Madam Minister, dear Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet,Mr Ambassador, His Excellency José Mauricio Bustani,Madam Ambassador of Brazil to UNESCO, His Excellency Maria La Ura da Rocha,Mr President of the City of Architecture and Heritage, Francis Rambert, Ladies and Gentlemen,Dear Friends,

Nature cannot be reduced to a few metaphors: to greening,
to the plant, to the invocation of the countryside. It is more complex than that,
it refers to a repeated genesis as indicated by its Latin etymology:
it is “what gives birth, what presages the thing”. Nature
does not fall within the domain of things external to man, to
its formation, its culture: it is in us, it carries us, as said
Maurice Merleau-Ponty in his course on Nature at the Collège de

Because it is crossed by dynamics, flows, movements, the
city has often dealt with nature: from the garden to the park
the landscape walk. Today, it is designed by architects,
by planners, by planners as an eco-system, with its
flows, its breaths, its regulations. The landscape - even if it is urban -is thus
become an integral part of contemporary urban culture. Imagineraiton
Manhattan without Central Park? Barcelona without Parc Güell? Paris
without the Buttes Chaumont, the Parc de la Villette, the Parc de Bercy or the

In Paris, as part of Haussmann’s major works, Alphand designed
Modernized Capital Parks – Buttes Chaumont, Parc
Monceau. A century and a half later, the garden of Gilles Clément, room
Jean Nouvel Museum at Quai Branly, or the walls
Patrick Blanc’s plants offer us an unprecedented demonstration of the
presence of nature in urban areas.

The metropolis of the twenty-first century, that which fits into the recommendations
the Kyoto Accord, is looking for
new balances. Urban sprawl, the development of buildings, encourages
rethinking the relationship between the city and nature. Thus, the teams engaged
in the International Consultation on Greater Paris have many
working on urban agriculture and reclaiming water. Here too,
these teams have all expressed the need for joint dialogue
between territorial development and natural resource development.
Because it’s about building a city where landscapes can play diverse
functions, where it is possible to combine social development and
sustainable development. The challenge lies in our ability to
all to think and implement a real biodiversity in the city, to
create a better shared and balanced eco-system.

I am pleased that my department has supported the
Fort Saint-Jean in Marseille, linked to the upcoming creation of the
Musée des Civilisations et de la Méditerranée (MUCEM), as well as the
of the National Archives in Paris. Manufacturing
high cultural and environmental quality, develop a reflection
on gardens and green spaces in the urban fabric,
inventing new “takes” with nature - to quote again
Merleau-Ponty - these are the challenges of the 21st century city, these are the
dimensions that are carefully monitored by my department.

Other regional examples reflect this interaction rich in
possibilities: the Euromediterranée 2 project in Marseille where François
Leclercq and Ter Agency designed the urban park as the backbone
the Lyon-Confluences operation, where, between Rhône
and Saône, the firm Herzog & de Meuron and Michel Desvignes work
on in a logic that follows the particular site of the confluence in
inventing from the existing. The latest edition of the Biennale
architecture of Venice gave us the opportunity to discover the
projects in our major cities.

By proposing to the public the theme of the «city-nature», the City of
architecture and heritage allows us to become aware of this
key issue. The cycle aims to address the issue in a twofold
both retrospective and prospective: he looks at the experiences
past to better project oneself towards the future; it feeds on the great
experiments to invent new paths.

Designed in an original way by Michel Péna and Nicolas Gilsoul,
the “Fertile City” exhibition is one of the components. It analyses the tools
that allow the development of parks and conversion
of the territories. It provides the keys for interpreting the
landscape» in the city by proposing seven major themes as the
weather, sky and water, accompanied by filmed walks. In Paris,
as in regional capitals but also outside our borders, the
city of the 21st century is indeed a laboratory for new
“new urban natures” combining grasslands, forests, wastelands, shorelines and

More than an exhibition, it is a new cycle that I have the
Pleasure to inaugurate today at the City of Architecture and Heritage.
During this cycle there will be exhibitions, screenings, workshops and
vegetation to show and think the metropolis of the 21st century
century, this hybrid territory where the city can be green and urban nature.

In the light of experiences in the first decade of the 21st century
century, it also seemed important to revisit the work of one of the most
great talents of the 20th century avant-garde, Roberto Burle Marx.
Landscape artist but also multiple artist – painter, musician, creator of
jewels - it was a great figure of what is agreed to call the
«Brazilian modernism», he worked with Le Corbusier, Oscar Niemeyer
or Affonso Reidy. Designed by Lauro Cavalcanti with the architect
stage designer Pierre Audat - one of the winners of the New
young architects and landscape designers (Najap) – this retrospective is also a
tribute to the strong relationship between France and Brazil in the field of
architecture and, more generally, culture, as demonstrated
the year of Brazil in France organized in 2005. In Paris, we owe it to Burle
Marx to have intervened on the site of Unesco, his only work in France. A
Rio as in Brasilia, in urban as in nature, his work
fascinates us, intrigues us, amazes us. I witnessed it when,
at the age of 18, I chose to head for this “modern city”,
World Heritage Site. There, in this city of the
which inspired filmmakers as photographers, I was able to take the
measuring the work of this exceptional landscape architect.

All his interventions marked the contemporary era of the seal of
modernity. They have enriched the territory of cities as well as the
landscape vocabulary by offering alternatives to terminology
green space reducer. If it is up to architects and landscapers
Town planning - supporting town planning codes and master plans - it
they also have to feel their palpitations and breathe their rhythms
and the scents. Roberto Burle Marx is responsible for this intelligence of
landscape» combining functionalism and poetry, technical and
human value. The trace he left explains that the New
Albums of young architects and landscapers, the famous NAJAP - se
are open to the landscape since 2008. This is the mark of the support of
Ministry of Culture and Communication to the young creation in
public space, as in the field of architecture. It is also the
sustained attention in favour of an “educated look” in
the landscape domain.

It is not a question, as everyone understands, of forgetting or disciplining the
city, as we hear too often. It’s about living there and making it live
otherwise, to share it, to make it breathe, to draw the contours
a new understanding between man and his environment. The
roots of the word “nature”, I recalled, evokes life, birth. I
the City of Architecture and Heritage, through this
will contribute to the birth of new images and
opportunities for the city of tomorrow.

The strength of this “City and Nature” cycle is also there: revealing a look
curious and eclectic to confront the multiplicity of
experiments on the landscape. That’s why I want to express my
recognition to all those who made it possible – François
of Mazières in the first place but also the curators,
and architects who have contributed their stone to this City
The walk in this large garden that has become the City of
architecture and heritage is exciting, and I hope that
this original experience is shared by a very large audience.

It shows the importance of this institution which makes it possible to offer
true “landscape pedagogy” so important in the era of
standardization of lifestyles and the standardization of taste. I already
had the opportunity to say, the architects are among the best
ambassadors of our culture abroad. Working on the city - the
of the Greeks intimately linked to the idea of politics and citizenship
- on its environment and on “living together”, they are at the heart of the
questions of our contemporaries, they are able to touch them, to
Their commitment and expertise
allow to draw the contours of the city of tomorrow, a city near
the expectations of its inhabitants, a city that respects
as well as a network-connected cybercity
world, open to the cultures of the world, a «city-nature» in other
terms, which would be the local translation of what Gilles Clément designates
under the term “planetary garden”.

Thank you.