Report creation date: 14.10.2008 - 10:29
Countr(y/ies): France
Chapter(s): 1,2,21,22,23,24,241,242,243,244,245,246,3,31,32,33,4,41,42,421,422,423,424,425,426,427,428,429,4210,43,5,51,511,512,513,514,515,516,517,518,519,52,53,531,532,533,534,535,536,537,538,539,5310,6,61,62,63,64,7,71,72,73,8,81,811,812,813,82,821,822,83,831,832,84,841,842,9,91,92

France/ 1. Historical perspective: cultural policies and instruments

The history of cultural policies in France, from their origins under royal patronage in the 16th century until the present, is marked by: the central role the state has played in promoting and organising knowledge (Collège de France, the National Library), the arts (Comédie-Française, the Louvre Museum) and culture, and the gradual creation of administrative structures and budgeted funds (creation of the Fine Arts Secretariat in the 19th Century and the establishment of a separate Ministry of Culture in July 1959).Paris, Tour Eiffel

André Malraux, who wrote the decree of the first ministry stated that "the ministry in charge of cultural affairs has the role of making available capital works from humanity, and initially from France, to the greatest possible number of French people, of ensuring the largest audience for our cultural heritage, and of supporting the creation of the spirit and works of art which enrich it" (Decree n° 59-889, known as the "founding decree", of 24 July 1959). This decree opened the path for its successors in the areas of: heritage protection, contemporary creation, distribution and education, devolution of the administration and regulation of the cultural industries. André Malraux set up a Ministry of Cultural Affairs from the existing directorates of the Ministry of Education and the National Film Centre (Ministry for Industry). The new administration's primary aims were to promote contemporary creation in all artistic disciplines and a broader participation in cultural activities, especially in the areas of theatre, music and heritage. André Malraux wanted to set up Arts Centres (Maisons de la Culture) in each French département in order to stimulate contemporary artistic creation and disseminate culture on a broad scale. France is geographically divided into 96 administrative divisions known as départements. Maisons de la Culture were eventually set up in 9 cities. As part of the move towards déconcentration, three regional cultural affairs directorates were set up in 1969.

Jacques Duhamel (1971-1973) carried out a simultaneously interdisciplinary and interdepartmental policy aimed at integrating culture into society. He set up procedures to establish partnership contracts between the government and cultural institutions (television, cinema industry, theatre companies). The Fonds d'intervention culturel (FIC) was created in order to finance innovative partnerships with other ministries. In the field of visual arts, the 1% system (which ruled that 1% of the construction costs of a new public building must be set aside for the funding of an art work for that same building) was extended to include all existing public buildings.

While continuing to follow the policy lines initiated by André Malraux and Jacques Duhamel, the following six ministers introduced their own changes. In 1974, Michel Guy created a breakthrough for young artists and contemporary art by signing the first of a series of cultural development agreements with municipalities and régions. In 1977, the Georges Pompidou Contemporary Arts Centre was opened and the Museums Finance Act was adopted in 1978; 1980 was declared Year of National Heritage.

During this period, the Ministry of Culture stepped up its moves towards modernisation and its involvement with contemporary society. Measures included an increase in cultural funding; the widening of the ministry's scope of activities to include new art forms; the integration of culture into the economic world; and the development of audiovisual communications. The Ministry received ongoing support from the President of the Republic, François Mitterrand, who gave his stamp of approval to a series of major construction projects known as the "Grands Travaux" (Arche de la Défense, the Bastille Opera House, the Grand Louvre, the National Library...). The Ministry's budget was doubled in 1982 and gradually increased to represent 1% of the state budget: increasing from 2.6 billion francs in 1981 to 13.8 billion in 1993.

Moves towards déconcentration were stepped up with the completion of a network of regional cultural affairs directorates (DRAC), which collaborate with the local authorities. Several major training institutions were either restored or established: École nationale supérieure de la création industrielle (ENSCI), Institut national du patrimoine (heritage), the two Conservatoires nationaux supérieurs de musique (Paris and Lyon) and the École du Louvre. Over a period of 12 years, more than 8 000 jobs were created in the cultural field. Arts education in schools was modernised, new disciplines were taught (theatre, cinema, art history...), and a range of schemes were organised to raise the awareness of children about culture, such as arts projects, school visits to the cinema, heritage projects etc. As a result of economic changes and the growth of "home-based" cultural activity, the Ministry began to place more emphasis on the cultural industries (books, records, cinema, audiovisual) with a view to regulating the market (aid mechanisms for the film industry, price regulations on books, radio broadcasting quotas for French-language music...). The law on the use of the French language was adopted in 1994. A range of initiatives aimed at the "problem" districts was introduced. Culture was included in regional development initiatives.

Over a period of three years, the Minister of Culture carried out a policy aimed at broadening cultural participation with emphasis on the development of heritage, the performing arts and new technologies. Catherine Tasca's initiatives were mainly directed towards cultural diversity, across-the-board access to arts education and state reform via decentralisation. With regard to audio-visual communication, she sought to reinforce the government's regulatory function and increase high quality production in France without curbing the dynamism of the private sector.

In May 2002, in the first government of President Jacque Chirac's second term of office, Jean-Jacques Aillagon was appointed Minister of Culture and Communication. In one of his first interviews, he stated that "The right wing, heedful of modernity, is capable of [implementing] a far-reaching cultural policy."

In March 2004, Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres became Minister. His term was mainly spent calming the crisis of "intermittent du spectacle", and regulating access to new technologies.

During the last forty years, local and regional authorities increased their public support for culture. The municipalities, as owners of certain cultural facilities such as museums, municipal theatres, libraries and music schools, are now the main providers of government funds for culture. Encouraged by the Ministry of Culture and Communication to draw up their own cultural policies, the municipalities, followed by the départements and régions, have become involved in local public cultural action to a degree far exceeding the obligations laid down in the devolution laws of 1982, 1983 and 1992.

France/ 2. Competence, decision-making and administration

2.1 Organisational structure (organigram)

Organigram 1: Key actors in public cultural policy making

Source :     Projet de Loi de finances pour 2002, effort financier de l'État dans le domaine culturel, ministère de l'Économie, des Finances et de l'Industrie. Bilan social 2002, Direction de l'administration du Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication. Les Effectifs des collectivités territoriales au 31 décembre 2000, 2001, 2002, Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques (INSEE).

(I) Cultural institutions under national jurisdiction: institutions directly attached to the central administration of the Ministry of Culture and Communication. They have functions in the field of management, technical studies, formation, and activities of production of goods or provision of cultural services in national matters. Examples: national archives, research and restoration centres, museums, media libraries and national libraries of architecture and heritage, etc...

(II) Public institutions of the state: cultural organisations under the supervision of the state, having an own legal status, as well as administrative and financial autonomy e.g.: national museums, national arts centres, national academies, national art schools, etc...

(III) Public Institutions of Inter-municipal Co-operation (EPCI): regroupings of municipalities which aim to develop joint projects in various fields. The EPCI's are subjected to common, homogeneous and comparable rules with those of the local authorities e.g.: the Communautés de Communes, the Communautés d'Agglomération, the Communautés Urbaines, and the Syndicats intercommunaux.

Organigram 2:       Ministry of Culture and Communication: central directorates and divisions

The Ministry of Culture and Communication consists of a General Secretariat created on the 24 November 2006 by Decree 2006-1453. It has authority over the Directorate of General Administration (DAG) and the Division for Development and International Affairs (DDAI).

Ten administrative directorates have a role in the design, orientation, control and evaluation of cultural policies and measures at the national level:

In addition:

The following are also part of the Ministry: General Inspectorate, a Haut conseil de l'éducation artistique et culturelle (installed on 19 October 2005), a Conseil supérieur des musiques actuelles (installed on 16 January 2006), and a Conseil supérieur de la propriété littéraire et artistique (installed on 28 July 2006).

France/ 2. Competence, decision-making and administration

2.2 Overall description of the system

France is a social and democratic Republic directed by the President. The principal representative bodies are the French National Assembly, the Senate and the Economic and Social Council. The President appoints the Prime Minister, who is responsible for forming the government and whose task it is to define and implement the nation's policies. The government is made up of ministers, each with specific responsibilities, who exercise their authority over the national departments relevant to their portfolios. Within the government, the Minister of Culture and Communication participates in the preparation and implementation of national policies and is specifically responsible for cultural affairs.

The Minister of Culture and Communication exercises political authority over the directorates and other services of the Ministry of Culture and Communication. It is the minister's task to define the overall priorities and guidelines for ministerial initiatives and, accordingly, decides how funds are to be distributed between the directorates and oversees their allocation. The distribution of funds is determined during the drafting of the budget and is subject to the overall guidelines defined by the government. The budget must receive parliamentary approval.

A certain number of other ministries allocate substantial funds to the provision of cultural services: for the education and training of students and for educational museums in the field of history and natural sciences (Ministry of Education and Research); within the framework of public education and animation (Ministry of Health, Youth and Sports), for certain cultural heritage (monuments and museums under the Ministry of Defence), for the export of French culture abroad (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), and for scientific and technical culture (Industry, Agriculture), etc.

Local administration in France is the responsibility of directly elected local authorities (régions, départements and town councils). They are not answerable to the state and, in compliance with the laws of the Republic, are independent of each other. France's devolution laws define each council's scope of activity.

Local authorities - the town councils in particular - are highly active in the cultural field. Town councils manage most local cultural facilities and organise a large number of cultural events in their area (e.g. festivals), partly in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and Communication.

France/ 2. Competence, decision-making and administration

2.3 Inter-ministerial or intergovernmental co-operation

Co-operation between the Ministry of Culture and Communication and other ministries

Ministries other than the Ministry of Culture and Communication participate directly in public cultural development. Those principally concerned are the Ministry of Education and Research, the Ministry of Health, Youth and Sports and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A wide range of cultural projects are undertaken by these ministries in the fields of training in the arts; conservation of specialised libraries, national museums, monuments and the historical archives of ministries; and cultural initiatives outside of France.

The Ministry of Education and Research and the Ministry of Culture and Communication are implementing a five-year plan covering art and culture in schools. The Haut Comité des enseignements artistiques, installed in September 1988, was replaced by the Haut Conseil de l'éducation artistique et culturelle in 2005. This change aims to broaden the curriculum in arts and cultural education. The objectives of the council are to develop new technologies (access to knowledge); social cohesion through culture and the arts; cultural diversity; contractual policies with the communities; amateur arts; to sensitise students to other cultures in Europe; and to develop services for disabled people.

The protocol of 31 October 2001, between the Minister of Culture and Communication and the Minister for Health, Youth and Sports, affirms "the common investment of the two ministries in favour of governmental support for arts activities, [and their engagement to] harmoniously develop educational projects that bring art and culture to children and young people", within the framework of popular education.

In regard to international cultural relations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is responsible for cultural co-operation, is encouraging cultural and artistic exchanges and the use of the French language around the world. The association "Culture France" (formerly the Association française d'action artistique, AFAA) is assigned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Culture and Communication to supervise international cultural exchanges and development aid (see also 2.4.1).

Agreements have been signed between the Ministry of Culture and Communication and other ministries: the Ministries of Agriculture (for the development of socio-cultural education in agricultural teaching establishments); Health, Youth and Sports (for culture in hospitals, for example), and Justice (for the development of cultural activities in prisons).

