France to launch special lottery to raise cash to save its crumbling heritage

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France to launch special lottery to raise cash to save its crumbling heritage
Photo: AFP

France has announced the launch of a special edition lottery and scratchcard game in a bid to fund the preservation of its crumbling cultural heritage.


It's been on the cards for a while. 
The new "heritage lottery" announced by France's Culture Minister François Nyssen on Friday will help finance restorations of both protected and unprotected monuments around France. 
"A quarter of protected monuments are considered in poor condition and 5 percent or about 2,000 monuments, are considered in jeopardy," she said. "We've been talking about the lottery for years so we're doing it," she said.
The lottery, which still has to be approved by parliament will be presented to MPs as part of an amendment to the budget for 2017, said Nyssen during a presentation on France's heritage strategy. 

(Photo: AFP)

It has been mooted that the special lottery draw would place on the day before European Heritage Days. 
The operator of France's national lottery, Française des Jeux will also launch a new scratchcard to contribute towards the financing of restoration projects. 
The buildings entrusted to the Centre des Monuments Nationaux and those that fall under the remit of TV presenter Stéphane Bern recently tasked by the president to save France's crumbling cultural heritage, would benefit from the new fund. 
Bern was recently on the receiving end of a backlash after suggesting visitors to France's many cathedrals should have to pay an entry fee to cover the costs of urgent restoration work.
"There is an urgent need to charge the entry of cathedrals," he told Le Parisien. "We are the only country where access to them is free. In London, entrance to Westminster Abbey is set at €24."
After being hit with a wave of angry remarks by politicians on Twitter, Bern later qualified his words by stating he only meant that tourists visiting Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris should have to pay.
Like many of France's iconic buildings, Notre-Dame is in desperate need of restoration.
Vital repair work needs to be carried out to fix, among other things, a toppling gargoyle, cracks on the facade and the support structure for the church's famed stained glass windows. 
Nyssen also announced on Friday the creation of a €15 million fund for the restoration of protected heritage in places with less than 2,000 inhabitants.


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