French Billionaires Pledge €300m To Rebuild Notre Dame

French Billionaires Pledge €300m To Rebuild Notre Dame

Two of France’s richest men have pledged €300m (£260m) between them to help rebuild Notre Dame cathedral.

Billionaires François-Henri Pinault – husband of Hollywood star Salma Hayek – and Bernard Arnault have said they will give €100m (£86m) and €200m (£173m) respectively after fire ravaged Paris’s landmark mediaeval church on Monday night.

Mr Pinault, 56, was the first of the pair to come forward following what newspapers in France are calling a “national tragedy”.

The chairman and chief executive of the Kering group, which owns brands such as Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, is worth an estimated £19bn.

He has previously donated money to women’s rights movements and environmental projects. He married Ms Hayek in 2009 and has a child with her.

In a statement announcing his financial pledge, he said: “This tragedy strikes all the French and beyond all those who are attached to spiritual values. Faced with such a tragedy, everyone wants to revive this jewel of our heritage as quickly as possible.

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“My father and I have decided to release… €100m to participate in the effort that will be necessary for the complete reconstruction of Notre Dame.”