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Restoration of historic monuments

Our restorations of historical monuments and heritage

Devoted to the development and reputation of French heritage. Whether we are called upon to restore and renovate ecclesiastic, national or regional public heritage sites, or privately-owned cultural properties, our experience and skills in decorative and wrought ironwork as well as heavy and architectural metalwork have led us to collaborate on countless projects with the Chief Architects of Historical Monuments in France. These projects continually bolster and further cultivate our age-old expertise.

Our mastery in the field leads us to work on numerous prestigious productions, ranging from the conservation of religious art through the restoration of sculptures and the creation of altars, ambons, tabernacles, and monstrances, to the refurbishment and identical reproduction of various historical sites and their gates, railings, handrails, guardrails, pavilions and more.

Crézé contributes to France’s reputation throughout the world, maintaining and enhancing notorious locations such as the Mont Saint-Michel, the Palais Garnier opera house, and the Place Vendôme square. Our love for our home region also explains our ambition to preserve our local cultural and architectural heritage.

This passion has driven us to partake in the restoration and embellishment of various sites, such as the Vannes Cathedral, the Basilique Saint-Sauveur Basilica and Parc du Thabor gardens in Rennes, and both the Bourbansais and Châteaubriand Castles.

It is with great pride that Crézé bears the EPV label for Living Heritage Companies, bestowed by the French government to French businesses who boast exceptional craftsmanship and industrial know-how.

Find out more about our distinguished projects, undertaken in the service of French and Breton heritage, below.

An Eiffel-designed lighthouse restored near Rennes

Designed by Gustave Eiffel, the Moguériec lighthouse was built and assembled in Paris in 1876. Crézé had the privilege of restoring this fine piece of maritime heritage. It’s an honor for our team to have been chosen to work on such a historic structure. Our restorations take us on a journey through time and French history.

Phare de Moguériec

Restoration of historic Restoration – Locksmithing Hôtel de la Marine
Inaugurated in June 2021 after 5 years of work, the Hôtel de la Marine is an architectural jewel that has adorned the Place de la Concorde for over 260 years.

Taking part in this exceptional restoration, Crézé had the privilege of restoring, in particular, all the interior and exterior locksmithing of the Hôtel de la Marine. The design and renovation of these locks: gates, doors, railings, etc. were carried out in our workshop in Saint-Jacques-de-la-Lande, near Rennes.
Our company also installed the locksmith’s work we did in the interiors of this building, which has been classified as a historical monument since 1923, and on the gates and doors overlooking the Place de la Concorde.

Restoration of historic Oratory – La Grande Bretèche Tours
New chapel made of steel and hand-blown glass, set in a 15th century chapel.

Crézé’s mission: creation and installation of an oratory, carried out in collaboration with the Ateliers du maître verrier Helmbold and the architectural firm Le Moal. The structural shape facilitates the penetration of light and the careful acoustics of the oratory. The specificity of this work allows the doors to be opened on the entire façade towards the nave when the public is present and to be closed again for a more intimate ceremony.
From a technical point of view, this oratory is made of Jansen joinery and is 6 meters high, 13 meters long and 5 meters wide.

Restoration of historic Artistic metalwork: The lanterns of the Pierres Noires Lighthouse
The lighthouse shining once again

The 26th of September of 2018 saw the opening of the Pierres Noires Lighthouse historical monument, after several months of restoration works under the stewardship of Phares & Balises. The old lantern, over 150 years old, was transported by helicopter and left with Crézé. In our ironworks workshop, we recreated another lantern in its image, using copper, brass and bronze, which should be able to resist the elements for the next 150 years. This was a great project that was a perfect fit with our company purpose: to nourish, expand and display France’s exceptional expertise in artistic metalwork.

Voir la vidéo

Phare Pierres Noires-1
Phare Pierres Noires-2

Restoration of historic Restoration of Historical Gateway – Paris
Hôtel national des Invalides - ‘grille d’honneur’ gateway

Underneath its external splendour, the portail d’honneur gateway to the Hôtel des Invalides was badly corroded. Having been renovated many times since the 18th century, it was once again in need of some care and attention. The Crézé team constructed and installed a provisional grilled gateway to ensure the security of the site while the whole gateway and associated railings were transferred to be restored at our ironworks workshop.

