Notre Dame fire – Salma Hayek’s French billionaire husband Francois-Henri Pinault pledges £86million as France's richest man offers £150million

SALMA Hayek's billionaire husband has pledged £86million to help restore Notre Dame after the devastating blaze with donations in excess of £605m flooding in from around the world.

French President Emmanuel Macron has promised to "rebuild" the medieval cathedral and begged for international help to save the Parisian landmark.

Macron said a national fundraising campaign to save Notre Dame would be launched today and he called on the world's "greatest talents" to help.

Experts are currently estimating the repair costs could be in excess of €100bn and take around 20 years to restore the world-famous gothic cathedral.

Francois-Henri Pinault, the CEO of Kering, the group which owns luxury fashion brands Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, was one of the first to make a significant donation as the world mourns the loss of the prominent symbol of French heritage.

He tied the knot with Frida actress Hayek on Valentine's Day in 2009 in Paris and they have one child together.

Pinault's family is estimated to be worth around £26.8bn.


French billionaire Bernard Arnault, who is head of the LVMH group and thought to be France's richest man, also dug deep into his pockets and pledged £173m (€200m).

A statement from his family said: "The Arnault family and the LVMH group would like to show their solidarity at this time of national tragedy, and are joining up to help rebuild this extraordinary cathedral, which is a symbol of France, of its heritage and of French unity."

Arnault's family is said to be worth more than £70bn.

The Bettencourt-Meyer family, the largest shareholder in the L'Oreal cosmetics empire, offered £172m, while oil and gas producer Total pledged £87m.

The City of Paris said it would unlock £43m.

By Tuesday evening, just over 24 hours after the fire erupted, donations had exceeded £605m (€700m).

Macron defiantly declared “we will rebuild” after attending the scene of the catastrophic blaze which broke out at 5.30pm on Monday.

He said he was "sad to see this part of us burn" as he responded to the fire, which destroyed the 850-year-old church’s spire and much of its roof.

In French, Mr Macron wrote on Twitter: "Our Lady of Paris in flames. Emotion of a whole nation. Thought for all Catholics and for all French.

"Like all our countrymen, I'm sad tonight to see this part of us burn."

Macron has announced a national subscription would be launched to help fund the rebuild.

Elsewhere, France's Fondation du Patrimoine, a private organisation which works to protect French heritage, said it would be starting an international appeal.

It said in a Twitter message: "For our Lady to be reborn from her ashes we are launching an international appeal. All donations received will be paid in full to the restoration site."

The US-based French Heritage Society also said it would establish a restoration fund.

The website Dartagnans, which is dedicated to preserving France's cultural and artistic heritage, has so far received around £24,500 in donations.

Another appeal, set up by the website Leetchi has received more than £9,500 in less than seven hours.

More than 50 campaigns linked to the fire have been launched globally on Go Fund Me, according to a spokesman.

Some though were joke pages with several set up to help Quasimodo, the fictional character who features in Victor Hugo's 19th century novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Notre Dame is one of the world's great treasures, and we're thinking of the people of France in your time of grief

World leaders, celebs, tourists and historians have also shared their devastation over the inferno.

The Queen sent the President of France a message that said: "Prince Philip and I have been deeply saddened to see the images of the fire which has engulfed Notre Dame Cathedral.

"I extend my sincere admiration to the emergency services who have risked their lives to try to save this important national monument.

"My thoughts and prayers are with those who worship at the Cathedral and all of France at this difficult time."

The message was signed: "Elizabeth R."

Former US president Barack Obama shared his condolences and a message to rebuild "as strong as we can".

He tweeted: "Notre Dame is one of the world's great treasures, and we're thinking of the people of France in your time of grief.

"It's in our nature to mourn when we see history lost – but it's also in our nature to rebuild for tomorrow, as strong as we can."

Current US President Donald Trump said: "So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!"

Mr Trump's vice president Mike Pence said it was "heartbreaking to see a house of God in flames", describing the cathedral as "an iconic symbol of faith to people all over the world".

From the UK Prime Minister Twitter account Theresa May said: "My thoughts are with the people of France tonight and with the emergency services who are fighting the terrible blaze at Notre-Dame cathedral."

Former US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said Notre Dame showed that humans could "unite for a higher purpose".

"My heart goes out to Paris," she tweeted.

"Notre Dame is a symbol of our ability as human beings to unite for a higher purpose – to build breathtaking spaces for worship that no one person could have built on their own.

"I wish France strength and shared purpose as they grieve and rebuild."

Westminster Abbey in central London said on its official Twitter account that it was "devastated".

"Devastated for our friends at #NotreDame and for the people of France," it tweeted. "You are in our thoughts and prayers tonight."

The Archbishop of Canterbury said he was praying for "everyone in France and beyond who watches and weeps".

He tweeted: "Tonight we pray for the firefighters tackling the tragic #NotreDame fire – and for everyone in France and beyond who watches and weeps for this beautiful, sacred place where millions have met with Jesus Christ."

Our Lady of Paris belongs to the whole of mankind. What a sad spectacle

Leaders of the European Union shared thoughts on the news, with European Council president Donald Tusk tweeting: "We are all with Paris today."

President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker described the fire as a "horror".

In a press release written in French, Mr Juncker said: "I am minute by minute the fire of which Notre-Dame de Paris is the prey.

"Our Lady of Paris belongs to the whole of mankind. What a sad spectacle. What a horror.

"I share the emotion of the French nation which is also ours."

In an apparent response to the fire, Professor Brian Cox said he had a "powerful sense of the precarious nature of existence".

He tweeted: "The great achievements of our civilisation are so precious and so fragile and we take them for granted until they vanish in a single spring evening.

"I have a powerful sense of the precarious nature of existence tonight."

Notre Dame saved from total destruction

  • A fire service spokesman said the two towers and the main structure of the cathedral have been saved by 400 heroic firefighters from complete destruction.
  • France's Deputy Interior Minister Laurent Nunez said “the fire had decreased in intensity"
  • Emmanuel Gregoire, the deputy mayor of Paris, said the cathedral had suffered "colossal damages" and that emergency workers were trying to salvage the art and other priceless pieces stored inside.
  • Scaffolding that had been set up around the building has been decimated along with large parts of the Cathedral itself, including the spire, which dates back to the mid-19th Century.
  • French prosecutors have launched an investigation although arson has been ruled out as a "stray flame" linked to £5 million renovation work is thought to have sparked the inferno in the loft at around 5.30pm local time.

TV historian Dan Snow cited other damaging fires on monuments as evidence that Notre Dame "will rise again".

He tweeted: "It's overwhelming but remember that York Minster and Hampton Court burned in the 80s, Windsor Castle in the 90s and Cutty Sark in the 00s. Dresden's Frauenkirche, the Catherine Palace…

"What we build, we can rebuild. Their essence endures.

"#NotreDame will rise again."

Many other celebrities responded, with British pop star Dua Lipa saying she was "heartbroken" by the fire.

"So much history collapsing right before our eyes," she tweeted. "Heartbroken for Notre-Dame and Paris."



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Cher said she was "praying for Notre Dame" and "will never forget those with the spirit Of La Marseillaise".

Labour MP Yvette Cooper said she was in Paris and saw the spire fall, but "can't bear to watch any more".

"Fearful for anyone close to the flames, and aghast that centuries of history & beauty could disappear into smoke so fast," she tweeted.

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