Co-operation between the Ministry of Culture and Communication and local and regional authorities

The Ministry of Culture and Communication controls and supervises certain cultural activities put in place by local and regional authorities. These comprise the keeping of archives, the scientific and technical inspection of museums and libraries, and the pedagogic inspection of cultural and arts training institutions (music schools, art colleges...).

One of the principal features of public cultural development in France is joint action between the various public actors, numerous institutions, cultural initiatives and facilities at national, regional and local levels which are co-funded by these actors. The main examples of these partnerships are: regional or departmental associations for the development of music and choreography (and occasionally drama); music and dance institutes and teacher training centres; contemporary arts centres; cultural exchange centres; national theatres; regional opera houses and orchestras; regional co-operation agencies for books; and heritage restoration centres. Many of these institutions benefit from a state branding and / or are part of a national network. The funding potential of the different public actors varies according to the nature of individual structures and sometimes varies between structures of a similar type.

Specific measures have been drawn up: the two funds Regional Funds for Museum Acquisition (Fonds régionaux d'acquisition des musées, FRAM) and the Regional Funds for Library Acquisition (Fonds régionaux d'acquisition des bibliothèques, FRAB), are supported on an equal basis by the Ministry of Culture and Communication and the régions. These funds are intended for the acquisition of art works and the enlargement of the collections of museums and libraries under the control of local and regional authorities. The Fonds régionaux d'art contemporain (FRAC) was also created to assemble contemporary art collections in each région and to carry out awareness-raising and dissemination activities in the sphere of contemporary art.

In addition, specific contractual agreements between the Ministry of Culture and Communication and the local and regional authorities were signed in order to implement cultural development at a given regional level:

There are also broader partnership and contractual frameworks (not specifically cultural) involving the government and the local and regional authorities, such as the state / région project contracts and the city contracts.

The project contracts define the priorities for joint investment over a period of 7 years, and are aimed at the economic, social and cultural development of the régions. The city contracts define an overall group of joint initiatives between the different ministries and municipal councils that encounter problems of an economic, social or urban nature.

The state / région projects and city contracts frequently include cultural content covering, for example, arts teaching, vocational training, and regional cultural development.

The regional councils (régions), the general councils (départements), and the municipal councils (municipalities), are elected and in charge of the territorial administration. They do not depend on the state and administer themselves according to the laws of the Republic. Each one exercises competence as defined by the laws of decentralisation (1982, 1992) in its own area. The Constitution of the Fifth Republic, of 3 June 1958, was modified on 28 March 2003, to register these "decentralised organisations".

The cultural intervention of the local authorities and especially those of the municipalities play an important role in providing support for culture like for example cultural events (festivals), equipment, etc.; sometimes in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and Communication.

The Laws on Inter-municipal Co-operation and Regional Development (dated 25 June 1999 and 12 July 1999) led to the creation of new Public Inter-municipal Co-operation Institutes (Etablissements Publics de Coopération Intercommunale, EPCI) which constitute new local entities whose cultural action supplements and improves the cultural offer of the municipalities. Therefore, several municipalities choose to co-operate in order to realise a certain number of joint actions such as, for example, public transport or public reading projects.

Since August 2004, a law gave local authorities autonomy in culture e.g. in the field of heritage and arts training. The régions and the départements can, if they wish, take over the management and equipment by transfer of the decentralised appropriations of the state for a four year period. This Law also established new provisions concerning the organisation and the financing of artistic training at the territorial level. Each territory has specific responsibilities: the municipalities organise primary and secondary level teaching, the départements prepare departmental diagrams of development of this lesson; as for the régions, they undertake professional teaching.

Within the framework of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008, various ministries and their specialised services are cooperating on different projects: Foreign Affairs, Education, Culture and Communication, Francophonie. Since the new government took office in June 2007 inter-ministerial actions are being taken. France will chair the European Union Presidency during the second half of 2008. General coordination is entrusted to the Division for Development and International Affairs (Délégation au développement et aux affaires internationales, DDAI) of the Ministry of Culture and Communication. Other organisations are responsible for French language training, social integration and professional implementation. The Fonds d'Action et de Soutien pour l'Intégration et la Lutte contre les Discriminations (FASILD) is a governmental organisation supported by the Fonds d'Action sociale (FAS), founded in 1958, which provide financial support for the integration of immigrants. It is responsible for the municipal cultures, together with the Ministry of National Education, the Ministry of Health, Youth and Sports and the Ministry of Culture and Communication, in particular within the framework of the Cité National de l'histoire de l'immigation (CNHI) and the "politiques de la ville" (i.e. where there are difficulties in urban areas).

The President of the Republic initiated the creation of a "Ministry for Immigration, Integration, National Identity and Co-Development", which merges different authorities such as the border police, citizenship and family, social and professional integration systems.

The government adapts these systems to each territorial community through the prefectoral services and, in certain localities, with sub-prefects which have the role of managing the problems related to the "politiques de la ville".

France/ 2.4 International cultural co-operation

2.4.1 Overview of main structures and trends

In addition to its priority of promoting French culture abroad, France is developing a new policy of international co-operation aimed at promoting cultural pluralism and diversity. Several government departments and local authorities share responsibility for initiatives in this area.

Promoting French culture outside of France

The promotion of French culture abroad is one of the oldest components of French foreign policy. Mainly the responsibility of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it involves a wide range of activities including the promotion of the French language, education and academic exchanges, scientific and technical co-operation, exchanges in the arts, books, and the promotion of French films, radio and television. The policies laid down by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are implemented abroad by an external cultural co-operation network comprised of the cultural departments of French embassies and consulates, French cultural centres and institutions (approximately 150), 25 human and social science research centres, and the Alliances Françaises (approximately 1 000 of varying size).

The Ministry of Culture and Communication plays a key role in the field of cultural industry exports via organisations partly co-funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the different fields of culture industries. These include: Unifrance for cinema, France Edition for books, Bureau export de la musique française, and Culture France (formerly Association française d'action artistique - AFAA). Established in 1922, this structure implements the cultural exchange policies defined by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Communication. Culture France also works in partnership with numerous local and regional authorities in France (municipalities, départements, régions). It carries out diffusion initiatives and implements co-operation, co-direction, training and residential projects around the world. It is also the co-ordinator of foreign cultural seasons organised in France.

The promotion of foreign cultures in France

In order to foster the expression of other cultures in France, the Ministry of Culture and Communication encourages culture operators to expose French audiences to foreign productions. In collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry actively participates in the organisation of foreign cultural "seasons" and supports a large number of initiatives that place particular emphasis on foreign cultures in their programming, festivals and institutions (Maison des cultures du monde) throughout France. As a result, hundreds of events are helping to extend foreign culture in France.

Cultural co-operation

The vitality of France's cultural scene and its experience in cultural administration and management give rise to a significant demand for co-operation (in the form of expertise and training) with foreign governments and culture operators. In addition to the programmes "Courants" (Streams) and "Formation Internationale Culture" (International Cultural Training), a number of directorates and institutions of the Ministry of Culture and Communication provide training for foreign professionals, and numerous expert missions covering a wide range of fields are organised each year.

France/ 2.4 International cultural co-operation

2.4.2 Public actors and cultural diplomacy

France organises cultural events in co-operation with foreign embassies (see also 2.4.1). For particular celebrations (e.g. "Year of Brazil", "France in China", the centenary of diplomatic relations between France and Korea), intergovernmental cooperation are pursued and lead to exchanges of artists, literary translations, a catalogue of films, exhibitions etc.

Foreign cultural institutions located in France present their culture and arts to the French public. The most famous is the Institute of the Arab World (IMA), which is the fruit of a partnership between France and twenty-two Arab countries: Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen.

IMA, which has foundation status, was originally designed to show and present Arab culture. Nowadays, it has become a true "cultural bridge" between France and the Arab World. Open to the public since 1987, IMA has three main objectives:

Other institutions also promote foreign cultures such as the Musée des civilisations de l'Europe et de la Méditerranée (in Marseilles), the Guimet Museum (Asian arts) or the Musées des Arts Premiers. Regarding the performing arts, the presence of foreign artists in France is a normal and ongoing reality (actors, musicians, dancers, poets, writers, and personalities from the theatre...).

Local authorities have the statutory duty to engage in "external actions"; this right has been recognised by the Prime Minister in 1983 (before local authorities carried out the activities issued by the state). Within this framework, the local authorities engage in economic and cultural promotion, emergency interventions or of solidarity. Since 1992, the local authorities can also engage in "decentralised co-operation" with foreign regional and local authorities. These are formalised through specific conventions and based on the principle of "double reserve" that they respect the international engagements of France and that the partner is not a sovereign state. Local actors can be networks, general practitioners or sets of themes, on a European or world level.

Local authorities are also involved in transborder or interregional co-operation, in particular through European Community programmes. All aspects of international co-operation undertaken by local authorities are governed by the recent Law Oudin, adopted on 27 January 2005. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs supports local authorities in these types of actions by co-financing and mobilising the services of the external network of France. A new Division for the External Action of Local Communities was created in 2006 within the Directorate-General of International Co-operation and of Development (DGCID). A national Commission for decentralised co-operation was also created, which forms a privileged instrument of dialogue between the state and the local communities on this subject.

All of the régions in France, more than three-quarters of the départements, almost all of the large cities and urban communities, many small municipalities and a growing number of inter-municipal structures are involved in projects of international co-operation, which makes it difficult to specify the number of cultural projects undertaken. On the one hand, a certain number of projects comprise a cultural dimension, e.g. those linked to tourism, development, etc, and on the other hand, all of these projects express a great heterogeneity. The database of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs has a list of thirty-five projects which were undertaken specifically in the cultural field in 2007.

France has set up a French cultural network abroad, composed of the French institutes, the French cultural centres and the Alliance Française. Closely associated to the work of the embassies, this network promotes cultural diversity through dialogue and cultural exchanges, as well as the promotion of training in the French language, the participation in debates of ideas, documentation on France and studies in France.

A new international Agency of Museums was created in 2007 to provide support to the various French museums abroad projects, such as the Louvre in Abu Dhabi and to support the national and international development of French museums.

Masters level courses in the field of culture and arts training include a European or international dimension, which is supported by specific modules and possibilities for students to spend a few months abroad. France also takes part in large programmes of international university networks. The University Agency of Francophonie (AUF) has a membership of 658 higher education and research institutions, and has set up a programme entitled "French Language, cultural and linguistic diversity", which crosses all the continents. The MEDA (Mesures d'accompagnement) programme is the European Union's financial arm within the Barcelona Process which aims at implementing the measures of co-operation intended to help Mediterranean third countries to reform their economic and social structures and to mitigate the effects of economic development in relation to social and environmental concerns. It also has a cultural dimension that crosses over to other programmes addressing the Mediterranean.

Table 1:     State expenditure for the promotion of French culture abroad: estimated for "culture and communication", in million euros, 2005-2007



LFI 2006

final budget

PLF 2007

draft budget

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Cultural and scientific activity: French language and culture, linguistic and cultural diversity




Ministry of Culture and Communication

International cultural action




Cultural industries





Audiovisual productions




International French information channels












Source:      Document de Politique Transversale, External State Action - Action extérieure de l'Etat, PLF 2007.
LFI:            Loi de finances initiales (Initial finance law, budget voted by the Parliament).
PLF            Projet de loi de finances (Bill of finances, established by the ministries to be subjected to the vote of the Parliament).
1.                The corresponding amounts were not entered in the external state action until 2006.
2.                From 2006.

