Ministry of Culture (France)

  (Redirected from French Ministry of Culture)

The Ministry of Culture (French: Ministère de la Culture) is the ministry of the Government of France in charge of national museums and the monuments historiques. Its goal is to maintain the French identity through the promotion and protection of the arts (visual, plastic, theatrical, musical, dance, architectural, literary, televisual and cinematographic) on national soil and abroad. Its budget is mainly dedicated to the management of the Archives Nationales (six national sites and hundred decentralised storage facilities) and the regional Maisons de la culture (culture centres).

Ministry of Culture
Palais Royal @ Paris (34375405432).jpg
The Palais-Royal in Paris houses the ministry's head office as well as the Constitutional Council

Its main office is in the Palais-Royal in the 1st arrondissement of Paris on the Rue de Valois.[1][2] It is headed by the Minister of Culture, a cabinet member. The current position holder is Franck Riester, since 16 October 2018.[3]


One of France's six National Archives sites operated by the Ministry of Culture, in Pierrefitte-sur-Seine

Deriving from the Italian and Burgundian courts of the Renaissance, the notion that the state had a key role to play in the sponsoring of artistic production and that the arts were linked to national prestige was found in France from at least the 16th century on. During the pre-revolutionary period, these ideas are apparent in such things as the creation of the Académie française, the Académie de peinture et de sculpture and other state-sponsored institutions of artistic production, and through the cultural policies of Louis XIV's minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert.

The modern post of Minister of Culture was created by Charles de Gaulle in 1959 and the first Minister was the writer André Malraux. Malraux was responsible for realizing the goals of the droit à la culture ("right to culture"), an idea which had been incorporated in the Constitution of France and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), by democratising access to culture, while also achieving the Gaullist aim of elevating the "grandeur" ("greatness") of post-war France. To this end, he created numerous regional cultural centres throughout France and actively sponsored the arts. Malraux's artistic tastes included the modern arts and the avant-garde, but on the whole he remained conservative.

Under president François Mitterrand the Minister of Culture was Jack Lang who showed himself to be far more open to popular cultural production, including jazz, rock and roll, rap music, graffiti art ("tagging"), cartoons, comic books, fashion and food. His famous phrase "économie et culture, même combat" ("economy and culture: it's the same fight") is representative of his commitment to cultural democracy and to active national sponsorship and participation in cultural production. In addition to the creation of the Fête de la Musique and overseeing the French Revolution bicentennial (1989), he was in charge of the massive architectural program of the François Mitterrand years (the so-called Grands travaux or "Great Works") that gave permission for the building of the Bibliothèque nationale, the new Louvre, the Arab World Institute, the Musée d'Orsay, the Opéra-Bastille, the "Grande Arche" of La Défense (the Parisian business quarter), the new seat of the French Ministry for the Economy and Finance, the Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre, and the Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie and Cité de la Musique, both in the Parc de la Villette.

The Ministry of Jacques Toubon was notable for a number of laws (the "Toubon Laws") enacted for the preservation of the French language, both in advertisements (all ads must include a French translation of foreign words) and on the radio (35% of songs on French radio stations must be in French), ostensibly in reaction to the presence of English.

Ministers of CultureEdit

The following people were appointed as Minister of Culture of France:

Names of the Ministry of CultureEdit

Since the French constitution does not identify specific ministers (merely speaking of "the minister in charge of" this or that), each government may label each ministry as they wish, or even have a broader ministry in charge of several governmental sectors. Hence, the ministry has gone through a number of different names:


Central administrationEdit

The Ministry of Culture is made up of a variety of internal divisions, including:

  • Direction de l'administration générale (DAG)
  • Direction de l'architecture et du patrimoine (DAPA) - in charge of national monuments and heritage
  • Direction des archives de France (DAF) - in charge of the National Archives
  • Direction du livre et de la lecture (DLL) - in charge of French literature and the book trade
  • Direction de la musique, de la danse, du théâtre et des spectacles (DMDTS) - in charge of music, dance and theater
  • Direction des Musées de France (DMF) - in charge of the National museums

The Ministry has access to one inter-ministerial division:

  • Direction du développement des médias (DDM) in charge of developing and expanding the French media (although French public television is run through the public-service company France Télévisions)

The Ministry also runs three "delegations" (administrative boards):

  • Délégation aux arts plastiques (DAP) - in charge of the visual and sculptural arts
  • Délégation au développement et aux affaires internationales (DDAI) - in charge of international affairs and French art
  • Délégation générale à la langue française et aux langues de France (DGLFLF) - in charge of the French language and languages of France

Finally, the Ministry shares in the management of the National Centre of Cinema (Centre national de la cinématographie), a public institution (go to their link here).

The Alliance française is run by the Minister of Foreign Affairs (France).

For more on the organization of the Ministry, see Ministry of Culture.

Other servicesEdit

On the national level, the Ministry also runs:

Cultural activitiesEdit

The Ministry of Culture is responsible for, or a major sponsor of, a number of annual cultural activities, including the Fête de la Musique, the Maison de la culture de Grenoble, the Festival d'Avignon, the Public Establishment of the Palace, Museum and National Estate of Versailles, the Joconde (online database of objects in French museums), the Base Mérimée (database of listed heritage monuments), and the Maître d'art program.

Further readingEdit

  • Nancy Marmer, "The New Culture: France '82," Art in America, December 1982, pp. 115–123, 181-189.


  1. ^ "Accueil". Ministère de la Culture (in French). Archived from the original on 11 May 2016. Retrieved 7 May 2016. Nous contacter: 3, rue de Valois, 75001 Paris Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  2. ^ "Monuments historiques: édifice / site: Domaine national du Palais-Royal (ancien Palais Cardinal), comprenant Conseil d'Etat, Conseil Constitutionnel, Ministère de la Culture, théâtre de la Comédie Française". Base Mérimée (in French). Retrieved 7 May 2016. place du Palais-Royal ; 1 à 7 rue de Valois ; 2 à 8 rue de Montpensier ; place Colette.
  3. ^ Snaije, Olivia (16 October 2018). "Publisher Françoise Nyssen Is Out as France's Minister of Culture". Publishing Perspectives. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  4. ^ "Missions". Centre national de la danse. Retrieved 18 November 2018.

External linksEdit