The devastating fire that engulfed Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris in 2019 left a trail of destruction in its wake: the building’s famous spire collapsed, as did its iconic latticework roof. Some estimate a complete restoration of the landmark could take up to two decades. Luckily, Friends of Notre-Dame the Paris has come up with an inventive — and endearing — new way to raise funds for the mammoth undertaking.
Visitors to an interactive website launched last month will find an option to donate by sponsoring the restoration of a specific artifact damaged during the fire, such as this handsome pelican named Corson — one of 54 stone grotesques designed by French Gothic Revival architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc in the 19th century. Or for a more pious gesture, you can help return this painting of the stoning of Saint Stephen by Charles Le Brun to all its sacrificial glory.
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All of the art and objects have a funding goal of $10,000, but you can donate as little as $1. Several works are already fully funded: an attractive grotesque of a pondering demon, for instance, quickly garnered a flurry of enthusiastic benefactors. (This marble of a perpetually surprised Saint Denis has been less fortunate.)
Friends of Notre-Dame was established in 2017 to help cover the cost of essential repairs needed due to age and pollution. After the blaze, the organization shifted gears to the urgent task at hand, securing more than $1 billion in pledges from over 150 countries to rebuild and restore the cathedral.