When the beloved cathedral Notre-Dame was consumed by fire just last week, hearts all around the world were broken by this tragedy. This landmark is a living piece of history and is one of the most visited places in Paris. It didn't take long before donations started to pour in to repair Notre-Dame, with many very generous pledges adding up to over a billion dollars. But the question that remains in the air--who is legally responsible for the restoration costs

It's common knowledge that if your house were to catch on fire, your logical first step after would be to immediately go make a claim on the insurance. Except this is a much more complicated ordeal when it comes to monuments because they are publicly owned; Notre-Dame is owned by the French state. For insurance purposes, this means they are solely responsible for the risks.


The cause of the fire is said to have been a "computer-glitch" by the cathedral's rector. This means that the responsibility of the fire most likely does not lie with one of the construction firms working on the cathedral. If an official statement clears the firms from any responsibility, then the costs of restoration will fall directly upon the French state. The value of the building itself and art inside is difficult to estimate cost so they are then based upon the cost of reconstruction. This is where the generosity of the people will come in handy--reconstruction costs aren't cheap! 

While this tragic event shook the world, the world responded back with beautiful messages of hope and love for this special cathedral. Their donations will help save one of the most visited places in Europe for generations to come and ensure its legacy lives on. I have had the privilege to visit Notre-Dame a few times myself, and am so pleased to know that this fire will not hold a lasting impact on such an important part of France's culture and history!


Wade B. Coye
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Attorney/Author Wade Coye - serving consumers legal needs for over 27 years
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