LONDON — Rebuilding Notre Dame, the 800-year-old Paris cathedral devastated by fire this week, will cost billions of dollars as architects, historians and artisans work to preserve the medieval landmark.
But contrary to what one might think, little of the money will come from insurance companies.
Notre Dame and all of its pre-1905 artworks are the property of the French state and not insured. The French government is responsible for costs like restoration and rebuilding because it has the financial resources to do so — and because taking out private insurance on something as valuable as a national monument would be difficult and expensive.
Unique forms of property, like monuments or religious relics, are hard to value. How do you put a price tag on sentiment, history and international renown?