“The most beautiful view of the Palais des Papes”, according to the mayor of Villeneuve, Pascale Bories, is in the Gard. More precisely at the Saint-André abbey, nestled in the fort of the same name, on the heights of the cardinal city.
However, the building, which dates from the 18th century, has aged, especially its roofs. “The disorders were not obvious seen from the outside, but there were many pathologies”, recalls Marie Viennet, who owns the Saint-André abbey with her husband Gustave. The roofs, built by sisters in the 19th century without major means, had to be completely renovated. Five roofs in all, including that of the abbey palace, an area of 560 square meters, were therefore renovated and covered this Saturday.
A major project, which had become essential: some roofs were in real danger of collapsing, and had to be supported urgently. Not to mention a crack that cracked the building from top to bottom clogged with 600 liters of liquid lime, just that. The roofs have therefore been reinforced, and the frames with them. To achieve this, great means were needed, in particular to pass a crane through the porch of Fort Saint-André and then over that of the abbey.
It also took a tidy sum: 500,000 euros in all, including 300,000 euros for roofs. To manage to return this sum, Marie and Gustave Viennet appealed to the institutions, which responded present: the Regional Directorate of Cultural Affairs thus put 248,000 euros, the Occitanie region 48,000 euros and the town hall of Villeneuve 8,200 euros, since the abbey is classified as a Historic Monument.
But they also appealed to sponsorship, with success: 71,000 euros for the sake of this bias, including 34,000 euros from a crowdfunding campaign open to individuals and very small businesses, through the Heritage Foundation, which also added 15,000 euros of its own funds. Finally, the company Emile Garcin Properties invested 22,000 euros in the project. “We are very proud to have participated seeing the result”notes Emmanuel Garcin, the president of the company.
Funding proposed by Regional Councilor Monique Novaretti, who “(is) pleased that sponsors are mobilizing for the maintenance of heritage. » The mayor of Villeneuve, Pascale Bories, will also salute “passion” of the Viennet couple for the abbey, and their enthusiasm for making it “living heritage”the place having welcomed 25,000 visitors in 2022.
The abbey has not finished with the work, resulting in 1.5 million euros over ten years. From now on, the projects concern the development of a management plan for the gardens, the restoration of the Italian garden, the entrance ceiling, the wall of the chaplaincy or even that of the second floor, which will also be to make accessible, with the idea of “create a friendly space”, notes Marie Viennet. So the sponsorship, which the site has been calling on since 2015, will most likely be pushed again.