Arcs-sur-Tille is located 15 km from Dijon, in the east of the country. The Church of Saint-Martin was built in 1826-1833 by the architect Charles Felix Saint-Pierre. The neoclassical design of the building on the outside complements the richly decorated interior with numerous religious objects from the same era, many of which are included in the state register of monuments.
The church has been closed since 1989, when there was a danger of its collapse. To restore it, the authorities said, 2.2 million euros would be needed, and the commune does not have that kind of money. Enthusiasts for the preservation of architectural heritage are trying to prove the inconsistency of these arguments. In their opinion, if money becomes the only reason for the demolition of a valuable monument, it follows that on the same grounds almost any masterpiece of architecture can be destroyed, unless its preservation is economically beneficial. The second, and main argument of the defenders of the church is that 2.2 million will be needed for the complete restoration and reconstruction of the church, and to prevent its collapse and turn it back into a functioning church, no more than 300,000 euros will be needed (400,000 will have to be spent for demolition) … There were three attempts to include the building in the register of monuments (in 1989, 1990 and 1994), but only the last time the Regional Commission for Heritage Affairs responded positively to the request. However, due to the resistance of the local authorities, the Minister of Culture refused to grant the status of the monument.
The Church of Saint-Martin is a building with a wonderful system of proportions, restrained and graceful. The facade is decorated with a Doric portico, the rest of the building is an example of orderless architecture. The interior is decorated with beautifully preserved stained glass windows and wall paintings - copies of works by Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci dating back to 1879.
Despite the fact that in the situation of a constant decrease in state payments for the restoration of architectural monuments and the loss of interest of the French population in religion, the chances of saving the church are small, its defenders began collecting signatures under an appeal to President Jacques Chirac with a request to intervene and prevent the demolition of the historic building.