Pope calls Macron to voice solidarity after fire

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PARIS (AP) Pope Francis has phoned French President Emmanuel Macron to express his solidarity over the fire at Notre Dame, hours after the Vatican culture minister offered art experts who could possibly advise on reconstruction efforts.

Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said Francis called Macron Tuesday and tweeted: "During the exchange the Holy Father expressed his solidarity with the French people after the blaze that ravaged the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris."

Earlier Tuesday, Culture Minister Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi suggested that experts from the Vatican Museum could offer their services as the French begin to rebuild.

He stressed though that Notre Dame is owned by the French government and has autonomous sources of funding.

Francis sent an official message of condolences to Paris Archbishop Michel Aupetit, in which he called Notre Dame the "architectural gem of a collective memory."