Businessman and art collector Bernard Arnault announced last night his family will donate £172.7m (€200m) towards the rebuilding of Notre Dame. The outstanding gesture was followed by another generous donation by the hands of billionaire François-Henri Pinault, who announced with a statement he will give France £86.3m (€100m) to help to reconstruct the cathedral.
Mr Arnault is the chairman and chief executive officer of luxury brand Louis Vitton, while Mr Pinault is the president of Groupe Artémis, which owns the fine arts auction house Christie’s and controls, among other firms, Gucci and Bottega Veneta.
He is believed to be worth more than £19bn.
Mr Pinault, who is married to actress Salma Hayek, told French daily Le Figaro he hopes the money would help to “completely rebuild Notre Dame”.
In the statement he said: “This tragedy strikes all the French and beyond all those who are attached to spiritual values.
“Faced with such a tragedy, everyone wants to revive this jewel of our heritage as quickly as possible.
“My father and I have decided to release from the funds of Artemis a sum of €100m to participate in the effort that will be necessary for the complete reconstruction of Notre Dame.”
Mr Arnault’s family released a similar statement upon pledging to help to rebuild Notre Dame.
They 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”.
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