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European Patrimony Days

You may recall my discussion of the concept of a national patrimony and Prosper Mérimée's role in creating one in France (see post on August 6). Well, if you happen to be in France this weekend, take advantage of the annual Journées européennes du patrimoine (September 20 and 21), during which buildings and other treasures not normally open to visitors are often open and free of charge. Le Monde has put together a Sélection de sites "journées du patrimoine", with links to Internet resources put together for the event. (Here is a sampling of other coverage of the event in the French press.) One interesting detail this year is the action of French archeologists, who have joined forces with the intermittents du spectacle (see post on July 30) in the belief that their future employment may be endangered. No word yet if strikes from these groups will threaten any of the events this weekend.

Le Corbusier, First Study for the Church of Firminy, 19 septembre 1963The Bibliothèque Nationale, the Archives Nationales, and the Sénat are all hosting tours on which you can see areas normally closed to the public. For this year, the 20th anniversary of the founding of this event and the 200th anniversary of Mérimée's birth, the theme is "Spiritual Patrimony," which is a fascinating choice, I think. This does not mean that all the monuments on the program this year are sacred buildings. In a perhaps not unrelated story, however, the church that Le Corbusier designed for the town of Firminy-Vert (see Le Corbusier's drawing at left) will finally be completed, as reported by Emmanuel de Roux (Le chantier de l'église de Firminy redémarre, September 19) in Le Monde. As it turns out, Le Corbusier made a lot of designs for Firminy, only of one which was the unusual church (see the plans and documents related to his work in Firminy). According to the French Ministry of Culture, "Firminy is today the most important European site for the work of this architect." As you can see in Le Corbusier's drawing, the church will resemble somewhat another type of structure you see occasionally in the French countryside, a nuclear cooling tower.

Finally, for mentions of Ionarts, thanks to Byzantium's Shores (on September 15), Travelers Diagram (on September 17), and Maud Newton (on September 18). The translation of the interview with DeLillo from L'Express (see post on September 14) has been quoted out there in the blogosphere. Problems at Blogger the past couple days may have given some readers trouble trying to find it. Sorry about that. I also apologize if you are not seeing the Ionarts banner above: trying to get that fixed.

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