“Notre Dame de Paris is not a Paris monument or a French monument or a European monument, but it’s really a worldwide monument,” says Michel Picaud, co-founder of the organization Friends of Notre Dame de Paris.
This was Picaud’s response to the question of why he hopes that Americans will donate to his organization, a fund that contributes towards the reconstruction of the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. One of Paris’s most famous monuments, the Notre Dame has been around for 855 years and has survived wars, revolutions, and even tourists. But the cathedral hasn’t seen repairs since Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame spurred public sympathy to the cause in the 19th century, and has fallen into massive disrepair.
The building’s salvation won’t come cheap. At an estimated $185 million, the French are reluctant to donate to a cause that they believe their taxes should have already covered. But Picaud hopes that, with the help of foreign investors, the Notre Dame will be restored to its former glory.