Notre Dame Cathedral

The Notre Dame restoration and the billionaire blow-back

The Notre Dame restoration and the billionaire blow-back

It wasn’t just tourists, Catholics or lifelong Parisians who were horrified last week when fire turned the Notre Dame Cathedral into a smoking husk of its former medieval self. To watch the blaze consume the roof and spire of that glorious landmark and symbol of French heritage was to witness eight centuries of cherished history turned to ash in a single day. Small wonder that wealthy benefactors, moved as so many of their countrymen were, sprang into action almost immediately to pledge portions of their fortunes to the rebuilding effort.

But a funny thing happened on the way to $700 million in promises from such noted billionaires as...

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