Renovating without Ruining


The Importance of Preserving History

All around the small villages of France I see a sign that explains to renovate without ruining the old beauty of France. People are expected to preserve the beauty of their homes, especially the really old ones. That's right, demolishing and rebuilding is not an option. But in a country as old as France, it is understandable that they want to preserve some history.

All these old houses are an important part of French history and culture. They preserve a time that is usually at least a century old. In Normandy the majority of the houses have wooden columns that can be seen from the outside. This style of architecture is very popular and can be found in other parts of France, like Amiens. And while many French cities were destroyed in World War II, they made an effort to rebuild in the same style or preserve those that were still hanging on.

Common Normandy houses in the Bec Hellouin

While in Amiens, I was explained that a lot of houses are under the protection of the local government in order to preserve that old beauty. The image of the city is very important here in France. It is more important to try to salvage a failing building than to destroy it and start over. Even in Paris you can see the old exteriors with the completely modern interiors. This way they preserve that old beauty while still keeping up with the changing times. I think that this is one of the reasons why I love France, it is modern enough to not give you a complete culture shock, but it will bring you back into history just by walking down the streets.

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