Old French Cemetery of Bel Air remains important Seychelles National Monument
In his endeavors to design a tailored program to rehabilitate and restore the Seychelles national monuments, the Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture, Alain St.Ange, rallied his technocrats of the Culture and Heritage departments on a half-day tour of Seychelles’ prominent heritage sites listed as the country’s tourism attractions.
Accompanied by the French Ambassador to the Seychelles, Philippe Delacroix, Minister St.Ange’s first stop was at the 18th century tombs, vault and shrines of Seychelles’ oldest historic sites at Bel Air, which contain the remains of some of the islands’ most famous French personalities, namely Corsair Jean Francois Hodoul; Charles Dorothee Savy, the islands’ nine-foot giant; and the mysterious Pierre Louis Poiret; among many.
Speaking with the Seychelles press, the French Ambassador to the Seychelles, Phillipe Delacroix, highlighted France’s attachment to the conservation of its heritage.
“The tombs, vaults, and shrines are engraved with the names of French nationals from Marseilles and the La Reunion islands to which much importance is attached in their conservation. They also represent the close historical link that exists between Seychelles and France. They are supplementary assets to Seychelles and that of its tourism industry. This historic site can rightly fall into one of the Embassy’s bilateral projects to conserve Seychelles’ national monuments,” Ambassador Delacroix said.
Ambassador Delacroix has outlined his plan to design a common project together with the Ministry of Tourism and Culture to restore the damaged tombs, vaults, and shrines of the Bel Air 18th cemetery site.
Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture has welcomed the support of the French Embassy in its continued effort to help in the restoration of this French Cemetery, and in so doing, protecting one of Seychelles’ oldest heritage sites.
“Restoration of heritage sites is expensive, but we can’t compromise, and we need to work with keep partners to achieve the Ministry’s set objectives. The initiative is to enhance the attractiveness of the site and remain committed to beautify the national monuments whilst keeping their authenticity. The whole effort of restoring the French Bel Air Cemetery site will go a long way in terms of diversifying our tourism assets and at the same time safeguarding our historical sites,” Minister St.Ange said.
The Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture’s second stop was the Mission Lodge at Sans Soucis. Presently, the site is under study at UNESCO, following a bid from Seychelles to have it recognized and listed as a World Heritage site.
The Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture said that the Mission Lodge is a historical treasure, which has witnessed years of conservation.
Departing from the Mission Lodge, Minister St.Ange and his personnel headed to the last lapse of their visit at Roche Caiman, where a project has been submitted for the building of an Arts Village.