highly supervised contemporary projects

STORY – In Alençon or Chartres, the modern arrangements planned around religious buildings and in classified areas are causing controversy.

The building permit for a nursing home, we read on a large panel planted at the foot of the Notre-Dame d’Alençon basilica, was filed in 2019. Although it is not always necessary to take the architect’s views on the face of it, this one is pretty self-explanatory: it shows a long, flat, utilitarian ocher building attached to an old mansion. Overlooked by the basilica, Gothic building partially redone in the 18th centurye, it stains. “Why there, precisely?”, wonders the association of Friends of old Alençon. “We are in the heart of the old town, in a protected area”, she insists. This Tuesday in June, at the cafe next to the church, everyone intends the same chorus of “Why there?”.

“It’s not the place that is missing all the same”, judge a regular of the market which is organized around the basilica. Inside, near the chapel dedicated to Martin, parents of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, a parishioner is in mourning. She confesses, she signed the petition against the

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