    • Becks1 says:

      Ha, that’s not a Kaiser thing, that’s been going around twitter. It’s not accurate obviously but I think its just to convey the idea that bad things happen on April 15.

  10. Amanduh says:

    I got pregnant with my daughter a few years ago when I visited and that might be why I have such an attachment to Paris but I legit felt like someone was dying and I was helpless to save them while watching this unfold. I consider myself agnostic as well but I was weeping pretty much all night over this. Its sickening. The roof that is all destroyed now, was built in 1100 and the wood they used were from trees 200-300 years old. That means the trees were from the years 800-900! The history of the place is mindblowing. I’m so thankful most of the building was salvaged and its comforting knowing millions have already been pledged to rebuild. Lots of hugs to Paris!

    • Penny says:

      @Amanduh I also visited when I was 8 weeks pregnant with my son…I love Paris and can’t wait to take him one day. I was so depressed yesterday, full on crying, checking for updates and I’m happy the situation isn’t as bad as we all feared. Paris is so special, I remember thinking “it’s real!” the first time I went and we stayed at hotel du louvre

  11. Pineapple says:

    Does anyone ever wish “The “Billionaires” would rally around society the way they rally around old relics. I am not saying their generosity isn’t great … it is wonderful extremely wealthy people are concerned about historically amazing spots; it’s just, society could use other help, like for instance, less Billionaires. In my mind, no adult human “needs” a billion dollars. No one does. The divide between the haves and have nots has grown tremendously in recent decades. Reading about billionaires donating money to an insanely wealthy church makes me sad.

    • NotHeidisGirl says:

      Agree with everything you said! I mean it’s awesome that they are donating here and most of them are probably donating a great amount for various causes, and still…there is so much more good they could do with their insane wealth.

      • SJR says:

        Exactly my thoughts. It’s fine that these extremely wealthy are stepping up but, why are they not throwing huge money on helping actual living people in need? Should certainly be, IMO.

    • Jennifer says:

      You might have a point but today, I’m just going to be happy and grateful that there are people willing to help restore and preserve something so beautiful and culturally significant.

    • Sara says:

      I wish they paid taxes.

      • Tina says:

        I’m sure Arnault and Pinault use every means within their tax lawyers’ disposal to keep taxes to a minimum, but the mere fact that they live in France (and not, say, Monaco) means that they pay more taxes than the likes of Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg.

      • Bella Bella says:

        In France they pay taxes!! That’s why they have a better healthcare system than we do.

      • Lapa says:

        they don’t pay the taxes they should. they hide A LOT of money (more than 2 billion for Pinault), and they get 66% refund for the donation. They asked for 90%. Notre Dame was struggling to get 50 millions for renovation, and now they got 1 billion in 2 days. And healthcare system is falling apart in France.

    • Nanny to the rescue says:

      I don’t think this is the time to wonder about that.

      • NIKKI says:

        “Nanny to the rescue says:
        April 16, 2019 at 7:58 am

        I don’t think this is the time to wonder about that.”

        It’s always a good time. SMH. Pineapple makes a very good point and speaks the truth.

        Think of the many, many, many children who suffered at the hands of the Catholic church; and are still suffering today. I cannot have sympathy for a building, built on the tears of the abused, misaligned, etc. The Catholic Church institution is one of the wealthiest conglomerates around. They are tax exempt and are worth billions of dollars.

        -N

      • Clare says:

        While there are people living below the poverty line, it will always be time to wonder about billionaires and their wealth + taxes.

      • Nanny to the rescue says:

        @NIKKI
        It’s not about the building itself, and not about the Catholic Church as an institution, it’s about what it means to people (individuals). Yesterday on the news we had many Parisians crying, it was a heartbreaking sight. So sorry if I disagree that it is “always the right time” to whine to innocent people in pain about the misdeeds of their forefathers or some blokes who are not them.

      • Amanduh says:

        @Nanny to the rescue ABSOLUTELY! I am agnostic and am immensely saddened. Its so much more than a “catholic church”. The historical significance of the building alone cannot be understated. Its a testament to the human spirit. If we don’t care about preserving where we have come from and what past generations have put blood sweat and tears into creating, what does that mean for future generations?

      • Cady says:

        LMAO, you’re really going down the “now is not the time!!!!!” route? No.

