No castle but a wide variety of sites that are often little known: the Minister of Culture, Franck Riester, launched Tuesday the Year Three of the Bern mission for the safeguarding of heritage with 18 selected sites. Among them, the religious buildings form half of the 2020 vintage: the Saint-Etienne-de-Mélas church in Le Teil, in Ardèche, damaged by an earthquake in November, the Sainte-Marie de Lagrasse abbey in Aude, l former Notre-Dame du Réal cathedral heavily burdened by the Alpine commune of Embrun, the Sacré-Coeur de Balata in Martinique, but also Saint-Joseph d'Iracoubo in French Guiana.
"The president begged me to believe in his good faith"
But there is also a lighthouse, a pyramid barn, a tobacco barn, two hanging bridges, an old court, the Roman theater of Lillebonne in Normandy ...
This annual meeting "is established as a benchmark each year a little more expected" by the French, said Franck Riester in the presence of Stéphane Bern, confirming that the budgetary compensation for taxes on the heritage lottery will be maintained. "The minister heard me, the president begged me to believe in his good faith, it is his will that we succeed in this mission. So I am convinced that there will be no coup de Jarnac" said the host of History Secrets. "We can say to the French that the entire share of the state goes directly to heritage," he added, when he had claimed this full compensation.
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Communes without resources
Religious heritage is "the most represented because it suffers the most" from "belonging to municipalities" without means, he explained. These "emblematic" sites will benefit from financial support via the Heritage Foundation, thanks to the lottery products of La Française des jeux, grants from the Ministry of Culture for historic monuments, as well as donations and patronage collected . The grants will be announced during the next European Heritage Days in September.
Since 2018, 3,500 sites in danger have been reported by the general public and heritage stakeholders. 390 projects were selected. 170 are saved or about to be saved. The total funds raised in 2019, notably thanks to the games - notably the new scratch ticket at 15 euros with a monument printed on it, which was a great success -, amounted to 47 million euros.