Julien Cohen, host of the show "Affaire conclue" on France 2 wants to buy the church of the Madeleine in Châteaudun (Eure-et-Loire) to use for dealing antiques. The sale is opposed by the Diocese of Chartres.
The church of the Madeleine of Châteaudun, in Eure-et-Loire, has definitely caught the eye of Julien Cohen, host of the show “Affaire conclue” on France 2. “I went home and said Wow! It’s exactly what I need,” he told France 3 Centre-Val de Loire as he visited several locations for an auction house for antiques. But the only “hitch” is that while the church belongs to the town hall, the Diocese of Chartres is the beneficiary. The diocese benefits from a particular status according to France’s 1907 law on the public exercise of worship: “The assignee has the use of the church for the celebration of worship. Any other use is prohibited by law.” Local French media clarified the only exception, saying, “Unless it has been disused, that is, it is no longer assigned to worship, and to do this, it is obviously necessary to go through the prefect or through a law.”
The bishop of Chartres said he was only informed at the last moment, on December 27, just before the article appeared in the local press, when discussions had taken place between the town hall and the TV host “without speaking to the parish priest or the Catholic community.” Julien Cohen, for his part, explained that he was not seeking to create a controversy: “I am not going to fight to build an antique auction house in Châteaudun. If it’s Châteaudun, so much the better, if not, we’ll go elsewhere.”