The three wealthiest families in France are coming to rescue Notre Dame, the national and world’s icon after the catastrophic inferno that collapsed its spire and caused terrible destruction and damage of one of the Paris’ greatest buildings and Europe’s emblematic place. The donations have reached nearly $1 billion, or more precisely $950 million.
The billionaires who donated and are owners of the luxury giants L’Oreal. Kering and LVMH group on Tuesday made a combined donation of half a billion euros ($565 million) to save the gothic Paris cathedral.
The CEO of LVMH, Bernard Arnault, has promised 200 million euros ($226 million). His donation has soon been matched by the L’Oreal’s family, Bettencourt Meyers.
And finally, the Pinault family which controls Kering, the luxury conglomerate, has donated 100 million euros ($113 million).
Other French companies who have also donated by writing big checks are the oil and gas company Total who has promised a donation of 100 million euros ($113 million), and the tech and consulting firm Capgemini who has offered 1 million euros ($1.1 million).
LVMH, which owns Givenchy, Christian Dior, and Louis Vuitton, said that their donations showed “solidarity with this national tragedy” and that the funds will help for the rebuilding of this “extraordinary cathedral.” Moreover, they have described this cathedral as the “symbol of French heritage and unity.”
According to the Blomberg Billionaires Index, its CEO, Bernard Arnauld, is the third wealthiest person in the world. His net worth is estimated to be $90.4 billion which is more than that of Mark Zuckerberg or Warren Buffett.
Furthermore, in addition to the fashion lines, LVMH rules high-end alcohol brands such as Veuve Clicquot, Hennessy, and Dom Perignon, as well as Sephora, one of the most famous beauty stores.
On the other hand, Kering, which controls the brands Yves Saint Laurent and Gucci, was the first to donate. François-Henri Pinault, its CEO, said that “this tragedy is striking all the French people, and beyond that, all those attached to spiritual values.”
“Faced with this tragedy, everyone wishes to give life back to this jewel of our heritage as soon as possible,” he continued.
The Pinault family’s net worth is estimated at $37.3 billion according to Bloomberg. François-Henri Pinault is married to the actress Salma Hayek and he also owns the Balenciaga and the Alexander McQueen fashion brands.
This family also has 33% stake in L’Oreal and controls the brands Lancome, Maybelline, Kiehl’s and Garnier.
The Rebuilding Process
France’s President Emmanuel Macron has promised to rebuild Notre Dame from the disastrous blaze that devastated massive parts of the 850-year-old cathedral on Monday, including its iconic spire.
The rebuilding process will be lengthy and expensive, and it can take a decade to be finished. Also, it will be needed time before the reconstruction even begins. First, immediate steps are needed to be takes for prevention of further damage because now the whole structure of Notre Dame is susceptible to water damage.