Under the stewardship of the architect in chief for historical monuments, we cleaned, repaired, overhauled, strengthened, reforged, recreated, reassembled, treated, painted the gate before handing over to Mariotti, who specialise in gold leaf works, so they could add the final touch before reinstating the gateway on-site. A great showcase of French talent for restoring historic monuments.

Invalides grille d'honneur-2
Invalides grille d'honneur-1

Restoration of historic Forged iron grills – Rennes Cathedral
The treasures of the famous cathedral

The works to restore the St Pierre Cathedral in Rennes, which started in 2009, were recently completed with the installation of the ‘Quatre Vivants’ statues in the four pendants under the dome, and the restoration of the alterpiece (originally from Antwerp) and other treasures on display. As part of these works, Crézé created grills from forged iron at its ironworks workshop, to protect the altarpiece. The traditional style work achieved its aim: the forged grills seem like they have always been there.

Grilles en fer forgé-Trésor Cathédrale de Rennes

Restoration of historic La Criée automatic vestibule – Rennes
The central halls include elegant automatic doors

Automatic doors for a shop? No, a vestibule that fits perfectly with the architectural style of this hotspot on the Rennes restaurant scene, which continued its progressive transformation with an update to its graphic identity: la Criée Marché Central.

La Criée Rennes

Restoration of historic Fours à Chaux restoration works – Lormandière – Chartres de Bretagne
Breathing life back into Brittany’s industrial heritage

This natural site, listed by the Ille et Vilaine departmental council, that showcases the industrial history of Brittany underwent comprehensive renovation works with the aim of opening it to the public. Crézé carefully recreated or restored all steel frames, steel doors and steel gates, with hot riveting.

Fours à chaux Lormandière

Restoration of historic Conseil d’État in Paris
Bronze patina candelabras

Bronze patina candelabras, blown glass, creation of an upper ventilation system.

Candélabre en bronze patiné.

Restoration of historic Memorial in Bruz
Corten steel patina

The real name of Corten steel is: steel with improved atmospheric corrosion resistance.
A while ago, we realised that adding copper to mild steel improves its resistance to corrosion.
Other alloy components such as chromium, nickel, phosphorus and aluminium were used to create steel variants that become more resistant to corrosion in certain environments.
Steels with improved atmospheric corrosion resistance are low-alloyed steels, referred to as weathering steels or self-weathering steels – because in certain exposure conditions they are able to cover themselves with a protective coating known as patina.
Memorial in Bruz (35) made of Corten sheet metal. Corten steel patina.

Mémorial à Bruz

Restoration of historic Monument in Rennes
Bronze patina sculpture

This monument was erected on the Champ de Mars in Rennes in commemoration of the 1870-1871 war victims. The artist no doubt wanted to step away from tradition by representing a woman crying behind every soldier, her fist raised in anger.
Rennes’ City Hall asked us to remove and restore the sculpture so as to transport it to the entrance of the Regional Prefecture in Rennes.
The draped dress, female curves, spread wings and expressive face are all details that were carefully cleaned after having been exposed for over a century. The bronze patina was then a combination of careful alchemy and patience, so the sunlight would finally reflect what we had guessed was the original outline of the sculpture and overall harmony of the work. The statue now stands opposite the Regional Prefecture, in Rue Martenot in Rennes.

Monument à Rennes
Monument à Rennes

Restoration of historic Locksmith for a tabernacle
Saint-Yves chapel, Rennes

The sacred arts, far from being confined to restoration, marked their era with a boost of creativity that even saw a monumental chandelier installed – surrounded by other religious items such as a candle holder or baptismal fonts.
Sacred objects have brought a touch of light to the Saint-Yves clinic in Rennes.


Restoration of historic A wrought iron altar for the Abbey of Paimpont
Altar of Paimpont

Wrought iron altar with fine gold lettering.

Autel Paimpont - Altar Paimpont

Restoration of historic Ambon made of polished forged stainless steel
Saint-Sauveur basilica in Rennes

An ambon – a discrete reminder of an elaborate forged stainless steel altar – is an illustration of how technical innovation and contemporary materials can work together. Polished forged stainless steel and golden orb.


