Gucci billionaire married to Salma Hayek offers £90million to rebuild Notre Dame

April 26, 2019
Francois-Henri Pinault and Salma Hayek
Francois-Henri Pinault poses with wife Salma Hayek (Image: AFP/Getty Images)

Actress Salma Hayek’s billionaire husband and his family have pledged nearly £90million to help restore Notre Dame after it was devastated by fire.

The Pinault family, including Salma’s husband Francois-Henri Pinault, have reportedly pledged €100million (£86million) to help return the building to its former glory.

The roof was two-thirds destroyed and its spire collapsed after a devastating fire ripped through the 850-year-old Gothic cathedral in central Paris.

The Pinault pledge came just hours after French President Emmanuel Macron launched an international fundraiser and vowed “we will rebuild” Notre Dame.

Mr Pinault is quoted in the French media as saying he and his father, Francois, had decided to donate the money to help with the “complete reconstruction” of Notre Dame.

The younger Mr Pinault is chief executive of international luxury group Kering, which owns brands such as Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, and is the president of French holding company Groupe Artemis, which owns the Christie’s auction house.

Meanwhile, France’s Fondation du Patrimoine, a private organisation which works to protect French heritage, said it would be starting an international appeal.

It tweeted: “For our Lady to be reborn from her ashes we are launching an international appeal.

“All donations received will be paid in full to the restoration site.”

Mr Macron said he would be looking “beyond our borders” as the fundraising campaign got under way.

In an emotional speech on Monday night, he said: “I am solemnly telling you tonight: this cathedral will be rebuilt by all of us together.”

Describing Notre Dame as “our history” and “the epicentre of our lives”, he added: “It’s probably part of France’s destiny and it will be our project for the years to come.”

Across the pond, the US-based French Heritage Society said it would be establishing a restoration fund, while several appeals have already been set up on crowdfunding sites such as GoFundMe and Just Giving.