Demolition of churches faces French resistance

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THE fabric of French village life is in danger of destruction as mayors consider demolishing 19th century churches, conservationists and historians have warned.

A wave of threatened demolitions in the Anjou area has sparked fears of a wider phenomenon as mayors struggle to pay for the upkeep of the buildings, a responsibility they have held since secularisation laws passed in 1905.

No exhaustive list of the nation's rural churches exists.

However, of its 15,000 protected rural religious buildings, 2,800 are "in peril'', according to l'Observatoire du Patrimoine religieux, a religious heritage watchdog.

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