Philippe Bélaval, the president of National Monuments, has joined Emmanuel Macron’s cabinet

Philippe Bélaval, with Emmanuel Macron at the 2021 inauguration of the Hôtel de la Marine in Paris. Francois Mori / POOL / AFP

The senior civil servant, for 10 years at the head of the institution, became the cultural adviser at the Elysée, a post to be filled since the appointment of Rima Abdul Malak to the government.

After a seven-month vacation, the position of Cultural Advisor to Emmanuel Macron has finally been filled. According to the Politico site, which disclosed the information on Monday morning, it is Philippe Bélaval, current president of the Center for National Monuments and traveling companion of the President of the Republic, who will take up the gauntlet, from January 23. He will replace Rima Abdul Malak, appointed Minister of Culture, with whom he has a good relationship.

“You are a monument among our monuments” Emmanuel Macron rejoiced, last September, when he promoted the senior official commander of the Legion of Honor, from the grand salon of the Hôtel de la Marine, in Paris. We couldn’t have said it any better. At the age of 67, Philippe Bélaval will end his career at the Élysée, after having “well” in cultural circles, literally jumping from one post to another. Director General of the Paris Opera in 1990, then of the National Library of France between 1994 and 1998, he took over the Archives of France, until 2000. Then went through the administrative courts of appeal of Bordeaux, after Versailles, he became Director General of Heritage in 2010, before joining the Center des Monuments Nationaux two years later. With this background, Philippe Bélaval has a solid network, a certain wisdom and political sense. Which makes him a character at court – he is regularly received at the castle by François Hollande, who asks him for a report on the future of the Pantheon. And Emmanuel Macron is in the habit of consulting him about the legacy; the two men share the idea of ​​monuments that are certainly restored but also generators of jobs and wealth.

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Under the “era” of Bélaval, the Monuments Center, which covers more than 100 sites, including Mont Saint-Michel, Sainte Chapelle, the Hôtel de la Marine, the ramparts of Carcassonne and the Château de Rambouillet, is ‘elsewhere has reached a milestone. Every year, 10 million visitors now come to the CMN sites, which have been opened to contemporary art and a great level of summer programming.

But above all it was three monuments, the Hôtel de la Marine, the Panthéon and the castle of Villers-Cotterêts, on the Aisne, that allowed the President of the Republic to see this high official at work. In 2022, and after 5 years of work, Philippe Bélaval allows the President to inaugurate the Hôtel de la Marine, in Paris, after imagining a new destiny for this former royal furniture store that Nicolas wants to sell Sarkozy in the private sector. . In the Panthéon, a Republican monument highly valued by Emmanuel Macron, Philippe Bélaval plays the pantheonizations of Simone Veil and Joséphine Baker, as well as the entry of Maurice Genevoix and Those of 14. Remains, in front of him, Villers-Cotterêts , destined to become the city of La Francophonie, after 150 million euros of work. The Cité must be inaugurated before next summer, and constitutes a bet – while the president of the CMN Philippe Bélaval pulled out his hair to find the way for the economic survival of the site.

We do not yet know the roadmap that Emmanuel Macron gave to his new adviser, for the next 4 years, apart from managing the reopening of Notre-Dame de Paris, scheduled for December 2024. mystery to anyone to like of Philippe Bélaval to lead the public establishment for the restoration and reconstruction of Notre-Dame, entrusted to General Georgelin. The two of them will meet at the Elysée and have to make a common cause. In the coming years, there will be no question about the launch of major works, but the President of the Republic undoubtedly wants to continue to exist in a place that allows him to approach the history of France and the question of identity.

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