The public have been urged to donate to help fundraise for Notre Dame, after French president Emmanuel Macron vowed France would rebuild the cathedral after Monday’s devastating fire.
Dozens of fundraising initiatives have already sprung up as France grapples with the damage to the iconic landmark in the heart of Paris.
The most high-profile so far include an existing appeal by The Friends of Notre Dame charity, which was already fundraising for ongoing renovation work before the blaze.
A new donation page has also been created by the Fondation du Patrimoine, a leading French organisation which seeks to preserve France’s heritage and architecture. It praised the public’s “incredible mobilisation,” and has raised more than €2m in small donations so far.
The foundation tweeted: “For Notre-Dame to be reborn from her ashes, we are launching an international appeal. All donations will be paid in full to the restoration site.”
The foundation also sounded a warning over the high number of private fundraising efforts launched on French and foreign websites at the same time, urging the public to show “prudence” in choosing where to donate.
It said it had received multiple requests to launch the appeal, and no fees would be charged on the donations.
President Macron said after the fire was brought under control that an official fundraising appeal would be launched soon. The page is likely to be shared on Twitter and other social media by the French government and the president’s account in the near-future.
Meanwhile in the USA, the French Heritage Society, based in New York, has launched a new fund on its website to receive donations for restoration work after the devastating incident.
“The hearts of all of us at French Heritage Society go out to the city of Paris and all of France in the wake of the terrible fire at the Notre-Dame Cathedral,” the society said on its fundraising page.
“Notre-Dame is obviously an architectural marvel and most certainly a monument that should be restored,” Jennifer Herlein, executive director of the society, told Reuters.
It said donations were tax-deductible under US tax laws, and eligible for tax credit under French tax laws.
The French president made an emotional address to the world’s media outside the cathedral just before midnight last night, announcing: “We will rebuild it together. It will undoubtedly be part of French destiny and our project for the years to come.”
Two French billionaires then kickstarted fundraising efforts with major donations. Francois-Henri Pinault, chief executive of the Kering group, owner of Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, pledged to give €100m (£86.3m, $113m), while Bernard Arnault, the main shareholder of luxury group LVMH, vowed to give €200m.
More than 50 unofficial fundraising pages on the Go Fund Me website on Monday alone, according to Reuters, with concerns reported about how genuine the pages were. Some pages were even satirical listings, proposing fundraising drives to help the Hunchback of Notre-Dame.
John Coventry, a spokesman for the gofundme.com platform, said: “In the coming hours we’ll be working with the authorities to find the best way of making sure funds get to the place where they will do the most good.”
Lisa Bitel, a professor of religion and history at the University of Southern California, told Reuters: “I think the challenge will be whether or not people who give the money agree with those who are doing the rebuilding about how the cathedral should be rebuilt.”