La Croix: Faced with the health crisis, what are the prospects for Vaux-le-Vicomte?
Ascanio from Voguë: I am not worried about the future of the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte. This 350-year-old monument has already gone through wars and revolutions, it will resist without problem. But I am worried about the company in Vaux-le-Vicomte which employs 80 people working on the castle. We want to get through the crisis by avoiding any layoffs. We have recourse to partial unemployment, which is a lesser evil in this period. What really hurt us was seeing all the businesses reopen in December. Culture is a vital good just like material goods. Outings with family and friends should be considered more, as they are important in the life of a society.
Do you hope to reopen the castle soon?
A.V. : The castle of Vaux-le-Vicomte closes every year during the winter period. In this sense, a possible confinement between January and March would not bother us unlike a confinement from March to May like last year. We hope to reopen on March 27. I am appalled at the total uncertainty in which we operate, but we are still working on a reopening on this date.
How do you see the year 2021?
A.V. : Our development teams work on the program of events for 2021 as for all other years. We will prepare a few more events specifically designed for the French public and Ile-de-France residents because we know that our international visitors, who represent 30% of our attendance, will be much less present in 2021. We also expect a number of visitors less than one. normal year and therefore we have reduced the number of our opening days.
What is your economic situation today?
A.V. : During the first confinement, we had a million euros deficit. We can still keep our staff for the coming months but we really hope for a reopening in March. The castle of Vaux-le-Vicomte is a special case because it is the largest private heritage in France. In normal times, the investments required to maintain the castle properly already exceed the amount of our income. Vaux-le-Vicomte also works thanks to sponsorship. The regulation of private monuments using patronage is absurd. We have a total ban on building up a financial reserve. All of our income and resources must be used. We are therefore permanently in deficit or at best in equilibrium. We should remove this ban which places us in a situation of uncertainty and deprives us of reserve in the event of a hard blow.
Have you received specific assistance from the State to help you withstand the pandemic?
A.V. : In normal times, we are subsidized by the State to the tune of 5% of our budget as one-off aid for our work. As for the rest of the cultural and tourist sector, the State covers the partial unemployment of our employees concerned up to 100%. He also pledged in 2020 to grant us additional funding for work, but the vote for this grant will take at least a year.