France/ 2.4 International cultural co-operation

2.4.3 European / international actors and programmes

Promotion of European and multilateral co-operation

The Ministry of Culture and Communication attends all European Community negotiations pertaining to culture. It informs French operators on European funding, provides support for certain European networks, and participates in the activities of the Council of Europe and UNESCO. The Ministry pays particular attention to cultural diversity issues dealt with by the numerous multilateral organisations (WTO and OECD in particular) and is a member of the international network on Cultural Policy (RIPC / INPC).

The Meetings for Europe of Culture (Les Rencontres pour l'Europe de la culture) reinforced the issue of cultural diversity. The fact that the Commission represented all EU members during the negotiations toward the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions was a determining element. Despite the difficulties of the European constitutional draft treaty (failure of the Referendum in France in May 2005), the debates around this project show the importance of maintaining the principle of deciding unanimously for trade negotiations of goods and services when cultural diversity is in question.

France ratified the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions on the 5 July 2006. It is considered to be the first international law on culture, as well as providing the foundation for international laws on health and the environment.

France is one of the main actors leading the "International Organisation of Francophonie" (OIF), an organisation created in the 1970s, which represents approximately 200 million people who speak French today, on the five continents, and which currently gathers 68 Member states and observers. The OIF, in addition to the assertion and the promotion of the French language on the international scene, works to promote cultural diversity and development. In France, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Culture and Communication, the Ministry of National Education and the Ministry of Higher Education and Research have entrusted the responsibility for the Francophonie to the Prime Minister and the President of the Republic.

France/ 2.4 International cultural co-operation

2.4.4 Direct professional co-operation

The reception and training of foreign artists and cultural professionals are a major component of the international strategy of the Ministry of Culture and Communication. Its programmes support the reception of more than 300 foreign professionals in all cultural fields, mainly in the major cultural venues, each year.

In addition to the activities undertaken by cultural institutions, local authorities and initiatives play an important role in promoting French artists.

France/ 2.4 International cultural co-operation

2.4.5 Cross-border intercultural dialogue and co-operation

Of the twenty-two metropolitan régions, eleven are bordered with other countries: Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, and Andorra. Therefore, cross- border relations are numerous and there is a long history of cultural, historical and linguistic activity (Flanders, Alsace-Lorraine, the Bavarian, Swiss and Italian Alps, Catalogne, the Pyrenees...). Cultural actions, exchanges of professionals and artists, performances, exhibitions, heritage projects, etc, are actions supported by the DRAC (see 3.1) in collaboration with partners in the neighbouring countries.

The communities of rural or urban régions create contacts with their frontier counterparts in neighbouring countries. Local authorities participate in European programmes such INTERREG and in "Eurorégions" e.g. the Nord-Pas-de-Calais région is linked to Kent in the United Kingdom and the province of Western Flanders in Belgium, and engage in cultural activities exchanges with them. The Festivals of the Rhine, the Franco-Spanish "ferias", the inter-celtic festivals in Brittany (the festival of the "Old Plough" at Carhaix in Brittany, the festival of Lorient), are events which show the cross-border character of a number of cultural activities in France.

There is no specific programme targeted at the French diaspora abroad.

Universities in France participate in inter-academic programmes such as Erasmus, Socrates, Leonardo, etc. 

France's cross-border relations concern not only culture, but also sports, employment, the environment and health and everyday life (binational families).

For more information, see our Intercultural Dialogue section.

France/ 2.4 International cultural co-operation

2.4.6 Other relevant issues

French cultural policy will certainly be marked, in the short term, by various questions such as:

France/ 3. General objectives and principles of cultural policy

3.1 Main elements of the current cultural policy model

The French cultural policies model is characterised by the substantial action of public authorities. In addition to the legal and regulatory aspects administrated by the state concerning cultural actors, goods, and activities, national, local and regional governments allocate substantial funds to a range of cultural fields. This action is written into the overall objectives of public cultural policy and is mainly administered by specialised public service departments.

Equal access to culture for citizens is written into the French Constitution: it is incumbent on the state to ensure that all people are potentially able to participate in cultural life. More generally, it is widely recognised in France that culture is an integral part of overall development (including social and economic development). Culture is thus a key factor in ensuring the quality of life and fulfilment of each and every individual.

A range of policies have been devised to correct recognised inequalities due to geographical, economic and social obstacles impeding participation in cultural life. They are aimed at extending and diversifying audiences, and fostering the development of the widest possible range of cultural and artistic activities in all cultural fields. These policies take shape in, for example, initiatives that benefit certain sections of the population and priority geographical areas.

In accordance with the law, government action also covers, on the one hand, the protection, maintenance, conservation, development, promotion, diffusion and enhancement of cultural and artistic heritage, considered to be common property to be shared by the nation, and, on the other hand, the protection, promotion, encouragement, support and diffusion of and for cultural and artistic creativity. In these areas, government support is aimed at preventing and correcting the risks inherent in the functioning of the market place: the disappearance concentration and standardisation of cultural products, which are not considered to be ordinary marketable commodities.

Moreover, the government has responsibility for artistic and cultural education and training as it has for general education. This takes place either within the school framework (visual arts, music, specialised training in theatre, in film, in the maintenance of cultural heritage), or by means of specialised schools at national or territorial level (academies), or by associations and popular education. This educational and pedagogic aspect of government cultural action is, of course, closely linked with the issue of access to, and participation of, individuals in cultural life.

The Ministry of Culture and Communication is responsible for the implementation of government-initiated action in the field of culture throughout the French territory. Certain other ministries take action in specific areas of cultural policy (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Education and Research for example). Regional and local authorities are also responsible for the implementation of cultural policies in their particular spheres (municipal, intermunicipal, regional); cultural action carried out by the various public actors often overlaps and is thus increasingly co-ordinated or carried out jointly.

The Ministry of Culture and Communication undertakes action in two ways: regulatory action (in the context of laws passed by Parliament) and direct action by means of public funds allotted to the Ministry in the context of the national budget.

Regulatory action

The Ministry of Culture and Communication is responsible for the implementation and supervision of laws and provisions relating to culture. Legal regulations involve, for example, heritage protection, the duties and the scientific and technical standards of archives and collections, literary and artistic property, artists' welfare, the institution of taxes and fees for certain cultural sectors (cinema, live entertainment), and obligatory production and diffusion quotas (broadcasting quotas).

These regulations do not necessarily imply the commitment of public funds on the part of the government. On the other hand, they could have substantial financial consequences for local and regional authorities and cultural actors (private television networks, owners of cultural heritage goods, etc.). Regulatory action by the Ministry of Culture and Communication also includes: initiatives aimed at endorsing the quality, professionalism and incorporation of cultural and arts activities into political policy objectives - for example, by declaring them as state-approved (general interest).

Direct action

One of the most direct actions of the Ministry of Culture and Communication involves the direct management of public cultural institutions (museums, national theatres, schools of higher education,...), the maintenance and development of public cultural, artistic and historical heritage, artistic commissions and construction, the delegation or allocation of grants to institutions and cultural actors as well as to regional and local authorities for their cultural initiatives.

State intervention in the cultural field endeavours to be open to all artistic and cultural genres, forms and aesthetics. Decisions relating to artistic commissions, allowances, the allocation of government grants, heritage protection, and the recruitment of culture specialists, are usually made with advice from consultative bodies, which include independent experts recognised in the appropriate fields.

The Ministry of Culture and Communication does not hold a monopoly on cultural action, which is also, to a large degree, initiated by the local and regional authorities. The public sector plays a major role in supporting culture in France. Parenthetically, a large part of state-supported cultural activity is organised by private actors (in the same way as numerous associative structures in the cultural sector).

The role of local and regional authorities

France's larger town and city councils have been actively engaged in culture for a long time. Since the 19th century many of them have been administering and funding libraries, museums, theatres and municipal conservatories and subsidising cultural associations and learned societies. Since the 1960s, other much smaller municipalities have also been developing their own - often ambitious - cultural policies.

Devolution laws

The devolution laws of 1982 and 1983, with their constitutional recognition in March 2003, have encouraged the cultural actions of the local and regional authorities with the help of the Ministry's Regional Directorates for Cultural Affairs (Directions régionales des affaires culturelles, DRAC). The spheres of competence of central lending libraries and département archive services have been transferred to the départements under these same laws.

Spheres of competence

Municipalities, départements and régions i.e., regional or local authorities, each have responsibility for culture. Between the déconcentration of government departments and devolution, this is a new mode of public action based on prevailing co-operation. While the state government has continued to play a substantial role in the public funding of culture, the contribution of local and regional authorities has significantly increased and now represents 60% of overall funding.

Municipalities can take action in all cultural sectors - heritage conservation and presentation, production and diffusion of performing arts, promotion of books and reading, and arts education. In this regard, a growing number of municipalities now have (since the period 1960-1970) elected representatives assigned to cultural affairs and have developed increasingly important cultural departments. The degree to which the municipalities invest in culture is dependent solely on their political will, except in the case of public archives, which they are under obligation to conserve and make accessible to both researchers and the general public. The procedures for cultural intervention are subject to the state regulatory authority.


Co-operation between the various public and private sector cultural actors is organised in accordance with a range of contractual procedures with varying degrees of specialisation: cultural development agreements, the "Ville et Pays d'Art et d'Histoire", "Villes-Cinéma" and "Villes-Arts plastiques" agreements, local arts education contracts, together with the cultural sections of the "City Contracts", the "Major Urban Projects" and the "State-Région Plan Contracts". With the increase in their number and their occasional overlapping, these agreements often prove difficult to handle.

In the field

A number of towns and cities are partners in national institutions and thus endeavour to follow cultural policies initiated by the state government. However, as they are much closer to the realities of their localities and their inhabitants, local and regional authorities are also endeavouring to increase cultural support in their localities by developing readership and arts education programmes, by supporting cultural events (festivals, etc.) and by protecting and developing heritage. They often provide the only support for cultural associations and amateur and emerging cultural and artistic activities.

The future of devolution

There are two emerging major trends which are likely to lead to substantial changes in public support for culture in the years to come: the first is the emergence of "inter-municipal co-operation" which will gradually and unavoidably affect the cultural field. France is comprised of over 36 500 municipalities, of which 35 700 have less than 10 000 inhabitants (including 27 800 municipalities with less than 1000 inhabitants). Although they are of greatly varying sizes (with subsequently varying available resources), they all have the same competence. In order to provide some of them with sufficient means to carry out certain initiatives adapted to local scale, municipalities have the possibility of delegating the implementation of certain assignments to "inter-municipal co-operation" structures. The second emerging trend is the possibility of increased devolution, particularly in the areas of heritage and arts education (experimental actions are being currently discussed).

