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Visitors 'should pay to visit France's cathedrals'

TV presenter calls for sites to be allowed to charge entrance fees to help restoration work

Visitors should pay to enter France's churches and cathedrals, according to TV presenter Stéphane Bern.

Mr Bern said that cities, such as Paris, no longer have the means to maintain their religious heritage - and called on the government to allow sites such as Notre Dame or the Sacre Coeur to charge visitors.

"There is an urgent need to charge the entry of cathedrals," he told Le Parisien. "We are the only country where access them is free. In London, entrance to Westminster Abbey is set at €24."

Citing the success of the National Lottery in the UK, Mr Bern also recommended that a regular lottery draw could help fund the maintenance of protected sites by bringing in up to €30million a year.

The presented of the Secrets d'histoire programme on France 2 also spoke about his own mission for safeguarding French heritage. He said that he has already received requests to help and restore 1,500 sites across the country. "We will prioritise absolute emergencies," he told the newspaper as he announced a 'crusade' to protect 14 symbolic monuments in 2018.

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