Restoration of historic Forged stainless steel altar
Saint-Sauveur basilica in Rennes

Completion of a shiny, polished, forged stainless steel altar with an inserted marble top. The steel lettering was gilded with gold leaf.

Autel Saint-Sauveur - Saint-Sauveur altar

Restoration of historic Golden brass monstrance
Cathedral in Vannes

It was decided that the monstrance would increase in size and adorn the cathedral’s dome.
Brass monstrance gilded with fine gold.
Size: 1.50 metres – Height: 2.10 metres.
20 millimetre-thick magnifying glass.

Ostensoir Vannes - Monstrance Vannes

Restoration of historic Restoration of Thabor park kiosque

Its light and refined silhouette is well-known by those who stroll down the paths in the Thabor park. To perpetuate its long history, major restoration work was required.
Crézé was entrusted with being the sole contractor for the restoration of this kiosque – a strong symbol from the 19th century romantic era. The roof was removed, new cast iron gusset plates were made, the framework was reinforced, enamelled iron crests were fashioned and new banisters were added to each side of the staircase.
Read about the know-how of all these tradespeople who contribute to perpetuating common architectural heritage in the book « Les métiers d’art au service du Patrimoine » – Le Kiosque du Thabor – Editions Apogée.

Kiosque du Thabor - Thabor park kiosque
Kiosque du Thabor - Thabor park kiosque

Restoration of historic The Mont-Saint-Michel
Restoration of pure iron railings

The Mont-Saint-Michel, one of the most visited monuments in France, was also restored. How to ensure the new railings would look like they had lived through 200 years of history? To give them an old-fashioned texture, all substances were skilfully forged and hammered. These pure-iron railings were adorned with traditional riveted fixtures and are resistant to sea spray and the salty sea air from the coast.

Le Mont Saint-Michel
Le Mont Saint-Michel

Restoration of historic Railing in Normandy
Railing restoration in a manor

This railing, designed for the outside steps leading up to the manor’s tower, was created with the building’s Normandy spirit in mind. This creation encompasses curved banisters and railings, made especially for cut-stone steps leading up to the house. All assemblies were done using tailor-made rivets.

Garde-corps Normandie - Railing in Normandy

Restoration of historic Gates into the Haras du Pin
Restoration in the service of architectural heritage

Crézé was consulted for this majestic entrance to the National Horse Breeding Centre, and proceeded to restore the gate and its spikes. The gilding on the leaves, bee and horse’s head was renewed using 24-carat gold leaf. In addition to the restoration work, gate function was also improved by making it automatic.

Portail Haras du pin - Gates into the Haras du Pin

Restoration of historic Château in Châteaubriant
Granting the public renewed access to Brittany's architectural heritage

The purpose of this project was to allow public access to a newly restored part of the château, the construction of which dates back to the 15th century. This large-scale restoration aimed to integrate Corten sheet metal modules at the top of the dilapidated dungeon. This project also included the restoration of the Grand Logis, now bedecked with doors, a staircase, banisters, windows and silkscreen glass.

Château de Châteaubriant

Restoration of historic Carré Richaud – Former military hospital in Versailles
Wrought iron restoration and creation project

A combined restoration and creation project, aiming to transform this exceptional place into luxury apartments. As such, the iron-worked banisters were brought up to standard and restored. All of the railings also required a certain amount of restoration work. Regarding the creative part of the project, the building was enriched with a new circular glass structure.

Carré Richaud
Carré Richaud

Restoration of historic Château de la Bourbansais
Railing and front gate restoration

Our purpose here was to restore the railings and front gate to the château and animal park by adding cast iron patterns. This required us to manufacture new gates, that were painted according to the family’s colour scheme: red and white.

Château de la Bourbansais

Restoration of historic Church in Lamballe
Enhancing ecclesiastical heritage

Restoring and highlighting old stained glass in the cathedral, by making double brass patina supporting bars used to affix protective laminated glass on top of the inner stained glass.

Église de Lamballe - Church in Lamballe

Restoration of historic Sainte-Thérèse church
Creation of stainless steel liturgical furniture

Forged, polished and shiny stainless steel and brass with embedded enamels were used to design baptismal fonts and a Paschal candle holder. Brushed stainless steel and polished shiny brass gave a gleaming touch to the church after the 2001 fire.