France/ 3. General objectives and principles of cultural policy

3.2 National definition of culture

In the context of the French government's cultural policies, culture is defined in a far broader sense than the strict definition of the word would suggest, which, if adhered to, would be excluding, elitist and totalitarian. On the contrary, France's cultural policies are based on a far-reaching assignment and a universal vision of cultural phenomena. This is clearly evoked in the Ministry of Culture's brief, which states: "The Ministry of Culture shall be responsible for making the major works of humankind accessible to the maximum number of people, with particular emphasis on French works." Accordingly, the Ministry administers a policy aimed at "protecting and developing all facets of cultural heritage, encouraging the creation of works of art and other creative works, and fostering the development of arts training and activities." (Decree of 15 May, 2002, Article 1). Contrary to certain former regimes, France's cultural policies have never claimed to "contain", "shape" or "be" culture. They do, however, have fixed aims: to foster creation; protect national heritage; develop cultural industries; broaden access to cultural activities; to promote cultural diversity; and to support creation, both in the high arts and in emerging cultural expressions.

France/ 3. General objectives and principles of cultural policy

3.3 Cultural policy objectives

The fundamental objectives of cultural policy in France are the same as those declared in the Decree of 24 July 1959 by André Malraux, which are described in 1.

Since this time, new information and communication technologies have considerably developed and enabled access to knowledge and information. Despite such developments the political vision remains the same - to help all forms of cultural expression reach new audiences; the latter being one of the main objectives of cultural policy.

Since its creation, one of the essential missions of the Ministry of Culture and Communication has been to encourage access to and participation in both heritage and the works of contemporary creativity. Cultural policy objectives in France have proceeded through different stages with focus on: "cultural action" (1970s), "cultural development" (1980s), inter-ministerial partnership (1990s including draft-agreements with the ministries responsible for agriculture, defence, education, youth and sports, the family, justice, disabled people, health, and tourism), followed by "decentralisation of culture" (2000s) in cooperation with local authorities.

See also 4.1.

France/ 4. Current issues in cultural policy development and debate

4.1 Main cultural policy issues and priorities

The main cultural policy priorities in France are:

France/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.1 Cultural minorities, groups and communities

One of the major debates of French cultural policy concerns the recognition of cultural minorities, national or foreign, present on its territory. The Constitution declares in Article 1 that "France is an indivisible Republic, laic, democratic and social. It ensures equality, in the eyes of the law, for all the citizens, without distinction of origin, race or religion. It respects all beliefs. Its organisation is decentralised "therefore minorities in France do not have any particular cultural status (or other: legal, pertaining to worship, economic...). However, for a long time France has been a country of cultural diversity and, like the rest of the world, lives in a time of globalisation. France develops its effort to promote cultural integration within the limits envisaged by its Republican laws.

The government has reaffirmed that France does not recognise minorities, whether they be ethnic, religious, linguistic or other. Under French law, all citizens have equal rights, and the law is not intended to accord specific rights to given "groups" defined by their community of origin, culture, beliefs, language or ethnicity.

France's population is made up of people from numerous origins and cultural traditions. Cultural development, which obviously leans on these patrimonial elements, artistic activities, and, in particular, languages - whether they be regional languages or those resulting from immigration, is an important and privileged approach to creating identity and encouraging exchange within the French community as a whole. 

France's legal and administrative texts avoid naming populations according to their ethnic origin, but this does not exclude recognition of an individual's social activities or lifestyle. Several national, inter-departmental or regional organisations and associations supervise and assist in the smooth regulation of this policy, for example: the Commission départementale d'accès à la citoyenneté (CODAC), the Groupe d'étude et de lutte contre les discriminations (GELD), the Agence nationale de lutte contre l'illettrisme (ANLCI), the Fonds d'action et de soutien pour l'intégration et la lutte contre les discriminations (FASILD), and the Association pour le développement des relations interculturelles (ADRI)...

Article 1 of the Constitution of the Fifth Republic prohibits the discrimination of inhabitants in France because of their membership in religious or ethnic groups. That makes it difficult to gather data on the populations of foreign origin which are either of French nationality, or from abroad living legally on the territory. Nevertheless, the rules were softened, and there is now more precise information on those of foreign origin living in France (the latest available data is from the 1999 census).

Distinction between foreigners and immigrants

In France, any person is "foreign who does not have French nationality", while

"an immigrant is a person born in another country, but who lives in France. After entry into France, an immigrant can either become French, or remain ‘foreign' (...) any foreigner is not necessarily an immigrant, and any immigrant is not inevitably a foreigner."
(Statistical Directory of France, INSEE, edition 2007, p.68)

Table 2:     Share of immigrants and foreigners in France, 2006

Immigrants: 4 930 000


French by acquisition
born abroad: 1 970 000

born abroad: 2 960 000

born in France: 550 000


Foreigners: 3 510 000

Source:      Statistical Directory of France, Insee, édition 2007.


Since 1975, the share of immigrants in the population has remained stable, but the nature of immigration has changed greatly: entry to France based on family grounds increased; the immigrant population was feminised; and the immigrants come from increasingly remote countries. They live, more often than the remainder of the population, in couples, in particular with children. More than half of the couples are bi-national. Because of the size of their families, the weakness of their incomes and their concentration in large cities, immigrants are more often tenants of the social sector. They are more affected by unemployment and they often occupy the position of unqualified workers or employees. Their over representation in industry, the building sector and public works prevails.

To date, only 5% of individuals younger than 66 years old have two immigrant parents. The children of immigrants often have difficulties in school, but not more so than other children in the same social environment. According to the social origin data, the descendants of migrants have the same social destiny as those in other countries.

Table 3:     Immigrants according to their country of origin, June 2006

Country of origin

% of total

Number of immigrants



1 934 144



316 232



378 649



571 874



98 571

Other European countries


568 818



1 691 562



574 208



522 504



201 561

Other African countries


363 289



549 994



174 160

Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam


159 750

Other Asian countries


216 084

America, Oceania


130 394



4 306 094

Source:      INSEE ( and Statistical Directory of France, INSEE, edition 2007, op. cit.

Basic rights

Immigrants have the same rights as the French, with regard to education, health and social security. If they are foreign, they cannot vote. However, they profit from cultural rights within the framework of the Law on Associations (1901) which was open to all residents in October 1981: this law of 1981 allows any foreigner or immigrant living in France, under certain conditions, to create associations, including religious organisations, with the proviso of respecting the Constitution (secularity, equality, freedom of conscience, etc.).

Until June 2007, the principal responsibility for immigration in France came from the Directorate of Population and Migration of the Ministry for Employment, Social Cohesion and Housing. The new Ministry for Immigration, Integration, National Identity and Co-development was created by the new President Sarkozy to pursue the policy of integration and to fight against illegal immigration.

Various public organisations care for immigrants, the most important and oldest among them being the Fonds d'Action et de Soutien pour l'Intégration et la Lutte contre les Discriminations (FASILD - Funds of Action and Support for Integration and the Fight against Discrimination). This is a governmental organisation resulting from the Funds of Social Action (FAS) founded in 1958 for the "Muslim workers of Algeria" in cities and their families. FASILD finances operations in favour of the integration of immigrants and the populations considered as such in the French population.

Another organisation working in this field is the National Agency for Social Cohesion and Equal Opportunities (ACSÉ), created by Law n° 2006-396 of 31 March 2006, published in the Official Journal on 2 April 2006.

Many cultural actions provide support for immigrants. French language courses are organised by associations to assist integration and naturalisation, and are assisted by the Ministry of Labour, Social Relations and Solidarity. One third of all immigrants have a poor command of spoken French and 46% cannot write it correctly. To remedy this situation, the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of National Education created an Diplôme initial de langue française (DILF - Initial Diploma of the French language), intended to validate a basic level of knowledge of French by all foreigners, whether they reside, or not, on the territory, and by the whole of the non-francophone French (Decree n°2006-1626, of December 19, 2006). This diploma is a prerequisite before acquiring French nationality.

The Ministry of Culture and Communication has a Délégation générale à la langue française et aux langues de France (DGLFLF), which promotes the cultural and artistic knowledge of the French language.

Many libraries or municipal media libraries have books in the languages of immigrant communities (e.g. Arab, Portuguese, Asian languages, languages of Central Europe, Tziganes, etc.). They publish lexicons, glossaries and monolingual dictionaries in various languages (French, English, German, Spanish...) for foreigners in different fields such as audio-visual, music, cinema, economy and finance, history of art, data processing and the Internet. They organise exhibitions and performances that communicate francophone artistic expressions (which relate to approximately 60 countries or regions in the world).

Festivals or other celebratory events of foreign cultures are organised such as Banlieues bleues (jazz and afro-American music), theatre, photography exhibitions, film evenings (African, Asian, Iranian...), and innumerable music concerts. It is estimated that 5 000 festivities are organised related to the issue of immigration and which are, according to French law, systematically open to the entire public.

France/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.2 Language issues and policies

French is the only official, national, administrative and daily language of the French Republic. However the reality of cultural diversity obliges France to reconsider its historically firm position on this point and to take into account regional languages in France and certain foreign languages related to immigration (Arab, Portuguese, languages of Asia, East and Central Europe). Training in many of these languages is provided by specialised cultural associations or centres.

From a general standpoint, France has been committed, for the last several years, to the development of multilingualism, in particular by increasing the number of language teaching establishments. The following examples illustrate this point:

Local and regional authorities and the Directions régionales des affaires culturelles (focussing on cinema, live performance, information and communication technologies, visual arts and museums, architecture and heritage, and archives) are all working on the exchange of knowledge between cultures. They are manifested through festivals e.g. "Les Belles Etrangères", language fora (in large cities) and cultural events (in municipalités)

The Délégation générale à la langue française et aux langues de France (DGLFLF) within the Ministry of Culture and Communication, in collaboration with the Agence nationale de lutte contre l'illettrisme (ANLCI), has set up an interdepartmental working group to harmonise language teaching courses open to the general public.  

The training of the regional languages of France is not forgotten. This teaching usually takes place, however, in higher education institutions where they are pursued by subsidised associations, circles of scholars / specialists gathering individuals of all generations and all competences.

French, the official language of the French Republic, acts as a cohesive element throughout France and is spoken by over 100 million people in the world's francophone communities. In the face of globalisation and the emergence of new communication networks, the defence of the French language and its ongoing use as an international language has become a priority. Accordingly, the policy aimed at the francophone community has been reinforced over the last fifteen years and now covers multilingualism and cultural diversity (see also 2.4 and 3.3).

Within the Ministry of Culture and Communication, the Délégation générale à la langue française et aux langues de France (DGLFLF) is responsible for fostering French in France and throughout the francophone community. The Directorate of Books and Readership (DLL) administers support for French language books, reviews, magazines and scientific publications. The Regional Directorates of Cultural Affairs (Directions régionales des affaires culturelles - DRAC) promote awareness of the French language, multilingualism and the reception of foreign tourists.

Languages of France

On 15 June 1999, France ratified the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, but did, however, accompany its signature with a Declaration stating its interpretation of the Charter. The reference in the Charter to "groups" of language-speakers did not appear to be compatible with the preamble to the French Constitution, which "guarantees the equality of all citizens before the law and recognises one French nation composed of all its citizens regardless of their origin, race or religion." The Declaration also stipulated the obligatory use of the French language by all government departments, public services and users, that the teaching of regional and minority languages be optional, and that all official versions of legislative texts be published in French. Language is an extremely sensitive matter and has led to different interpretations of such concepts as "state", "Europe" and "region".

