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World Heritage Convention

Decision 22 COM VII.33/34
SOC: Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Former Abbey of Saint- Remi and Palace of Tau, Reims (France)

VII.33 Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Former Abbey of Saint- Remi and Palace of Tau, Reims (France)

The Committee recalled that the Bureau at its twenty-second session requested the French authorities a report on the planning for the surrounding of the Cathedral and on the project for the construction of a media library (mediateque) in its vicinity. The Secretariat informed that it had received information from a nongovernmental organization that the demolition permit for the existing buildings on the location of the media library had been delivered and authorization for the building of the media library would have been given.

ICOMOS reported that it had sent an expert mission to Reims and that it was of the opinion that the scale of the building of the media library is too large, that its height and form will not provide a balanced townscape, that the monumental scale of the building is wholly out of context with the building's immediate surroundings and can, therefore, not be properly integrated in it. ICOMOS also expressed the opinion that a clearly defined buffer zone around the monuments inscribed on the World Heritage List should be established and that a management plan for the monuments and their buffer zone should be prepared.

As to the planning for the surroundings of the Cathedral (the 'Parvis'), the French Delegate confirmed information provided by the French authorities that a commission had been established to study the preservation and planning of the 'Parvis' and that it invited ICOMOS to participate in this commission. He stressed that the setting of the Cathedral had been completely destroyed during the First World War and that, since then, no coherence had been given to its urban space and to the surrounding architecture. He informed that a protection zone would be identified, as stipulated by French legislation, to replace the five hundred-meter radius around national monuments. He said that the media library was necessary to revitalise the area and that the building project had been revised and approved.

The Committee noted the information provided by ICOMOS and the French Delegate. It encouraged both parties to continue the dialogue on the planning for the surroundings of the Cathedral and to keep the Committee informed on progress made in this respect.