Most Notre-Dame pledges not yet collected: archbishop

Paris (AFP) - Most of the money pledged towards the reconstruction of Notre-Dame Cathedral has yet to be collected, the Archbishop of Paris said in a statement Wednesday.

Donors had pledged about a billion euros ($1.12 billion) but so far "the greater part of these donations have not yet materialised", said the Archbishop of Paris Michel Aupetit in a statement.

Notre-Dame Cathedral, in the historic heart of Paris, lost its spire and most of its roof in a spectacular fire on April 15, prompting an outpouring of support.

One of the four bodies tasked with collecting money to restore Notre Dame, La Fondation du Patrimoine, last weekend announced it had stopped collecting.

It said it had received 218 million euros and that the total received towards restoring the cathedral came to 900 million.

But Culture Minister Franck Riester said Monday: "It is premature to think that we have too much money collected."

The Paris archbishopric is coordinating the receipt of donations.

It runs the Notre-Dame Foundation, which the statement said had so far gathered 13.5 million euros.

"That is why the collection continues," the archbishop added.

The foundation is in talks with the Pinault and Arnault families, rival French luxury goods empires that have pledged 100 million and 200 million euros respectively.

These major patrons will stagger their contribution accordng to how the reconstruction work develops, Christophe Rousselot of the Notre-Dame Foundation told AFP.

He said the collection of money was continuing because nobody could yet say how much the restoration work would cost.