Hôtel de la Marine : The CMN Replaces the Louvre

Staircase in the Hôtel de la Marine
Photo : Didier Rykner

11/1/14 - Heritage - Paris, Hôtel de la Marine - The Centre des Monuments Nationaux, and not the Louvre, has been designated to manage the Hôtel de la Marine starting in 2015, as announced yesterday in Le Figaro. The defection of the Parisian museum does not come as a surprise since we already knew that this operation was not a priority for Jean Luc Martinez. The arrival of the CMN, however, had not until now been mentioned though in fact it is perfectly suited for the mission. The purpose of this public establishment is to conserve and open to the public about one hundred monuments, often very important ones, which belong to the State.

The Art Tribune, which campaigned vigorously to prevent the disastrous nature of the project submitted by Allard-Donnedieu de Vabres (which the latter himself admitted), had expressed its satisfaction on hearing the results of the committee directed by Valéry Giscard d’Estaing as it put a stop to the threat. We had nevertheless pointed out the many doubtful aspects of the new plans which remained very vague. Although the conditions are still not much clearer today, there is no doubt that a simple access to the public without transforming the building into a museum is, in theory, good news which will avoid repairs and renovations which might be potentially damaging. Several points must be however elucidated : it would be absurd to have only the large Salons which look out over the Place de la Concorde included in the visit. There will no doubt also be the apartment of Thierry de Ville d’Avray on the same floor on the rue Saint Florentin, as well as the rooms looking out over the rue Royale. Some rooms will also maintain their period décor on other floors, as pointed out in the report by Etienne Poncelet which we had revealed here. Care should also be taken in preserving those rooms and we hope they will be included in the visit.

This report demonstrated notably that the entire building is of historic value. The Cour des Comptes, as planned, will take over some of the offices currently occupied by the French Ministry of Defense ; others will be rented out. Although the preservation of the Hôtel de la Marine was guaranteed three years ago and is indeed a reality, we should continue to pay careful attention to just how it is carried out.

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Didier Rykner, samedi 11 janvier 2014

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