On Monday, April 16, many were heartbroken after hearing that the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, France had caught fire. The photos and videos of the flames engulfing the iconic piece of history devastated not only the city’s residents, but individuals worldwide. Now, it looks like Salma Hayek’s husband François-Henri Pinault wants to help rebuild Notre Dame anyway he can, but specifically by donating a massive sum of money to the reconstruction.
According to People, the publication obtained a statement from Pinault that was reportedly given to French newspaper Le Figaro. The magazine reported that Pinault’s statement read, “My father [François Pinault] and myself have decided to release a sum of €100 million from our Artemis funds [the family holding company] to participate in the effort that will be necessary for the complete reconstruction of Notre-Dame.”
As reported by CNN, €100 million is an estimated $113 million in U.S. dollars. CNN also reported that another French billionaire has pledged a large amount to help with the rebuilding. The LVMH Group that owns Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Givenchy revealed on Tuesday that the company and the family of CEO Bernard Arnault were pledging $226 million to the cathedral. If you combine this pledge with Pinault’s, that makes a total of $339 million.
According to CNN, Pinault also said in a statement, “This tragedy is striking all the French people, and beyond that, all those attached to spiritual values.” He added, “Faced with this tragedy, everyone wishes to give life back to this jewel of our heritage as soon as possible.”
Like many other celebrities who have taken to social media to express their sorrow over the fire, Hayek wrote on Instagram next to a photo of Notre Dame burning, “As many others I’m in deep shock and sadness to witness the beauty of Notre-Dame turn into smoke. I love you Paris.”
According to an April 16 report by ABC News, firefighters worked over 12 hours to get the fire under control, which they successfully managed to do. “The entire fire is out,” Paris firefighters’ spokesman Gabriel Plus said. Plus also said that workers were currently “surveying the movement of structures and extinguishing smoldering residues.”
ABC News reports that officials consider the horrific fire an accident and that it may have stemmed from the cathedral’s recent restoration work. As tragic as the fire was that destroyed the spire and the roof, the twin bell towers are still intact.
There’s no denying the burning of Notre Dame is saddening, but it has also brought many people together. So much so, individuals like Pinault are pledging millions of dollars to help breathe life back into the historic structure.