The fund to rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral has already reached a billion euros.
Stephane Bern, the TV personality who helped launch the appeal for donations by saying Notre Dame was ‘a close friend who almost disappeared’ said on Wednesday morning: ‘The billion-euro mark of donations was reached during the day.’
French multinational companies are among those who have pledged money to restore the medieval cathedral, which was engulfed by flames on Monday following a likely accident in its loft.
L’Oreal promised 200 million euros (£172.7m) on Tuesday, while the LVMH luxury goods group run by Bernard Arnault, the richest man in France, has pledged the same.
Multi-billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault and oil company Total have also pledged 100 million euros (£87m) each.
President Emmanuel Macron has claimed that the cathedral will be restored to its former glory ‘within five years’, ready for the Paris Olympics in 2024. It came as the iconic rose windows were confirmed as being in good shape after the fire, although their support structures are at risk.
Fire brigade spokesman Gabriel Plus told reporters that the rose windows are ‘in good condition’ but that ‘there is a risk for the gables that are no longer supported by the frame’.
He said firefighters took down statues inside the gables above the rose windows to protect them, and took care not to spray water too hard on the delicate stained glass.
The rooster weathervane that topped the spire of Notre Dame before it was destroyed by fire has also been found in the rubble.
In what is being described as ‘an absolute miracle’, France’s Ministry of Culture confirmed that ‘the rooster has been saved’.
‘It’s dented but can be restored,’ said a spokesman.
‘The fear was that it had been burnt and melted in the fire.’ Shocked crowds watched the rooster fall to the ground on Monday evening as a fire engulfed the cathedral and destroyed its wooden and lead spire.
There was particularly fear for the rooster, because it contains religious relics including one of the 70 thorns of the Holy crown of Jesus Christ, and remnants linked to Saint Denis, the Christian martyr and former bishop of Paris, and Saint Genevieve, the patron saint of the French capital.