Nearly $1 billion raised to rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral after fire

Watch: Senior figure calls on French Muslims to donate to Notre Dame reconstruction fund

After initial fears that the cathedral could collapse, the Paris fire department said the main structure of Notre Dame had been saved and that invaluable pieces of art and artifacts were spared.

For Olivier Lebib, who has lived in Paris for 40 years, it is necessary for the cathedral to be restored to its former glory.

He said a lot of them were employees working on the renovation of the monument, including the now-collapsed spire.

On Monday, people across the world looked on in shock and horror as the iconic Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris, France burned.

French President Emmanuel Macron pledged to rebuild the beloved Roman Catholic architectural landmark, and wanted to see it completed within five years.

In a live, televised, presidential address to the nation, he vowed the cathedral would be even more attractive than it was before.

Many critics have argued that the cathedral itself is the real hero of the work, which the writer and campaigner began in 1829 partly to draw attention to the importance of the French capital's gothic architecture, which at the time was being widely neglected, defaced or pulled down to make way for new buildings.

The three large stained-glass rose windows, among the most famous parts of the cathedral, were not destroyed, but might have been damaged by the heat and will be assessed by an expert.

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Likewise, the centuries-old timber within the building's internal structure, much of which was crafted into an intricate support structure by medieval artisans, may be irreplaceable. Major travel agencies said Tuesday they were trying to ease concerned travelers who had their sights set on seeing Notre Dame, Sankei Shimbun reported. They're the beams that caught fire and then brought the lead roof down with them. "Our love for humanity will be illustrated in a more mature way in the process of reconstruction", he said.

"Notre Dame was destroyed but the soul of France was not", Michel Aupetit, archbishop of Paris, said on RMC radio. "But perhaps it can't be recreated as it was".

Fifty investigators were working on the probe, he said, and would be interviewing workers from five companies hired to work on renovations to the cathedral's roof, where the flames first broke out.

Philippe Lefebvre plays the organ at Notre Dame cathedral in Paris in 2013. The company said that it was "touched by the drama that brought together cultures and beliefs" in a statement released on its website.

"What we saw last night in Paris was our capacity to mobilize and to unite", Macron said, hailing France as a nation of "builders".

Addressing those gathered, pope said, "I was very sad and I feel very close to all of you".

Smoke rises around the alter in front of the cross inside the Notre Dame Cathedral as a fire continues to burn in Paris, France, April 16, 2019.

One of the group's members, Ron Ivey, said he was "heartbroken". The L'Oreal cosmetics group and its founding Bettencourt family offered 200 million euros, while French oil giant Total said it would contribute 100 million euros.

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