In the hours that have elapsed since the blaze that tore through one of the most visited sites in the world many questions remain. However one fact is clear—France will rebuild her crown jewel that is the Notre Dame Cathedral. After postponing a state address scheduled for last evening, French President Emmanuel Macron arrived to Île de la Cité last night and spoke with reporters vowing, "We will rebuild this cathedral."
According to the latest reports, the cathedral has been deemed structurally sound following the nine-hour-long fire. As many saw on social media, the site's iconic spire collapsed onto the vaulted roof, which now features three large holes but remains somewhat intact. The fate of the priceless artifacts and artwork that resided in the 800-year-old structure are still in question. Relics including the Crown of Thorns believed to have been worn by Jesus Christ and the Tunic of Saint Louis were saved and are currently being housed in Paris' City Hall, while the historic organ seems to have suffered considerable damage according to the French culture minister Franck Riester. Riester reported that though many of the large paintings seem to have survived, there is still the concern of water damage. The fate of the famed Rose windows are also unknown.
Les œuvres sauvées de l’incendie de #NotreDame par les pompiers, les policiers et les agents municipaux, mises à l’abri cette nuit à l’Hôtel de Ville, sont à présent prises en charge par les services de l’Etat. Un très grand merci à toutes les équipes qui se sont mobilisées. pic.twitter.com/AZId6ad0NV— Anne Hidalgo (@Anne_Hidalgo) April 16, 2019
As some 50-odd investigators begin their work to determine the cause of the blaze, individuals and organizations around the world are already pledging to donate to the restoration efforts. Apple CEO Tim Cook announced in a Tweet that the tech-giant would donate "to help restore Notre Dame’s precious heritage for future generations." According to an estimate by CNN, some $679 million has already been promised by organizations such as French cosmetics company L'Oreal Paris, luxury design group LVMH, and the Pinault family, which controls luxury goods company Kering. UNESCO officials have also voiced their commitment to the restoration efforts. "We are already in contact with experts and ready to send an emergency mission to assess the damage, preserve what can be preserved and plan short and medium-term measures," said director-general Audrey Azoulay in a press release. To aid this effort, the French Heritage Society has established a fund for donations.
Mayor Anne Hidalgo took to Twitter on Tuesday calling for an international conference of donors to discuss funding for the restoration work.
As is increasingly the case, people from around the world have taken to social media to express their sadness and solidarity with Paris.
A scene out of a nightmare: Notre-Dame Cathedral, a world landmark and a symbol of France, is on fire. New column: https://t.co/dH4DyYvomT— Blair Kamin (@BlairKamin) April 15, 2019
Immense émotion devant le dramatique incendie à la cathédrale #NotreDamedeParis, inscrite au #Patrimoine mondial depuis 1991. L’#UNESCO suit de près la situation et se tient aux côtés de la France pour sauvegarder et réhabiliter ce patrimoine inestimable.— Audrey Azoulay (@AAzoulay) April 15, 2019