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Lottery to make €20m for French sites in danger

Some of France’s endangered heritage sites are to receive a massive boost with the launch of a lottery game this month that will fund up to €20million of important restoration work.

The Loto du Patrimoine starts on September 3 with the sale of €3 lottery tickets for a top prize of €13million and €15 scratchcards with a top prize of €1.5m and a one in three chance of a minimum €15 prize.

The big lottery draw will be held on September 14 on the eve of the Journées du Patrimoine heritage weekend when thousands of properties will open their doors for an expected 12million visitors.

With the government recognising more than 2,000 heritage sites need restoration or renovation, a pioneering fund has been organised by TV presenter Stéphane Bern with the support of President Macron who helped choose 18 sites that need urgent work – one from each region in mainland France and overseas – and 251 more that will also receive some aid.

They cover more than just architectural sites, meaning a Roman aqueduct but also a rail engine turntable, a sugar factory, a writer’s house, a theatre, and a picture-postcard bridge...

Based on the UK’s National Lottery, where 22% of the ticket cost goes to arts, heritage, sport or charity, the government says it will give up its takings to fund the projects, with each one gaining from €100,000 to €1m.

Scratchcards will have scratch photos of the sites to win six €1.5m prizes, eight at €150,000, and 20 worth €15,000. They will be on sale for six months.

A second lottery next year will choose a list of new sites to save.

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