The Meeting Place

Notre Dame burns but billionaire pledges funds for rebuild


A catastrophic fire has engulfed and partially destroyed the majestic Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. But within hours of the blaze being contained, a French billionaire promised 100 million euros to help with its restoration.

The fire began in the early evening and burst through the roof of the centuries-old cathedral and engulfed the spire, which collapsed, quickly followed by the entire roof.

The cathedral's famous spire collapsed, but a French official and the Paris fire chief said they believed the iconic towers had been saved and that the cathedral's structure was "saved from total destruction". However, two-thirds of Notre Dame's roofing "has been ravaged".

The fire is, so far, being treated as an accident. 

Fire chief Jean-Claude Gallet said a major accomplishment of hundreds of firefighters was stopping the flames from spreading to the north tower belfry.

One firefighter had been seriously injured in the blaze.

French billionaire François-Henri Pinault said he and his family would donate money to help reconstruct the cathedral.

"My father [François Pinault] and I have decided to release as of now from the funds of Artemis a sum of 100 million euros to participate in the effort that will be necessary for the complete reconstruction of Notre Dame," Mr Pinault said.



Notre Dame was bulit in the 12th and 13th centuries, taking 200 years to build. It is the most famous Gothic cathedral of the Middle Ages and is an integral part of france's identity. 

The cathedral is renowned for its architecture, especially for its many gargoyles and its iconic flying buttresses. It is also home to countless celebrated artworks, including its three stained-glass rose windows and a Catholic relic, the crown of thorns, which is usually displayed on Fridays during Lent.

Luckily, the cathedral's significant collection of artwork and holy objects had been recovered, said Paris Mayor Anne Hildago, and residents were evacuated.  

French President Emmanuel Macron has pledged to rebuild the cathedral, but said he would need international help to do so.

"Like all our compatriots, I am sad this evening to see this part of all of us burn," said Mr Macron.




Detail of Emperor Napoleon at the Coronation of Empress Josephine in Notre Dame Cathedral, 2nd December 1804 by Louis David


1163 Cornerstone for the cathedral is laid in the presence of Pope Alexander III during the reign of Louis VII

1182 High altar consecrated in the reign of Philip II

1182-90 First three bays of the nave are built

From 1190 Work begins on the western façade

1208 Nave largely completed

1225 Western façade largely completed

1225-50 Upper gallery of nave is built along with two towers on the façade

1250 Western towers and north rose window completed

c1245–1260s Transepts remodelled in the gothic rayonnant style

13th and 14th centuries Flying buttresses installed, meaning that walls could be higher and thinner, and could have much larger windows

1345 Construction completed


Yes I guess it is sad to see happen -- but as far as rebuilding -- IMO money could be well spent in MANY other areas -- and if they want it redone then it IMO it is up to the Vatican to pay for it FGS

Quite right, if it is church property the church should rebuild it, it's not as if they haven't got any money.  If the church wants tax payers to pay to repair its property, it should give up its tax free status.  Talk about having your cake.....

It was always a fire trap and thanks to Providence that lives were not lost before or during the fire.  Worse, the senior people responsible for the fire trap, building and fire authorities too, did not see, or more likely they ignored, the fire regulations and their duty of care.

They were damned lucky that the big masonry work did not collapse.

One wonders if the renovation considered the fire regulations and how some very senior people, politicians too, can escape being held accountable. 

It is unthinkable but the case that crowds of visitors were put at risk for years.

If Bill Shorten becomes PM, we don't want him copying Julia Gillard's and Kevin Rudd's penchant for freely distributing millions of Aussie taxpayers' dollars to all and sundry overseas interests to ingratiate themselves with a hope of getting a post with the UN one day.  Bill is a bit of an operator where furthering himself is concerned.  It is all Bill.  Most of us have been unfortunate enough to have worked with someone like that.

