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Therese Raphael

How Did Notre Dame Come to Be So Neglected?

It will take money to fix years of neglect. But help is, at last, on its way.

This aged queen of our cathedrals.

This aged queen of our cathedrals.

Photographer: Veronique de Viguerie/Getty Images Europe
Updated on

If there was any comfort to be taken from the tragic fire to befall one of Europe’s great landmarks and Paris’s most-visited, it was the speed at which the call for help was answered. With Notre Dame still smoldering, French President Emmanuel Macron promised to rebuild the great cathedral and called for donors. Pledges came flooding in.

France’s luxury industry led the way, with Bernard Arnault, the billionaire founder of the LVMH fashion conglomerate, promising 200 million euros ($226 million) and Francois Pinault of rival fashion group Kering 100 million euros. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo offered money from city coffers and promised to organize an international donor conference. This is a heartening start.