Église Sainte-Thérèse - Sainte-Thérèse church
Église Sainte-Thérèse - Sainte-Thérèse church

Restoration of historic Asfeld hotel
Restoration of a historical building

We improved and created a number of new features of this hotel in Saint-Malo, by manufacturing lanterns, a pure iron banister for the front steps, door furniture, doors and a gate. Crézé also took on the manufacture of locks and window latches.

Hôtel d’Asfeld - Asfeld hotel
Hôtel d'Alsfeld - Asfeld hotel

Restoration of historic Solidor Tower grating in Saint-Servan

This project was fulfilled in the service of Breton architectural heritage: we designed a metal grate fitted with side support bars serving as keys for affixing the grate into its casing.

Grille Tour Solidor Saint-Servan - Solidor Tower grating Saint-Servan

Restoration of historic Palais Garnier
Ironwork on gates and railings

Restoration work for the Palace of Dance, including the restoration of the iron gates and railings, as well as the restoration of the golden mascaron ornaments on the opera’s façade, using gold leaf.

Palais Garnier

Restoration of historic Place Vendôme in Paris
Creation of an iron lantern

Creative work with the manufacture of a new iron lantern, adorned with leaves and a spun steel plate crown. These features were all gilded with gold leaf. Restoration work, including the rehabilitation of the balconies.

Place Vendôme Paris
Place Vendôme Paris

Restoration of historic Hôtel de Castres banister

Restoration work concerning the banister and its leaves. All gilding was done with gold leaf.

Rampe Hôtel de Castres - Hôtel de Castres banister
Rampe Hôtel de Castres - Hôtel de Castres banister

What is a classified or listed monument?

In France, a classified or listed monument is a building, structure, object or even a site that has been officially recognized as having significant historical, architectural, artistic, cultural or scientific value, and is protected by national legislation as part of the cultural heritage. Historic monuments are managed and preserved with the aim of conserving them for future generations.
There are two levels of protection for historic monuments in France: classification and inscription.

A listed monument is a cultural asset of exceptional importance. It enjoys the highest level of protection. Classified monuments are generally buildings or sites of exceptional heritage value because of their architecture, history, cultural importance or national or international significance.
Registered monuments are also important cultural assets, but are not necessarily as rare or exceptional as listed monuments. Inscription is a slightly lower level of protection. Registered monuments are generally buildings, sites or objects of significant historical, artistic or cultural value, but which do not necessarily meet the highest criteria of rarity or national importance.

Restoration techniques used on historic monuments

The restoration of historic monuments relies on a variety of specialized techniques designed to preserve, restore and protect these cultural treasures. These techniques are implemented with care and in accordance with conservation standards to maintain the integrity of the monument while preserving it for future generations. Here are some of the main restoration techniques used on historic monuments:

1. Cleaning and stripping

Cleaning is often the first step in restoration. It aims to remove dirt, dust, atmospheric deposits and contamination from the monument’s surface without damaging the materials. Cleaning methods include hand brushing, water washing, the use of mild chemical solutions and, in some cases, microsanding.

2. Repairing damaged parts

Damaged or missing original materials are carefully restored or replaced. For example, stone, wood, metal or other materials are repaired or reproduced to match original specifications.

3. Anti-corrosion treatment

Metal elements, such as ironwork, can be treated against corrosion by using anti-corrosion chemicals and applying protective coats of paint.

4. Aesthetic restoration

Restoration of wall paintings and frescoes involves consolidating the pictorial layers, removing old dirt and varnish, retouching missing areas and protecting against future deterioration.
Damaged stained-glass windows are repaired by replacing broken or missing pieces, consolidating lead and cleaning surfaces to restore their transparency.
Where the structure of the monument is compromised, structural reconstruction may be necessary to restore stability. This may involve replacing beams, columns or foundations.

5. Secure installation

Safe installation for the restoration of historic monuments is essential to protect workers, the public, the monument itself and its surroundings. Restoring historic monuments can involve unique challenges due to the ancient and fragile nature of the structures, as well as the often sensitive historic materials.