      • velourazure says:

        It’s always the time because billionaires are ALWAYS thinking about how to horde their billions.

      • Scotchy says:

        Not only have many many children suffered and continue to suffer at the hands of the catholic church, the fact that this is what billionaires are rallying around is disheartening. Holding onto to history especially one that was built by oppressing others isn’t the way forward( in my opinion and mine alone, I may be the only one that felt this but the two times I dared to venture into Notre Dame, when living in Paris, it filled me with dread and made me so uncomfortable I had to leave. That wasn’t a happy place.
        That’s neither here nor there, I just want to understand why these billionaires aren’t helping to balance the extreme disparity of wealth that is causing our planet to combust. Where are they on that? Ugh.. sigh.. and then ugh again.

      • Nanny to the rescue says:

        @Scotchy, then the building served its original purpose. Gothic cathedrals with their high ceilings, pointy arches, stained glass windows that allow little light etc., were designed to make a person feel small and insignificant and fearful before God.

    • Chaine says:

      Exactly, especially when the beneficiary is a Catholic building. Pretty sure the church is one of the wealthiest entities on the planet. It can afford to rebuild this itself. The billionaires should put their money into helping actual people.

      • Hkk says:

        Yes, and in a country where Sikhs and Muslims cannot wear their religious turbans etc in school. Yes let’s put millions back into a Christian symbol. I think it’s disgusting.

      • Esmom says:

        I’m not sure about their finances, as I heard last night they had a lot of trouble getting enough donations for the renovations that were happening when the fire started. The story talked about how public money isn’t really available for repairs of a religious building and that it had been badly neglected and maintained, forcing them make pleas for donations.

      • Valiantly Varnished says:

        @Hkk exactly. As a Muslim-American the hypocrisy of everyone wanting throw money at rebuilding ND while banning Muslims and Sikhs from wearing religious attire is not lost on me. France is only secular when it suits them.

      • Reef says:

        I’m confused by this too. Like why didn’t the Catholic Church just pay for the renovations before the fire, furthermore, why can’t they pay for the restoration now w/o donations. The Vatican is sitting on BILLIONS. Wouldn’t ND be insured?
        That said if billionaires want to blow millions on restoring a landmark have at it, being a former church goer, church roof/expansion/renovation fund is nothing new.

      • Amanda says:

        @reef, the French government owns Norte Dame and is responsible for its upkeep.

      • hhhh says:

        @Hkk as usual Americans and their obsession with relious nonsense strike again. Notre-Dame de Paris is a historical building. It’s also a religious one but mostly it’s a piece of history, a symbol. Obviously you can’t see that. No surprise there. As for Muslim women who can’t wear headscarves in schools: No they can’t. I’m not going to cry over religious people who submit to patriarchal religions. And so what? What the hell does it have to do with Notre-Dame or with the Catholic Church? Do you think that somehow the Catholic Church enacts laws in France? You think France is a theocracy? Sorry buddy, not France. Loads of countries in te world are theocracies though. Why not bring them up here? It would have as much relevance as what you’re saying here. Which is to say none. And lol Sikhs? How many Sikhs do you think live in France? You don’t seem to know anything about the situation. Seriously your comment is embarassing.

      • MrsBump says:

        There is a time and place for religious debates. I’m not sure this is it.
        I’m a muslim and i was saddened by the image of ND going up in flames. Had i been in paris last night, i would have joined the thousands outside.

        However your comment Hhhh misses the point that Valiantly Varnished was making, but worse it was cavalier and dismissive. Yes, there is a case to be made for the minorities you care so little about, whether they be muslim women wearing a scarf, or the Sikh that you clearly know nothing of.
        Whether a woman chooses to submit to a patriarchal religion (which the catholic religion ALSO happens to be) is her business, as is the piece of cloth on her head.
        The problem with French secularism is that it is only secular when it suits the white majority.

      • Nanny to the rescue says:

        Didn’t France also forbid Christian items in school, like crucifixes and such? Not sure if they enforce it, but I’m sure they went after ALL religions with that secular law because there was definitively an uproar about that.

      • Mrsbump says:

        They only did so after the ban on hijabs and after the hypocrisy was pointed out to them.

