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Billionaires pledge more than $450 million to rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral after devastating fire


The famous church was badly damaged, but still stands

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

French billionaires and large companies have been offering hundreds of millions of dollars to repair the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, after a fire caused severe damage to the iconic church on Monday.

Here's what we know

On Monday, a fire destroyed the roof and spire of the cathedral. Firefighters managed to put out the blaze before it destroyed the building's two towers. Artifacts inside, including what is believed by Catholics to be Jesus' Crown of Thorns, a piece of the True Cross, and a nail from the Crucifixion, were all saved. Pieces of artwork from inside the building were also rescued. No one was injured in the fire.

While the exact cause of the fire is still unknown, French authorities have speculated that it may have been related to the restoration work that had been going on at the time. It is not yet clear what the cost of repairs will be. The interior of the building had largely been saved due to a stone vault ceiling underneath the now-destroyed wooden roof.

"We will rebuild. All together," French President Emmanuel Macron promised in a tweet from Monday. "It's part of the fate, the destiny of France, and our common project over the coming years. And I am committed to it."

Those committed to helping pay for the restoration include actress Salma Hayek's husband, François-Henri Pinault, the head of luxury conglomerate Kering, and his father who together pledged 100 million euros, or $113 million. In a statement posted on Twitter, Pinault said, "Faced with this tragedy, my father and I have decided to contribute to the funds needed to fully rebuild Notre Dame de Paris, in order to bring this jewel of our heritage back to life as soon as possible."

Bernard Arnault, the head of the LVMH group (Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Sephora, Marc Jacobs, and Givenchy) announced a 200 million euro ($226 million) donation of his own, French oil and gas company Total promised 100 million euros ($113 million), and consulting and technology firm Capgemini offered 1 million euros ($1.13 million).

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