Some here might remember the utter destruction and loss of assets and life in the SE Qld floods and the very mean, parsimonious, reaction of the Australian government led by PM Gillard, who at the same time saw nothing wrong is doling out $millions to countries for claimed seawater rises from Julia's 'poisonous CO2'.  For Gillard, it was a painful chore to even set foot in Qld at the time.  She was far too busy jetting around the world, throwing away aid and even volunteering it to those who hadn't asked for it.

Bill Shorten was part of that government and for yes man Bill, who also enjoyed the frequent jaunt overseas at the taxpayers' expense it was all, 'Whatever She said'.

People in Queensland have still NOT recovered from those floods which flooded property not previously inundated in living memory because of the Wivenhoe Dam over storage release.  Most lost their entire life's savings and they had to start again, with a big bill for demolition, clean-up and for long term 'temporary' accommodation.

FIX YOUR OWN BACKYARD FIRST!, Mr Shorten.  Asking yet again, what about those young indigenous mothers and children who are being held captive in effect by poverty and lack of protection of Australian law and were likely enduring savage sexual and other abuse even as Mr Shorten was thinking instead of sending millions to rebuild a French building that was already in shabby repair?

I agree with you LJ wholeheartedly 

he has also  pledged to give $500 million to the UN if he wins the election.   would love to know the location of the  "money tree" bill has found that the goverment has not.

he is not willing to tell where all the money is coming from as a reporter found out yesterday when he asked about three times.

bet my bottom dollar we will be further in debt once he gets in (if he does)



The only time tourists pay when visiting Notre Dame is if they wish to see the crypt or the tower. If all the tourists who have enjoyed this wonderful piece of architecture,make a small donation, it would be quite possible for it to be restored to its former glory. I love Paris, my grandmother was born there.

Must say I have no interest in such things as the 'Notre Dame'  or the like and never have had yes they are ornate but I find then quite obscene and OTT,  I would rather see forms of nature.

As an aside PlanB ...

Cathedrals of Nature

Wind Cathedral, Namibia.

Marble Cathedral on Lake Carrera in Patagonia.

Cathedral Rocks, Kiama NSW.

Cathedral Rock, Arizona USA

Now that's true beauty RnR

I love nature and the wildlife in it


Jesus was about the People, down troden, poor and children.

Sad for architure to be destroyed, still a Christian Icon to which goes against Christianity. This and other Icons not just Christian ones, work built in times of extreme Poverty and Over Zealot Church Leaders, Monarchy and Governments. When it was more expensive in todays money  to build which is sad.

Let those with extra Cash To Plash around pay for repairs.

Catholic funds or Government Funds be better Spent on The Needy.

Why Raid The Poor Box????


Chris, you are sure on the same page as myself -- I was just speaking to a friend the other day they are dead set go to church every week --or more -- and I asked what would Christ do if he were here --  they are VERY RIGHT wing in their thoughts -- I said I am sure Christ would have been very LEFT wing.

IMO So much is spent on all this utter crap with gowns and fancy buildings etc.  -- very unnecessary  -- and as you say give and use the money for the needy, if you are fair dinkum you would be closer to God/Christ with NATURE.

let the catholic church pay for it...they have heaps of money!  certainly hope our goverment does not cough up!



... agree with all of the above!  Worldwide donations already over ONE BILLION dollars ...and growing rapidly!

Heaps of letters in the paper the past couple of days from people with likewise thoughts:  "Let the Catholic Church pay for it"!   YES YES YES!

Imagine what that one billion raised could do in other avenues of great need?

Yes, Foxy how stupid are people -- no wonder the Vatican is so wealthy --

Also, all this praying and singing in the streets in France sickens me -- and we will be fed this forever --I am sick to death of it already, shame there was not as much care for the underprivileged!

Don't suppose any of you lacking the milk of human kindness will be going to church this weekend??

i would rather the milk of kindness go to the down and out and our farmers

I sure will not be going to church this Sunday OR any other --

Faith has nothing to do with Buildings/Icons.

I belive it was the sermon on the mount, hill sides, shore lines and open places preaching took place by Jesus.

