Published: Wed, April 17, 2019

Montreal worshippers gather in solidarity after Notre Dame Cathedral fire in Paris

Montreal worshippers gather in solidarity after Notre Dame Cathedral fire in Paris

Other religious statues were removed last week from the cathedral roof as part of the restoration of the church's spire.

Inspectors are seen on the roof of the landmark Notre Dame Cathedral in central Paris on April 16, 2019, the day after a fire ripped through its main roof.

France's President Emmanuel Macron vowed to rebuild the Gothic monument within five years as pledges from French billionaires, businesses and the public sector to help reach some $790 million.

"The cathedral ruins are still one of the more popular tourist destinations an Winnipeg and Manitoba". François-Henri Pinault initially said he would give 100 million euros, or about $113 million.

Corporate contributions are expected to climb, with blue-chip firms like Vinci, Michelin and BNP Paribas also saying they were weighing how to participate.

"Notre Dame was destroyed but the soul of France was not", Michel Aupetit, archbishop of Paris, said on RMC radio.

"It is really going to be up to the French state and benefactors to help to restore and rebuild this", Robert Read, head of art and private client at Lloyd's of London insurer Hiscox told Reuters, adding it could take up to 20 years to restore the cathedral. "We will rebuild the Cathedral of Notre-Dame together as Europeans". "The burning of the Notre Dame cathedral has again made us aware that we are bound by something more important and more profound than treaties".

But he also warned: 'Let us not fall into the trap of haste'.

Macron said that the dramatic fire had brought out the best in a country riven by divisions and since November shaken by sometimes violent protests against his rule.

L'Oreal, the world's largest cosmetics company, along with the Bettencourt Meyers family, announced that it would donate 200 million euros.

Mr Macron's aim to complete the restoration within such a short timeframe was at odds with some experts' estimates that the project would take decades.

Housed in the two western towers, Notre Dame's bells have rung out at key moments in France's history. 'The fear was that it had been burnt and melted in the fire'.

Firefighters are still examining damage and shoring up the structure after Mondays fire collapsed the cathedrals spire and destroyed the roof.

The 850-year-old Gothic cathedral was home to dozens of objects of cultural and historical significance, including the holy crown of thorns believed to have been worn by Jesus at his crucifixion and the tunic of Saint Louis.

The sculpture of the bird - which is an unofficial symbol of France - was recovered Tuesday by a restorer picking through the rubble left when the spire on which it had sat toppled at the height of the inferno that ravaged Notre-Dame on Monday, a ministry spokesman told AFP.

Jacques Chanut, the president of the French Building Federation, shared a picture of the damaged rooster on Twitter.

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