France/ 4.3 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.3 Intercultural dialogue: actors, strategies, programmes

The French cultural administration gives importance to intercultural dialogue and linguistic diversity. It provides support to the Cité nationale de l'histoire de l'immigration (CNHI) opened in June 2007 and to the Museum of Arts "Quai Branly" opened to the public in June 2006. Moreover, support is given to activities such as the festivals "Les belles étrangères", "Francophonie", specialised events, radio stations...

The organisation Commission Images de la diversité, created by Decree n°2007-181, was opened on 20 March 2007. It helps film and the audiovisual arts in the field of diversity and equal opportunities by providing specific funds for teaching and the production of series, documents, magazines, fiction and short films.

The recognition of cultural identities is a major challenge for Europe; both identities "within itself", in the 400 "Regions" which constitute it; and identities "out of itself", with a significant number of immigrants who have already arrived or who will settle here in the years to come.

A dynamic approach to intercultural activities has been formulated by the French state for the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008:

Actions and exhibitions are organised according to three themes:

These actions will take place with the assistance of the Délégation générale à la langue française et aux langues de France (DGLFLF) of the Ministry of Culture and Communication, which coordinates these activities at national level. These actions will be organised around two areas:

Within the framework of the research programme "Habiter le monde de la diversité culturelle" (to live the world of cultural diversity), recommended by the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and the Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions of 20 October 2005, a mediation team has the role of proposing, to the political leaders, a programme for the expression of cultural diversity in the identity of the Republic. A series of concerts, local festivals, meetings between the generations and assistance to artistic creations will be made.

Certain works have already been completed, the details of which have been published in the programme "Cultures, villes et dynamiques sociales" (Cultures, cities and social dynamics) ( Research in cultural, artistic, social, urban and political fields is used for scientific circles and for the preparation of activities related to cultural mediation. They are summarised in a series entitled (n°106-107, December 2005) "Cultural Democratisation, Cultural Diversity, Social Cohesion". In addition to this series, a document presenting the work of the group on cultural diversity is available on the Internet.

For more information, see:
Database of Good Practice on Intercultural Dialogue and our Intercultural Dialogue section.

For more information on the government's National Strategy for the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue please see: 

France/ 4.3 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.4 Social cohesion and cultural policies

The Ministère de la Ville was created in 1990, specialising in urban problems. It implements the "Politique de la ville" - which defines interdepartmental projects to be carried out in the districts, the cities or the municipalities, or even in an entire département such as the Seine Saint-Denis (93). At the core of this policy is cultural development which has been supported by the Ministry of Culture and Communication and its Regional Directorates. Since 2002, their interest has been decreasing with new emphasis placed on social assistance and social housing construction. Decreasing subsidies has been particularly detrimental to cultural action in this field.

France/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.5 Media pluralism and content diversity

Public service and audiovisual media

In accordance with the law, national broadcasting companies must comply with the following general rules:

The independent authority Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel is responsible fro ensuring the quality and diversity of programming, the development of national television production and creation, and to defend and promote the French language and French culture. It can draw up proposals to improve programmes and the quality of their content. The Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel also manages the quotas on the distribution of French music.

The money collected through public licence fees (116 euro per household in 2006) goes to support public television networks and radio stations, including France 2, France 3, France 5, Network France Overseas - RFO - and France 4, the new channel on digital terrestrial television), Arte-France, and Radio France (France Inter, France Info, France Culture, France Musiques, FIP, France Bleu, Le Mouv'), Radio International France (RFI). The Institut national de l'audiovisuel is responsible for the conservation and development of national audio-visual heritage.

Public television networks are responsible for the distribution of public cultural programmes, while private channels lean more towards entertainment. In recent years, attempts have been made to ensure that public channels transmit their cultural programmes at peak listening / viewing times and all year round, rather than later at night and only in the summer (cf. bibliography C. Clément). This effort will undoubtedly be further progressed following the publication of the Letter of Mission of the President of the Republic to the Minister of Culture and Communication in August 2007.

According to UNESCO, more than 80% of feature films in the world come from Hollywood and half of the programmes shown on European television are of American origin. In 2004, American films represented 45% of feature films in France and 70% in the European Union. Conversely, the share of European feature films is only 3.3% in the United States. In 2005, cinema listings, by nationality of film, show that, in France, 46% of films were American, 37% were French, 15% were European and 2% of another origin (Chiffres clés pour la culture 2006).

The same situation arises in the field of music where, in 2005, five companies controlled 75% of the world market for CDs (Universal Music, EMI, Sony Music, Warner and BMG).

Finally, in the publishing field, even though French literary production is successful, among the ten novelists most translated in the world, nine are written originally in the English language. Obviously, the transatlantic cultural flows are unbalanced and are regarded as a threat to French culture. Culture is undergoing an identity crisis, from which neither France nor Europe can escape. The idea of cultural diversity has been developed to gain better control of the diversity of identities in a constructive dialogue. A complex question is how to respond to the mass production of the cultural industries and to preserve the possibility of distributing cultural and contemporary creativity?

This issue is important not only for the cultural industries, but also for all activities of cultural creation. Research carried out by the Ministry of Culture and Communication (DDAI / DEPS) shows that, household consumption of the cultural industries encourages mass production, more so than the activities of museums, cultural heritage, exhibitions or performing arts. Standardisation has negative effects on artistic creation.

This research led the President of the Republic to initiate the European Digital Library (Bibliothèque Numérique Européenne) in cooperation with Germany, Spain, Hungary, Italy and Poland.

France/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.6 Culture industries: policies and programmes

The cultural industries in France are organised by the various government Directions (depending on the field: books, press, sound records, cinema...), and by transversal structures (Groupe d'analyses stratégiques des industries culturelles, Observatoire des usages numériques culturels installed at the Département des études, de la prospective et des statistiques [DEPS], Observatoire de la musique at the Direction de la musique, de la danse, du théâtre et des spectacles [DMDTS], Cité de la musique, Observatoire du livre...). In this context public policies have to take into account the economic and social reality of the cultural industries in all aspects:

It is difficult to evaluate (DRAC, local communities) small local or national cultural industries which have little commercial activity. This is the case for small labels, of contemporary or current music. It is also the case for small booksellers, small publishers, as well as for the cinema of art and essay.

Local communities often provide support to SME's for example by renting spaces or by providing subsidises to audio-visual productions in their territory.

France/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.7 Employment policies for the cultural sector

Employment in the cultural sector is an important issue for the Ministry of Culture and Communication. The concept of cultural employment covers a broad field; salaried and non-salaried employment, commercial and non-commercial sectors as well as different sectors of the Ministry of Culture and Communication e.g. books, visual arts, cinema, audio-visual arts, performing arts, architecture and cultural heritage: creation, production, diffusion, marketing, mediation, documentation, administration.

Nearly 470 000 people are employed in the cultural sector (249 000 in the culture industries, 119 000 in the performing arts, 54 000 in the field of architecture, 47 000 in the protection of cultural heritage...) which represents 2% of the overall working population. In the European Union, 4.2 million people are employed in the cultural sector, which is 2.5% of the working population, of which half is in the cultural industries.

The Ministry of Culture and Communication endeavours to control, in the European context and that of the world market, author's rights within the framework of the Conseil supérieur de la propriété littéraire et artistique. It develops the new artistic expressions of young people (Conseil supérieur des musiques actuelles).

Since the controversy, in 2003, around the renewal of Annex 8 and 10 of the Convention on Unemployment Compensation, the Ministry of Culture and Communication has become responsible for the intermittants du spectacle (temporary workers in the entertainment industry). New measures have been introduced:

The issue of "intermittants" continues to be a matter of public discussion. Necessary reforms of the unemployment insurance scheme for professionals in the performing arts have not been fully implemented. This leads to bigger challenges in the context of the knowledge economy as defined in the Lisbon Strategy.

It is necessary to recognise that in France the increase in the number of employed people in the performing arts sector was ten times higher than that of the whole of the working population between 1982 and 1990. In the ten years that followed, it was still five times higher.

A distinctive characteristic of employment in the cultural sector is that the percentage of non-salaried workers (101 000 persons - 22% of the workforce) is twice that of non-salaried workers in the overall working population (11% of employees in all sectors combined). The entertainment, architecture, publishing and bookselling sectors employ a particularly large number of free-lance workers.

Over the last several years, there has been a substantial increase in "intermittent" employment - an employment status specific to the cultural sector and applying to artists and technicians in theatre, cinema, television and live entertainment. Based on short-term contracts, this status enables employers to take on artists and technicians for short-term productions and for these same artists and technicians to work for a wide range of different employers. They are entitled to receive unemployment benefits if they have not been able to complete a specified number of hours in any one year (507 hours). This form of employment has contributed to the growth of employment in the entertainment sector, but has been accompanied by an increase in job insecurity (a drop in the average annual number of working hours per individual and related payments).

France/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.8 New technologies and cultural policies

The digital world has created a host of new professions such as web designers, internet writers, curators of on-line or virtual museums and galleries. It is a new cultural market which is open to competition and creates new patterns of cultural consumption.

The cultural industries are confronted with digital technologies which have modified the economy, distribution, diffusion, the collection of authors' and artistic copyright, and the profitability of the investments in production. This change takes place in a sharp competitive framework (internationalisation) open to sectors associated to the cultural industries (telecommunications, electronics, information technologies, and software design). It generates new behaviours of production and consumption. Such change requires inter-ministerial action and also has an impact on cultural employment.

These new developments have an impact on all of the sectors under the responsibility of the Ministry of Culture and Communication including cultural heritage, international cultural policies, and for diversity policies.

The Ministry of Culture and Communication and the bodies responsible for legal deposits - the National Library of France and the National Audio-visual Institute in particular - are working together to define the aims and procedures for the legal deposit of Internet works with a view to setting up a Web archive.

The Ministry of Culture and Communication provides funds to support artistic projects using new technologies (multimedia...). This system for multimedia creation (DICRéAM) is supported by the National Centre for Cinematography (CNC). It provides assistance to projects up to 23 000 euro and production aid for artistic works up to 50% of the total budget.

Espaces culture multimedia (ECM) were set up within existing cultural and socio-cultural structures to facilitate access to multimedia cultural content and to present digital works. There are now 150 ECMs active throughout France.

In the fight against piracy on the Internet the Ministry launched a Charte d'engagement pour le développement de l'offre légale de musique en ligne, le respect de la propriété intellectuelle et la lutte contre la piraterie numérique (Charter of Engagement for the Development of the Legal Offer of Online Music, Respect for Intellectual Property and the Fight Against Digital Piracy) on 28 July 2004. It defines the legal basis for the protection of authors' rights, as well as the fines incurred by the "pirates". More than one million musical titles are currently downloadable.

France/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.9 Heritage issues and policies

The digitalisation of national cultural heritage involves the documentation of all state-owned collections regardless of the medium used: ancient manuscripts, maps, plans, paintings, drawings, films, regional stories and songs, etc. Nearly 5 million documents and over 2 000 hours of sound recordings have been digitised. Since 2000, the Ministry of Culture and Communication has also provided support for the digitalisation projects of local and regional authorities and associations.

A great deal of research work was carried out to improve digitalisation processes, document indexing and digitised content. The adoption of rules governing the description of documents is aimed at guaranteeing the compatibility of different information systems. As the internet is a world-wide network there is a need for a firm policy on the multilingualism of the sites that diffuse digitised cultural heritage documents (50% of connections to the Joconde database are from outside of France).

