The Limited Times

Now you can see non-English news...

In Paris, between “place of charity” and “heritage failure”, a monastery at the heart of a controversy

2024-03-02T17:44:42.093Z

Highlights: Monastery of the Visitation in the heart of Paris about to be transformed into shared accommodation for 90 people. The project is estimated at 50 million euros. The old Clermont-Tonnerre hotel, built in the 18th century around 4,000 m2 of gardens, has been vegetating since the Visitandine sisters left the monastery in 2012. Sites and Monuments association believes that the place is “ one of the last opportunities to create a public garden in Paris”


Located in the heart of Paris, the monastery built in the 18th century around 4,000 m2 of gardens housed Visitandine sisters. Abandoned since 2012, the place is about to be transformed into shared accommodation for 90 people. The project is estimated at 50 million euros.


The place is both immense and decrepit, in the heart of Paris: the monastery of the Visitation, whose buildings must be destroyed to install a center of solidarity there, pits those who want to make it a “

place of charity”

against those who denounce a

“waste”

of heritage.

Nestled between the very chic streets of Cherche-Midi and Vaugirard, the Clermont-Tonnerre hotel, built in the 18th century around 4,000 m2 of gardens, has been vegetating since the Visitandine sisters left the monastery in 2012.

“They could have selling it very expensively to a developer, they preferred to give it to the

diocese of Paris

on the condition of not reselling it and making it a place of charity

,” explains Jean Chausse, the treasurer of the diocese.

“Small, very degraded oratories”

will be destroyed.

STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / AFP

The Church plans to install shared accommodation on the site for 90 people.

This involves renovating the old Clermont-Tonnerre hotel to house homeless people and very vulnerable women.

But also to build a second building, adapted for people with disabilities on the Cherche-Midi side, as well as a seven-story investment building on the Vaugirard side, and two other buildings.

The project, for which a building permit was granted by the city of Paris in 2019, is valued at 50 million euros.

It will lead to the uprooting of several trees and the destruction of certain annexed buildings: a hutch, small oratories which are very degraded, and an old brick “cow house” built partly on an old chapel, and today redeveloped into functional offices.

The Sites and Monuments association believes that the place is “

one of the last opportunities to create a public garden in Paris”.

STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / AFP

What makes heritage defenders jump:

“It’s a major opportunity that will disappear

,” believes Julien Lacaze of the Sites and Monuments association, who deplores the fact that none of the buildings on the site are classified as historic monuments.

Defending

“an exciting heritage”

mentioned by Emile Zola in

L’Œuvre

, he is concerned about the

“great

architectural brutality” of the future building and defends

“one of the last opportunities to create a public garden in Paris”

.

Educational farm proposal

Seven associations (including Sites and Monuments) therefore requested at the beginning of December the placement under classification proceedings and the expropriation of the garden and the urban farm.

“Ideally we would like to make it an educational farm with a cow, a vegetable garden.

We remain faithful to the spirit of the sisters who were ecological before their time

,” assures Mr. Lacaze.

The money from the expropriation would allow the diocese

“to carry out the project elsewhere”

.

“It is a little shocking that we say the poor are good, but not in the heart of the city,”

retorts Mr. Chausse, annoyed by the opponents' arguments.

The urban farm tradition?

“It’s far-fetched, there haven’t been any animals in the park for 70 years

. ”

The garden?

Today closed to the public, it will be partly

“open during the day, with a play area”

, will retain its 4,000 m2, while the soil saturated with lead will be decontaminated and several trees replanted.

The architectural project itself

“includes a heritage component”

, he insists, with a complete renovation of the private mansion, chapel, paving and cellars included.

As for the investment property, it is a matter of

“sound management”

by producing 600,000 euros gross in rent per year:

“We do not know what the financial situation of the Church will be in 30 years

,” sighs the bursar of the diocese.

The affair has been going on for years.

The elected EELV at the town hall of the 6th arrondissement Antoinette Kis denounced in 2022

“a heritage and ecological failure”

.

Gérard Depardieu, owner of the neighboring mansion, once supported the rebellion.

The Council of State itself ruled in 2021. So far, the opponents have always been rejected, so much so that the diocese hopes to launch the work at the end of 2024.

The associations, however, do not give up.

Having obtained a visit from the Drac (Regional Directorate of Cultural Affairs) at the end of December, they are now calling on the Minister of Culture Rachida Dati.

“It is a test file, which will show her concern and her courage in the heritage field (...) knowing that she wants to be mayor of Paris

,” assures Mr. Lacaze.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2024-03-02

You may like

News/Politics 2024-02-20T11:22:29.723Z
News/Politics 2024-04-13T16:21:30.533Z
Life/Entertain 2024-04-12T11:11:33.032Z

Trends 24h

Latest

© Communities 2019 - Privacy

The information on this site is from external sources that are not under our control.
The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them.