Parisians guard historical harmony
About how historical architectural monuments are loved and protected in Paris, our compatriots living or visiting the capital of France speak and write a lot and willingly …
Parisians guard historical harmony
Recently, a new incentive has appeared for these conversations. Two ministries of culture, France and Russia, made a statement on the revision of the previously agreed project for the construction of a five-domed Orthodox church on the Seine embankment. This ambitious project, personally supervised by President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, in the opinion of French architects, who were supported by the mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delano, “violates the historical harmony of development” of the city.
Project for the construction of a five-dome Orthodox church on the Seine embankment
The mayor, by the way, spoke about the project in stronger terms, but in this case it’s not interesting, but the meaning that Parisian architects and city authorities put into the concept of “historical building harmony”.
From Romans to Pompidou
It is very difficult to talk about architectural harmony, considering as an example such a unique city as Paris. Founded back in 53 BC The Romans are a city and you can still find ancient traces in the planning and development. As for architectural styles, in Paris you can see almost everything from medieval Romanesque (Saint-Germain-des-Prés church) and Gothic (Cluny and Sens hotels) to modern modernism (Georges Pompidou Center, Louvre Pyramid). Some architectural styles here in Paris came into being.
However, in such a mixture of styles of different eras, an amazing harmony is really observed, everyone who is not devoid of artistic taste is able to notice it. It is explained and achieved by a very careful and attentive attitude of the city authorities, and the architectural community, and ordinary Parisians to their historical and cultural heritage, to the integrity of the architectural appearance of the city. It is no accident that the world’s first monument conservation society was formed back in 1795 in Paris.
In harmony with the law
Attitude attitude, but also the legislative framework for the love of Parisians to the monuments of architecture summed up a solid. The French law “On Historical Monuments” of December 31, 1913 is still in force, it formed the basis of the Code of National Treasure. French law does not give a concrete answer to the question of what is considered a historical and cultural monument, only objects and objects of interest from a historical, artistic, scientific and even mythological point of view are mentioned. The Code and other laws establish the norms of professional conduct, relations in the field of cultural heritage protection between society, the authorities, on the one hand, and owners, developers and investors, on the other.
The highest authority in the field of protection of any historical monuments, including architectural ones, is vested in the Code by the French Ministry of Culture. According to the Minister of Culture, architectural monuments, as well as the land on which they are located, can even be forcibly bought out by the state from the owner. Compulsory seizure of property without any compensation is also possible if it is proved that the owner violates the Code of National Property. The change of ownership (due to the sale, donation, etc.) of each (!) Object must be previously informed personally by the Minister of Culture. Any construction near the guarded object is coordinated with it.
Center of Paris
Preservation and accessibility for people are two fundamental principles that guide Paris in law enforcement in relation to architectural monuments. At the same time, accessibility is understood in a peculiar way and is interpreted rigidly. Placement, for example, of an advertising banner, at least partially covering the review of a historical building (from any point!) Can be interpreted as a violation of the principle of accessibility of historical heritage and threatens the owner of the banner with a very serious fine. The principle of preservation is expressed, in particular, in the fact that during reconstruction or restoration of a historical object, only those materials that were originally used in construction can be used. In the old houses of Paris you will not see plastic windows or laminate floors.
No skyscrapers and interchanges
Of particular note is the notorious “rule of 37 meters.” City law prohibiting the construction of buildings in Paris above this mark (more precisely, 36.9 meters) was adopted in 1977 by Jacques Chirac, at that time – the mayor of the French capital.
The purpose of the law, again, is to preserve the historical appearance of the city. The rule has been strictly observed for 30 years, now the “bar” is raised to 50 meters, because the city is in dire need of new housing. But 50 meters is a very small, by European standards, maximum building height. Parisians stubbornly do not want to turn their unique city into a typical metropolis, with skyscrapers and multi-tiered, ugly traffic interchanges, and their persistence arouses understanding and respect.