Donations Made Towards the Notre Dame Cathedral Totaling $1 Billion

Notre+Dame+Cathedral+Burning+on+Mon.%2C+April+16.+Creative+Commons+Photo%3A+o.mabelly+on+Flickr.
Back to Article
Back to Article

Donations Made Towards the Notre Dame Cathedral Totaling $1 Billion

Notre Dame Cathedral Burning on Mon., April 16. Creative Commons Photo: o.mabelly on Flickr.

Notre Dame Cathedral Burning on Mon., April 16. Creative Commons Photo: o.mabelly on Flickr.

Notre Dame Cathedral Burning on Mon., April 16. Creative Commons Photo: o.mabelly on Flickr.

Notre Dame Cathedral Burning on Mon., April 16. Creative Commons Photo: o.mabelly on Flickr.

Ashley Grady and Carly McAdam

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






The Notre Dame cathedral in Paris caught fire in the evening on Mon., April 16. Since then, $1 billion have already been raised to rebuild the cathedral, which has evoked critical responses from those who believe that the French government and donors should devote their money towards solving more perpetuated issues, such as economic inequality within Paris. At the same time, the cathedral is revered internationally, therefore making the large sums of donations a controversial topic.

Emmanuel Macron, the French President, has pledged to restore the landmark within five years. The majority of the one billion dollars came from wealthy French citizens, but there are also many people, including average french citizens and people who live in other countries, donating to the numerous Go Fund Me pages that have been created to raise funds for the cathedral.

The fire began in the attic of the cathedral and continued to burn through the roof and destroy the spire, which is the structure on top of the building. The cause of the fire is still unknown, although scientists are currently investigating the cathedral to find the cause. The cathedral had been undergoing extensive renovations and construction since 2017. Renovations have been known to be dangerous for churches, synagogues and other places of worship because the old buildings tend to be made of flammable materials, and construction can result in open flames or sparks being in close proximity to the flammable materials.

The Notre Dame cathedral is an internationally-recognized monument in Paris, and the fire sparked many emotions for French people within the Menlo community. According to French teacher Corinne Chung, “it’s what we call a ‘patrimoine,’ which means it’s something that’s really important in French culture,” Chung said. “It’s part of the middle ages, it went through the The Renaissance, […] things have happened inside the cathedral, like when there was big epidemics people would be taken care of inside.” Chung doesn’t have any personal connection to Notre Dame, but she understands why the fire is emotional for so many people in Paris. “The cathedral has been there since Paris was barely anything,” she said. “It’s a symbol of so much and so many important events happened around the church. […] I would say it’s even more important than the Eiffel Tower.”

Although the fire is sad for many Parisians and other French people, it has also sparked controversy due to how little time it took to raise funds to repair the cathedral. The Yellow Vests Movement, which is a non-violent, populist, grassroots movement, has been happening in France since November 2018. The movement started as a result of an increase in gas prices but has a larger goal of economic justice. “They wanted the President to realize that they could not afford the cost of living anymore in France,” Chung said. Many members of the movement have been protesting in the days after the fire because they feel that it’s unfair that $1 billion was raised for the cathedral overnight, when many French citizens are still in poverty and aren’t getting help. “All this money [$1 billion] is going to a church,” Chung said. “But [the Yellow Jackets] are living in poverty and just asking for a little more money in their salary so they can live more decently.”

Freshman Alexandre Acra, whose mother was born in Brittany, France and whose father lived in Paris, thinks that it is insincere that celebrities and billionaires are willing to donate large sums of money to rebuild the church, rather than supporting the Yellow Vests Movement. “They are working to recover a symbol of France and French pride rather than fixing the country’s actual problems,” Acra said. On the other hand, he does understand that the church is a symbol of national pride, as his French grandparents were shocked and upset at the news of the tragedy.