Finally, the association started the first stage of the "Notre Dame du Rhône" project. The premises have been partially cleaned.
After the passage of different owners (see chronology) the chapel belonged to the bishopric but by an error of cadastre the choir of the nuns had been separated and bought by a vivarois as well as the back of the chapel. He had built blocks for the separation of property. The latter having desired last year, resell his acquisitions, the mayor has asserted his right of pre-emption and bought this choir.
We were able to access it and to note the dismal state of the places. In agreement with the town hall, our association has filed a request for "riddance / cleaning". And it is the company "Provence Patrimoine" of the Vans who has left under the supervision of an architect specializing in the restoration of built heritage. The work began with an increased team of motivated and enthusiastic vivarois. The surface of the choir is 68 m2; to clean half, it took twelve skips that evacuated the 25m3 of rubble and two others for waste of all kinds piled up over the years to a depth of 0.80 m. The other parts were also cleaned. Despite enlightened supervision, no archaeological material was found.
The works were temporarily suspended by the head of the Departmental Unit of Architecture and Heritage of the Ardeche who insisted "on the risk of irreversible loss of archaeological material, the buildings being located within a unique area of referral which induces a consultation of the Regional Directorate of Cultural Affairs on this essential aspect. "
Thanks to the plans of the study realized by the students of the School of Chaillot in 2010, we can realize the role of the different parts of the site. The passage between the choir and the chapel was delimited by the left arcade closest to the choir with a separation grid. From the choir one reached the front choir and other rooms of the convent. There was an outside access (still existing) to the choir which was lit by a window. Subsequently this door has been lowered but we can see the trace; the window has been blocked by the recent addition of a small shed. The pictures taken before and after the construction give an idea of the enormous work done for the clearing of the rooms. Only half of the choir has found its original soil. We hope to resume cleaning the choir in January, then restore the choir / chapel communication by replacing the blocks with a grid as in the eighteenth century.
After the order to suspend the cleaning of the choir we were waiting for the decisions of the DRAC
And then in February the mayor was warned that the site of the choir could resume without
no obstacle and it did not require special monitoring! .... Jean-Pierre Willot the architect returned to participate in the site while monitoring operations; he was assisted by Mrs. Angotta and Pétigny, to whom Mrs. Tonnot and Boyer occasionally joined.
As for Mr. Pellet, he came at the November yard. Half of the choir had to be cleared to find the initial soil. But this half was covered with a scraped concrete slab, which made the work more complex.
Then appeared a wall, a flat surface and coming from the front door, an inclined plane. This flat surface, according to the architect, was the bottom of the remainder of two vats which presumably had been built at the time when the convent had been transformed into a tile factory. The total volume of debris, rubble and various scrap is close to 60 m3.
In the project of the framework agreement of the town hall an architect of the inheritance was missioned to make the study of several vivarois monuments whose chapel Notre Dame du Rhône (belonging to the bishopric) and the chorus of the nuns (belonging to the mayor ) .
We need to be patient but the rehabilitation project is progressing slowly.