The Grand Palais, part of which is occupied by the Palais de la découverte will close for restoration works in September 2020 with a reopening planned in 2024. The purpose of this architectural project: monumental prestigeous renovation and embellishment. A pharaonic project estimated at 466 million euros, which would be reevaluated to 541 million euros by the Court of Audit (1)! The Palais de la découverte, completely gutted, will no longer be able to welcome its public for four long years. Moreover, most of its scientific equipment will be removed because…
… the Palais de la découverte will be ransacked then replaced
Indeed, the new redistribution and future uses of the surface area will require restructuring part of the building. The new single entrance for the entire “Grand Palais” will require the creation of major internal arteries. One of them will go through the area where we present our great spectacular experiments which, too voluminous and unmovable, will be eliminated. The creation of shops, a large panoramic restaurant and the architectural requirements for enhancing the internal structure of the building will bring about to the suppression of the majority of our lecture demonstration rooms, 35 today down to nearly 15 in 2024.
In addition, the new scientific project, adapted to these architectural constraints, plans to keep only one room per discipline (compared to 11 today in physics alone, 4 in chemistry, 8 in biology ...). Also, many fundamental topics that have each had until now their own dedicated and very well equipped room (acoustic, radioactivity, light, mechanics...), will be presented only superficially or even be suppressed! A true vandalism in view of the spirit of our institution which has always offered to its young public the most complete initiation to the fundamental principles of the different scientific disciplines and more advanced concepts for its better informed public.
In addition, the new scientific project aims essentially to present contemporary science. It is a deliberately elitist program that will welcome our future visitors. It is unashamedly illustrated by their pledge proudly hammered out in the text of the project several times:
Our aim is not to address the scientific knowledge gaps of our visitors
With these changes, the development and manufacturing workshops (carpentry, plastics, mechanics ...) will also disappear. As for our staff, they will be reduced to 80 persons compared with 160 today (and more than 220 ten years ago).
The developers of this project would like us to believe that the field of ruins they have planned for our scientific cultural heritage is nothing more than a renovation! It's a shameless hoax! Unsurprisingly, the scientific project has been rejected by the Academy of Sciences and by many scientific societies and renowned scientists.
What a shame for our 5,000 visiting classes (primary schools, colleges, high schools and higher) and our 540,000 annual visitors. Should we resign ourselves to it? Or rather require a real renovation, which we have been needing for such a long time. A real renovation respecting the integrity of our surfaces and our lecture demonstration rooms, offering scientific content of high level quality, as in the past, approved by the scientific community. And why not dream, ask for the restitution of some of the surfaces taken from us over the last thirty years!
Your signature would be a very valuable support for the survival of the Palais de la découverte.
All things considered, though, it is with your taxes that this project of over a half a billion euros will be financed.
So, let's help our nation save money... let's stop this project!
(1) Canard Enchaîné 19/09/2018