The forecourt in front of Notre-Dame de Paris is now entirely occupied by restoration work on the cathedral. Also, given the “site’s influence on the public domain”, the City of Paris considers itself entitled to request a fee of just over 3 million euros per year.
Thus until the reopening of the cathedral scheduled for 2024, the amount could reach 17 to 18 million euros.
The delicate subject was raised by General Jean-Louis Georgelin, site manager and representative of the President of the Republic. He indicated on February 2, 2022, before the members of the parliamentary fact-finding mission on the restoration of Notre-Dame, that he had made an official request for exemption from this fee in October 2021, which remained without an official response. .
Brigitte Kuster, president of the parliamentary mission, did not hide her misunderstanding. “This tax does indeed exist on construction sites. But here the town hall claims it from a public establishment that only works thanks to donations. Are the donations intended to pay a tax to the City of Paris? It is simply unacceptable.”
This rule of common law applies to all construction sites, public or private, which have use of public space, replied the first deputy of the city of Paris, during his press conference held on February 9.
Dydier Rykner, in La Tribune de l’art of February 11, specifies that “of course, the town hall could completely abandon this tax. As La Croix reminds us, other cities do it regularly – in particular Nantes did it for the restoration of its cathedral, which was also the victim of a fire – and Paris itself has given up since the start of the health crisis. collect royalties from restaurants. and cafés for “summer terraces” which “encroach” much more on the “public domain”.
“This favor granted to restaurateurs represented, for only one year, a shortfall of 34 million euros, a net profit, while state aid has enabled the greatest number of them to support without encumbers administrative closures.”
And it should be remembered that Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris, “quickly went back on her promise of a donation”, of 50 million euros made on April 16, 2019 for the restoration of Notre-Dame. “To allocate this amount to the churches? No, of course not: but to “work on the surroundings”, a project from which we can fear the worst”, specifies Didier Ryckner.
The case was finally settled on Wednesday April 6, 2022. In the face of the outcry aroused by the claims of the City of Paris, but also in the face of the determination of the public establishment in charge of the restoration which had made it known that it ” would never pay” this note, the socialist presidential candidate preferred to publicly waive the fee.
The decision must still be deliberated in due form, but the principle is now accepted. As for the 50 million announced, they will be devoted to the restoration of the surroundings of the cathedral, including the forecourt, which belongs to the City.
Indeed, the public establishment and the diocese have no money to carry it out, the donations paid after the fire can only be devoted to the walls, the frame and the spire, and those going to the diocese , current expenses (heating, candles, etc.).
Le Figaro specifies that “the redevelopment of the surroundings is currently the subject of a call for tenders between landscapers and architects, launched by the city, with the assistance of the diocese and the EP. The winner will only be determined in June, as the works should start after 2024. They will cover an area of approximately 4.5 hectares (forecourt, adjacent streets and Place Jean XXIII).
This is new ground for future conflicts. Heritage preservation associations are already worried about the possible disappearance of Place Jean XXIII. They point out that in matters of works, the payer is always the ultimate decision maker.