Recovery plan - On February 7, 2022, the first meeting to install the restoration site was held in the presence of the chief architect of historic monuments, the regional conservation of historic monuments, companies, representatives of the city of Valencia and clergy.

The Cathedral of Saint Apollinaire in Valencia has been listed as a historical monument since 1862 and belongs to the State.

Alteration of the facades of the Sainte-Apollinaire Cathedral

Built in XIIe century and partially rebuilt in the XVIIe Valencia’s cathedral has preserved its Romanesque forms.
However, this preserved aspect has undergone several campaigns of restoration, heavy enough, during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to compensate for a weakness of the building closely related to its construction material: the stone of Châteauneuf sur Isère (the molasse), originally used on the entire construction.
This stone being particularly prone to alteration, the interventions of the previous two centuries preferred to replace the «sick» blocks with limestone, lighter than molasse.
The facades were then changed from a monochrome to a composite appearance, without solving the problem of preserving the original stone.
The use of this stone «pixelated» the harmonious and homogeneous elevations of origins.

In the words of Allain Tillier, this «sort of Harlequin coat» disrupts the reading of the facades.

In 1997, Alain Tillier, chief architect of historical monuments, experimented with a restoration protocol that, for the first time, sought to preserve the historical material of the monument.

26-valence façade sud cathedrale détail pierres calcaire et molasse
Cathédrale de Valence - façade sud - 2022 - détail pierres calcaire et molasse avant restauration
Cathédrale de Valence - façade sud - 2022
Cathédrale de Valence - façade sud - 2022 - avant restauration
The restoration site of the south and north facades

The first phase of the project will begin with the restoration of the south and north facades. This operation aims to concretize and affirm the proposals for interventions developed in the context of the 2018 and 2019 diagnostics.

The building does not suffer from stability problems. The main problem of elevations comes from the material used from the origin of the construction as well as at the time of its reconstruction: molasse.
The advanced degradation of the cladding and moulding is directly related to the properties of this stone, which has an important propensity to develop heavy and evolutionary alterations.
The phenomenon of alteration is sometimes so strong that material losses are very important.  The molasse buttresses and the gallery of blind arcatures crowning the top of the nave are the most heavily eroded parts.

Cathédrale de Valence - façade sud - 2022 - détail molasse avant restauration
Cathédrale de Valence - façade sud - 2022 - détail molasse avant restauration

The coexistence of molasse stones and limestone or sandstone grafts is not a factor aggravating the pathologies. It is mainly the nude difference that, creating water retention zones, accentuates the process.
The intervention conducted by Allain Tillier in 1997 proposed the creation of mortar flashings to ensure the interface between the damaged molasse and the grafts. This conservatory solution has proven to be effective and sustainable.

The party of restoration will be double

- Keep a maximum of original material:

by consolidating molasse siding in place by applying a remineralizing hardening product.
It has been clearly demonstrated that the restoration protocol put in place during the 1997 restoration was effective: 22 years after the treatment the desquamed molasse blocks no longer show pulverulence to the touch, granular decohesion is stopped.
Flashings will be made to manage the flow of water between healthy blocks and heavily scaled blocks.
Some molasse sidings, too altered (lower part of the southern façade of the transept) will be replaced by sandstone of the Vosges, this stone is perfectly compatible since its properties are close to those of the molasse.

- Restoring historical coherence to elevations:

harmonizing limestone grafts with old molasse sidings. This treatment will allow both to integrate the overly smooth surfaces of the limestone to the irregular surfaces of the molasse but also to guarantee a better grip of the strong water of harmonization».

Cathédrale de Valence - façade nord - 2022 -  avant restauration
Cathédrale de Valence - façade nord - 2022 - avant restauration
In addition

glass, carpentry and stormwater management systems will be restored.
The stained glass windows will be lightly restored they will be deposited and cleaned in the workshop. Their rest will be associated with the laying of protective brass snowshoes.
The channel tile covers will be resurfaced, especially on the north side. The lead cover of the turret on the Place des Clercs side will be completely restored.

A restoration operation supported under the recovery plan

Transaction amount
The total amount of the work is 2,281,489 € excluding tax and is 100% financed by the State within the framework of the cathedrals plan

Duration of the facade restoration project : 16 months
Contracting authority : Regional Directorate for Cultural Affairs Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes - Regional Conservation of Historical Monuments

Project management : Michel Trubert, Chief Architect of Historic Monuments

The companies
Masonry- Cut Stone: Vivian et Cie
Menuiserie-Bois: sarl Sud France
Stained glass: Thomas Stained glass

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