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French newspaper says historic cathedrals 'in peril'
    Many of France's medieval gothic cathedrals are in such a poor state that maintenance and restoration has become an urgent priority, according to Catholic newspaper 'La Croix'.
    The newspaper said that the maintenance of the famous cathedrals of Strasbourg, Beauvais, Chartres, Reims, Bourges, Auxerre, Rouen and Marseille has become an object of serious concern, since current state funding covers only minimal repairs.
    It said this has had disastrous consequences for the cathedral of Chartres, for example, where the famous rose window is showing dangerous cracks. The Cathedral of Reims is aso in danger, with the wind having blown away pieces of its 2600 statues.
    France's cathedrals are the property of the state, with 97 of them being designated protected monuments. The cathedrals of Reims, Strasbourg, Chartres, Amiens, Bourges and Paris are recognized by UNESCO as being part of the world's cultural heritage.
   
CRTN
   
29-Nov-00