      • ME says:

        @Hkk

        Yes exactly. France won’t even allow anyone who wears a turban to enter their country ! I live in Canada and Quebec just passed a law not allowing any religious symbols to be worn to work if you are a government employee. That means if you wear a Hijab or turban you can’t work as a teacher or any other government job. This is SO wrong. I see on the news people literally weeping for the ND. NO ONE died, NO ONE got hurt. Yes it is a 800 year old Church but it is in a country that does not see everyone as equal…which is a shame.

        @hhhh
        Have you never seen a Catholic Nun? Now tell me what do they wear? Why are they so “covered up” then? Why do they cover their heads? You think there is no “patriarchy” in the Catholic religion? Oh and by the way there are plenty of Sikhs that live in France. Go do your research.

      • entine says:

        @ME, really, some nuns do wear things like that, habits, their uniform, but some others wear no uniform, wear pants, they are subscribing to theirGod, they see and call themselves servants, but not to every man. there are branches that are very progressive and males and females strive for more active laicism and female participation in catholic church. There are people who notice how some traditional views are delaying the growth of the church, and want to move forward and enhance the participation that women /laics/nuns already have by being priests,for example. The church is the people, and the people are not quiet and inamovible.

    • Hkk says:

      Uh yes, wth.

    • Prairiegirl says:

      Oh, I dunno. The extremely wealthy have always been patrons of the arts and of architecture (ex.: the Medicis, the Carnegies). Better that modern billionaires direct money into restoring something many can access than using that great wealth to buy unique paintings to hang in their homes for their pleasure alone.

    • Valiantly Varnished says:

      Literally just commented this. It reminds me of when celebs and billionaires donate millions of dollars to prestigious colleges that don’t need it when they could be using that money to help students who cant afford college attend or donate to a college that is struggling.

    • EatTheRich says:

      Honestly this is all I think about with this story. Too much white sadness.

      • Giddy says:

        White sadness? Try human sadness. I have been heartsick over the destruction and loss of many works of art and symbols of art around the world. For instance, when the Taliban destroyed the incredible Buddhas of Bamyan because they weren’t Islamic. ISIS has rampaged all over Syria and Iraq destroying temples like those at Palmyra and decimating museums. They destroyed the minaret of Anah in the Al Anbar province and the Great Mosque of al-Nuri. The nazis stole all the art they could, and destroyed more. The Amber Room was just one of the treasures lost. Plutarch wrote that a fire during Caesar’s siege of Alexandria destroyed the library.

        I’m not Catholic but I still mourn Notre Dame. I mourn all great works of art and architecture that have been lost. I believe that it should be rebuilt and I believe that it is a galloping false equivalence to state that this has anything to do with the religious attire of Muslims and Sikhs being allowed.

      • JustSayin' says:

        What a disgusting thing to think, let alone say.

        I’m black and I’ve been so disheartened lately with all this divisive BS.
        And I said the same thing yesterday when someone commented ” wah wah black women” when I posted about a serious issue.
        I expected that from other sites, not CB where I thought users were smarter.

    • RoyalBlue says:

      Yes pineapple. Lord forgive my indifference when there is so much inequity in the world.

  12. line says:

    It is a tragedy, As a French atheist,Notre Dame is more than a religious place, it is the symbol of the history of France. Notre Dame was the sacred of Napoleon, the marriage of Marguerite de Valois and Henry of Navarre (six days before the massacre of St. Bartholomew), the trial of conviction of Joan of Arc …..

    Yesterday, it was deeply painful because it was to see 9 centuries of History of France that went on fire.I think I’m more attached to Notre Dame or Versailles than by the Eifflel tower.

    • Cee says:

      Yes, Line. I’m atheist too and I was still heartbroken. So much history went up in flames. Notre Dame withstood so much in her 9 centuries of existence.

    • holly hobby says:

      Also it is really an architectural marvel. You don’t have to be religious to admire the workmanship of that church. I’m not religious at all but I do enjoy visiting a grand church whenever we travel because the workmanship is just breathtaking.

    • Arpeggi says:

      I had to double-check just to make sure (I’m half-Parisian, half-Normande), but the trial of Joan of Arc was in Normandy, not in Paris. She was trialled and executed in Rouen where there’s another gorgeous cathedral (that’s been burnt and almost destroyed several times)

      • Amelie says:

        Joan of Arc’s trial and execution 100% took place in Rouen. My father is from there and it’’s one of the first things you learn about the city. There is a really cool audiovisual museum that talks about the trial.

