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:
- 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.
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.
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