• Short Summary

    The Gare Du Nord station in Paris, city department stores, Le Corbus???cr's Salvation Army" city?

  • Description

    The Gare Du Nord station in Paris, city department stores, Le Corbus???cr's Salvation Army" city refuge, and ornate turn of country apartment blocks new all take their place beside the Cathedral of Notre-Dawn and the monastery of Cluny as historic buildings worthy of preservation.

    The conservationlist regime of President Giscard d'Estaing has decided to move to protect France's not so old, and not so famous buildings, from the ravages of the property developers and the cult of the new and ugly.

    As well as protecting threatened examples of nineteenth and twentieth century architecture. President Giscard's Secretary of State for Culture, M. Michal Guy has also announced that 100 French towns of over 20,000 population are going to be urged to protect their historic towns centras from development.

    "The face of France is varied and deserves respect and attention. But it is not enough to protect France's heritage. I think that my mission is equally to encourage the creation of a contemporary architecture of quality." said N. Guy.

    The Culture Minister pleas to set up a permanent centre to try to raise the level of modern architecture.

    A grand international architectural exhibition will also be organised in Par??? in 1975 which will be, says M. Guy, for the world of architecture, what the Cannes Film Festival is for the cinema.

    A new attitude has gradually been emerging in France to the protection of the past. There is an increasing realisation that collections of buildings of the same period, which give a town or an area its character, are as worthy saving as single outstanding buildings.

    It is the architectural unity, according to the Culture Minister, which defines a familiar countryside, a setting which is at the same time the history of a town and the soul of its inhabitants.

    The buildings of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have come in for particular attention because they face the greatest threat and because public interest in industrial, commercial and domestic architecture has been increasing.

    M. Guy has promised that as well as listing new buildings, planning and protecting laws will be more vigorously enforced, and permission for demolitions harder to get.

    The new hope for the ancient town centres of France comes in the year that President Giscard vetoed the plan to push an urban motorway along the Left Bank of the River Seine and ordered a park in palace of an enormous commercial centre that was to have risen on the site of the demolished Les Halles market.

    It seems that the present French Government is determined that the centres of the towns and cities of "la belle France" "will not turn into wastes of concrete and glass dominated by the motorcar.

    SYNOPSIS: The Eiffel Tower doesn't need much protection. Few would want to demolish it now. But the skyline of Paris has changed and the old city is threatened by the new and ugly gradually replacing the old and beautiful.

    Now the French Government has acted to give greater protection to the old - and not so old.

    The architecture of the nineteen hundred's and early twentieth century is ??? be saved. Apartment blocks, depar??? stores and railway stations of interest will be given the same considerate as ancient cathedrals and castles.

    Culture Minister, Michel Guy, announcing new controls said the face of France was varied and worthy of respect and attention. There was a new appreciation of architectural unity - that groups of buildings of the same period were both the history of an area and the soul of its inhabitants.

    The new concern for conservation follows President Giscard d'Estaing's veto of the plan to push an urban motorway along the Left Bank of the Seine. And his decision to have a park instead of commercial development on the site of the demolished Les Halles market.

    The new policies mean trains will continue to run from ornate Gare du Nord, and Parisians shop in style under the bronze domes of the magasin du Printemps.

    The old town centres of France will also be better protected.

    The Minister of Culture is urging the authorities of one hundred French towns of over twenty thousand population to defend their beautiful squares. Some like Nancy are obvious choices. But the list includes towns offering period atmosphere at their historic centres, such as Biarritz, Vichy, and Cannes.

    Preservation even applies to modern churches such as the neo-gothic Saint-Epvre in Nancy.

    The post office, railway station and Governor's Palace in Metz in the east are on the saved list.

    As well as protecting the heritage of France, Michel Guy wants to encourage the creation of contemporary architecture of quality. A permanent centre will be set up, and an international exhibition held in Paris next year.

    It will be for architecture, said the Minister, what the Cannes Festival is for the cinema.

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