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Billionaires Pledge Over $300m To Rebuild Paris' Notre-Dame Cathedral

French billionaires Francois-Henri Pinault of Kering Group and Bernard Arnault of LVMH have pledged $339 million (€300 million) to restore Paris' Notre-Dame Cathedral following a devastating fire on Monday evening.

Francois-Henri Pinault, chairman of Kering (the parent company of Gucci), and his father announced on Tuesday they would donate €100 million via their family investment company, Artemis. The Arnault family, owners of luxury goods group LVMH, also pledged €200 million after French President Emmanuel Macron called for donations to rebuild the French national icon.
"The Arnault family and the LVMH Group, in solidarity with this national tragedy, are committed to assist with the reconstruction of this extraordinary cathedral, symbol of France, its heritage and its unity," said the family in a statement.

"This tragedy is striking all the French people, and beyond that, all those attached to spiritual values,” Francois-Henri Pinault, said in a statement published by Bloomberg. “Faced with this tragedy, everyone wishes to give life back to this jewel of our heritage as soon as possible"

The Arnault family, which Forbes estimates is worth $91.7 billion, also offered the design and architectural resources of the LVMH group to the restoration of Notre-Dame.

French charity Fondation du Patrimoine have launched an international appeal to raise funds for the UNESCO World Heritage site that was partially destroyed in Monday's fire.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo thanked firefighters for their work saving the cathedral's famous bell towers and announced plans for a "major international conference of donors" to raise funds for the rebuilding work. Hidalgo also said Paris already had €80 million fund for the restoration of the city's churches.

The fire that ripped through an area of the 800-year-old cathedral that was already under reconstruction was extinguished in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

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