On Tuesday 4/16, French President Emmanuel Macron vowed that the Notre Dame Cathedral will be rebuilt within five years. There is hope that the reconstruction will be complete prior to Paris hosting the 2024 Olympics.
The building, which broke ground in 1163 was completed in 1345, is a major pilgrimage site for Catholics from France and around the world. It draws 13 million visitors per year or around 30,000 people per day. The fire, which began on Monday morning led to a collapse of the central spire on Monday evening. The fire in the 850-year-old building was fully extinguished on Tuesday morning. The ongoing renovations of the building are believed to have contributed to the flames.
In the hours following the destruction, wealthy individuals and companies from around the world have pledged to contribute to the reconstruction. By late Tuesday, over €700 million had been pledged. Notable donors include Bernard Arnault, L’Oréal SA, and the City of Paris. An initial estimate done by the London-based insurer Hiscox estimates that it will require over €1 billion and at least 15 years.
The site has been instrumental to the history of the Catholic Church, the French Republic and the creation of modern-day Europe. Henry VI of England was crowned there in 1431 and Napoleon was made emperor in 1804. Additionally, Joan of Arc was beatified there in 1909. The cathedral also held the crown of thorns said to have been worn by Jesus.