  13. Becks1 says:

    How absolutely heartbreaking. I’m glad they were able to save as much of the structure as they did, but its obviously still an incredible loss.

  14. Loretta says:

    Yesterday I was so sad and devastated. I visited Notre Dame some years ago and it’s a masterpiece. So, so beautiful.

  15. Mia4s says:

    Looking at the pictures this morning, while the losses are horrible, it’s incredible how much was saved and survived. A metaphor for so much of life I suppose. And a testament to the builders of long ago. And respect of course to the firefighters in a terrible situation.

  16. Arpeggi says:

    @LizB Merci!!! Moi aussi je commençais à en avoir marre de toute cette hystérie. Notre-Dame tient bon, ils ont même réussi à sauver la relique de la “vraie” couronne d’épines (yeah right!)…

    I mean, don’t get me wrong, I was freaking out a bit when I saw the extend of damages yesterday, but it’s far from a complete loss. And I was glad that my very atheist grandparents are dead/too confused to understand because the view from their place would have been traumatic. The building has been in constant evolution. Lots of what we see of Notre-Dame is the 14th century idea of 12th century gothic, and the 16th century version based on the 14th century’s vision, and the 18th and 19th centuries versions… It’ll be rebuilt, just like Rouen’s cathedral’s been rebuilt a few times and like many others have. It’s part of their lives and history to go through that kind of stuff.

  17. My3cents says:

    Good for them for donating, I just hope they won’t have put up a big sign with their names in return.

  18. Lamontagne says:

    It’s heartbreaking to see Notre-Dame, like this. I went there in September for the first time in a while. Living in Paris, it’s an Old Lady you always pass by and never really took the time to look at. It’s more than a Church. Such a big part of history went down in flames last night. A lot of people cried, as have I.

    Now, I am more skeptical about those French billionaires. They are pledging money they stole from their employees and the very country whose taxes they refuse to pay (even asking for said pledging to be deducted, how fitting!)

    Thanks but no thanks. You can’t rob my country and expect a pat on the back for giving away pocket money to feel better about yourself. It won’t make it okay.

    Notre-Dame will be rebuilt. It’s our jewel. There’s already a pledging program going on and a national subscription will be put in place shortly.

    If people out of France want to donate, here’s the legit website of la Fondation du Patrimoine de France. No extra fees will be charged and everything is going for the repairs. There’s also an English version

    https://don.fondation-patrimoine.org/SauvonsNotreDame/~mon-don

  19. Marjorie says:

    I don’t believe we should have billionaires or the Catholic church, but the cathedral is an awesomely beautiful piece of art and should be saved, so I am glad there is money to do it.

    I work with the architectural preservation community a lot, and you would not believe how people stepped in yesterday all around the world. Monuments Historiques, the French agency for landmarks, was immediately talking to experts on how to evacuate the art, how best to fight the fire, what would be most affected by smoke and water. A friend who used to be head of conservation for English Heritage was on line with them about lessons learned from the fire at Windsor Castle. It was an ongoing horror and there were many tears, but viva le France.

  20. Valiantly Varnished says:

    Huh. I watched this live on TV yesterday and to have such a historical building nearly destroyed is sad. But I can’t help but think that it would be lovely if these billionaires were as willing to help their fellow man as they are to help rebuild a historical relic.

    • ME says:

      I agree with you there. We have a few locally historic churches in my town and there were anonymous rich donors that paid millions to get them restored. I hope these same donors also give to help sick children, etc.

      • burdzeyeview says:

        Yes these Virtue Signalling donations are also tax breaks but they will be seen as the Saviours of ND so they’ll get the pat on the back they’re looking for.

  21. Cee says:

    I was in awe of the fire fighters working so hard and making themselves vulnerable. I know it’s their job but I can’t imagine what it takes to be so selfless in service of others.

    And to the team who went inside to save whatever could be saved, my deepest respects.

    Notre Dame belongs to the french and to the world. Seeing it burn down was heartbreaking. I hope she is restored to what she was.

