Didier Repellin, chief architect of Historical Monuments
About ten years ago, I took some prisoners on a tour of the restoration site at Lyon cathedral. At the end of the visit, a few of them asked the site manager to hire them! They never wondered if it was beautiful or not, they had been struck by what someone could do with their hands. They saw craftsmen who loved what they were doing and who didn’t mind doing their work again in the event of a small error. These craftsmen were about the same age as the prisoners: there was no room for speeches or psychological explanations, their work alone was a powerful testimony. Their worried wardens were left bewildered: they had never expected such an impact! We have too much isolated monuments, instead they should be a part of our daily lives.I believe that our heritage is a source of hope for the future. The term “conservation” should not exist. Rather we should say “promotion”, development of our heritage, since it is still evolving—it is not just a pile of old, dead stones!