Hundreds of millions of euros have already been pledged to restore the Notre Dame Cathedral in the wake of the devastating fire.
But many people are wondering why France’s richest men have suddenly found enormous amounts of spare cash to pay for a church roof when thousands of people are living without shelter on the streets of Paris.
French billionaire businessman Bernard Arnault is donating €200 million (£172 million) to help repair the 800-year-old cathedral, while Salma Hayek’s husband Francois-Henri Pinault and his family have promised more than €100 million (£86 million) to help with the ‘complete reconstruction’ of Notre Dame.
The astonishing donations have been both praised by the likes of Piers Morgan and slammed by people believing the money could be spent transforming thousands of people’s lives.
Shah Assunal Mumin was one of the people reacting to the news on Facebook. ‘It’s amazing how these billionaires are helping to aid the rebuild of this institutional building, however, where is the help to the world for humans? he asked.
‘Over 300 million is being donated!!! That could save thousands of lives around the world.’
Tanya Mimpress said it ‘does stick in the craw’ seeing all the money being spent on a cathedral instead of people. She said: ‘Seeing all that history and beauty burn was painful, yes.
‘And I get that it’s the “soul of a nation”, and yes, people should be able to donate as they see fit, of course. But it does stick in the craw somewhat when so many in France, and elsewhere, are living hand to mouth.’
‘People still in need of medicine and clean water’
Ahmet Okan said it was ‘great news’, but reasoned: ‘What could have been greater if those billionaires secretly sent this money to war-torn Africa where people are still starving, in need of medicines and clean water.’
While many felt uncomfortable with the enormous contributions, Ro Mee said he didn’t see British billionaires helping those affected by the Grenfell fire.
He added: ‘What I am saying is that some people are helping. And in times of need, look at the helpers.’
Sonja Piccolo said all this talk is ‘irrelevant’ because people can ‘do what they like with their own money’.
She added: ‘What kind of a world do we live in when a philanthropist gives a hell of a lot of his own money to a cause and gets criticised because “he could have spent it better elsewhere”.
‘According to who? It’s their money and their right to choose what to do with it. When they start giving away my money, then I’ll have something to say about which cause it is pledged to.’
President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to rebuild the Notre Dame Cathedral.
He said he would be looking ‘beyond our borders’ as the fundraising campaign got under way.