Saturday, October 10, 2009

French Politics 2

The Hôtel Lambert, in a corner of the Île Saint-Louis overlooking the Seine, was once one of Paris’s best-kept secrets. But when a high-rolling Qatari prince bought the crumbling 17th-century palace in 2007 for $88 million, the Lambert became the center of attention, not all of it so attractive.

Paris Journal - A Palace Overhaul, Treading on French Heritage - NYTimes.com

I wonder why the French did not object to the previous owners who seem to have done most of the damage to the palace? And if the palace is part of the the French heritage why is it not under the state ownership rather than private ownership? Just wondering.

2 comments:

jacques said...

The journalist who wrote the article is probably much younger than me. Hôtel Lambert was very famous some 40 years ago when it was home to Michèle Morgan, a most famous french movie star of the mid twentith century. You know how we, french, are about women, specially beautifull ones. She never was the owner, and I don't remember who was the owner at the time (some research on the internet would tell us: type "Michèle Morgan" and "Hôtel Lambert" and test your french fluency)
What is most puzzling to me in the present debate is the identification of the reason for the current row: is it because the new owner is a foreigner (xénophobia, irrespective of his country), or because he is an arab (arabophobia), or because he is moslem (islamophobia), or just because he is so visibly wealthy (straightforward jealousy or envy) I presume there is a litle of the four but I am not sure each one who oppose the project is perfectly clear about his/her own opposition. Anyway, I feel sorry about each of the four possible motive, but France is not immune of any, eventhough by far not the worst country in the world on these grouds.
Now, why is not the Hôtel Lambert under state ownership, I have a stronger view on that: just because we could not aford to have under state ownership everything that makes France a country with a rich and pleasant Historyland (and Natureland) And in fact no country can, not even Kuwait. I am sure that when the Kuwait-city spire-towers were built, if they were (or had been) built under private initiative/ownership, the government and the public opinion had their say because it impact the skyline and the shore of the city which is public ownership of the people of Kuwait. At least that's the way we look at it. Let me express the wish that a solution is found for Hôtel Lambert which allows the new owner to modernise the infrastructure without betrying the authenticity of the Hôtel (I would not refer to it as a palace) I hope I ansered the question.

bu ziyad said...

Thank you Jacques for your always insightful commentary. Most historical sights in Kuwait -please hold your laughter, I know they are not that many- are under direct state ownership. But what you are saying makes sense. I am not familiar with any private property around here that is protected by the government -having said that the government has a say in everything even when you build a private house through granting permits and I believe this is universal.