Two flights of steps that wind on top of one another without ever joining : crunchy in his books the incredible double stairway of Chambord castle, Leonard de Vinci had obviously not expected the use of purely health, who, five hundred years later, would be done. At the time of François Ier, for large parties at Chambord, the stairs allowed to send at full speed to the thousands of guests to the various floors of the castle.
In the spring of 2020, it will be possible, o wonder, to apply to the letter the principles of distance physics. Visitors will ascend via a flight, will drop by another : no risk ! After two and a half months of sleep, Chambord is the first of the great monuments of the State to re-open this Friday. Happy, but lucid in regard to the disastrous consequences that will have these two months to close on a French heritage already so fragile. Jean d'haussonville, president of the domain of Chambord, tells in what conditions the castle and its employees will attempt to survive the crisis.
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The Point : It looks like this staircase with double screw designed for social distancing !
Jean d'haussonville : The Romans were already using this type of staircase with double revolution to allow a garrison to raise another, avoiding the soldiers would cross paths, jostle, or communicate to each other their respective passwords. Leonard de Vinci was especially designed as a kind of mise en scene architectural : see from far away the one who rises at the same time as you, without understanding where it comes from, where it is spent, that's one of those effects surprise that it loves so much to the Renaissance ! The duchess of Montpensier, known as " la Grande Mademoiselle ", has played a lot at hide-and-seek with her father Gaston d'orléans. But the staircase of Chambord is also a symbol, a perpetual renewal ; located in the center of the castle, which is already a source of amazement to the visitor, it takes you from the ground floor up to the terraces and evokes, in the heart of the building, a sort of tree of life. It's a nice metaphor, I think, in these times of crisis. You have to believe in the future, and recharge at these great French monuments, which have gone through so many eras of drama but are still standing.
It is necessary, of emergency, a plan to support the French heritage
the financial situation of The field is it so worrisome ?
We live in 90 % of tourism revenue, and the salaries of the 185 employees are fully paid for by our own resources... but it is quite simple, between the two and a half months of closure and the parenthesis of international tourism, we will no doubt wipe 9 million of losses for the year 2020, on an operating budget of 18 million euros...
What are you going to do to keep these jobs ?
A plan of economy drastically. With the agreement of the salaried employees, we froze all wage increases and all recruitments, cancelled festivals and exhibitions, and stopped mostly all the restoration projects. With the agreement of the ministry of Culture, the investment subsidy as a historical monument will be transformed into funds. In sum, with the money that would be used, in particular, to restore the 32 square kilometers of the enclosure wall and moats that are eroding, as well as skylights in a very bad state, we are going to pay the wages. The only issue that we have maintained is the one with the electric system, because we do not need to take any risk. But be careful, if all the heritage sites to keep up financially during the coming years cancel out the work they had planned, it will not be without effect. First, of course, on the state of our heritage. But also on a whole sector of companies and companions of duty who live in these sites : this is going to be dramatic. It is urgent, a plan to support the French heritage...
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How did you react to the confinement ?
When one lives and works at Chambord, which is the most rural of the great monuments of the State, a period like the one we have just been through was something unreal. Eyes has a monument sublime, acres of a nature in full glory of spring, it's extraordinarily peaceful, and yet each new day of closure is a real disaster which we never stop to think... We were six or seven continue to work, and some of the employees came on time lend a helping hand for tasks that were not part of their responsibility. At Chambord, there are vines, a vegetable garden, French gardens, or the outsourcing companies which we call ordinary could not work. So there are guides lecturers, specialists of the renaissance, who came to plant vegetables, and I helped myself to hammer the trees and to mow the lawn...
Are you happy with this re-opening ?
So happy, yes ! However, it is likely that in June we open ourselves to loss : more foreign tourists, no school groups, much less senior citizens... maybe the same will we lose a little money, but we have a responsibility, because the reopening of the castle has a ripple effect throughout the local economy, restaurants, hotels and, of course, on the castles round about, which are part of the tour. And then a monument without visitors is like a school without children you know... He had to reopen. The French have a wonderful opportunity to visit this place in terms obviously favourable. And we take it there we also provide an opportunity to rethink our heritage, to imagine a tourism that is more sustainable and more respectful of the sites. Chambord, a metaphor's architectural revolution-free, perpetual, can not be a more beautiful symbol...