  22. Mel says:

    I am so glad and relieved they were able to save so much of, not just the structure itself but the historic artifacts within. while I am not a religious person I am a lover of history and when I first heard the news I was so worried, the videos I saw of it burning were horrendous. we have lost so many museums and ancient historic artifacts just in past few years already (to other fires and even terrorism) that to add Notre Dame to that is just heartbreaking. I’m really glad people are pledging money to rebuild the damage.

  23. Greta says:

    I just really wonder why the Catholic church is not paying for the rebuild? They are so f**ing rich. It wouldn‘t be a problem money-wise and in the very end it‘s „their building“?

    • Amanda says:

      Notre Dame is owned and maintained by the French government.

      • Greta says:

        Doesn´t matter – perfect opportunity for the church to step up – isn´t it? Even if this is a church and state separation thing there would certainly be a way around it in this case. They could need something positive to their name afterall and then maybe the Billionaires could use their assets to maybe fund a humanitarian or environmental cause…

      • Clementine says:

        First of all, we are just falling on 24 hrs. One can’t assume that no money will be offered by the Catholic Church. The full damage hasn’t even been assessed yet. And, yes, it DOES matter if Notre Dame is owned and maintained by the French Government. Just as we would not expect the French Government to fund any religious rebuild (separation of church and state), we can’t expect the reverse either.

      • entine says:

        It’s a historic site, belongs to humanity. If an ancient relic was destroyed in my country, or a natural wonder, people would rally up. Imagine a wonder from a different faith, or a historic site of a culture long gone. Who would rebuild it? People rally up because it means something, it is part of their history, or they just feel like helping. I have helped with donations to people far away, in other continents, maybe I should’ve refrain because they were not of my faith or there were other people more worthy nearby?

    • Veronica says:

      Honestly, I could care less who pays for it. Billionaires make their money via exploitation of the people, so I’m not really sorry to see them contributing to something that produces value to society as a whole.

  24. Lucia says:

    Call me an ultra liberal socialist or whatever but I think it’s very telling that the billionaires of the world want to rebuild it right away.

    To me that says anything out of place in the world must be fixed before people notice it’s gone. For me, this is a matter of all good things, including architecture must pass. History cannot stand forever. But there says something about power and stability by the desire to rebuild it right away. I don’t know. Maybe the good meds are getting to me.

    • Amanduh says:

      Pretty sure its not just the ultra rich that want it rebuilt though. Did you see the people of Paris openly sobbing and singing in the streets. What about the comments here in this thread of people that it meant something to? Its also a tourist attraction that brings money into the city, which is great for everyone who lives there. Its not like it was a total loss either. The main structure and 2 bell towers still stand. It makes sense to repair and rebuild.

      • Lucia says:

        Things that mean something cannot last forever and it’s folly to think that they should.

        Be emotional, yes. I’m sad it’s gone. But I’m not sure it should be rebuilt. Nothing lasts forever and rebuilding just seems like a bunch of people trying to force the world to remain the same for the benefit of a few. It’s just my take on it.

      • Nanny to the rescue says:

        It’s not gone, tho. I was surprised and relieved to see pics of the interior, published today, It’s ruined where the spire fell and there’s water everywhere but a lot of it held up well. And the structure is OK, the famous western towers still stand … More of it is left than gone.

      • Lucia says:

        No it isn’t gone but I’m not sure restoring what was is the right thing to do.

      • Nanny to the rescue says:

        Restoring something that brings people happiness and peace and comfort and hope is not the right thing to do?

    • Lapa says:

      I’m a Parisian and I agree with Lucia. A lot of french historian does too : a fire is part of the history of a monument. Look at the Parthenon in Athens. They could just restore the walls etc so it’s safe and people can still visit, but that’s enough. It’s still here, it’s still sparks joy. Plus, some parts of Notre Dame, like the spire, were from the XIX century.

  25. Miss M says:

    My heart goes out to Parisians.
    I visited Notre Dame Cathedral last year. It was the first sightseeing I did and the last one before returning home. So much detail that I could not take everything in with a single visit. Even a second visit was not enough. It was heartbreaking to see it on fire.
    I am glad donations have been made to renovate the Cathedral.
    ❤️❤️❤️

  26. Ashley G says:

    I live in Paris and we have a conspiracy theory that it was intentionally started because they couldn’t raise the money they needed for the restoration. They needed 20 and only had 7, but now voila they have 300. It’s super fishy.

