A massive Russian-style cathedral is set to transform the iconic skyline of the French capital, Paris. In the wake of Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev‘s visit to Paris, his French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault said that France backed the construction of a controversial Orthodox cathedral not far from the Eiffel Tower. During a press conference with Medvedev, Ayrault said, “France shall stick to the realisation of the project. However, to build in Paris is more difficult than elsewhere, due to all the architecture and heritage protection laws”.
Moscow‘s plan to build a large cathedral and cultural centre with five onion domes and an undulating roof of glass panels beside the River Seine was stopped earlier this month. Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë described the project as “pastiche architecture” and an “ostentation totally unsuitable for the banks of the Seine”. Russia bought the 4,000-square-metre (43,055 square feet. 0.4 hectare. 1 acre) land plot that once hosted the headquarters of the French weather service in 2007 for about 60 million UK Pounds (3 million Roubles. 96 million USD. 75 million Euros). Medvedev finalised plans to build a second Orthodox cathedral in Paris with then-French president Nicolas Sarkozy in 2010.
However, when the joint design by Spanish architect Manuel Nuñez, agency Sade, and Russian company Arch Group was unveiled, many Parisians raised their eyebrows. They soon dubbed the project “Moscow-on-Seine”. The French government subsequently suspended an agreement with Russia whereby it pledged to study ways to make the building “harmoniously fit the surrounding landscape”. Ayrault said in conclusion, “I’m sure we’re on the right track to find a good project. I’m sure we’re going to find a solution”. Tens of thousands of Russians live in or near Paris. In the 1920s, the French capital became a favourite destination for anti-Bolshevik “White Russians” fleeing the Communist takeover of Russia.
28 November 2012
Let’s keep this one simple. On the one hand, you had the Mayor of Paris, homosexual activists, and posturing pseudo-intellectuals (think the SVS crowd, and you’ll have ’em nailed). On the other hand, you had the Russian government and the powerful builders’ trades union. There was NO contest. However, Hollande had to mollify the loud activists, so, he took a week to make his decision to allow them to posture to their heart’s content. Now, it’s time for real work, and the project’s going forward, as originally planned. After all, Russia ships in the natural gas and the builders’ union has a lot of clout. This was over before it even started…