French Ministry of Culture Announces New 2018 Lottery Program

French authorities announced that they will soon release annual lottery tickets and scratchcards to help preserve some of the nation's many beautiful churches and châteaux. These lotteries will be available for purchase at the start of 2018 and all the money will go to the Ministry of Culture's restoration efforts.

Françoise Nyssen, France's current Culture Minister, says she expects spending on restoration projects to go up by about five percent in 2018. Despite this small increase, overall spending on heritage restoration projects is down by 40 percent since 2010.

Today, the French government spends less than €400 million annually on heritage projects. About €15 million of that €400 million will go to help preserve historic buildings in smaller towns next year.

Nyssen hopes this new lottery program will raise at least €20 million to help restore the nation's hundreds of historical sites. While this is still not ideal, it's probably the best the Ministry of Culture could do given France's current economic malaise.

French President Emmanuel Macron said he won't change how much money the state allocates to historical restoration projects. So, over the next four and a half years the amount of money that goes into heritage restorations will at least remain the same.

A few cultural activists concerned about the decrepit state of France's many national treasures have suggested charging tourists to enter major sites like the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. Stéphane Bern, a popular TV journalist in France, is one of the key proponents of this idea.

Bern recently pointed out that London now charges €24 for people to tour Westminster Abbey. He then suggested that France should do the same if it was truly concerned about preserving its cathedrals from the ravages of time.

Nyssen and President Macron both told reporters that they don't want to charge tourists to enter sacred buildings like the Notre-Dame. However, Nyssen didn't rule out entrance fees to some of France's iconic sites in the near future.

France's Ministry of Culture estimates that 600 of the nation's 35,000 châteaux are almost in a state of disrepair.

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