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Notre Dame fire: Emmanuel Macron vows to rebuild fire ravaged cathedral within five years

Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited

French President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to rebuild the Notre Dame cathedral within five years after it was ravaged by fire.

In an address to the nation, President Macron said: We have so much to rebuild. Yes we will rebuild the cathedral and we will make it more beautiful and I want that to be done in five years.

We need to work, we have to act and we will succeed. Long live the republic and long live France.

He added: It is up to us to change this disaster into an opportunity to come together, having deeply reflected on what we have been and what we have to be and become better than we are. It is up to us to find the thread of our national project.

Mr Macron said he wanted the cathedral to be even more beautiful than before.

His remarks come after more than 600 million euros were pledged by French billionaires and companies to help restore the cathedral in Paris.

LOreal, the Bettencourt Meyers family and the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation announced they will donate 200 million euros (172.7m) towards the cost of repairs.

It comes after billionaire Bernard Arnaults family and his LVMH luxury goods group said they were donating 200 million euros to show their solidarity at this time of national tragedy.

The iconic tourist spot was engulfed by a raging fire on Monday night that caused its main spire and roof to collapse.

A statement from the Arnault 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.

The donation brings the total amount raised to more than 600 million euros, after French billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault and major French oil and gas company Total both pledged 100 million towards the reconstruction.

Mr Pinault, married to actress Salma Hayek, is quoted in French media as saying he and his father, Francois, decided to donate to help with the complete reconstruction of Notre Dame.

The younger Mr Pinault is chief executive of international luxury group Kering, which owns brands such as Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, and is the president of French holding company Groupe Artemis, which owns the Christies auction house.

Oil and gas company Total will also donate 100 million euros towards the reconstruction, CEO Patrick Pouyanne announced.

Apple CEO Tim Cook also pledged to donate to help rebuild the cathedral, writing: We are heartbroken for the French people and those around the world for whom Notre Dame is a symbol of hope.

Relieved that everyone is safe. Apple will be donating to the rebuilding efforts to help restore Notre Dames precious heritage for future generations.

We are heartbroken for the French people and those around the world for whom Notre Dame is a symbol of hope. Relieved that everyone is safe. Apple will be donating to the rebuilding efforts to help restore Notre Dames precious heritage for future generations.🇫🇷

Meanwhile, Frances Fondation du Patrimoine, a private organisation which works to protect French heritage, said it would be starting an international appeal.

It tweeted: 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.

Mr Macron said he would be looking beyond our borders as the fundraising campaign got under way.

In a speech on Monday night, he said: I am solemnly telling you tonight: this cathedral will be rebuilt by all of us together.

Describing Notre Dame as our history and the epicentre of our lives, he added: Its probably part of Frances destiny and it will be our project for the years to come.

Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and French President Emmanuel Macron at Notre Dame (AFP/Getty Images)

Across the pond, the US-based French Heritage Society said it would be establishing a restoration fund, while several appeals have already been set up on crowdfunding sites such as Go Fund Me and Just Giving.

A campaign launched by Dartagnans, a website dedicated to the preservation of French cultural and artistic heritage, has so far received almost 24,500 in donations from 610 users across 35 different countries.

Another, launched on website Leetchi by friends Charles Gosse and Laurent Segnis, received more than 9,500 donations in under seven hours.

As citizens, we must all use whatever small means we have to unite, Mr Segnis told Le Monde, confirming that all money raised on their platform would go straight to the rector of Notre Dame.

It comes after flames engulfed the world-famous cathedral on Monday afternoon, toppling its 315ft spire and threatening the entire wooden frame of the building.

The blaze, which broke out as the last crowds of tourists ended visits at around 6pm BST (7pm local time), was finally declared to be completely under control nearly nine hours later.

However, it is expected to take several days to completely extinguish all remaining pockets of fire, dampen down hotspots and secure the world-famous edifice.

Around 400 firefighters battled the fire into the night and tried to salvage artwork and other priceless pieces stored in the 12th-century cathedral. Paris Fire Service later confirmed that Notre Dames structure and main works of art have been saved.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo tweeted her thanks to the firefighters who saved the cathedrals twin towers.

She said on Twitter: I want to say thank you to Pompiers Paris, they saved the towers. I could not imagine Paris without the towers of Notre Dame.

On Tuesday morning, the first harrowing images from within the fire-ravaged cathedral started to emerge.

A smouldering pile of what appeared to be the charred remains of the roof and spire lay smoking in front of the altar, while a cross that had escaped destruction glowed from within the gloom.

Gilded candlesticks, artworks and furnishings were among the treasures seen being rushed from the cathedral by a human chain before being bundled into trucks by police officers.

Some of the cathedrals most precious objects, including a relic purported to be the crown of thorns worn by Jesus Christ on the cross, were rescued.

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