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Local Matters / Changing Landscape

Planned Russian Orthodox Center on the Quai Branly gets the go-ahead

Russian Othodox Center Paris

The Prefect of Paris and the Ile-de-France Region have given authorization to the Russian government to build a Russian Orthodox spiritual and cultural center on the Quai Branly in the 7th Arrondissement (district).

The center will occupy a plot of land acquired by the Russian Presidential Property Management Department in March 2011. The existing Météo France (weather forecasting agency) buildings will be demolished to make way for the project.

French architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte has designed the 4,000 m2 complex, which will include a Russian-French school for 150 students, an exhibition hall, an Orthodox church and various administrative buildings.

The development of the site is scheduled to begin in June 2014.

Russians have had a love affair with Paris since Tsar Peter the Great visited in the 18th century. Despite changeable relations between the two countries in the 19th century, Paris was the destination of choice for Russian aristocrats, writers and artists.

The number of Russian émigrés in Paris multiplied and they built their own cathedral. The Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Saint Alexander Nevsky on the rue Daru in the 8th arrondissement was consecrated in 1861. Its golden domes and neo-Byzantine style imitated the church architecture of Moscow and St Petersburg.

The fascination with Paris continues today. Russian buyers have been snapping up Paris property. And you’ll find specialist Russian bookstores and food stores – but you don’t need to speak Russian to enjoy the latter.


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