The International City Of The French Language: A Cultural Place To Discover In Villers-cotterêts.
A new cultural venue entirely dedicated to the French language and Francophone cultures will soon be established in the Château de Villers-Cotterêts, in the Hauts-de-France region. The International City of the French Language aims to highlight this language as a source of creativity, exchange, and intellectual fulfillment.
A highly symbolic place
The International City of the French Language will be inaugurated on October 30, 2023, in the Château de Villers-Cotterêts in the department of Aisne and the Hauts-de-France region.
This place is one of the most important cultural projects initiated by President Emmanuel Macron. Upon announcing this project on March 20, 2018, the President of the Republic declared his intention to make the Château de Villers-Cotterêts "a symbolic pillar" of the French language.
The choice of this location is not random, as it was in this Renaissance castle, located 90 km north of Paris, that King François I signed, in August 1539, the ordinance making the use of the French language mandatory in administrative and judicial acts in France.
To properly celebrate the opening of this place dedicated to the French language, the Ordonnance de Villers-Cotterêts has left the National Archives of France to return to its city of origin. This precious historical document will be presented for four months in the exhibition journey of the International City of the French Language.
A cultural place and a place to live.
Contrary to what one might think, the International City of the French Language is much more than a museum. The City, which will open its doors to the public on November 1, 2023, will offer a visitor's tour and exhibitions, but not only that!
It will also host artist residency workshops, educational activities, performances, as well as French learning and training workshops. The City also presents itself as a hub for creation and innovation related to the French language.
It is worth noting that this cultural venue is the result of a partnership between the National Monuments Center and the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF). This large-scale project required an investment of 210 million euros and over 4 years of work. It took no less to restore all its splendor to this Renaissance castle, which is a little-known gem of our heritage.
A place where the French language is queen.
The International City of the French Language will deploy permanent and temporary exhibition spaces as well as an auditorium within the Château de Villers-Cotterêts, built by François I in 1532.
The exhibition journey consists of 15 rooms and presents 150 objects, works, and documents dedicated to the French language, not to mention around fifty visual and sound animations.
This cultural venue also offers open spaces accessible to the public: a café, a bookstore, and a "lexical sky" which is already becoming one of the symbols of the City.
The "lexical sky" is a work composed of 90 suspended words. These words, chosen with the inhabitants of Villers-Cotterêts, adorn the glass roof that covers the Jeu de Paume courtyard. The result is spectacular as the words are made up of giant letters and reflect the diversity of French.
Passers-by and walkers can freely cross this courtyard to reach the city center of Villers-Cotterêts or the nearby Retz forest. Don't miss this opportunity to admire the glass roof designed by Olivier Weets and the Projectiles workshop, and to rediscover some of the most significant words of our beautiful French language!
On the occasion of the opening of the International City of the French Language, visitors will be able to benefit from 12 days of free admission, from November 1st to November 12th inclusive.
Below you will find useful information to prepare for your visit.
International City of the French Language
Château de Villers-Cotterêts
1, place Aristide Briand
Open from Tuesday to Sunday: from 10am to 6:30pm.
Closed on Mondays (except Easter Monday and Whit Monday).
Closed on January 1st, May 1st, and December 25th.
Please note: the last entry to the City is one hour before closing time.
Full price: €9
Reduced price: €7.50
Free for those under 26 years old