Parisian Churches in Distress : Two Associations Give Numbers

Victor Baltard
Cupola in the church of Saint Augustin
Condition in 2007
Photo : Didier Rykner

24/10/13 - Heritage - Paris - Two associations, SOS Paris and the Observatoire du Patrimoine Religieux, today published a press release (in French) in reaction to the listing of two churches as part of imperilled world heritage monuments, entitled "Cri d’alarme pour les églises de Paris" [A cry of alarm for Parisian churches] giving certain numbers which we find important enough to point out here.
First off, they confirm, based on the numbers provided by Danièle Pourtaud [1] herself that the budget allocated for the restoration of the churches, already barely sufficient to begin with, decreased between Bertrand Delanoë’s first term and the second (15 million euros a year down to 10).
They explain that in ten years, though the city’s budget increased by 59%, the one for religious buildings was cut by 27% ! Better yet : the portion alloted to the restoration of religious buildings in the overall budget was lowered by more than half between the two terms (from 0.3% to 0.14% !).

The associations consider that 500 million euros would be needed over the next fifteen years to save this heritage. They do not provide detailed estimates but, given its poor condition, the figure does not seem exaggerated. The amount is in fact paltry compared to the overall budget, and even in absolute terms, as it represents 15€ per resident per year, or 0.4% of the 3,613€ which the city presumably spends annually for each of its citizens.
Both associations also provide a few comparisons showing that this is not an impossible feat : the city has spent at least 10 million euros to build the new sports stadium Jean Bouin (which will in fact welcome very few games a year) and 85 million euros for the Gaîté Lyrique, devoted to digital culture...

We are still waiting to hear Paris City Hall comment on the subject. But of course the facts and numbers are too embarrassing...

Version française

Didier Rykner, jeudi 24 octobre 2013


[1] Deputy mayor in charge of heritage and museums.

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