The Council of Paris gave Tuesday, October 11 the green light to the classification by the State of the Sacred Heart as a historic monument, despite the opposition of the Communists, yet allies of the mayor Anne Hidalgo, who denounced a “deep attack against the action of the communards”.
While the City began a campaign in 2011 to protect the 96 religious buildings belonging to it, it took 11 years for it to demand the highest level of protection for the famous Montmartre basilica.
With 11 million people each year, it is however, behind Notre-Dame, the second most visited monument of the capital, underlined in session Karen Taïeb, the heritage assistant.
Sensitive subject for part of the Parisian left
But the subject is sensitive for part of the Parisian left, the history of the basilica being linked to the Commune, a bloody insurrectionary episode which began with the capture of cannons on the same site. After the Commune was crushed in 1871, the National Assembly, dominated by conservatives, declared its construction of public utility, completed in 1923 and since associated with the“moral order” repressive at the time.
“The culmination of this repression is the erection of this odious religious edifice on these dead, which are estimated at nearly 30,000”declared the elected communist Raphaëlle Primet for whom “this classification remains an affront to the memory of the communards”. For the Insoumise Danielle Simonnet, the vote can even “be akin to the apology for the murder of the 32,000 communards”.
The elected LR Rudolph Granier accused them “to instrumentalize history” and stressed that this ranking was a “great opportunity for funding outside the City’s budget”.
Support for any work
Because the classification as historical monuments will allow any work to be supported up to 40% by the Drac (Regional Directorate of Cultural Affairs), against 20% previously, said Karen Taïeb. “There is no question of forgetting the memorial part”she said during the session, pointing out that the classified sector included the square Louise Michel, “which bears the name of a major figure of the Commune”.
Anne Hidalgo’s assistant recalled that she had decided to “bracketing the pursuit of protection” du Sacré-Coeur, started in 2020 with the registration to historical monuments, so that the year 2021 is “fully dedicated” to the commemorations of the 150 years of the Commune. The Ministry of Culture should validate “in stride” this classification request.