Monday, July 8, 2019


Last April 15 Frenchmen, particularly Parisians, along with art and architecture lovers around the world were symbolically wounded. That was the day when the Notre Dame de Paris cathedral caught fire and suffered notable damage while in the middle of renovation. The aftermath of this grave if incomplete tragedy led to France come together in response to the brave call of President Emmanuel Macron to join hands in rebuilding the centuries-old cathedral and Paris landmark. Quite the number of French billionaires has pledged donations amounting to at least a billion dollars in worth. But come July, such funds promised for restoration have yet to materialize.

CBS News has it that several affluent members of French society that made pledges of funding to restore the fire damage incurred by Notre Dame de Paris months ago have yet to actually deliver on their promises of millions of dollars in pledges. The spoken donors in question are listed on the Bloomberg Billionaires’ Index, many of whom have increased their wealth as of the end of December in the previous year. The scions of France’s top brands like LVMH and L’Oreal have pledged between them some 300 million ($336 million) for Notre Dame. So far, only LVMH has given 10 million ($11.2 million) funds.

The reluctance of the major pledgers to actually present their announced donations is attributed by Notre Dame senior press official Andre Pinot to a cautious mindset. The donors according to him want to see first, in detail, how exactly their money will be utilized. Unfortunately each potential benefactor is also interested in seeing their sponsorship being used to reconstruct features in the cathedral that were lost in the fire. Currently the restoration effort is focused on removing any health-risk materials from the site, like the lead roof linings that have melted in the April fire.

Although a complete assessment of the damages and losses in the Notre Dame de Paris fire have yet to be finalized, it is known that several artworks, relics and fixtures have been removed during the original renovation works. Some portions of the roof collapsed, but miraculously installations like two pipe organs the 13th Century Gothic rose windows were spared from destruction. Notre Dame tour guide Olivier de Challus notes that actual architectural considerations for the cathedral renovations might not happen until late in 2020, and that the whole reconstruction might last two decades or more.

Image from Christian Science Monitor


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