Lastly, the availability of interactive sites (Web2.0) is actually transforming the conditions for the creation of music, literature and visual arts.

In France, national heritage visits is the second most popular cultural activity after viewing / listening to television / video / radio, and it has been said that the French have a "great passion" for national heritage. Thousands of heritage associations have been set up since the 1980s (nearly 3 000 in 2004) for the preservation, protection and development of cultural heritage at the local level and have proved to be active independent partners of municipal town councils.

The Ministry does not intend to classify everything as "heritage" in an illusory exercise to make time stand still: rather, it seeks to offer access to information and data to all and to present this data - as is now possible - via information technology. The Ministry seeks to make available, to the general public and to future generations, a wide range of books, archives, art works, objects, films and monuments from which this knowledge is derived, and which can be considered as material evidence of the nation's cultural diversity. The first step in this direction has been the recent efforts of the Ministry with regard to 20th century heritage. Their policy of surveying and protecting industrial heritage is being reinforced to develop this aspect of France's social history and living heritage that transcends local socio-economic concerns and is of interest to the nation as a whole.

Government policy is also oriented toward developing France's written heritage and to make it available to as many people as possible; the National Library is, for example, setting up a network with the regional municipal libraries for this purpose. The National Archives are also being restructured in an effort to redefine its assignments and facilities for researchers and the general public. The proposed law on the information society stipulates that public records will be made fully accessible to all persons on request, thus reinforcing the role of the national archives as a disseminator of the nation's memory.

The "Cité de l'architecture et du patrimoine", a museum relating to the history of architectural heritage in France was opened to the public in April 2007 within the Chaillot Palace, in Paris.

For more information, see
European Heritage Network: Country profile France

France/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.10 Gender equality and cultural policies

According to a study on cultural employment from 2004, there are more men working as cultural professionals (61%) than women (54%), compared to the Occupied Working Population (Population Active Occupée (PAO): unemployment not included).

This situation reveals great disparities. Certain professions have a strong male domination: literary authors (77%), architects (76%), photographers (72%), and audio-visual and cinema professionals (70%). Others are mainly female dominated, such as technical management of documentation and conservation (74%), and arts professors (55%).

The case for musicians is also interesting: it is a male dominated profession: only 24% are women. This distribution varies according to genre: women are a minority (only 17%) in "non-classic music" (jazz, rock, variety...), but are well represented (43%) in "classic music". In addition, women tend to be paid less than their male colleagues.

France/ 4. Current issues in cultural policy development and debate

4.3 Other relevant issues and debates

The development of international tourism doubled in the past ten years and currently involves 700 million people. The movement of people on this scale is historically without precedent. This situation gives France an exceptional opportunity to promote itself, since it is the leading tourist destination in the world, with 80 million tourists in 2005, creating an income of 32 billion euro and employing 5% of the work force.

The question arises whether to link the Ministry of Culture and Communication with the Ministry of Tourism, Youth and Sports and others, to create a political organisation centred on knowledge, artistic practices, leisure time and communication.

France/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.1 Constitution

The preamble to the Constitution of the 5th Republic (4 October 1958) incorporates the preamble to the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (August 1789) and the Constitution of 27 October 1946, which specifies that "the Nation ensures the necessary conditions for the development of the individual and the family" (§ 10); "that it guarantees to all, in particular to children, mothers and older workers, protection, rest and leisure" (§ 11); it also ensures "the equal access of the child and the adult to instruction, professional formation and culture" (§ 13).

The Constitution of the 5th Republic stresses that the idea of the "citizen", with his rights and duties, and the conception of the state, its authority and political representation, does not change in France, in spite of the evolution of international and European law.

Among these texts, Article 1 removes any relevance to the character of a "group" (ethnic, religious, etc...) of French citizens or residents on French territory.

This article makes the recognition of minority languages, recommended by the Council of Europe, very difficult. Thus, in 1999, a French constitutional council was created, under the terms of Article 54, to examine the conformity of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages with the French Constitution. The constitutional judge used Article 1 to decide that clauses of this European Charter are contrary to the French Constitution, "in what they tend to recognise as a right to use a language other than French, not only in "private life" but also in "public life", for which the Charter attaches the administrative justice and authorities and public services". Nevertheless, the constitutional Council considers "that none of the other commitments outstanding by France, whose majority, moreover, are restricted to recognise practices already implemented by France in favour of the regional languages", undermine the basis of French political life. This means that the objectives of the Charter are contrary to the Constitution, but that its practical methods are in conformity with it. A modification of the Constitution would be required to ratify all of this international treaty, which is unlikely to take place because these constitutional provisions are fundamental.

France/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.2 Division of jurisdiction

The legal service is attached to the Direction for General Administration of the government. But each Direction has its specific legal tool according to its objective, the royalties, and the taxation varying from one field to another (cinema, literature, performing arts, sound recordings, etc.).

The General Code on local and regional government defines the competence in the cultural field of the régions, départements and municipalities: more particularly Part I, Volume IV, Section II, items I, II & III (local public services); Vol. VI, item IV (compensation of competence transfers) and VI (measures specific to art works):

Law n° 84-53 of 26 January 1984: creation of a public regional and local civil service including cultural occupations.

Law n° 2002-6 of 4 January 2002 relating to the creation of the Public Cultural Co-operation Establishments (EPCC): creation of a legal structure for the partnership between the state and local and regional governments for the administration of cultural public services.

Decree n° 82-394 of 10 May 1982 (amended) relating to the organisation of the Ministry of Culture and Communication.

Decree n° 2002-898 of 15 May 2002 relating to the competence of the Ministry of Culture and Communication.

France/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.3 Allocation of public funds

Information is currently not available.

France/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.4 Social security frameworks

Civil servants profit from the system for civil servants, other employees benefit from the general social security system and self-employed workers benefit from the pension scheme of their professions.

The question of intermittent employment in the entertainment sector arises regularly. The Minister for Culture presented a device to secure the temporary employed artists and technicians. It is based on collective agreements and a new system of unemployment insurance. It envisages also the installation of a fonds de professionnalisation et de solidarité. From the beginning of 2007, this device guarantees that once a worker in this sector has completed a specified number of hours in any one year (507 hours), then they are entitled to social security benefits. It takes into account with 120 hours per annum: the hours worked, maternity leave, sick leave of more than three months, breaks related to industrial accidents and the hours of formation used by artists and technicians. It guarantees the maintenance of the allowance of return to employment until the retirement age for artists and technicians over 60 years and 6 month. It creates an allowance of end of right financed by the state. The duration of this allowance, which amounts to 30 euro per day, is flexible according to seniority.

Since 1 January 1977, artist / authors benefit from a specific social security scheme which stipulates that, although artist / authors are self-employed, at the end of their second year of activity, they become entitled to social security benefits under the same conditions as salaried employees.

For more information, see our Status of Artists section

France/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.5 Tax laws

While there are no overall tax measures affecting culture, a number of specific measures are applied to different areas of culture. This section will provide only a broad outline of these measures and present several examples. Comprehensive information on this subject can be found at:

Five broad areas are concerned by tax measures relating to culture: literary and artistic creation; the protection of cultural heritage; the development and diffusion of culture, cinema, audio-visual and recorded music; and the press and publishing. These measures mainly comprise: income tax relief; reduction of VAT (5.5%, 2.1% or total exemption); exemption from professional tax; exemption from wealth tax and registration dues.

Books, for example, are subject to a reduction of VAT (5.5% in metropolitan France). This reduction also applies to ticket prices for theatres, cinemas (excluding cinemas showing pornographic films or films inciting violence), circuses, concerts, variety entertainment, etc.

In France, there are three VAT rates:

The normal rate of 19.6% applies to all sales of goods or services except those subjected by law to another rate. The rate is 20.6% for CDs and cassettes.

The rate is reduced to 5.5% for the products required for everyday consumption, such as food and certain cultural products like books. This rate is the same for works of art carried out on digital or audio-visual supports.

The VAT rate is 2.1% for publications of the press and for ticketing of the first 140 stage performances of works recently created or presented in a new setting. It drops to 1.05% in the overseas départements.

The overall framework for legal incentives for public-private partnerships was laid down in Law n° 87-571 of 23 July 1987 on the development of sponsoring. It specifies the conditions under which sponsor companies are authorised to benefit from a range of tax incentives. Companies may deduct, from their taxable earnings, gifts of a cultural nature to charities or organisations of general interest, up to a maximum of 0.225% (or, under certain conditions: 0.325%) of their turnover.

A specific provision relates to contemporary art: companies that purchase original works by living artists can, over a period of 20 years, deduct from their taxable earnings an amount equal to the purchase price. To benefit from this deduction, the company must exhibit the acquired work in public.

Law n° 90-559 of 4 July 1990, relating to the creation of corporate foundations, authorises companies to set up cultural foundations and defines their scope of activity.

France/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.6 Labour laws

A specific social insurance system exists for authors (writers, authors and type-setters of music, film and television writers, software designers, choreographers, photographers, etc.) and the "artist-authors" of the graphic and visual arts (visual art technicians, graphic designers, ceramists, etc.) who have the same access to social security services as employed persons.

For more information, see our Status of Artists section

France/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.7 Copyright provisions

The principle of the protection of authors' rights is laid down in the Intellectual Property Code. The creator is central to the provisions contained in the code: "The author of an intellectual work, by virtue of having created that work, shall enjoy exclusive rights to incorporeal ownership [of the work]. These rights include moral, intellectual and patrimonial attributes." Ownership is deemed to cover the actual creation of the work and not the material object containing the creation: authors' rights are independent of the rights to corporeal possession covering the material object. The French system of authors' rights is thus different to that of the copyright system practiced in English-speaking countries.

The creator enjoys ongoing and permanent moral rights, whereas exploitation rights are accorded to an author for a limited period of time. After a maximum period of 70 years following the death of the author, the work enters the public domain and, subject to respect for the moral rights of the author, can be exploited at will and free of charge. The Intellectual Property Code also accords legal protection known as "neighbouring rights" to certain collaborators in the exploitation of the creation. These include performing artists, sound and video recording producers and television companies.

Authors' rights and neighbouring rights are administered by some thirty collective management societies, which collect and distribute rights. Following a series of complaints by members of certain of these organisations, a Control Commission was set up in 2001 to audit the accounts of societies that collect and distribute the rights of authors, performing artists and producers.

Over the last several years, author's rights have been central to numerous disputes: legal and commercial wrangles on authors' rights versus copyright in GATT and WTO negotiations; the debate on lending rights in public libraries; the MP3 and Napster affairs. The Ministry of Culture's policies on authors' rights and neighbouring rights were framed to respond, on both domestic and international levels, to two basic challenges: the globalisation of trade and the development of new networking technologies. The policies of the different culture ministers since 1997 have been based on the same set of principles: creative works are not tradable commodities and creative effort is not simply the economic act of producing a marketable item.

Within the context of the adaptation of the legal environment to the development of digital content, the Council for Literary and Artistic Property (Conseil supérieur de la propriété littéraire et artistique) was created in May 2001 as a consultative and evaluation body focussed on the problems associated with literary and artistic property linked to the information society, the internet and multimedia in particular. The Council's work programme includes:

Presentations on some of the above themes can be found at the following address:

The Council for Literary and Artistic Property has also included the following subjects in its work programme: literary and artistic property and individual freedom; literary and artistic property and applicable legislation.

