In recent years heritage has become a political and national priority, but the Foundation du patrimoine (Heritage Foundation), which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, does not want to look back. Its general director, Célia Vérot, would rather sketch out the many challenges that must be met.
In 25 years, the Foundation du patrimoine has grown and considerably raised its profile. Does this mean you’re on the right track? The pace of growth has gathered speed in the past three to fours years. Our funding has doubled from €31 million in 2017 to €73 million last year and about €80 million this year. That pales in comparison to government funding for heritage, but it means a lot for unprotected sites. Many monuments still lack millions, such as the gorgeous Gothic collegiate church of Vernon in the Eure, which needs €8 million, and the 16th-century citadel of Villefranche-sur-Mer in the Alpes-Maritimes, which requires €10 million to keep it from collapsing. How do you account for the new momentum? First, the heritage lottery raised €28 million in 2020 (editor’s note: almost as much as private funding, which stands at €30 million). In addition, awareness of the value and importance of French cultural heritage has been rising with public officials and the general public, and therefore donors. That’s the meaning of our work with French journalist and television personality Stéphane…
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