A call by historians to save the Hôtel de la Marine in Le Monde

Hôtel de la Marine
Dining room
Photo : D. Rykner

12/1/11 – Heritage – Paris, Hôtel de la Marine – Several historians [1] published a text in the Débats column in the 11 January 2011 issue of Le Monde expressing their opposition to the privatization of the Hôtel de la Marine, requesting Nicolas Sarkozy to abandon the project.

They clearly repeat the arguments already presented by opponents over the last few months. They strongly denounce “the commercial Barnum [circus] along with luxury suites” planned inside the walls of this historical monument by the Alexandre Allard group and the former Minister of Culture, Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres. The signers are “particularly incensed [2]” by the collaboration of Mr. Vabres who “has facilitated the profitable undertaking of a project which runs so obviously contrary to the general interest before the political powers”.
On 23 February 2009 we wrote : “At a time when the President of the Republic has insisted on the importance of French history, we would find it hard to understand if he persisted in wishing to sell one of its most emblematic sites”. The text says essentially the same thing when stating that at a time when “there is a wish to create a Maison de l’histoire de France because, it would seem, France is losing its memory”, “we, at the same time, liquidate a building which is, in its own way, a lesson in French history. France is not losing its memory, it is selling it.”

Finally, these historians demand that the Maison de l’histoire de France, if it is created (and we know that these signers are against it, at least on the site of the Archives nationals), should be installed precisely at the Hôtel de la Marine. This idea had already been supported by others, notably Vincent Noce in Liberation on 16 March 2010.

Didier Rykner, mercredi 12 janvier 2011


[1] The historians are Régis Debray, Alain Decaux, Jean-Noël Jeanneney, Jacques Le Goff, Pierre Nora, Mona Ozouf and Michaël Winock.

[2] The French text reads : “soulève le coeur”.

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