The billionaire husband of Salma Hayek has pledged 100 million euros to help rebuild the Notre Dame Cathedral after a catastrophic blaze destroyed its roof.
French businessman Francois-Henri Pinault made the announcement just hours after a huge fire took place of the 850-year-old landmark in the heart of Paris yesterday.
Pinault, who married Mexican-American actress Salma Hayek in 2009, is chief executive of Kering, which owns brands like Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent.
It came after a visibly emotional French President Emmanuel Macron spoke outside the gothic cathedral and said a national fundraising campaign to restore Notre Dame would be launched Tuesday, as he called on the world’s ‘greatest talents’ to help.
He said while the ‘worst had been avoided’ and the facade and two towers saved, ‘the next hours will be difficult’.
Paris fire brigade chief Jean-Claude Gallet said ‘we can consider that the main structure of Notre-Dame has been saved and preserved’ as well as the two towers.
Deputy Interior Minister Laurent Nunez, also present at the scene on Monday evening, said that for the first time ‘the fire had decreased in intensity’ while still urging ‘extreme caution’.
The Vatican on Monday expressed its ‘incredulity’ and ‘sadness’, expressing ‘our closeness with French Catholics and with the Parisian population.’
The cause of the blaze was not immediately confirmed. The cathedral had been undergoing intense restoration work which the fire service said could be linked to the blaze.
French prosecutors said it was being treated as an ‘involuntary’ fire, indicating that foul play was ruled out for now.