The 18 endangered French monuments to be saved by new lottery

French President Emmanuel Macron launched on Thursday a new heritage lottery (loto du patrimoine) to pay for the restoration of France's crumbling monuments. Here are the 18 buildings at top of the list.

The 18 endangered French monuments to be saved by new lottery
Aqueduc romain du Gier Photo: Jmh2o/Wikicommons
The government hopes to rake in up to €20 million with this initiative and will set up a fund for the buildings which are in most need of repair. 
These are the 18 monuments at the top of the list. 
Ancien Hôtel-Dieu, Château-Thierry (Aisne)
This hospice northeast of Paris was built in 1304 and was run by nuns until the 1960s. The government wants to turn the building into a museum of hospital history which will cost an estimated 7.5 million euros. 
Ancien Hôtel-Dieu Photo: Johann “nojhan” Dréo/Wikicommons
Château de Carneville, Carneville (Manche)
This listed 18th century château on the coast on the northwestern tip of France with elaborate facades and elegant French gardens has been privately owned since 2012. 
Château de Carneville Photo: Xfigpower_Wikicommons
Théâtre des Bleus de Bar, Bar-le-Duc (Meuse)
Bringing this early 20th century 'Italian-style theatre' in eastern France back to its former glory will cost up to 1.6 millions euros. For the past three years, locals have been actively involved in getting the restoration project off the ground.
Villa Viardot, Bougival (Yvelines)
The Russian writer Ivan Tourgueniev bought this 19th century villa not far from Paris in 1874. An opera singer lived it it for a while, where she entertained the famous writers and composers of her time. Plans to turn the building along with two other ones close by into a European centre of music are being set up.
Villa Viardot Photo: Renaud Camus/Flickr
Château de Bussy-Rabutin, Bussy-le-Grand (Côte-d’Or)
In the 17th century, this listed Renaissance-style château belonged to a count and critic of Louis XIV, who decorated his home with over 500 portraits mocking the court. The building was bought by the state in the 1920s.
Château de Bussy-Rabutin Photo: peuplier/Flickr
Rotonde ferroviaire de Montabon (Sarthe)
This railway roundhouse, a building which was used to store steam trains, was built in 1891. It is one of the only buildings of its kind to remain in its original state and has been listed since 2010.
Rotonde de Montabon Photo: E24000/Wikicommons
Fort-Cigogne, Fouesnant (Finistère)
The military fort on a small island in Brittany was built in 1755 to fend off fleets from England and Holland but was never completed. Listed since 2013, it is currently used by members of the local sailing club.
Fort-Cigogne. Photo: Matthieu FAURE/Flickr
Eglise Notre-Dame, La Celle-Guénand (Indre-et-Loire)
This Romanesque church has a nave which dates back to the 12th century and is famous for its remarkable facade and central door with two blind arcades. 
Maison de Pierre Loti, Rochefort (Charente-Maritime)
Pierre Loti was a French writer who died in the 1920s. HIs house is full of the treasures he bought back from his travels. 
Maison de Pierre Loti. Photo: AFP
Aqueduc romain du Gier et pont-siphon de Beaunant, Chaponost et Sainte-Foy-lès-Lyon (Rhône)
The Roman aqueduct used to carry water along 86 kilometers. Some of it it still well preserved, such as the section with 72 arches close to the town of Lyon. 
Aqueduc romain du Gier Photo: Jmh2o/Wikicommons
Hôtel de Polignac, Condom (Gers)
This listed building on the ramparts of the town of Condom was built just before the French revolution. It now houses a primary school.
Hôtel de Polignac, Condom (Gers). Photo: MOSSOT/Wikicommons
Pont d’Ondres, Thorame-Haute (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence)
This 17th century bridge is 41 metres long. It crosses over the impressive Verdon gorges.
Pont d’Ondres Photo: AFP
Couvent Saint-François, Pino (Haute-Corse)
This former Franciscan monastery was built in 1486 and is now empty. Some restoration work began in 2008.
Couvent Saint-François Photo: Pierre Bona/Wikicommons
Maison d’Aimé Césaire, Fort-de-France (Martinique)
The 1930s house of the famous poet and politician in Martinique Aimé Césaire is now owned by the Césaire institute. It wants to turn the building into a museum. 
Photo: AFP
Habitation Bisdary, Gourbeyre (Guadeloupe)
This colonial-style house on a sugar plantation in Guadeloupe was built by Jesuits in the 18th century. It has been severely damaged by storms and fires over the years.
Maison du receveur des douanes, Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni (Guyane)
This house made of wood and brick used to house French officials in French Guiana. It is now listed. 
Maison Rouge, Saint-Louis (La Réunion)
Built in the 18th century on a coffee plantation on the Reunion Island, this building now houses an art museum. 
Maison Rouge Photo: Thierry Caro/Wikicommons
L’usine sucrière de Soulou, M’Tsangamouji (Mayotte)
This former sugar factory in Mayotte still contains many of the original machines from the 19th century. 

