The Wheels Turn at Teysseroles

Chapel front
Chapel front

As we know, the wheels of French bureaucracy grind exceedingly slowly. Try restoring an historic monument, as we are doing at the nearby chapel of Teysseroles, and they go at a snail’s pace. But now things appear to be moving, or so we hope.

The association to restore the chapel was set up nearly five years ago. Since then, we have held an annual fête, which is our principal money-spinner, and have managed to raise around €25,000. We have also carried out a lot of work to clear the site, rebuild the cemetery walls and prepare the chapel for the specialist work needed to restore it.

The process of getting planning permission has been convoluted. Because the building is an historic monument, Bâtiments de France has to be consulted and involved every step of the way.

Once planning permission was granted, the archaeologists then had to move in to carry out test digs and ensure that there is nothing to stop the work going ahead. This happened in June and we still haven’t had their written report. However, the Maire of Parisot, the commune in which the chapel is situated, tells us that they have given verbal clearance.

Yesterday, we had a meeting with our architect to determine the priorities for the first tranche of work. We decided that it should focus on:

Checking out a dodgy pillar
Dodgy buttress
  • Reinforcing the buttresses.
  • Restoring the entrance.
  • Making good the archway that led from the main building into the now-demolished side chapel, formerly the private chapel of the de La Valette family. The archway was blocked up at some point but is now in a dangerous condition.
Archway into what remains of the former de La Vallette chapel
Archway into what remains of the former de La Valette chapel

So, can the work start soon? Well, no, not yet. First, our architect has to meet with Bâtiments de France again to ensure that these priorities are acceptable. Then he has to provide us with estimates of the cost, to enable the commune to apply for the various subsidies needed on top of the money we have already raised. A detailed specification for the work has to be drawn up and tenders sought from suitably qualified companies. The chosen company then has to schedule in the work.

We hope that the restoration can begin in April 2016, so that we will have something to show for our efforts by the time of our fête in June. But we are not holding our breath.

Here are some shots of the interior of the chapel.

You might also like:

Dig This! What the Archaeologists Found at Teysseroles
Work Continues to Restore La Chapelle de Teysseroles
Toussaint at Teysseroles

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11 comments

    • I will probably be very old before it is finished! But, as you rightly say, we are doing this for future generations, not just for our own.

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  1. I sympathise. Keeping the impetus and enthusiasm that the group has so clearly mustered when nothing is moving is hugely challenging. And there are only so many times one can say ‘but it WILL be wonderful’. That said – it WILL be wonderful 🙂

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    • It’s going to take a long time before the chapel is fully restored, but we will be pleased to see the work actually starting next year at last! Assuming it does…

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  2. This labour of love really is a long term project isn’t it. It is fascinating to see the slow progress, and I look forward to reading lots more after April next year !

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    • It is taking a long time and has been rather frustrating for the past 18 months, since the volunteers can no longer do much on the site, except to keep it tidy. The work on the chapel can only be carried out by specialists. Fingers crossed that the work will start next April.

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