Aurelie Filippetti Filed an Application for Listing the Rue des Carmes

A View of the House Roofs of the Rue des Carmes
the Mayor Wants to Destroy
Photo : Didier Rykner

20/7/12 - Heritage - Orleans, rue des Carmes - Aurelie Filippetti, French Minister of Culture, has made the remarkable, and above all exemplary, decision to file an application requesting that the 18 buildings representing the southern front of the Rue des Carmes in Orleans be listed as a historical monument. This is thus a step to protect the entire section of this street which was planned for demolition [1] and will block the devastating project presented by the city’s mayor, Serge Grouard.

We had discussed the matter several times in our French Site, denouncing the responsibility of the previous Minister. We know that the mayor, close to the previous Prime Minister, Francois Fillon, had wielded all his powers to obtain a second public investigation, not having found the first one to his taste, then a "Declaration d’utilite publique" was issued at the last minute before the elections.
All of the above actions are now brought into question by the application for listing which prohibits any demolition for a delay of one year (and logically any demoliton project, period), giving the Ministry of Culture time to protect the buildings permanently. The latter has stated in its press release that the ruling for the ZPPAUP considered these buildings "as "a unified system, of great overall value" which should be protected and enhanced. The facades, of stone or timber framing, today hidden under the plaster, the staircases, the cellars going back to the Middle Ages, represent authentic and valuable proof of Orlean’s heritage." Furthermore, "two of these buildings, a 16th century house with timber framing and a building erected in 1794 by the Orleans architect Benoit Lebrun, have been proposed for listing as historical monuments, in their entirety, by the Commission regionale du patrimoine et des sites (CRPS), on 19 November 2011."

The Association Aux Carmes Citoyens, which has been fighting since the beginning to save the street from demolition, is now quite logically requesting from the Minister "the withdrawal of the ’declaration d’utilite publique’ which is now obsolete and which should be amended, as well as a revision of the requalification project for the street to be made according to the ZPPAUP regulations by restoring this heritage instead of destroying it, as [it] has been requesting since 2008."
As concerns the mayor whom we were not able to reach last Friday evening, we were told he called a press conference on the afternoon of 20 July at which he stated he "was considering taking legal action against the Minister". We wonder on what he is basing his legal claim as the Minister is simply applying the law which allows her to apply for the listing of a historical building threatened with demolition.

Can we finally say that France has a real Minister of Culture who knows how to carry out her mission of defending our heritage and applying heritage laws ? Do we finally have a Minister brave enough to oppose local elected officials who think that their precinct or city is their own private territory where they are all powerful ?
These two questions for the moment can be tentatively answered in the positive. Aurelie Filippeti is starting out in a very encouraging (and unexpected, we must admit)way. She had already shown her mettle by openly speaking out against the Ministry of the Budget (and, apparently, also the Prime Minister) in support of maintaining fiscal deductions for patrons. Even if Serge Grouard is, in this case, a political foe (he in fact did not mince his words, during the press conference, saying this was a purely political move), this application for listing is a recourse which is not used enough especially when it runs contrary to the wishes of an elected official, and to our knowledge never at this level. The Minister of Culture now has to remain just as firm in the face of mayors from the left wishing to demolish buildings, starting with Bertrand Delanoe. We thus advise her to continue the excellent work she has started by refusing notably the destruction of the Serres d’Auteuil.

Version française

Didier Rykner, jeudi 26 juillet 2012


[1] The number of buildings which were supposed to be destroyed was about thirty, but the protection of those looking out on the street makes it subsequently impossible to demolish the others.

imprimer Print this article

Previous article in News Items : La Piscine Exhibits its Weerts

Next article in News Items : Acquisition of a Version of the Procession of the Ligue by the Chateau de Pau