When the country started exiting containment, French heritage remained on hold. Like restaurants, the 106 monuments, museums and sites managed by the Centre des Monuments Nationaux are still shut down. This Thursday May 28, 2020, Edouard Philippe announced the principles for the second setp of the containment exit starting on June 2, 2020 and has said that from that day, museums and monuments will be allowed to reopen.
As for the Centre des Monuments Nationaux, the reopening is very gradual, and this Friday June 5, 2020 we discover the first cultural places reopening in France:
Wednesday June 10, 2020:
Château de Champs-sur-Marne
Friday June 20, 2020
Colonne de la Grande Armée à Wimille
In an interview with the AFP, Centre des Monuments Nationaux president Philippe Bélaval tells us more about what happens backstage so that they can reopen. He says that they will not all open at the same time: the French heritage will reopen gradually: “These reopening are expected to take place between early June and mid-July. We will examine monument by monument, during long meetings especially with the trade unions”.
Amid the coronavirus epidemic, the question of reopening these cultural sites is indissociable from the uphold of the health recommendations. Philippe Bélaval reminds that to do so, tours will have to be redesigned in a case-by-case basis and it could lead to preparatory works: “The abbey at Mont-Saint-Michel is said to reopen somewhere in June, even though the Mont is already open to visitors. As for the Arc de Triomphe, it will not be one of the first sites to reopen, because it is not the simplest. We need to guarantee a climbing flow and a descending flow.”
Yet, Philippe Bélaval wishes these reopening while upholding health conditions for visitors and the staff proceed as soon as possible for three grounds: the will to sustain the cultural public service, the return to social life that it represents for the CMN officers, and last but not least, the loss of income because of the coronavirus crisis. By the way, the perspective of this reopen let us forecast a new challenge: “We face a new situation: it will only be a French public and a close public that will come to our sites. For some of our sites listed at UNESCO World Heritage, we are looking for developing distance-tours for foreigners”.