Varennes-Jarcy: a historic estate can host a fund dedicated to Daniel Buren

Posted January 13, 2023, 6:44 p.m

Located in the countryside within the municipality of Varennes-Jarcy (Essonne), the magnificent La Feuilleraie estate is currently attracting covetousness. Although the last owners sold the site about two decades ago, several promoters have tried to implement housing programs.

“No project has been able to see the light of day, the promoters have consistently backed out,” confirms Claude Dumas, president of the association for the protection of the Varennes-Jarcy site. The latest project – 98 apartments, 25% of which are social – was challenged by the Ministry of Environment in 2018.

A basic idea

The property is located in the immediate vicinity of the mentioned site on the banks of the Yerres valley; the project was in violation of several environmental and biodiversity protection regulations. Since 2006, the Yerres coast has benefited from classification as a landmark site.

The decision, which corresponds to the municipality and several environmental associations, the Collective for the Protection of the Yerres Valley and the association for the protection of the Varennes-Jarcy area, wishes to implement an alternative project. According to Le Parisien, their idea is to create a Daniel Buren foundation for contemporary art.

This place can be a well-known site to help young artists

Bruno Bezot Mayor of Varennes-Jarcy

Because the property is steeped in history in addition to its charm. Writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and his wife Consuelo lived there for several years before World War II. These places formerly belonged to the famous sculptor Louis Oscar Roti, the creator of the famous Semeuse painting engraved on the Franks.

Daniel Buren, an internationally known painter and visual artist, has lived in the city for many years. The idea would be to create a fund of the artist’s works, while also hosting young artists in residence, as well as holding temporary exhibitions. “We are still at the beginning of thinking, but it is possible to install the artist’s works in the park. And this place can be a well-known site to help young artists,” explains the city’s mayor, Bruno Bezot.


However, the public land agency of Ile-de-France (Epfif) disagrees. The latter has about 4,500 square meters of property, an eighteenth-century house and park (about 17,000 m2) owned by the municipality. Epfif still wants to see a housing project built that would allow it to recoup its funds. The institution actually bought part of the property for 4 million euros.

First, the associations and the municipality want to get a one-year moratorium from Epfif during which no housing projects will be submitted. This time, it would allow various actors to advance in the task of creating a convention. It’s a prospect that Jean-Philippe Dugoin-Clément, president of the Public Land Foundation, doesn’t quite believe. “That’s why we have to return to our funds. The municipality of Varennes-Jarcy probably does not have the funds to buy our land. A point confirmed by Bruno Bezot. “Indeed, Varennes Jarsi does not have 4 million euros to pay for the land investment. It will be necessary to find the finance from another place”, he stressed.

Historic property

Apart from the financial issue, there is also the problem of social housing. According to the criteria of the Solidarity and Urban Renewal Act (SRU), the municipality is severely lacking in social housing: just over 10% against the 25% it will reach in the coming years. He pays a hefty late fee. “We are swimming in the middle of a paradox. The municipality has a huge shortage of social housing and therefore incurs fines. “Jean Philippe is annoying Dugoin-Clément.

However, an argument that does not convince the associations: “There are many other places in Varennes-Jarcy that can accommodate social houses. Why choose exactly that at the risk of destroying a historic domain,” replies Claude Dumas.

Posted in Art

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