L'Oreal joins Apple, French fashion tycoons in donation pledges to rebuild Notre Dame
Brooklyn Neustaeter, CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Tuesday, April 16, 2019 6:54AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, April 16, 2019 11:45AM EDT
French companies Total and L'Oreal have each pledged to donate CA$150 million to support the reconstruction of Notre Dame Cathedral.
They are the latest high profile businesses to offer financial support for the restoration of the fire-ravaged Paris church on Tuesday, after Apple chief Tim Cook promised to donate.
Gas giant Total said it would contribute 100 million euros "to help the reconstruction of this architectural jewel."
Cosmetics maker L'Oreal promised the same amount to rebuild "a symbol of French heritage and of our common history."
Among other contributors, Bouygues construction group chief executive Martin Bouygues said he and his brother Olivier would donate 10 million euros (CA$15 million).
French billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault, who is married to actress Salma Hayek, is pledging more than CA$150 million to help rebuild the iconic church.
In a statement obtained by French newspaper Le Figaro, Pinault said, "My father and myself have decided to unblock a sum of 100 million euros from our Artemis funds (the family holding company) to participate in the effort that will be necessary for the complete reconstruction of Notre-Dame."
Later, the donation was trumped by the family of French billionaire Bernard Arnault and his group LVMH, which owns 70 luxury brands including Louis Vuitton, with a pledge to donate CA$300 million.
"In the wake of this national tragedy, the Arnault family and the LVMH Group pledge their support for #NotreDame,” the company said in a statement on Twitter.
“They will donate a total of 200 million euros to the fund for reconstruction of this architectural work, which is an integral part of the history of France."
A massive fire consumed the roof and destroyed the spire of Notre Dame on Monday, while the monument was under renovations. No one was injured and fire officials say the main structure remains intact.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook Tweeted that his company will also be donating to the rebuilding work, but did not give a figure.
“We are heartbroken for the French people and those around the world for whom Notre Dame is a symbol of hope,” he tweeted Tuesday.
“Relieved that everyone is safe. Apple will be donating to the rebuilding efforts to help restore Notre Dame’s precious heritage for future generations.”
Pinault announced his donation less than six hours after the fire began.
The 56-year-old businessman is the chairman and CEO of the Kering group, which owns and controls luxury brands including Gucci, Alexander McQueen and Saint Laurent. He also is president of Groupe Artemis, the French holding company that owns Christie's auction house.
These major donations follow French President Emmanuel Macron's promise to restore the 856-year-old Paris landmark.
Speaking outside the cathedral late Monday night, Macron said a public fundraising drive will raise money for the rebuild.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has floated the idea of an “international donor’s conference” that would unite philanthropists and restoration experts in Paris to raise money for rebuilding Notre Dame, according to The Washington Post.
And a national collection has been launched by the Foundation for French Heritage.
Hayek shared an image of the burning cathedral on Instagram, writing in the caption, "As many others I’m in deep shock and sadness to witness the beauty of Notre-Dame turn into smoke. I love you Paris."
The Oscar-nominated actress and Pinault share a home near Notre Dame and were married in Paris on Valentine's Day in 2009 at the City Hall of the Sixth Arrondissement -- less than a mile away from the cathedral.
Constructed In the 12th century, the Notre Dame Cathedral is home to historic works of art and relics including the Crown of Thorns, which is said to have been worn by Jesus Christ before the crucifixion.
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo said on Twitter that a significant amount of the church's artifacts had been recovered.
The church is considered one of the world's greatest religious and architectural treasures, immortalized by Victor Hugo's 1831 novel "The Hunchback of Notre Dame."