    • Lamontagne says:

      That would be pretty awful if it turned out to be true. I mean, the spire alone is forever gone. It can be rebuilt but it was called la forêt because each and every plank of wood had been taken from a different tree. It can’t be done right now.

      If it’s real, then f*ck them

      • Ashley G says:

        I didn’t say it was terrorist. It’s just really odd, and every one I’ve spoken to (I live in Paris) agrees, that for years we have been hearing how badly it needs to be repaired and then this fire starts, no injuries, the cathedral has minimal damage and 750 is raised in less than 24 hours. No one wanted to give money for years and all of a sudden now it’s top priority. Most of the donors were Americans, that’s how little the French cared about it.

    • Arpeggi says:

      … And this is how fake news are born…

      • Lamontagne says:

        Trust me, I take everything with a grain of salt. I was rolling my eyes yesterday as the far right and not so far right politicians started speculating about criminal intention and how this must be related to the Church vandalism wave we’ve had throughout France, as of late.

        They were saying the fire had been started intentionally in two places. With absolutely no proof, as it was still raging and firefighters were doing their best to contain it. But nope, you have racists planting the seeds of their agenda. “See what happens? I’m not naming anyone, but everybody knows which community I’m talking about, right?? ” *Wink-nudge*

      • Lapa says:

        Indeed Arpeggi. I live in Paris, I never heard this theory.

    • Tourmaline says:

      Yeah, that theory sounds like a very risky and dumb gambit to get more funding. Seriously?
      I feel like conspiracy theories are dumbing down our world to truly subterranean levels.

    • Lamontagne says:

      “Most of the donors were Americans, that’s how little the French cared about it”

      How would you know? As stated in my comment beneath, we already pay for renovation through taxes. What is done with the money we give, we have no power over. You want to blame someone? Blame the government who’s been cutting the budget allocated to culture left and right. How can you say we don’t care? If you really live here, then you’d not say this. You’d be aware that every state-owned monument is cared for with our taxes. Is it enough? Absolutely not. But we’re not responsible for how the money is used.

      Again, a radio/TV ad campaign would have done the job just fine. You say we don’t care, I tell you most, if not all of us are not aware it needed funding. If you’re not actively looking for the information, then there’s no way to know.

      Thank you for spreading lies.

  27. Sojaschnitzel says:

    I am crying whenever I see the pictures. Eternally grateful to the donors.

  28. M.A.F. says:

    I understand not using the planes to dump water but as I was seeing the images come out I kept thinking about if they had, at any point, installed a sprinkler system? I was talking to a co-worker about that and I’ve been to historical places in Europe and I can’t recall seeing a sprinkler system in some of the more historical buildings either and neither could he.

    • Nanny to the rescue says:

      What would a sprinkler system do when the roof was on fire?
      It is useless. It can’t sprinkle upwards, it would only do more water damage below, and what destroyed the lower floor was the roof and ceiling collapsing, which could have caused a fire below, but obviously, the sprinklers would collapse too and be useless again.

      Also, churches have candles.

  29. vava says:

    Having just survived a house fire myself, I could barely watch the photos and videos of this iconic structure under these circumstances. Horrific. My heart goes out to the French and to The World.

  30. Amelie says:

    My father is French and I found out about this pretty fast when my cousin in France whatsapped me a picture of the cathedral burning. It really was an upsetting image, so much history and art gone in a few hours. I realize a lot was able to be salvaged but the roof is essentially gone from what I understand. Those firefighters are amazing for fighting that fire into the night and for saving the framework.

    As for people talking about billionaires and what not, what people don’t realize is that France does not have a history of fundraising. Unlike most museums in the US, a lot of them don’t have development departments (and if they they are very small) as they do receive some subsidies from the French government. Pretty much every non-profit in the US fundraises—museums, universities, cultural institutions, schools, animal shelters, orgs that help immigrants/marginalized communities. Notre Dame was struggling to receive donations for its renovation before the fire because French people aren’t used to giving. Nobody donates to their university in France. Donating money is a very American tradition. So even though there’s been a major fire, I doubt the average French person will donate to its renovation. This is why the billionaires are stepping in because they know this. And for people who think I don’t know what I’m talking about, I left a job in January that did fundraising for a château/museum in France. The office is based in NYC simply because of the fact that Americans tend to give more than French people. We struggled to get donations overall as the museum I was fundraising for was not well known. But my former boss had worked in the Louvre’s development office and while the Louvre gets tons of donations because… it’s the Louvre, she was the one to open my eyes to that. And it drove her bananas because culturally French people do not understand fundraising strategy and how it works.

