The fire-ravaged Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, April 16 2019. Picture: REUTERS/YVES HERMAN
The fire-ravaged Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, April 16 2019. Picture: REUTERS/YVES HERMAN

Paris — Most of the money pledged for the reconstruction of Notre-Dame Cathedral has yet to collected, the archbishop of Paris says.

The headline figure of a €1bn had not been pledged by any major foundation or authority, Archbishop Michel Aupetit said.

Notre-Dame, in the historic heart of Paris, lost its spire and most of its roof in a fire on April 15, prompting an outpouring of support worldwide.

But while there would probably not be any problem with the biggest sums promised by famous patrons, they had not yet been delivered and so far they only had €13.5m. “That is why the collection continues,” he said.

Of the €13.5m so far received, €9.5m came from 43,000 individual donors, from France and abroad, including 7,000 Americans, said the archbishop. The remaining €4m came from major donors.

Last weekend, La Fondation du Patrimoine, one of the four bodies tasked with collecting money to restore Notre Dame announced it had stopped collecting. It said it had received €21m and that the total received towards restoring the cathedral came to €900m.

But culture minister Franck Riester said on Monday: “It is premature to think that we have too much money collected.”

The Paris archbishopric is co-ordinating the receipt of donations. It runs the Fondation Notre-Dame, which is in talks with the Pinault and Arnault families, rival French luxury goods empires that have pledged €100m and €200m respectively.

These major patrons would stagger their contribution to meet the needs of the reconstruction work, Christophe Rousselot of the Fondation Notre-Dame said.

If the collection of money was continuing, he said, it was also because nobody could yet say how much the restoration work would cost.

AFP