France/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.8 Data protection laws

Information is currently not available.

France/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.9 Language laws

French is the language of the Republic. It remains the tool and the reference for all the official texts, whether they are legal, administrative or budgetary. Interpretations can take place, depending on the circumstances, in regional or foreign languages, but they cannot hold a place of constitutional reference.

France/ 5.2 Legislation on culture

There is no overall legal text covering the entire field of culture. Each area of culture has its own laws and regulations.

Principal laws and texts regarding the installation of cultural policies:




Visual arts

Public Service Missions Charter for Contemporary Art Institutions (circular of 27 November 2000): defines the responsibilities of national, local and regional government and contemporary art institutes with regard to the fostering of creativity and cultural devolution.

Role and organisation of the Ministry of Culture and Communication


Cultural goods


Local authorities


Legal deposits

Arts education

French language







Performing arts

Culture Industries

There is currently no overall legal framework for the cultural industries. However, sector frameworks - often highly developed - do exist, for example in the book industry.

The selling prices of books to the public are fixed by the publishers, and a maximum discount of 5 % can be applied. This law operates in accordance with professional agreements with a number of other European countries; it aims to regulate the different forms of competition in the book sector. It encourages the quality of book selections rather than the systematic search for the lowest price. As well as ensuring editorial diversity and creativity, the provision is aimed at reinforcing the bookstore network, thus ensuring that all citizens pay the same price for books throughout France.

Royalties for private copying

The reproduction of works for private use is authorised, which is an exception in terms of authors' rights. A compensation payment for private copying collected by the various societies that administer authors' rights was laid down in the law of 3 July 1985, supplemented by the law of 17 July 2001.

The law of 3 July 1985 exclusively concerns audio-visual works, which deals with fees for blank tapes suitable for the analogue re-recording of sound and video recordings (e.g. cassettes).

The growth of private copying in digital form of different types of works has highlighted the gaps in the law in regard to the remuneration of authors as well as substantial material loss. The law of 17 July 2001 accorded a compensation payment for private copying to authors and publishers of works reproduced on digital recording media regardless of their original medium (images, texts, sound).

An independent commission was appointed to calculate the compensation payment due from manufacturers and importers of digital recording media. The initial decision of the Brun-Buisson Commission - set up to determine the fees for private copying on digital media (4 January 2001) - established the amount payable on all removable digital recording media. A more recent decision (4 July 2002) laid down the amount of fees for recording media integrated into decoders, television sets, hi-fi systems and personal stereos. The opportunity of subjecting computer hard disks to the same compensation payment is currently being studied.

In the field of books, press and music, the reproduction of protected works (texts, drawings, photographs, music supplies, etc.) for strictly private use is free. The reproduction of works for professional use is subjected to authorisation from the French Centre of Copy Exploitation (CFC). This authorisation is obtained by the signing of a contract and payment of a yearly fee.

Lending rights

In regard to books, two legitimate demands were taken into consideration when the lending rights issue was approached: that of the authors who are seeking to be fairly remunerated to enable them to pursue their creative activities, and that of library professionals directly concerned by the imperatives of equal access to books by all citizens. A report on this issue, prepared by Jean-Marie Borzeix, was followed by a bill covering payments for public library book lending and authors' social security.

The bill provided for the establishment of a legal licence giving libraries the "right to lend" books in accordance with the laws pertaining to authors' rights. Authors will be remunerated via a "lending royalties" mechanism (as opposed to the "lending fees" paid by book users each time they borrow a book), jointly guaranteed by the state government and local and regional authorities.

Lending royalties are to be distributed by one or more of the societies that administer authors' rights. Payments are to be divided between an immediate payment to authors and publishers as royalties and a deferred payment to authors via the funding of a complementary retirement scheme.

Cultural Heritage

The project relating to the grouping together of existing laws on heritage in a single Heritage Code expresses the government's intention to make legal texts more accessible and more coherent. For historical reasons, particularly those involving the organisation of cultural administration by sector, heritage law currently exists in the form of dispersed and complex provisions.

The Heritage Code will cover heritage in the widest sense of the term, covering all public and private buildings and movable property of historical, artistic, archaeological, aesthetic, scientific or technical interest.

The Code will provide for the retention of the unity of the major laws in the field of culture, such as the law of 31 December 1913 on historic monuments, the law of 27 September 1941 on the regulation of archaeological excavation, and the law of 3 January 1979 on archives. It will also cover recent laws such as the law of 17 January 2001 on preventive archaeology and the law of 5 January 2002 on French museums.

Legal incentives for investment in culture

The overall framework for legal incentives for public-private partnerships was laid down in Law n° 87-571 of 23 July 1987 on the development of sponsoring. It specifies the conditions under which sponsor companies are authorised to benefit from a range of tax incentives. Companies may deduct, from their taxable earnings, gifts of a cultural nature to charities or organisations of general interest up to a maximum of 0.225% (or, under certain conditions: 0.325%) of their turnover.

A specific provision relates to contemporary art. Companies that purchase original works by living artists can, over a period of 20 years, deduct from their taxable earnings an amount equal to the purchase price. To benefit from this deduction, the company must exhibit the acquired work in public.

The site Legifrance provides access to the texts of French laws and regulations –

France/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.1 Visual and applied arts

The "1% for Arts" commission has offered, for more than fifty years (1951), an original framework of action supporting collaboration between artists, architects and the public. It is a special body based on the principle that 1% of the total amount spent on the construction, renovation or extension of a public building must be reserved for a contemporary art work specially conceived for the building in question. Introduced by Law in 1951, it was extended to the local authorities at the beginning of the 1980s, in particular after the Law of decentralisation of 22 July 1983 (Article 59).

Various Decrees (April 2002, February 2005) harmonised and simplified the procedures, until the amendment of 30 September 2006, which modernises the application of the "1% for arts" scheme by a simplification of the procedure of choosing the artists. The follow-up procedures from the scheme are ensured by an artistic committee composed of seven members, one being the director of cultural affairs of the région concerned, and chaired by the investing partner.

France/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.2 Performing arts and music

Ordinance n° 45-2339 of 13 October 1945, amended by Law n° 99-198 of 18 March 1999, regulates the professional activity of performing arts entrepreneurs and defines conditions under which licences are attributed (other than occasional events).

France/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.3 Cultural heritage

Cultural heritage benefits from laws that protect historic monuments and protected spaces, some of which are in force since 1913. The Heritage Code and the law of 1988 mobilise the legal devices concerning the protection of monuments and heritage sites. The Laws on Archaeology (1977) envisage preventive excavations before work on any building site of importance (motorways, real estate, etc.).

Within the framework of decentralisation were created departmental services for architecture (1979) and the regionalisation of the equipment (2004).

France/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.4 Literature and libraries

The Law on Fixed Book Prices was adopted on 10 August 1981, with the objective to avoid the loss of points of sales of books due to competition.

The export of books, which each year raises more than 500 million euros, represents the leading French cultural article of exportation. The action of the Office of the French Book Abroad facilitates access to French books, while intervening at all the stages of the "chain of books", from promotion to marketing.

The promotion of French books abroad is entrusted to the International Office of the French Edition (BIEF), which has the role of promoting French writers. France delivers each year a programme of presentations and events, elaborated with the professionals and the authorities. The BIEF finances studies, market surveys, the reception of professionals and the creation of foreign booksellers:

Assistance for transport and insurance: assistance is offered for part of the transportation costs and in negotiating with insurers a global policy for all of its members, with the support of the Directorate of Books and Readership (DLL).

Assistance for marketing: booksellers abroad selling French books profit from the assistance of the National Book Centre in the form of accumulation or the development of stocks of French books.

Assistance for translation: French editors produce more than 5 000 translations per annum. Literature is at the top with approximately 1 500 contracts, followed by the social sciences (1 000) and literature for youth (900).

Assistance for translation from French into a foreign language: since 1982, nearly 8 000 titles were assisted, two thirds in the field of literature and social sciences, and one third in the scientific and technical sector. One million euros per annum is devoted to this action, which assists 500 titles (10% of the books translated from French).

To protect authors' rights: regarding the public lending of books, Law n°2003-517 of 18 June 2003 "relates to the remuneration of lending in libraries and reinforces the social protection of authors". There are four major objectives of the law:

Two sources of financing are mobilised to help the social security of these professions:

France/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.5 Architecture and environment

The profession and formation of architecture is increasingly better defined. The law of 11 February 2005 takes into account the architectural difficulties for disabled people. The circumstances are appreciated with the creation of the National Council for Parks and Gardens (2003) and of the National Council for Artistic and Historical Towns and Areas (2005).

France/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.6 Film, video and photography

French regulations covering cinema and television are aimed at promoting independent national cinematographic and televisual production.

The National Film Centre (Centre national de la cinématographie - CNC) was set up in 1946. Its responsibilities include the regulation of and economic support for cinema, television and multimedia, the promotion of cinema and television and their distribution to the public, and the safekeeping and circulation of cinematographic heritage. Since 1992, the CNC is also responsible for the legal deposit of cinematographic works.

The system of aid to the cinema and television industry is funded by several taxes (mainly the tax on ticket prices and the tax on television diffusers). Support from the state is intended for producers, distributors and cinema owners and is divided into two categories. Automatic aid is systematically granted, according to objective criteria, for all works that fulfil the conditions laid down in the regulations: in 2005, 240 films (including 61 international co-productions) benefited from automatic aid to cinematographic production. Selective aid was granted following the advice of a commission, in accordance with a qualitative evaluation of the project or work (advance on box office receipts for feature films, aid to short films, aid to the distribution of little-shown foreign cinematographic works, aid to cinemas exhibiting "art films", aid to the promotion of sales outside of France, etc.). Other forms of support include aid to publishing (within the context of Fonds d'aide à l'édition multimédia) and to multimedia creation (DICREAM).

In the 1980s, there was an increase in the competition between cinema and television for the diffusion of films and a number of major industrial groups started to invest in communication.

The European Directive Television Without Frontiers (1997) prohibited existing regulations aimed at restricting competition between different media by stipulating a minimum time period between the theatrical release of a film and its diffusion on video cassette, pay per view, and on television networks ("media chronology"). The Law on Freedom of Communication (Law 2000-719 of 1 August 2000) stipulates that this time period be subject to agreement between professional cinema associations and distributors. The time period between the date that a film is theatrically released and when it can be shown on unencrypted terrestrial television is now 24 or 36 months, and a film can be distributed on video cassette or DVD six months after its theatrical release. Every year there are between 1 400 and 1 500 broadcasts of feature films on the terrestrial networks.

France/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.7 Culture industries

In France, the field covered by culture industries is generally defined as that involving reproducible cultural goods and / or the extension of audiences. It covers the chain of creation-production-marketing for the following products: books, press, CD-players, VCRs, cinema, multimedia products, games and by-products. The field is more limited than that of "content" industries and does not include databases, design, fashion and advertising or the manufacture of materials and content products of a unique nature (works of art).

