In the midst of its foundry and workshop Rochecorbon near Tours, the renowned sculptor Michel Audiard, author of the draft "Female Loire funded from his own funds and corporate sponsorship, is amused by all the fuss.
"The project is on track for three years, it has been approved by the council of Tours, I have the prior approval of an architect of buildings in France, and as if by chance it is a few months before elections (cantonal, ie) a petition is launched, "he pretends to be surprised, mocking, drawing on a cheroot.
The statue, depicting a woman lying naked and leaning on the ground, will measure 17 meters high and 40 long, and will be made of cardboard, plaster and lime. Legs folded under her immense space must be built to accommodate visitors called vitreous, exhibitions and shows. This will be a "regional identity marker," particularly visible by the millions of motorists via the0 Paris-Bordeaux, provides the artist famous for his popular pens carved by Bill Clinton or .
Location: a land lent to the artist by the municipality, which overlooks, hidden by trees, the historic Abbey Marmoutier on the north bank of the Loire in front of Tours.
The petition was launched by a committee that is apolitical and acts on behalf of the defense of this historic place, founded by St. Martin in the 4th century and situated in the heart of the Loire Valley World Heritage Unesco. The text was collected in a few weeks more than 4,000 signatures, association leaders, politicians, Catholic or private citizens outraged.
On the petition site like Facebook or Twitter, critics are upwind. Not so much against the statue itself and against its intended location."Shame," "provocative" come back repeatedly. "A naked woman over the Church," that reflects our society, "laments Bernadette.
A photo-montage shows them far beyond the statue of trees above the abbey.
"But if I had submitted the petition, with such a photo, I would have signed it myself!" Indignant Michel Audiard. Which ensures that his work will be just over the treetops with the parallax and it will be invisible from Marmoutier.
The petition calls for an alternative location to the Woman Loire. It must be delivered next month's socialist mayor Jean Germain Tours and Joel Fily prefect.
Anxious to appease the spirits, the Archbishop of Tours, Bishop Bernard-Nicolas Aubertin, did not hide his "reservations" about the project, but does not openly condemn, in an interview in The New Republic.
The case also divided the political class, including within the municipal opposition UMP. Its leader,Household, had voted in favor of the project, at a resolution adopted unanimously by the council in late 2008.
"But at the time the draft was vague," says there today. "The planned location is not the most appropriate, we might do on an island in the Loire. What worries me the most are the risks of the Loire Valley to lose its status as Unesco says he told AFP.
If the petition fails, Loire Women should break ground next spring and Marmoutier overlook the river and the region of Tours in 2013.