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Macron vows fire-ravaged Notre Dame will be rebuilt within 5 years

17 April 2019

The inferno that raged through Notre Dame Cathedral for more than 12 hours Monday destroyed its spire and its roof, but spared its twin medieval bell towers.

The blaze at the iconic cathedral was front page news across the world and sparked an instant outpouring of grief in France as people watched the national tragedy unfold on TV.

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

It was followed on Tuesday by a 200-million-euro pledge from Kering's rival luxury conglomerate LVMH and the family of its founder Bernard Arnault, France's richest person.

In a stroke of good timing, sculptures of the Twelve Apostles and four New Testament evangelists that adorned the cathedral had been lifted off the building last week, before the fire, for restoration work in the southwestern city of Perigueux.

There is no indication that the fire was linked to terror but ISIS fanatics have revelled in the damage to the 850-year-old landmark, a symbol of Western civilisation, just days before Easter. "I'd say decades", said Eric Fischer, head of the foundation in charge of restoring the 1,000-year-old Strasbourg cathedral.

"The cathedral ruins are still one of the more popular tourist destinations an Winnipeg and Manitoba".

"One of the extraordinary things about Notre Dame was estimated 13,000 trees had been felled to create this delicate timber infrastructure", he said.

Notre Dame was still standing on Wednesday (NZ Time), after Paris fire fighters extinguished the flames late on Tuesday. A cause has not been determined, but the building had been under renovation.

Notre Dame had previously the site of a terror scare in 2016 when a vehicle carrying seven gas cylinders was found near the cathedral.

Paris public prosecutor Remy Heitz said the cathedral's fire alarms went off twice on Monday evening, beginning at 6:20pm (local time).

Support came from outside France as well, with Apple chief Tim Cook announcing the tech giant would give an unspecified amount to help restore a "precious heritage for future generations".

Bertrand de Feydeau is the vice president of preservation group Fondation du Patrimoine.

Meanwhile, major travel agency H.I.S. Co says the reservation status for Paris since the beginning of January has risen to eighth most popular from 11th place previous year.

But experts warned a full restoration will take many years.

Although hundreds of millions of euros have already been donated for restoration efforts, Maude anticipates Notre Dame's healing will face constant roadblocks.

"Rebuilding would be very tricky as some of the craft required to rebuild, the stain-making craft would probably have to be relearnt", Hiscox's Read said.

Macron vows fire-ravaged Notre Dame will be rebuilt within 5 years