Skip to content

“When age-old stones pave the way to new possibilities”

It was the breathtaking scenery, stretching from the sea to the Pyrénées mountains that first convinced Farouk Ghazouani, 19, to come and find out what a heritage restoration site was all about. Last summer, Farouk went to Fort Dugommier to volunteer as part of the restoration project supported by TotalEnergies Foundation in partnership with the Fondation du patrimoine.

Overlooking Collioure, Fort Dugommier was built in the19th century. It was buried during the Second World War, and suffered extensive damage.  The renovation project began in 2002, with the aim of restoring the fort to its former glory and converting it into an avant-garde arts center. Historical and educational tours of the fort will also be organized. 

In over 20 years, some 1,800 volunteers have contributed to embellishing one of the most remarkable monuments of the Occitanie region in South East France. This summer, Farouk, together with 80 other young people aged 17 to 24, were welcomed on site by the Fort Dugommier 2 Collioure association (FD2C) - members of the Union REMPART, which organizes the volunteer work sites. Farouk was able to discover the different professions of the building trade (stonemasonry, carpentry, masonry), traditional restoration techniques, contribute to the common good and work as part of a team. On the strength of the new skills he acquired, the young man is proud of the work accomplished and is already looking to the future, with wonderful memories of the Fort Dugommier site that will stay with him for life.

TotalEnergies Foundation has been a partner of the Fondation du patrimoine for 17 years, and has already supported over 300 restoration projects. In doing so, it has fostered the professional training and inclusion of young people in socially-vulnerable situations.

Watch the video

“When age-old stones pave the way to new possibilities”

“When age-old stones pave the way to new possibilities”

Fort Dugommier
Collioure (Pyrénées-Orientales)

Fondation du Patrimoine and TotalEnergies Foundation present
“When age-old stones pave the way to new possibilities”


Farouk Ghazouani – Young volunteer

My name’s Farouk, I’m 19 and I’m Tunisian.

I’ve been living in the Paris region, in France for 6 years now, and I'm a volunteer at the Fort Dugommier.

To start with, I was just curious - I’d never volunteered and never worked on any sites before. I looked at the projects available on the website and, to be honest, when I saw the setting, I really wanted to be there!

It’s so beautiful.

Marc-André De Figueres – President of the Fort Dugommier de Collioure association

The Fort Dugommier was a 19th-century fortification in the village of Collioure, at the exact location where the Pyrenees reach down to the sea. Our assignment was to restore it, repair the roof, clean out the earth and return it to its former glory.

Antoinette Reyre – In charge of the Heritage and social cohesion assignment at the Union REMPART 

The volunteer site is an opportunity to discover professions such as builder of historical buildings, carpenter, joiner, stone mason, etc. And also to meet professionals in this sector.

It’s a great road to emancipation, training and social integration.

The aim of the program is to raise these young people’s awareness of heritage and related professions, and of citizenship and volunteer commitments, to provide them with skills and knowledge.

Farouk Ghazouani

I had a great time and I’m glad I chose this site - I’ve learned so much. I did a lot of stone-masonry, as well as joinery, preparing and laying mortar, etc.

If I had to do it again, I’d do it 1,000 times!

Sylvain Panas – Regional Director, Occitanie TotalEnergies

Our commitments with the Fondation du patrimoine date back to 2006, and I’d say they're both ambitious and virtuous, because we work together to renovate heritage all over France, and we're now active in most French departments. 

This year, we’ve just opened our partnership to the Pyrénées-Orientales department, where we are today, and the fort Dugommier, is the first joint project in this region.

Joel Filhol – Pyrénées-Orientales Departmental Delegate, Fondation du patrimoine

We do everything - we restore buildings and we also help people become integrated in civil society. 

When you look at the commitments of TotalEnergies Foundation, they are totally in sync with those of the Fondation du Patrimoine. So it’s natural for both foundations to work together on projects like this one.

Farouk Ghazouani

If I see the Fort Dugommier on TV one day, I’ll say to my children “yep, I helped rebuild that fort!” 

What I realized was that there are more important things in life than money, and that you can do something for free and really “have a ball!”.


For 25 years now, some 1,800 volunteers have taken part in the restoration program for the Fort Dugommier.

Over 70 young people from all walks of life, come every summer to help convert it into an arts and artistic research center.

Backed by the Union REMPART, this volunteer site is supported by the Fondation du patrimoine and, since 2023, by TotalEnergies Foundation.

Fondation du patrimoine with TotalEnergies Foundation