Paris Communist suggests tearing down Sacré-Coeur
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A top Parisian Communist has said that if he were mayor, he would close down the Sacré-Coeur and replace it with a "solidarity space". The remark comes after Paris’s Communists vowed to back the Socialist candidate in the next mayoral election.
After suggesting earlier this month that a “village” for Roma should be set up in Paris’s posh 16th district, a prominent French Communist, Ian Brossat, has once again provoked gasps and giggles – this time for suggesting that one of the capital’s most cherished and visited landmarks, the Sacré-Coeur Basilica, be torn down.
“The Sacré-Coeur is a symbol that I don’t like,” Brossat told French weekly Journal du Dimanche in a video interview published online October 20.
The church is on top of a hill in Montmartre, a trendy, village-like part of the 18th district, where Brossat serves on the city council. It was built as a symbolic punishment of supporters of the Paris Commune, a revolutionary, working-class government that rejected the ruling bourgeoisie and governed Paris briefly in 1871.
Brossat’s hostility toward the Sacré-Coeur is a sentiment that has been voiced before by those nostalgic for Revolutionary Paris, who feel the building effectively whitewashes the city's rebellious past.
Instead of the Sacré-Coeur, a ‘solidarity space’?
Brossat sees the basilica as representing a conservative moral and religious order. In its place, the 33-year-old, openly gay Communist said he would build “a space dedicated to solidarity”.
Noting the gap between rich and poor in the French capital, Brossat said that restoring “social justice” and “solidarity” should be a priority for Paris.
The comment comes just after Parisian Communists vowed to back Socialist candidate Anne Hidalgo in next year’s mayoral election.
Hidalgo's office did not respond to a request for comment.
Designed by Paul Abadie and finished in 1914, the Sacré-Coeur today draws visitors from around the world both inside the basilica and to the steps facing south, which provide a panoramic view of the city.
In the unlikely event that Brossat ever becomes mayor and carries out his plan, a new uprising can be expected in Paris: that of angry tourists.