Notre-Dame's precious rooster statue found in debris

The first and second richest men in France are still slugging it out through cultural capital

The first and second richest men in France are slugging it out through cultural capital- in particular their architectural projects. Credit Getty

France will open the redesign of the Notre Dame cathedral's iconic roofline to worldwide architects after Monday night's blaze gutted the oak-framed structure and sent its 300-foot spire crashing through its vaulted ceiling, the Prime Minister said on Wednesday.

President Emmanuel Macron pledged Notre Dame, one of France's best-loved symbols, would be rebuilt within five years. The cathedral, built between the 12th and 14th centuries, was the site of royal marriages, coronations, and farewell ceremonies for prominent French officials over many centuries, and is a prime example of French gothic architecture.

"From the moment we lose the war of the bell towers, we lose the cathedral, because it's a chain-reaction collapse". Rough cut (no reporter narration).

Emmanuel Gregoire told BFMTV Tuesday that a plan to protect Notre Dame's treasures was rapidly and successfully activated.

Like the Notre Dame Cathedral, the fire at the St. Boniface Cathedral also occurred during renovations on the building.

But he said that the cathedral - like many others in France - did not have automatic sprinklers in the wooden framework of the roof, and that its attic space was not compartmentalised with fire-breaking walls, which could have prevented a blaze from spreading.

"Today, there is no risk of collapse".

Presidential cultural heritage envoy Stephane Bern told broadcaster France-Info on Wednesday that 880 million euros ($995 million) has been raised in just a day and a half since the fire.

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Britain's Minister for the Cabinet Office David Lidington is seen outside Downing Street in London, Britain, April 1, 2019. Former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith called Sunday on May to resign as prime minister next month.

Some 30 people have already been questioned in the investigation into the blaze, which the Paris prosecutor warned would be "long and complex".

National Catholic Register senior editor Matthew Bunson on the next steps for the cathedral and Paris.

A man and child believed to be dad and daughter pictured out the front of the Notre Dame Cathedral an hour before the fire. Concrete was used in the subsequent reconstruction of gables and roof beams.

The Notre Dame Cathedral, one of Paris's most widely recognised landmarks, went up in flames on Monday evening, burning into the early hours of Tuesday morning.

In a city that has a strong tendency to preserve and initially balked at the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum's glass pyramid, before they too became nationally loved, altering the cathedral's outline could prove unpopular. "Should we rebuild the spire envisaged and built by Viollet-le-Duc under the same conditions ..."

"I realize that with this problem (of migration), a government has a hot potato in its hands, but it must be resolved differently, humanely, not with razor wire", he said. While it can never replace trusty firefighters, it can help keep them safe and, as demonstrated in the fire at Notre Dame, can play a vital role in fighting risky and devastating fires.

As the scale of damage was revealed, billionaires and corporate giants lined up to pledge huge donations.

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