This is a beautiful distraction from faith and a sad reminder of wasteful spending.

Most of these buildings where built when the extreme poverty could have been reduced.

History repeats.

Nothing to Do With Faith.


France is a secular republic. It's not so much religion, Notre Dame is the symbol of France. However, I am sure most Catholics would find this image very humbling, at least I do. It will take decades to rebuild but the money is pouring in for sure.

French Archbishop Patrick Chauvet holds the crown of thorns.

Crown of thorns outside Notre Dame

King Louis XI commissioned the Sainte-Chapelle to house it, where it stayed until the French Revolution when it was deposited in the Cathedral of Notre-Dame.  And that's where it had been ever since... until this week



I question if this "crown of thorns " is the real deal?

I doubt it

Can it be proved?

Well, if for years France and the Roman Catholic Church never saw fit to comply with the fire regulations what does that say about the risk of losing the alleged artifact?  The risk eg of consequence and embarrassment (through loss) would have to have been regarded as miniscule wouldn't it?  That is, less worth than yesterday's newspaper.

But then a cynic might say that the RCC and the French politicians and administration displayed a similar (dis)regard for the lives of visitors and workers in the building for all of those years too.

Never worth a cheap and unobtrusive retrofitted sprinkler system and forget those 'unnecessary excesses' such as fire evacuation drills (or were they just faux exercises?).

What should really steam the French public and all of those millions of visitors over the years is the apparent callous disregard for public safety.  Why are the world's politicians always so Teflon coated?  Better still, why do so many members of the public accept the spin in the media?  Is thinking for yourself so painful?  Or are we only seeing the words of the spinmasters reported - which is much easier for lazy journalists and editors to do?

Oh LJ Sooooo! darn correct ---

I doubt they would have gone to the expense of such an elaborate headpiece when they crucified JC...more a crown of thorns.  According to three of the gospels a woven crown of thorns was placed on his head...personally I think it would be as shown in the photo


Hi ardnher,

You are right.  If you open the link that toot200 supplied you get to see the clear part of the elaborate container that is covered by the priest's fingers. The wooden strands look more like the canes of a rambling vine similar to Blackberry to me. 

In the crown of Catholic art (which I know nothing about), the thorns are enhanced and resemble Bougainvillia.

There is a Crown of Thorns plant that is supposed to be the right one, but I don't know if it was growing in the region at the time.

I wasn't aware that ...

Notre Dame belongs to the French government, as do all churches, temples and synagogues in that country built before 1905.

1905 French law on the Separation of the Churches and the State

According to the Vatican News ...

Donations are pouring in to rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral. Nearly $1 billion has already been raised. The French government, which owns the Cathedral, is setting up an office to gather donations. France’s cultural heritage envoy, Stephane Bern, said contributions came from both ordinary Catholic faithful and wealthy donors.

Barbara Jatta, the head of the Vatican Museums, told Reuters that her staff of art historians and restorers “are willing to do anything we can to help.”

Daring the odds, President Macron has pledged to restore Notre Dame Cathedral to her former glory in 5 years, just in time for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

I wasn't aware of that law either RnR

The law was based on three principles: the neutrality of the state, the freedom of religious exercise, and public powers related to the church. This law is seen as the backbone of the French principle of laïcité (secularism).

Notre Dame does not belong to the Vatican, it has its own governance. Britain, Japan, India, and the Vatican hae all promised help including France of course. Added to which, the Vatican cannot sell off any property or artifacts, they do not have the power to do so.

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says Australia should immediately offer financial assistance.

Labor leader Bill Shorten agrees saying, “Notre Dame doesn’t just belong to Paris or France, it belongs to the world”.



Labor leader Bill Shorten says Australians should help rebuild Notre Dame ruins

He flagged tax deductions for those who donated to restoration of cathedral 

Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull suggested Australia give direct aid 

Daily Mail

I hope they send their own money, as they are richer than gth rest of us.

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