IOC pledges $562,000 for restoration of Notre Dame

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Amidst global sentiment to support the revival of gutter Notre Dame, the International Olympic Committee has also pledged $562,0000 to ensure that the finest examples of French Gothic architecture is restored in time for the 2024 Paris Games.

“The aim of completing the reconstruction in time for Paris 2024 will be an extra motivation for all of us,” IOC president Thomas Bach has repotedly told 2024 Games chief Thomas Estanguet in a letter.

“All the Olympic movement and in particular the IOC have been extremely touched by the instantaneous connection the French have made between Notre Dame cathedral and the Paris 2024 Olympic Games,” he wrote.

The IOC’s contribution joins donations totalling $955 million made since the landmark Catholic cathedral was gutted in fire on Monday last.

Earlier, Fernch President Emmanuel Macron had vowed the emblematic church will be rebuilt after its spire and roof collapsed on Monday night in a blaze thought to be linked to extensive renovation work, adds PTI.

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French billionaire Bernard Arnault announced on Tuesday that he and the LVMH luxury conglomerate he controls would give 200 million euros ($226 million) for the reconstruction efforts.

The pledge came after Arnault’s crosstown rival Kering, the fashion group founded by fellow billionaire Francois Pinault, offered 100 million euros to help “completely rebuild Notre-Dame”.

The privately run French Heritage Foundation has already launched a call for donations to help restore a “symbol of French history and culture.” Valerie Pecresse, president of the Ile-de-France region comprising the greater Paris region, said it would provide 10 million euros.

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And the head of a French lumber company told FranceInfo radio that it was ready to offer the best oak beams available to rebuild the intricate lattice that supported the now-destroyed roof, known as the “Forest”.

“The work will surely take years, decades even, but it will require thousands of cubic metres of wood. We’ll have to find the best specimens, with large diameters,” Sylvain Charlois of the Charlois group in Murlin, central France, told the radio.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo on Tuesday proposed organising an international donor conference to coordinate the pledges to restore the Gothic architectural masterpiece.

The United Nations’ cultural agency UNESCO has also promised to stand “at France’s side” to restore the site, which it declared a world heritage site in 1991

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