Paris. Emmanuel Macron is a great lover of Molière’s language. He likes to surprise people with old-fashioned expressions like “croquignolesque”, which means something like ridiculous or absurd. Or “gallimatias” – roughly confused, confused chatter. With the “Cité Internationale de la langue française”, Macron has now realized one of his major projects: the first museum for the French language in a royal castle. The inauguration is planned for Monday.
210 million euros for the castle of the French language
At 210 million euros, the international Cité of the French language is the most expensive project of his term in office so far – after the restoration of the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. To do this, he had the Villers-Cotterêts castle completely renovated, a former Renaissance hunting lodge of King Francis I, which is located around 70 kilometers northeast of Paris. It is scheduled to open to the general public on November 1st.
A choice of location with a strong symbolic character. In 1539, Francis I signed the famous “Ordinance”, making French instead of Latin the country’s official language for all administrative acts of the kingdom. The area around the town of around 10,000 people is also home to well-known writers such as Alexandre Dumas, Jean de La Fontaine and Jean Racine.
Final completion work on the “Cite Internationale de la Langue Francaise”. The first French language museum based in the Villers-Cotterets castle is scheduled to be inaugurated on October 30, 2023. It is the most expensive project of Macron’s term in office.
© Source: Sabine Glaubitz/dpa
Artist residencies, exhibitions and concerts
The castle is dedicated to the French language and French-speaking cultures in all their facets. Multimedia devices illustrate the history of words and pronunciation, interactive games test spelling and language levels. Part of the castle is dedicated to artist residencies, exhibitions and concerts.
The Molière language, as the French call their native language after the world-famous French playwright of the same name, is spoken in many former colonies. It is the official language in 29 countries and the working language of numerous international organizations.
The Francophonie Summit, which brings together heads of state and government from countries linked by the French language, is scheduled to take place in November 2024 at the castle of Villers-Cotterêts. The summit last took place 33 years ago in France.
Funds for the Goethe Institute are being cut
The promotion of the national language is not as important everywhere as in France. In Germany, the federal government has just cut funding for the Goethe Institute. Instead of 222 million euros, the Goethe-Institut will only have 215 million euros available next year, which is about as much as Macron’s castle alone costs. The Goethe-Institut promotes the German language worldwide, which means Goethe-Instituts at various locations offer German courses, cultural events or workshops related to the German language. Some locations will therefore soon be downsized, merged or close completely.