The inferno that raged through Notre Dame Cathedral for more than 12 hours destroyed its spire and its roof but spared its twin medieval bell towers, and a frantic rescue effort saved the monument’s “most precious treasures,” including the Crown of Thorns purportedly worn by Jesus, officials said Tuesday.
French President Emmanuel Macron pledged to rebuild the beloved Roman Catholic architectural landmark, and wanted to see it completed within five years.
“We have so much to rebuild,” Macron said in a televised address to the nation. “We will rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral even more beautifully. We can do it, and once again, we will mobilize (to do so).”
Authorities consider the fire an accident, possibly as a result of restoration work at the global architectural treasure that survived almost 900 years of tumultuous French history but was devastated in the blaze on the second day of Holy Week.
Pledges to donate money to help rebuild the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris now tops $700 million. The three richest families in France have led the fundraising efforts, including the billionaires behind L’Oréal Cosmetics, the Louis Vuitton brand and the husband of actress Salma Hayek.