The Stéphane Bern Heritage Mission chooses the Jardin des Plantes in Montpellier

The Botanical Garden Stewardship House is one of the 18 sites selected by the Heritage Mission for the safeguarding of endangered heritage led by Stéphane Bern. It will benefit from the financial support of Loto du Patrimoine.

The Heritage Mission for the safeguarding of endangered heritage, led by Stéphane Bern, has unveiled 18 emblematic sites, in mainland France and overseas, which will benefit from the financial support of the 2022 edition of the Loto du Patrimoine de la FDJ. Among these sites, the house of the Intendance of the Jardin des Plantes in Montpellier was elected from around a hundred files.

Michaël Delafosse: “The President said, it’s a subject for Stéphane Bern”

The mayor of Montpellier returns to his exchange with the President of the Republic.How did this operation take place?During a meeting with the President of the Republic, I talk to him about the Jardin des Plantes and explain to him that it is the oldest botanical garden in France, but that it requires renovation that I am ready to finance. And there, he told me, this is a subject for Stéphane Bern. So I very quickly had an appointment with him, I talk to him about the 800 years of teaching medicine, the work that the City intends to carry out on the heritage of the Crest, the Unesco project…And he was immediately won over.Can this allow Montpellier residents to reconnect with this place?It is nevertheless emblematic, it was nevertheless founded by Henri-IV, it is a place of learning, of understanding botany in its diversity. The more Montpellier residents reclaim this place, the better. Our first gesture, moreover, will be to open the gardens on the boulevard Henri-IV. What budget can you expect with this lotto?It is generally between 300,000 and 400,000 € of credits, which will complete the financing for its renovation. But this lottery will also be an opportunity to bring this Jardin des Plantes national visibility and why not encourage patrons to get involved in the foundation created by the university for the Garden. For my part, I made a commitment to the university that there will be credits from the municipality for the renovation of the Jardin des Plantes. And then for the anatomy museum and then the herbarium. It is also a treasure of Montpellier’s heritage, a unique collection, but you have to go there in stages. The fact that Stéphane Bern is by our side will help a lot, he is a great ambassador

Applications submitted on the website www.missionbern.fr are first examined by the departmental and regional delegations of the Foundation of heritage. The Ministry of Culture, through its regional directorates of cultural affairs (Drac), participates in this first examination, in particular of buildings protected as historical monuments.

Four main criteria

The projects are then selected by a committee chaired by Stéphane Bern and made up of representatives of the Heritage Foundation, FDJ and the Ministry of Culture, which meets twice a year. An emblematic heritage project is selected by department each year, according to four main criteria: heritage and cultural interest; the state of peril; the maturity of the project; its impact on the territory and the development project.As for the amount of the endowment for each site, it will be announced during the European Heritage Days, next September.

Emblematic sites and departmental sites

The Heritage Mission was launched in September 2017: the President of the Republic then entrusted Stéphane Bern with a mission to identify endangered heritage and seek new sources of funding to restore it. From this initiative was born the Loto du Patrimoine, the proceeds of which were allocated to the Heritage Foundation.

Seventeen other sites selected

The Parc des Sources in Vichy; the Church of Our Lady of the priory of La Charité-sur-Loire; in Brittany, the former penal colony of Belle-Île-en-Mer; the Maison des Alix in Gien (Loiret); the Château de Quenza in Corsica; the First Castle of the Princes of Salm in the Vosges; the mining headframes of 9-9 bis in Oignies (Pas-de-Calais); the Church of Saint-Louis in Villemomble (Seine-Saint-Denis); in Normandy, the old church and veterinary infirmary of Haras du Pin; the Italian theater in Guéret (Creuse); Porte Beucheresse in Laval (Mayenne); the Castellas de Roquemartine in Eyguières (Bouches-du-Rhône); in Guadeloupe, the Maison Schwarz-Bart; in Guyana, the Village of Acarouany; in Martinique, the Atlas Cinema at Anses d’Arlet; in Réunion and Mayotte, two former sugar factories. Since its launch, this original operation has aroused the enthusiasm of the French: 4,800 sites in danger have thus been reported on the participatory platform www.missionbern.fr. Millions of players participate each year, by playing FDJ’s “Mission Patrimoine” scratch and draw games, in the preservation of heritage. “There are two types of prices: the emblematic ones, one per region, and the departmental ones, one per department, explains René Brun, Occitanie regional delegate of the Heritage Foundation.The former are helped more than the latter.In Occitania, there have already been five emblematic prizes: Polignac hotel (Gers), Fort Brescou in Agde, Lagrasse abbey (Aude), Sainte-Marie de Souillac abbey (Lot) and this year, the stewardship house of the Jardin des Plantes in Montpellier. An emblematic site can expect between 200,000 and 600,000 € and great benefits in terms of notoriety.” Every year, another site is also helped by department. “In the Hérault, the Madness of Cadenet in Castries, the Moulin de Juffet in Montbazin, the Hermitage of Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, the Chapel of the Penitents de Mèze, have benefited from the financial support of the Loto du Patrimoine since its launch, indicates René Brun. In general, departmental sites can expect between €80,000 and €250,000 in aid.” The deadline for submitting applications for these sites is the end of April. The selected sites will be known from the end of June.One thing is certain: selected at the regional level, the house of the Intendance of the Jardin des Plantes will be able to regain its cachet and open up again to the inhabitants of Montpellier, contributing to the reputation of this site with an invaluable heritage.