    I have fond memories of Notre Dame and I climbed its tower for the first (and only) time in February 2016. It was almost closing time and it was cold and windy. There were maybe about maybe less than 10 other people up there with me. I basically had the roof to myself as I looked at the Paris skyline as the sun set and Notre Dame’s spire, towers, and gargoyles. I took some amazing pictures that evening and one of them I had blown up and framed. It hangs in my bedroom to this day.

    • MrsBump says:

      People in France pay a LOT of taxes, nearly 50%.
      I think it’s pretty self explanatory why donation isn’t a thing. I’m more perplexed as to why your French boss didn’t understand that?

      • Amelie says:

        Oh yeah taxes–forgot about that. My boss wasn’t French, she’s American which is why she got so frustrated at the French’s lack of understanding when it comes to fundraising.

    • Lamontagne says:

      I’d say you’re half right. It’s not common to give money to universities in France, but that’s because they belong to the state. Technically, we already pay it with our taxes.

      Private schools rely on both government programs and alumni association donations. It’s just less “in your face” than in the US. There’s no agressive promotion, you give if you can. You won’t have your name on a building because of it though.

      Same thing goes for monuments. If they are owned by the state, or the city then a substantial part of our taxes go to pay for renovations. It’s a given. Everybody participates.

      Now, administrative mismanagement and the general decrease in the budget appointed to culture makes it so even LESS of our money is given to renovating our monuments. That’s why a lot of foundations have started relying on private donations and whatnot. Again, it’s not aggressively promoted, so very few people would be aware of it. You won’t know about renovations and donations if you’re not actively looking for it. That may be our mistake.

      Had the fondation du patrimoine de France launched a tv/radio campaign for donations to renovate Notre-Dame, I can assure you they’d have gotten plenty enough to go on with the work.

      We’re proud of our history, regardless of our beliefs, we’d not be crying for a couple of euros if it helps maintaining it.

  31. Veronica says:

    This wasn’t quite as horrifying to see go down in real time as the Brazilian museum that burned some months back, but still…holy shit. Talk about a vicious reminder of the frailty and transience of our human endeavors.

  32. Canadiangirl says:

    It doesn’t surprise me that a beautiful cultured country would be supported by a billionaire or a common private citizen with 1 euro, in order to preserve it rich history, culture and art. Cultured people and cultured minds.

  33. A.Key says:

    As a Catholic and art lover it amazes me that we cannot garner this amount of support, sympathy and generosity for the hundreds of thousands of refugees and immigrants across Europe who are living in absolute poverty and are treated like dirt by these noble, cultured and refined donators. No one sheds a tear for them.
    The hypocrisy is astounding.
    But sure yeah, buildings over people, way to go.

    • entine says:

      you know that this is not only a building ,but a cultural heritage site and a source of interest for tourism, that means jobs and income for people in the city/ country. If something was damaged in another city, like Venice,of course they’d need to rebuild it because people live from the tourism.

  34. Alyse says:

    I saw a pretty funny meme about how this tragedy became an excuse for people to brag about their previous trips to Paris… lol fairly true

  35. (THE REAL)@Jan90067 says:

    It is a very big loss for everyone, Catholic or not. I just want the Church to help in the rebuild (as they are *enormously* wealthy, instead of leaving it all to “others” to do so.

  36. Anare says:

    Saw this magnificent cathedral many years ago and still remember the thrill of climbing up the tower to see the gargoyles and look out over the Seine. Shocking to see it on fire. I’d donate some $ to help the cause. I don’t have the funds that the LVMH folks have but every little bit counts right?

  37. Lapa says:

    I love this cathedral, I see it almost everyday – I live in Paris- and I was very sad when the roof burned.
    But a billion euros in 2 days, well we can say that leaving homeless people dying in the streets is a choice. All of my friends in France are mad about that. It’s too much. There is no money for schools, hospitals, homeless, poor, handicapped people but hey we have to have a new roof for the Olympics in 2024 !