Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris may just survive Monday’s tragedy, thanks to the generosity of people all across the world, including the billionaire husband of Salma Hayek.
French businessman Francois-Henri Pinault announced just hours after the fire consumed Paris’ iconic landmark that he would be pledging more than $110 million (100 million euros) to help rebuild the 12th-century cathedral.
“My father (Francois Pinault) and myself have decided to set aside 100 million euros from our Groupe Artémis funds (the family’s holding company) to contribute to the effort that will be necessary for the complete reconstruction of the Notre Dame Cathdral,” Pinault told French publication Le Figaro.
Pinault, 56, is the CEO of Kering, an international luxury group that owns brands like Gucci, Saint Laurent and Balenciaga. He is also the president of Groupe Artémis, that owns auction house Christie’s.
His father, 82-year-old Francois Pinault, is estimated to be worth $37.3 billion, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index.
Their donation was the first major contribution following in the footsteps of President Emmanuel Macron’s vow to raise funds to rebuild the medieval church. L’Oreal and Apple later pledged to donate money, among other companies.
“The Notre Dame Cathedral, we will rebuild it. All together,” Macron tweeted. “It is a part of our French destiny. I am committed to it. First thing tomorrow, a national effort will be launched [and it will reach] far beyond our borders.”
The Notre Dame Cathedral, located in Paris' trendy fourth arrondissement, was constructed in 1163. It was famously the setting of Victor Hugo's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame." About 12 million people from around the world visit the cathedral annually.