An integral and defining part of the Paris landscape, the world famous Gothic cathedral has weathered a revolution, two world wars and a topless feminist stunt…and she's showing signs of the strain.
Vital repair work needs to be carried out to fix, among other things, a toppling gargoyle, cracks on the facade and the support structure for the church's famed stained glass windows.
The list goes on…and on.
While an appeal for donations has already been launched in France, a foundation set up by the Archbishop of Paris last year — Friends of Notre-Dame de Paris — is now specifically targeting American donors.
After the foundation received charity status at beginning of May from the American tax authorities, it can now receive untaxed donations and so the project is well and truly underway.
The cathedral is looking for a total of around €150 million for repairs while the government currently donates €2 million a year.
Senior Advisor Fundraising for Friends of Notre-Dame, Michel Picaud told The Local that turning to Americans for financial help was an obvious move given the amount of interest in the cathedral from across the pond.
“It was put it to us that Notre-Dame is a world monument and we could look to raise money for its repair from outside of France,” Picaud said.
“We receive many requests from Americans wanting to know if there is a channel they can use to donate,” he said. “The cathedral is a big part of Paris' history but also a big part of American history in the city.”
Friends of Notre-Dame will hold fundraising events in Paris as well as go on a US trip next spring, when it will visit Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and Washington, DC in an attempt to raise funds.
When Paris was liberated from occupying forces by French and American troops, the celebrations took place in front of Notre Dame, and today it is a stone's throw from legendary English bookshop Shakespeare and Company.
The good news for Notre-Dame is that Americans have a history of stepping in to save historic churches in France. In 2013, THe Local reported on the story of a Texas oilman donated $100,000 to fix the roof of a 13th-century church in the southwestern French town of Aurignac.
To donate to the renovations and find out more about Friends of Notre-Dame, you can visit their website here.