On April 15, the skies above Paris’s Île de la Cité glowed orange as the 850-year-old Notre Dame Cathedral burned. For almost 15 hours, the fire raged, leaving much of its roof destroyed. The iconic spire was completely lost.
As the world grieved, almost immediately crowdfunding efforts went underway to raise money for repairs. In just a day and a half, over US$1 billion was crowdfunded. Apple was among the firms that donated, as did high-powered magnates who own L’Oreal, Chanel and Dior. Smaller donations from Catholic parishioners and small towns and cities around France and the world added to the war chest.
French President Emmanuel Macron has set a five-year deadline to restore the cathedral to its former glory, which happens to coincide with the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Construction of Notre Dame began in 1163 during the reign of King Louis VII. It was completed in 1345. The cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a Parisian icon and the location of some of the most important moments in the history of France.