Macron Vows Notre Dame Cathedral Will Be Rebuilt 'Within 5 Years'


Firefighters work at Notre-Dame Cathedral after a massive fire devastated large parts of the gothic gem in Paris, France on April 16, 2019. The main spire and clock collapsed, but the two main towers were saved.

Huge sums have been pledged to fix the beloved Paris landmark, which President Emmanuel Macron has set a target of five years to finish.

Francois Pinault, the billionaire CEO of Kering group, offered 100 million euros ($113m) towards repairs, while his rival in luxury goods, CEO of the LVMH conglomerate Pierre Arnault, later pledged 200 million euros ($226m).

Major European insurers expect France to bear the bulk of the cost of rebuilding the Notre-Dame Cathedral after a fire tore through the eight-centuries-old Paris landmark on Monday.

Air pollution has done extensive damage to the cathedral's facade, eroding the stonework and its famous gargoyles, but it has received only two million euros ($2.2m) a year in state funding - far short of what is required.

Though "some weaknesses" in the 850-year-old structure had been identified, overall it is "holding up OK", he added.

"Just watching that steeple fall into the church, just brought back bad memories", said Ed Cuff.

People are now recognising that Windsor's photo is one of the last to capture Notre Dame with its spire and roof fully intact.

Some prospective Japanese tourists to Paris wrote, "Does this mean we are going to have to see the burnt ruins?" and "I want to donate money to help rebuild Notre Dame".

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He also believes that Notre Dame will be restored, though that did not happen with St. Boniface Cathedral.

Macron said that the dramatic fire had brought out the best in a country riven by divisions and since November shaken by sometimes violent protests against his rule.

"Notre-Dame is our sister, it is so sad, we are all mourning - Parisians, French people, tourists, the Chinese, the whole planet", he said.

Renovation work on the steeple, where workers were replacing its lead covering, is widely suspected to have caused the inferno after the blaze broke out in an area under scaffolding.

However, investigators will be interviewing people who worked on the cathedral's roof, where the flames first started.

Specialised craftsmen and rare materials are expected to be needed to restore Notre Dame, which is seen as an emblem of France and, more broadly, a symbol of Western civilisation that has survived revolutions and war. "Now I wish I had", she said.

But experts had warned a full restoration will take many years.

He has heard others in Winnipeg speak of the hurt they feel at the loss of Notre Dame, but he also thinks his parishioners will feel a sense of gratitude as they celebrate Easter this weekend. A 100m crane lowered the copper statues representing the 12 apostles and four evangelists onto a lorry.