As Rich Lavish Cash on Notre-Dame, Many Ask: What About the Needy? – The New York Times

Nor has another wealthy donor, the global cosmetics giant L’Oréal. The company’s heirs, the Bettencourt-Meyers, announced a 200-million-euro donation for Notre-Dame on Tuesday through the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation.

“Of course there is reputation washing involved,” said Anne-Elisabeth Moutet, a French commentator, who saw the initial gifts as fundamentally sincere.

“There’s a muscle memory of Catholicism in France and it came back,” she said. “We’re a secular country, but when push comes to shove,” religious feelings come forward.

For some French people, like Grâce Kitoudi, a customer service representative working in an airport, the issue seemed overblown.

In her view, the Yellow Vest crisis and the Notre-Dame fire “are two very different debates,” she said. “We must not confuse everything. If we can have donations to rebuild this incredible monument, that’s all good.”

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