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Everything you need to know about France’s 2022 summer sales

In France, you can only shop the best deals twice a year - during the soldes. Here is everything you need to know about this year's summer sales.

Everything you need to know about France's 2022 summer sales

They happen twice a year – Each year, France has two soldes periods: one in the winter, usually starting January, and another in the summer, usually starting in June.

This summer, the soldes will start on Wednesday, June 22nd in most parts of France and run for four weeks, so even though you might be tempted to go on the first day, keep in mind they’ll be going on for a while.

They are progressive, so items will be continuously marked down as the soldes wear on. If you wait, you are risking that your favourite t-shirt might sell out quickly, but if you’re lucky it might end up marked down even further.

During 2020 and 2021 the government altered sales dates and time periods to help shops cope with closures and lockdowns, but now we’re back to the usual timetable.

This is the only time stores can have “sales” – Technically, the soldes are the only time that stores are allowed to have sales, but the definition of ‘sale’ is important.

Basically, the French government qualifies a ‘solde‘ as the store selling an item for less than they purchased it for.

During the rest of the year discounting is allowed in certain circumstances, so you might see promotions or vente privée (private sales, usually short-term events aimed at regular customers or loyalty-card holders) throughout the year.

In these situations the stores might be selling items for less than their original price, but they are not permitted to sell the item for less than they bought it for. 

Shops are also permitted to have closing-down sales if they are shutting down, or closing temporarily for refurbishment.

They are strictly regulated by the French government – Everything from how long the soldes go for to the consumer protection rules that apply to the very definition of ‘solde’ is regulated by the French government, and the main purpose of this is to protect small independent businesses which might not be able to offer the same level of discounts as the big chains and multi-national companies.

Whether you shop in person or online, the same rules apply.

As a consumer, you still have the same rights as non-sales times regarding broken or malfunctioning items – meaning you ought to be entitled to a refund if the item has not been expressly indicated as faulty. The French term is vice caché, referring to discovering a defect after purchase.

On top of that, stores must be clear about which items are reduced and which are not – and must display the original price on the label as well as the sale price and percentage discount. 

READ MORE: Your consumer rights for French sales

They started in the 19th century – France’s soldes started in the 19th century, alongside the growth of department stores who had the need to regularly renew their stock – and get rid of leftover items.

Simon Mannoury, who founded the first Parisian department store “Petit Saint-Thomas” in 1830, came up with the idea.

Funnily enough, this department store actually is the ancestor for the famous department store Le Bon Marché. His goal was to sell off the previous season’s unsold stock in order to replace it with new products.

In order to do this, Mannoury offered heavy discounts to sell as much merchandise as possible in a limited time.

The soldes start at different times depending on where you live – The sales start at the same time across most of mainland France, but there are exceptions for overseas France and certain départements, usually those along the border.

France’s finance ministry allows for the sales to start at different times based on local economies and tourist seasons. 

For the summer 2022 sales only two parts of metropolitan France have different dates; Alpes-Maritimes sales run from July 6th to August 2nd, while on the island of Corsica they run from July 13th to August 9th.

In France’s overseas territories the sales are held later in the year.

You might qualify for a tax rebate – If you are resident outside the EU, you might be eligible for a tax rebate on your sales purchases.

If you spend at least €100 in one store, then you qualify. You should hold onto your receipt and tell the cashier you plan to use a tax rebate so they can give you the necessary documentation (a duty-free slip).

Then when you are leaving you can find the kiosk at the station or airport dedicated to tax rebates (détaxe) and file prior to leaving France. For more information read HERE