Fabled Factory Of Parisian Radicalism's Future Unclear

A defunct Renault plant is caught in a battle between those wishing to adapt the cradle of worker's rights and a billionaire's ego.
July 18, 2004, 9am PDT | Jeffrey Goodman
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The Renault auto plant west of the capital was the birthplace of the French trade union movement, not to mention some classic cars. And though the factory has been closed for more than a decade, the fate of the 90-year-old plant is still yet to be decided. Francois Pinault, a billionaire under investigation in California, has proposed the largest privately funded museum in Europe and offered $200 million in funds. Local leaders and the press claim he lacks the money and the know-how to manage the scheme. Many in the art world, as well as a growing number of Parisians, see Pinault's plan as an insult to the site's significance in modern French history. Taking up the entire Ile Seguin, former workers and local designers want to transform the industrial plan into useful post-industrial spaces for art, living, and working.

Thanks to Jeffrey Goodman

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Published on Friday, July 16, 2004 in The Independent Weekly
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