The Place de la République Vandalized by Paris City Hall

The massacre had been in the planning for some time : Paris City Hall has gutted the Dauphins fountains, Place de la République (ill. 1 and 2), with the passive complicity of the French Ministry of Culture which did not move a finger to protect them, totally destroying them except for the bronzes and the rod iron gates which were kept and will be placed in the storage facilities for art works of Paris City Hall [1]

1. One of the Dauphins fountains in the
Place de la République (on the Boulevard Voltaire side)
during the destruction (18/1/12)
Photo : Didier Rykner

2. One of the Dauphins fountains in the
Place de la République (on the Boulevard Saint-Martin side)
during the destruction (18/1/12)
Photo : Didier Rykner

3. One of the Fountains
in the Place de la République
before its Destruction by Paris City Hall
Photo : Didier Rykner

Once again, after the destruction of the Jean Bouin stadium and its Art Deco tribunes, the planned installation of Roland-Garros in the Serres d’Auteuil gardens, the project for the new Samaritaine site (to which we will return in the future) which will radically change the aspect of the rue de Rivoli in the center of Paris and destroy 18th century buildings, the negligence for Parisian churches, Bertrand Delanoë and his teams have demonstrated their profound lack of culture and total indifference to the heritage of the city they govern. Concerning the churches, our readers can see on the pathetic appeal of Danièle Pourtaud, assistant to the mayor for Heritage, in favor of the city’s policy : the "situation is complicated" and the preceding administration spent much less money. We would remind Mrs. Pourtaud that the current mayor has been in office for almost eleven years...

The arguments she presents are consternating. The article dares to say that, since 2001, "the renovation of 37 buildings has been carried out". And it gives a list which includes some of the churches where the architecture or decor are among the most imperiled ones in the French capital such as Saint-Merry, Saint-Séverin, Saint-Joseph-des-Carmes, the Madeleine, Saint-Philippe-du-Roule, Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, Saint-Germain-de-Charonne and many more still...
Repairs take place only as emergency calls : the stones are falling from the façade of Saint-Paul-Saint-Louis ? The work is done because there is no other choice. The rain is leaking inside Saint-Philippe-du-Roule ? A makeshift cover is put up in haste which is sure to last for years.
How many churches could have been restored with the funds budgeted for vandalizing the Place de la République ?

We had started a series on Parisian places of worship. Without overlooking some rare instances of restorations in progress or recently finished (we will soon discuss the Chapelle des Ames du Purgatoire in the church of Sainte-Marguerite), we will soon continue our visit of "renovated" churches, in fact seriously threatened, quoted by Mrs. Pourtaud.

Version française

Didier Rykner, jeudi 26 janvier 2012


[1] We did not know the name of the artist who produced these fountains. The website e-monumen has posted a report on it stating that the architect was Joseph Bouvard, the successor of Davioud.

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