In hours, €700m pledged for Notre-Dame

Notre-Dame Cathedral

Macron has pledged to rebuild the cathedral, which is considered among the finest examples of European Gothic architecture and visited by more than 13 million people from around the world a year.

Mulaire, who's a member of the congregation at the rebuilt St. Boniface church remembers how the 1968 fire impacted her parents - their anniversary is on July 22 and they were in Paris with friends when the fire at the St. Boniface Cathedral occurred.

"The worst has been avoided, but the battle isn't fully won yet", President Macron said in an impassioned speech outside the cathedral.

"We remember with grateful hearts the tolling of Notre Dame's bells on September 12, 2001, in solemn recognition of the tragic September 11th attacks on American soil".

Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz said the investigation would be "long and complex".

Multi-billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault and oil company Total have also pledged 100 million euros (£87m) each.

Pope Francis is praying for French Catholics and the Parisian population "under the shock of the awful fire" that ravaged the Notre Dame cathedral.

Moreover, while the world-famous building sustained extensive damage in the fire, with both its roof and spire destroyed, all precious artefacts and artworks were salvaged from the cathedral. It was hit when the spire collapsed, said Laurent Prades, heritage director for Notre Dame.

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The metal rooster which perched on the top of Notre Dame's spire was found in the rubble on Tuesday and appears to have been spared the worst of the fire. Artemis is the holding company owning auction house Christie's and the main shareholder of luxury fashion houses, including Gucci.

Culture and Heritage Minister Nathalie Roy said she was saddened about the incident and that Quebecers are affected by what has happened to their French cousins.

Sadness which Mulaire now sees Parisians feeling in the aftermath of this latest blaze, a blaze which has many cherishing memories of seeing the Notre Dame Cathedral.

With the fire that broke out Monday evening and quickly consumed the cathedral now under control, attention is turning to ensuring the structural integrity of the remaining building.

The cathedral's roof can not be rebuilt exactly as it was before the fire because "we don't, at the moment, have trees on our territory of the size that were cut in the 13th century", he said, adding the roof restoration work would have to use new technologies.

Bertrand de Feydeau, vice president of preservation group Fondation du Patrimoine, told France Info radio that the wooden roof that went up in flames was built with beams more than 800 years ago from primal forests.

But experts had warned a full restoration will take many years.

The statues removed last week, three-metre-tall copper figures which looked over the city from Notre Dame's 96-metre-high peak, were sent to southwestern France for work that is part of a $6.8 million (6 million euro) renovation project.

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