Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear Stéphane Bern,

Dear friends,

 I’m very pleased to have you here. Very happy to be able to talk about heritage with those who are committed to it, alongside the Ministry of Culture. Engaged to identify endangered heritage, to protect it, to restore it.

This commitment honours you. Because heritage touches who we are. It is our common heritage. It is not only our link to yesterday; it is also what connects us to tomorrow. It is not only what was there before us; it is also what will remain after us.

It is not only what we receive; it is also what we transmit. That is why heritage calls for all our ambition. Mine is summed up in four clear principles: more proximity, more transversality, more innovation and more commitment over the long term.

More proximity, first of all. Our heritage is the face of France. It is in our cities, our villages, our countryside. It is everywhere in our territories. One municipality in two houses a historic monument. And one historical monument out of two is located in a town of less than 5000 inhabitants. Heritage policies must therefore start from the territories, not be applied uniformly. We must support territorial projects, particularly rural or peri-urban.

They have a role to play in the revitalization of medium-sized cities. This role of proximity, the State plays thanks to its decentralized services. I want to thank them here.

More transversality: this is the second principle that guides my action. Heritage attracts new faces, new generations. We must rejoice. We must also be able to integrate them; build a true heritage ecosystem in France. What I want is to bring together actors who share the same ambition. The ministry must encourage projects that bring together all the actors: the State of course, local authorities, associations and professionals of architecture and heritage, the economic world, and the French. We must gather energies and good will. Bring together, around the same table, public, associative, and private actors.

Third principle: more innovation. Because heritage is not just conservation; it is also innovation. Innovation in the services offered to visitors, innovation for the accessibility of monuments, innovation in funding. Many of you today represent it. You make our heritage a living heritage, rooted in modernity. A heritage which is not frozen for eternity, but which knows how to keep its use; which knows how to renew itself. I want to thank you for it. Tell you that the Ministry of Culture is there to accompany you. And that it will continue to be.

This brings me to the fourth axis of my ambition: more commitment over the long term. This is of paramount importance.   Just as it is over the long term that heritage deteriorates, it is over the long term that it is preserved. So, yes, urgent action is needed. But, to the haste, I would always prefer perennial, long-lasting, thoughtful, concerted responses. To those who, in their impatience, often without knowing, reproach us, I mean that governing is a matter of tempo.

It is neither deciding in haste, nor deciding in slowness. It is neither rushing nor waiting. Governing is deciding at the right time.

Respecting the rules and the actors involved. Sometimes it takes time. But that’s the only way to act calmly. Effectively. This in no way detracts from the department’s determination to pursue an ambitious heritage conservation policy, regardless of its era and style.

This is the purpose of the budget allocated by the Ministry to the preservation of heritage, which has been protected for the duration of the five-year period to the tune of more than 320 million euros per year. It makes it possible to carry out 6,000 restoration operations of historical monuments each year.

This is also the meaning of the initiatives initiated by my predecessor, which will be renewed and amplified this year. I am thinking of the heritage fund for small municipalities.

With 15 million euros, it allows the State to increase its contribution to the financing of works on historical monuments in municipalities with low resources. It acts as an incentive to other funders – especially the regions.

I am also thinking of the dialogue between the elected representatives and the architects of the buildings in France.

The working group that brought them together was a success. I want to amplify it, especially in the framework of Action Coeur de Ville, which we are conducting in conjunction with the Ministry of Territorial Cohesion. We are co-organizing a day that will bring together the 222 mayors concerned, at the Cité de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine, on March 19. Choosing this place is a way for us to affirm that heritage will be an integral part of Action coeur de ville. In these 222 municipalities, the projects will be the subject of an upstream dialogue between elected officials and ABF.

And of course I am thinking of the Heritage Lottery, which the President of the Republic wanted.

I want to thank warmly those who, at the request of the President of the Republic and alongside the Ministry, carried out this unprecedented operation.

Starting with you, my dear Stéphane. Without you, this Lotto would not have existed. Without you, he would not have had the same echo, the same resonance, the same popular success. We haven’t talked about heritage that much in a long time!

Thank you to the Heritage Foundation for playing such a prominent role. To have led the selection and accompaniment of project promoters, in liaison with the State services, its network of regional delegations and its 500 volunteers.

Thank you to the Française des Jeux for its support and involvement; It is thanks to you all that the first edition was such a success.                     

A success that allows us to attract new partners: I thank the Monnaie de Paris for joining us in this adventure, for getting involved this year.

A success, as evidenced by the figures: 269 monuments helped, including 197 protected under the title of historical monuments. Of these, 85% of operations have already been launched. If we have been able to launch them, it is thanks to the constant mobilization of the departments of the Ministry: the Directorate-General for Heritage, the Regional Directorates for Cultural Affairs, and especially the regional conservation of historical monuments.

I want to thank them, and most importantly, almost 12 million scratch tickets sold – more than half in the first month. These are as many tickets as visitors to the European Heritage Days!

 

To accompany this popular impulse, the Ministry of Culture has deployed new means. We have increased the limits on the grant rates for monuments supported under the “heritage in danger” mission: Up to 40% for listed monuments – compared to 20% usually, and up to 60% for monuments classified as historical monuments – versus 40% usually.

In addition, we have made new funds available to offset the tax levies that apply to the lottery. In 2019, we will continue.

The Lottery has not only brought new resources to the protection of our heritage.

It has allowed our citizens to participate. That is its greatest success.

Because the French no longer want to be merely spectators of culture; they also want to be actors in it. They were able to propose monuments to be restored via dedicated platforms set up by the Heritage Foundation and the Ministry of Culture. Above all, they mobilized in numbers for the games launched by the Française des Jeux.

I hope that there will be even more of them in 2019. This year, we will make the system permanent. And we will improve it: By strengthening diversity in the selected projects. And by retaining more buildings that are not protected as historic monuments. Because they are just as essential as the buildings that are.

 

That’s what we’re here for today. That’s what we need you for. Because you are in contact with the ground, with heritage in peril. I would like to take this opportunity to commend the work that you are doing with the regional curators of historic monuments; and within the regional commissions of heritage and architecture, and the national commission. Because you are, finally, indispensable partners; incomparable relays, to allow the appropriation of heritage by all.

Dear friends,

On the eve of this new edition of the Heritage Lotto, I invite you to submit your projects on the Heritage Foundation’s participatory platform. Be a force of proposal!

I am here, the department is here, to listen to you. To dialogue. To exchange.

To receive your building ideas to remember for the 2019 edition. This is the purpose of this moment together.

One last word, before I turn it over to you. We need to highlight our heritage.

We must also value the trades, show its diversity, create vocations: the Culture Pass can help us do that. We launched his experiment earlier this month.

I invite you all to register: to propose activities, workshops, meetings, today in the five test departments – Guyana, Bas-Rhin, Hérault, Seine-Saint-Denis – and tomorrow everywhere in France.

Thank you.