Flash flood watch for most of SE Wisconsin through 7 a.m. Saturday

French billionaires and companies pledge $450 million to rebuild Notre Dame

PARIS, France — French billionaires and companies have pledged over $450 million to help rebuild Paris’ Notre Dame after the cathedral was badly damaged in a fire.

The largest donation announced Tuesday was from LVMH Group, which owns Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Givenchy. The company and the family of CEO Bernard Arnault promised €200 million ($226 million).

A firefighter uses a hose to douse flames billowing from the roof at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris on April 15, 2019. – Pope Francis stands with France and is praying for Roman Catholics and Parisians alike after a devastating fire raged through the iconic Notre-Dame cathedral in the heart of the city,” the Vatican said on April 16. (Photo by THOMAS SAMSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)

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 Pinault family, which controls French luxury conglomerate Kering, pledged an additional €100 million ($113 million). Kering brands include Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent.

A picture taken on April 16, 2019 shows Notre-Dame-de-Paris in the aftermath of a fire that devastated the cathedral. – Paris was struck in its very heart as flames devoured the roof of Notre-Dame, on April 15, 2019, the medieval cathedral made famous by Victor Hugo, its two massive towers flanked with gargoyles instantly recognisable even by people who have never visited the city. (Photo by BERTRAND GUAY / AFP) (Photo credit should read BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images)

“This tragedy is striking all the French people, and beyond that, all those attached to spiritual values,” François-Henri Pinault, the CEO of Kering, said in a statement.

“Faced with this tragedy, everyone wishes to give life back to this jewel of our heritage as soon as possible,” added Pinault, who is the son of the billionaire businessman François Pinault.

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).

PARIS, FRANCE – APRIL 16: Firefighters carry out inspections on the damaged roof of Notre-Dame Cathedral following a major fire yesterday on April 16, 2019 in Paris, France. A fire broke out on Monday afternoon and quickly spread across the building, causing the famous spire to collapse. The cause is unknown but officials have said it was possibly linked to ongoing renovation work. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

The blaze at Notre Dame on Monday devastated large parts of the 850-year-old church, including its iconic spire. The fire was extinguished after nine hours.

French President Emmanuel Macron has promised to rebuild the site, saying Monday that France will launch an international fundraising campaign to assist with the effort.

Early pledges from some of the richest families in the world could help.

Arnault is the third richest person in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. His net worth comes in at $90.4 billion, more than that of Warren Buffett or Mark Zuckerberg.

The Pinault family is worth an estimated $37.3 billion, per Bloomberg. François-Henri Pinault, who manages the family’s businesses, is married to actress Salma Hayek.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.