The cost to rebuild Notre Dame cathedral could reach up to $3.3 billion, officials in France said this week.
The beloved Paris landmark was engulfed in flames this week, leaving large parts of the structure destroyed, including the collapse of the iconic spire atop the cathedral. The fire has sparked an international reaction and spawned a massive fundraising effort, with many wealthy benefactors pledging tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars, bringing the total amount of money raised to $1 billion.
It could cost more than three times that amount to rebuild the cathedral, USA Today reported. Stephane Bern, who has led renovation programs across France, said that the renovation could cost anywhere from $1.13 billion to $2.3 billion.
Some officials pegged the number even higher. Andre Finot, a spokesman for Notre Dame cathedral, told CBS News that it could be up to $3.3 billion dollars in total.
"We don't know if it's enough or not," Finot said. "You can say it's crazy to have a billion euros but we don't know. Maybe the cost is two or three billion."
It could also be a very long recovery until Notre Dame cathedral is restored to its previous condition. John J. Casbarian, the dean of the Rice University School of Architecture, told USA Today that the rebuilding process will focus on reconstructing the roof, which itself would take 10 to 20 years. Other estimates have pegged the recovery at many more years than that.
Casbarian noted that there were extensive records about the church's construction, which could make the process easier, but it will still not be a quick one, and the assessment alone could take quite some time.
"It's just a matter of figuring how to manufacture and replace every piece that was destroyed," he said.
French president Emmanuel Macron said this week that he would like to see the cathedral rebuilt within five years, though experts, including Casbarian, said that it will take much longer.
The fundraising effort continues to bring in millions of dollars but has also brought some pushback. As The Inquisitr previously reported, some billionaires have faced backlash from critics, who said argue that their pledges to rebuild the cathedral would be better spent furthering social causes.The money donated to rebuild Notre Dame has also brought a resurgence in protests from yellow-vest protesters, who have been demonstrating for months against income inequality and austerity efforts in France, which have largely affected the middle and working classes.