The two main candidates in the Paris mayoral election next March have pledged to step up repair work on the capital's historic churches after architectural associations sounded the alarm at the state of disrepair of some well-known houses of prayer.
The city owns 85 Catholic and nine Protestant churches as well as two synagogues - all taken over in 1905 at the separation of Church and state - and it is responsible for their upkeep.
The US-based World Monuments Fund recently placed two Paris churches on its global list of endangered monuments. Local associations published a list of the 10 most rundown churches.
When city councillors from the conservative opposition brought up the issue, the city’s Socialist administration said it had spent 11 million euros per year on church repairs since 2001 (when the current mayor Bartrand Delanoe was first elected), more, they said, than the previous conservative administration (of Jean Tiberi).
Socialist mayoral candidate Anne Hidalgo promised to boost city spending on church upkeep if she wins the elections scheduled for next March, while conservative candidate Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet said she would also seek private funds to help expand the maintenance programme.