Work continues on UNESCO World Heritage Site ‘Palace of Versailles’

Written by By J and C Benson, CNN

Work on the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Palace of Versailles” is largely done.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi — which cost $1.8 billion to build and opened in 2018 — is slated to open by year’s end. The Porta di Principe in Venice has also completed renovations, turning the former slave market into an upscale hotel.

But in Paris, the giant orange scaffolding continues to be a reminder of just how much work is still left to be done.

Credit: Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images

“Projects tend to get carried out very quickly,” said Yves Perrot, CEO of Perrot Leighton Architekten , one of Paris’ largest construction companies. “People forget that there are still towers to be finished, or that it may take 10 or 15 years to finish everything in Europe.”

Perrot Leighton won an unsolicited competition to help the UNESCO World Heritage Site rebuild its sewer line. While the family business still maintains many of the Palaces’ original columns, the process required a nearly 40% reduction in overall material use.

Read more: A peek inside the abandoned Roman market of Rome’s Termini railway station

“When you walk into the palace, the original work is still there,” Perrot said. “But the doors are wider, and the columns are less heavy. Our work also took a longer time because there was a lot of different post-tensioning. The posts were more unstable than the columns.”

The Palaces’ original work is still there, but the doors are wider and the columns are less heavy. Credit: Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images

Still, workers are not working on every component of the construction project at the time of this article’s publication.

Thanks to the use of an existing, modern-day facility, construction of works for French wines is permitted. The wine industry employed more than 9,000 people in 2017, including local employers, 200 members of skilled labor and 22,000 office-goers, according to a French wine authority .

A different perspective

Credit: Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images

Many wonder why Paris still has gaping holes in its infrastructure.

“What we’re doing here is not repeating what was done in the past,” explained Andre Economou, a French architect, urban designer and politician. “The fact that the work isn’t done is symbolic. What we’re doing is improving the overall city.”

Economou’s neighbors weren’t buying it.

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“Paris is going through a difficult period,” said a UPS driver who gave his name as Greg. “The demand for international flights is at its lowest in many years. And there is zero support for small businesses. It’s got to stop.

“My bosses make me arrive early every day and leave late. And I have to hire security. I’m glad this construction started.”

France President Emmanuel Macron attended a ceremonial site entry for the restoration of the Palace of Versailles, in Paris, France. Credit: Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images

Economou’s views may be challenged by the vast amounts of financial backing he’s received. After all, French President Emmanuel Macron famously wished the employees of Paris’ Saint-Germain football club a happy 100th birthday on Independence Day, and called them a “national treasure.”

“I have a 99% satisfaction rate with my company,” said Erwan Lacroix, chief executive of Les Techniques des Sureau de Paris. “If I’m not fully satisfied, I don’t do the job.”

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