Press Release

Opening of World Monuments Fund French Affiliate

With More Than 30 Projects Completed in the Country to Date, WMF Plans to Take on Major New Projects in the Coming Year 

Paris, France, June 30, 2023 - WMF, which has its headquarters in New York with offices and affiliates in Cambodia, India, Peru, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom, is implementing a global expansion strategy and hopes to further its activities by increasing its proximity with its French partners and international cultural organizations based in France.

 European Heritage Days 

To celebrate its launch, World Monuments Fund has created a tour route to let the public discover various WMF projects in the Paris Region during the European Heritage Days, a great occasion to spotlight the hard work of its conservation and restoration teams.

  • The Chapel of Saint-Joseph in the Church of Saint-Eustache, a Parisian treasure restored over the past several months with the support of WMF, will be unveiled on Saturday, September 16, at 6:00 pm by Aurélie Filippetti, Director of Cultural Affairs of the City of Paris, and Bénédicte de Montlaur, President and CEO of WMF, and will be the highpoint of the weekend. Bénédicte de Montlaur will present WMF's global strategy and French projects. In particular, she will present the project at Saint-Eustache, undertaken in partnership with the parish and the City, and the development of an innovative project to improve engagement with an array of audiences, as well as the spotlighting of the various memories and layered histories that give this place its exceptional character.
  • Various activities at partnering sites in Paris will allow participants to discover WMF’s sites in Paris and abroad over the course of the weekend. 

The New French Affiliate 

Bénédicte de Montlaur, President and CEO: “France plays a crucial role in the world of heritage and has always been a close partner in our work. World Monuments Fund has undertaken more than 30 projects in the country and collaborates with numerous French organizations and experts based in the course of our work around the world. We are currently working on 51 projects in 34 countries, and our new office in Paris will allow us to strengthen these collaborative efforts.

Many members of the community surrounding World Monuments Fund have close ties to France, whether they be heritage professionals trained in France, international institutions based in France—such as UNESCO, ICOMOS, or the Louvre—or institutions with strong ties to France, such as ALIPH. A number of collaborators and/or supporters of WMF are French and/or Francophiles—I myself became the head of the organization in the autumn of 2019, just a few months before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are currently leading two large-scale projects in France: we have just completed the restoration of the Chapel of Saint-Joseph at Saint-Eustache and are starting a new phase of support for the church revolving around welcoming the public into the church, in collaboration with the church’s priest, Father Trocheris, and the City of Paris. We are also participating in the so-called “project of the century,” led by the École nationale supérieure de paysage (ENSP) to reflect on the restoration of the Potager du Roi, which faces enormous challenges with visitors and the need for historic gardens to adapt to climate change. New projects will be explored in the months to come.

As our projects around the world lead us to explore the link between heritage and some of the greatest challenges of our times—climate change, sustainable tourism, social cohesion, and post-conflict reconstruction—we believe it is important to deepen our dialogue with French partners on such important questions.

The opening of an affiliate in France is the logical next step in our development, and World Monuments Fund will devote important financial resources to it. In particular, we are fortunate enough to have the support of a generous donation of $1,500,000 from the Florence Gould Foundation towards the creation of this new affiliate. In total, approximately $7 million have been mobilized towards our work in France.”

World Monuments Fund France can rely on the support of distinguished individuals who will be joining the board, led by Prince Amyn Aga Khan, president of the board, and Juan Pablo Molyneux, vice-president.

The members are as follows: Prince Amyn Aga Khan; Andrea d’Avack; Stéphane Bern; Frédérique Cassereau; Alice Goldet; Lorna B. Goodman; Dena Kaye; Alexis Kugel; Thomas Lambert; Renaud de Lesquen, President and CEO of Givenchy; Corinne Mentzelopoulos; Frédéric Mion; Juan Pablo Molyneux; Bénédicte de Montlaur; Elvira Grimaldi di Nixima Oetker; and Maryvonne Pinault. A scientific committee will also be created in the course of the next few months in order to support WMF France with its projects.

Prince Amyn Aga Khan: "We are glad to be able to mobilize a group of diverse individuals from various backgrounds, both new supporters of WMF and supporters of longstanding, who are all united by a common passion for the mission of WMF. We are happy to be able to combine our efforts to multiply our impact in the service of heritage."

WMF France will be led by Mathilde Augé, who is currently WMF’s representative in France. An art historian, Mathilde Augé previously managed cultural programming at the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) in New York. In this role, she created and implemented a digital strategy for cultural programming and developed an important series of conferences, the FIAF Talks. She also created partnerships with institutions in New York to organize cultural event off site, invited numerous Francophone artists to the FIAF’s Florence Gould Hall Theatre, organized exhibitions of visual art in the gallery space, and was co-commissioner of the performing arts festival Crossing the Line. Previously, she worked in publishing for different Parisian presses (Presses Universitaires de France, Gallimard, Autrement). An alumna of the École normale supérieure, she holds a master’s degree in art history from the University of Paris 1 and another master’s in management from HEC Paris with a specialization in media, art, and creation.

WMF France is currently housed in the Fondation pour la sauvegarde de l’art français at 22 Rue de Douai, in the ninth arrondissement of Paris.

History of WMF in France 

World Monuments Fund first established itself in France in 1989 and since then has undertaken over 30 projects at 21 sites, directly or via the intermediary World Monuments Fund France, which closed in 2017 during a global strategic reorganization. Since 1989, WMF has invested more than $19 million in heritage projects in France. To this may be added the $2 million contributed to French sites abroad, including the restoration of the home of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York and the Palazzo Farnese, seat of the French embassy in Italy.


About World Monuments Fund 

World Monuments Fund (WMF) is the leading independent organization devoted to safeguarding the world’s most treasured places to enrich people’s lives and build mutual understanding across cultures and communities. The organization is headquartered in New York City with offices and affiliates in Cambodia, India, Peru, Portugal, Spain and the UK. Since 1965, our global team of experts has preserved the world's diverse cultural heritage using the highest international standards at more than 700 sites in 112 countries. Partnering with local communities, funders, and governments, WMF draws on heritage to address some of today’s most pressing challenges: climate change, underrepresentation, imbalanced tourism, and post-crisis recovery. With a commitment to the people who bring places to life, WMF embraces the potential of the past to create a more resilient and inclusive society. 

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