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Donations flood in for Notre Dame Cathedral restoration

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Section
Audio,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 17 April 2019, 6:50a.m.
The famous cathedral's spire and the roof collapsed during the fire but the main structure was saved.

France's richest man has donated €200 million ($335m) towards the restoration of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, which was gutted by a massive fire.

The famous cathedral's spire and the roof collapsed during the fire but the main structure was saved.

French President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to rebuild the 850-year-old building.

"Notre Dame is our history, our literature, part of our psyche, the place of all our great events, our epidemics, our wars, our liberations, the epicentre of our lives," Macron told reporters in front of the still burning Paris landmark," he said.

"Notre Dame is burning, and I know the sadness, and this tremor felt by so many fellow French people. But tonight, I'd like to speak of hope too.

"Let's be proud, because we built this cathedral more than 800 years ago, we've built it and, throughout the centuries, let it grow and improved it. So I solemnly say tonight: we will rebuild it together," he added

French Correspondent, John Lichfield told Tim Dower the damage is extensive but luckily a lot has been saved.

"If you had seen the cathedral when it was covered in flames...you wouldn't have believed, looking inside today, how much has survived."

"The damage is horrendous and heartbreaking, but a great part of the cathedral has survived."

He said the huge stained glass windows survived the fire, as well as the main structure of the building.

"The whole of the structure, the three great, huge stained glass windows, which are amongst the greatest medieval art that exists, huge circles of coloured glass which was feared at one point it might explode under the heat, but they seem to have all survived. Some of the smaller stained glass windows have been smashed, the whole of the upper roof has gone, part of the vault, which is a curving stone roof, has collapsed in two places and damaged a lot of stuff underneath and some of the bigger paintings that couldn't be carried out have been burned."

The spire, which was destroyed in the fire, was a replica of the original and is the "greatest loss", he said.

"It can be rebuilt of course, and it wasn't an original medieval one, but still that is essentially what's missing from the outline of the cathedral."

Lichfield said it is likely that the cathedral will be able to be restored and be "much like it was".

However, he said it came quite close to being completely destroyed.

Lichfield said the Notre Dame Cathedral is hugely important to France and the loss is being felt.

"We are still in a sense of extraordinary shock that the heart of the city, the history of the city has been devasted in that way, but there is enormous relief that it can be restored."

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