PARIS — Pledges poured in following the tragic fire that devastated Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris on April 15.
As firefighters were still hosing down the historic building, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and the Arnault family announced they would contribute 200 million euros to a fund to reconstruct the “extraordinary cathedral, symbol of France, its heritage and its unit,” calling the fire a national tragedy.
Following that promise, on Tuesday LVMH chairman and chief executive officer Bernard Arnault met with Mgr. Michel Aupetit, president of the Fondation Notre-Dame, to sign the convention supporting the building’s reconstruction.
“We are financing part of the reconstruction, we are going to follow the program set by the state,” Arnault commented. “We are here to help and finance the renovation of this extraordinary monument. Notre-Dame will remain Notre-Dame.”
The convention, which was adopted on July 29, is the result of a collaboration between France’s culture ministry and the Fondation Notre-Dame, the organization toward which the donations are directed.
In a press release, the Fondation Notre-Dame stated that the pledged payments will be made gradually during the duration of the reconstruction project, in response to specific calls for funding made by the foundation.
The convention also underlines that sponsors will be part of the committee overseeing the restoration of the historical building.
To this day the total sum of donations — either received or promised — amounts to 380 million euros, or $418 million.
In addition to the 200 million euros pledged by LVMH, François-Henri Pinault, chairman and chief executive officer of Kering and chairman of his family’s investment arm, Artémis, will contribute 100 million euros of Artémis funds in his and his father François Pinault’s name. They are slated to sign the convention with the Fondation Notre-Dame on Sept. 30.
At the end of October, the region of Île-de-France, where Paris is located, will add 10 million euros to the support fund.
The planned budget for the first phase of the reconstruction of Notre-Dame — the consolidation of the building’s structure — amounts to 85 million euros. The Fondation Notre-Dame stressed that the total budget remains unknown, as the extent of the work needed to repair the damage is yet to be evaluated. An estimation should be made possible in the spring of 2020.