Donations to reconstruct Notre-Dame reached $700 million dollars Tuesday as wealthy business owners joined French President Emmanuel Macron's call to rebuild the cathedral devastated by fire.
The billionaires behind luxury brands Louis Vuitton and Gucci said they will donate $338 million collectively. Francois-Henri Pinault owns a controlling stake in Kering, which owns luxury brands Gucci, Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen. Bernard Arnault is the chairman of the company that owns Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Moet & Chandon champagne. They're two of the wealthiest people in France.
"The Arnault family and the LVMH Group, in solidarity with this national tragedy, are committed to assist with the reconstruction of this extraordinary cathedral, symbol of France, its heritage and its unity," Arnault's company, LVMH, said in a statement Tuesday.
French cosmetics company L'Oreal, the Bettencourt Meyers family and the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation will donate $226 million to the restoration efforts.
Macron, speaking in a nationally televised address, said he wants the cathedral rebuilt within the next five years.
"Throughout our history, we have built towns, ports, churches. Many have been burnt due to revolutions, wars, due to mankind's mistakes. Each time we have rebuilt them," he said. "The fire of Notre-Dame reminds us that our story never ends and we will always have challenges to overcome. What we believe to be indestructible can also be touched."
French authorities said Tuesday they were trying to nail down details of how the devastating fire began at the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, but they know it wasn't intentionally set.
Flames ravaged the 850-year-old cathedral for 9 hours Monday, causing the famous spire and roof to collapse. Firefighters were able to avoid total destruction of the facility. The cause of the fire hasn't been determined but French officials believe it's linked to restoration work going on at the facility.