The culture industries have undergone a series of major changes over the last twenty-five years. The range of products is continually expanding (books, records, films, then video, compact discs, CD-ROMs, DVD...). Their production and distribution has become more centralised and internationalised, and trading policies have become much more sophisticated.

In the face of highly competitive markets, government initiatives aim to guarantee a broad range of cultural productions and to distribute them as widely as possible by means of the following support and regulation measures:

Special accounts funded by levies and fees (National Book Fund, the film and television industry support account) finance support measures in this sector (either selective or automatic such as, for example, support for film exhibitions).

Over the last 15 years, the audio-visual industry (radio and television) has seen an increase in the number of television stations (general interest and theme-based private networks, terrestrial, cable and satellite networks).

The government is now involved at three levels:

France/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.8 Mass media

Investment obligation in cinematographic production

It is obligatory for all television networks to invest in cinematographic production. Unencrypted terrestrial networks, encrypted terrestrial networks and cablevision and satellite networks each have different obligations. Unencrypted analogue terrestrial networks, for example, must contribute 3.2% of their turnover to the production of original French language works. A large share of this contribution must be accorded to independent productions. This proportion is higher (4.5% of turnover) for the encrypted channel Canal Plus, which, in exchange for the right to broadcast films with primary exclusive showing rights one year after their cinema release, made a commitment to support French cinematographic production in specified ways.

Broadcasting obligation: at least 60% of films broadcast by television networks - particularly during prime viewing time - must be European cinematographic and televisual productions with at least 40% original French language content. Canal+ must devote at least 20% of its total annual resources to the acquisition of the broadcasting rights for original European and French language cinematographic works in the proportion of 12% for European works and 9% for French-language works.

Transmission of francophone songs on radio: Private radio station programming must include a minimum 40% content of French language songs (or songs performed in a regional language in use in France). The public company Radio France is not bound by this quota, but Article 30 of its General Conditions stipulates that it must give priority to French language songs in its variety programmes and endeavour to promote fresh talent.

France/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.9 Legislation for self-employed artists

Since 1 January 1977, artists / authors benefit from a specific social security scheme which stipulates that, although they are self-employed, at the end of their second year of activity, they become entitled to social security benefits under the same conditions as salaried employees.

For more information, see our Status of Artists section

France/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.10 Other areas of relevant legislation

Information is currently not available.

France/ 6. Financing of culture

6.1 Short overview

2002 is the latest year that data is available for all public levels in France and therefore, in order to be comparable, figures for all levels of government (including state) are given for that year. Data updating began in 2006 and will be available at the end of 2008. The latest available figures are given in detailed tables for the Ministry of Culture and Communication (see Table 5 in chapter 6.4).

Public financing: in 2002, the cultural budget of the state was 6 billion euros, including 2.6 billion euros for the Ministry of Culture and Communication and 3.6 billion euros for the other ministries.

In Metropolitan France, the cultural expenditure of the local authorities is at a similar level: 4.1 billion euros for the municipalities of more than 10 000 inhabitants, 280 million euros for the publicly-owned establishments of inter-municipal co-operation (with possibility of raising the tax), 1.1 billion euros for the départements and 360 million euros for the régions.

In addition there is non-budgetary expenditure (taxes and fiscal exemptions), which is difficult to estimate because of the diversity of the fields.

The private financing of culture is ensured mainly by cultural household expenditure (cultural consumption). In 2002, this amounted to more than 38 billion euros (4.6% of the overall consumption), of which 16 billion, or 42%, was devoted to audiovisual expenditure (purchases of newspapers, reviews and periodicals, radio and television, and subscriptions).

Sponsorship by companies makes up an important part of private funding for culture. This is estimated at 195 million euros in 2002, for 2 665 registered activities, involving approximately one thousand companies.

While companies directly finance cultural activities, in particular they are keen to be involved in publicity: 4.3 billion euros to the press, 3.6 billion euros to television, 880 million euros to radio and 115 million euros to cinema in 2002.

Exports of cultural goods rose to 2 billion euros in 2002 (books, press, CDs, videos, music supplies, musical instruments, artistic works). This amount is much higher when exports of services and the expenditure of the foreign tourists in France are taken into consideration, although it is not possible to isolate the exact share devoted to culture. In the same way, it would be advisable to withdraw the amounts spent on cultural purchases by French people abroad, either when travelling as tourists, or when they are supplied directly from abroad, although the corresponding data is not available.

France/ 6. Financing of culture

6.2 Public cultural expenditure per capita

The public cultural expenditure for 2002 includes:

This data does not take account of transfers from one municipality to another (primarily of the régions and départements with the municipalities) and does not make it possible to calculate the total amount of local cultural expenditure (a rough estimate for local cultural expenditure is 5.8 billion euros).

The total public cultural expenditure (state and local authorities) can be estimated at 12 billion euros.

The French population, of 61 million inhabitants (metropolis and overseas), represents a per capita cultural expenditure of 197 euros. This corresponds to 1.2% of the gross domestic product (GDP), which is 16 417 euros. It should be mentioned that the 921 municipalities of 10 000 or more inhabitants (2.5% of the 36 679 municipalities) have a population of 30.9 million inhabitants (half of the total population). In addition, the amount of cultural expenditure by municipalities with less than 10 000 inhabitants is an overall estimate, deduced from the preceding one.

France/ 6. Financing of culture

6.3 Public cultural expenditure broken down by level of government

In 2002, the cultural expenditure of the state was 6.2 billion euros, including 2.6 billion euros for the Ministry of Culture and Communication. The remaining 3.6 billion euros was distributed between the following ministries:

Table 4:     Public cultural expenditure: by level of government, in billion euro, 2002

Level of government

Total expenditure

% share of total

State (federal)



(Régions and Départements)



Local (municipal and inter-municipal)






Source:      Ministry of Culture and Communication, 2002.

France/ 6. Financing of culture

6.4 Sector breakdown

Table 5:     Cultural expenditure of the Ministry of Culture and Communication, in millions euros, in %, 2007

Field / Domain / Sub-domain


% of

Cultural Heritage

1 036.5


Monumental and archeological heritage












Books and libraries



Cinematographic heritage



Linguistic heritage



Acquisition and enrichment of public collections






Support to the creation, production and diffusion of performing arts



Support to the creation, production and diffusion of visual arts



Support to the creation, production and diffusion of literature



Economy of the professions and cultural industries



Transversal (transmission of knowledge and democratisation of culture)



Institutions of higher education and professional training



Arts and cultural education



Institutions of specialised education



Specific actions to benefit the public



Territorial policies



International cultural actions



Functions of the ministry (general administration)



Cultural and scientific research



Cultural Heritage






Scientific and technical culture (operators)



Transversal research and monitoring programmes




2 837.8


Source:      Ministry of Culture and Communication, 2007.


Table 6:          Cultural expenditure of the local and regional authorities, in million euros, in %, 2002


+10 000 inhab.




Common services

304 644


24 265


20 051


8 930


Conservation and diffusion
of heritage

1 503 592


110 541


618 138


68 937


Libraries and media libraries

848 729


78 460


168 006


13 485



445 420


26 388


139 189


11 639



56 943


1 137


163 680




Safeguarding of
cultural heritage

152 500


4 556


147 263


43 813


Artistic expression
(including formation)

1 538 604


111 700


498 648


130 869


Music, singing, dance

893 536


66 784




60 694


Visual arts

159 565


10 484




15 071



340 585


30 525




37 369



144 918


3 907




17 735


Cultural action

753 834


39 400




149 776


Source :     « Les dépenses culturelles des collectivités locales en 2002 », Note statistique n°21, DEPS, Ministry of Culture and Communication, 2006.
*                 Institutions of inter-municipal co-operation with possibility of raising the tax comprising of more than 10 000 inhabitants in 2002.

France/ 7. Cultural institutions and new partnerships

7.1 Re-allocation of public responsibilities

The autonomy of public institutions is increasing. This involves a restoration of the supervision exerted by the central administration within the framework of contracts of establishment. These contracts have, in fact, the objective of ensuring an increase in the institutions "own resources" (before subsidies). This is, in particular, the case for the Louvre, the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Musee d'Orsay and Versailles. This procedure also extends to institutions funded by the local authorities.

Concentrated in the région Ile-de-France for historical reasons, the state institutions are encouraged to open branches in other parts of France (such as the Louvre museum in Lens in the North; the Centre for Contemporary Arts Georges Pompidou in Metz in Lorraine...), and abroad (the Louvre and its agreements with Atlanta in the United States, or Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (an agreement was signed on 6 March 2007, which envisages the construction of a museum with the title the "Louvre", and a loan of 300 artistic works, at a cost of 1 billion euros).

France/ 7. Cultural institutions and new partnerships

7.2 Status/role and development of major cultural institutions

Cultural heritage sites organise performances and welcome other types of events. This generates new collaboration between the state and local authorities, especially with the municipal owners of cultural heritage, either in France, or in trans-border areas. A specific partnership with the Ministry for Tourism makes it possible to arrange prestigious sites for congresses or important assemblies. Another example is the European Numerical Library (BNE), a project initially presented by the National Library of France and then shared with other large libraries in Europe.

The Museum of Civilisations of Europe and the Mediterranean (MUCEM, previously known as the Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions, ATP) in Marseilles will hold items and information on contemporary cultures and civilisations from around the Mediterranean. This project, confirmed in 2003 and programmed for the years 2006-2010, is estimated to cost 160 million euros.

France/ 7. Cultural institutions and new partnerships

7.3 Emerging partnerships or collaborations

Among the new "partners" for cultural development connected with the Ministry of Culture and Communication, can be included the cultural patronage of companies, which envisages a tax cut for companies of 60%, within the limit of 0.5% of the sales turnover net of tax. This patronage is becoming more often engaged in artistic creation.

The recent centenary of the law on Contracts of Association (1901) provided an opportunity to evaluate the current role of cultural associations. These associations represent a significant proportion of overall associations (there are 157 000 existing cultural associations, i.e. one for every five other associations), and culture appears to be the most dynamic component of the association sector.

25 000 of these associations have a paid staff, while 132 000 of them have no employees. 58% of their funding comes from public sources (the principal partners of cultural associations are the municipalities (34%), followed by government funding (12%), then gifts, earnings, and members' subscriptions (42%). In 1997, out of 61 000 "cultural and artistic" associations, 5.3% represented music, 3.7% libraries and publishing, 3.7% international solidarity, 3.3% cinema, television and radio broadcasting and the visual arts, and 3.2% theatre and dance. There has been an explosion over the last few years in the number of music associations (instrumental andor choral, classical, contemporary and modern). Between 1997 and 2000, 2 241 associations were either created or changed their purpose, being declared as either "heritage" or "environmental".

In keeping with French tradition, many changes in social and cultural life are brought about by associations and their voluntary members. At the beginning of the eighties for example, the Ministry of Culture and Communication became aware of the social and aesthetic reality of rock groups, and as a result accorded them full recognition (between 1985 and 1995, there were approximately 35 000 rock groups, many of which had association status). The same could be said of the many heritage associations that have gone to great efforts to preserve sites of historical interest (the Gard Bridge, the Verdon Canyon, churches, farms, etc.). In a number of cases, the authorities modified their regional development projects as a result of a "protests" on the part of associations and their voluntary members.

France/ 8. Support to creativity and participation

8.1 Direct and indirect support to artists

Artists in France can profit from the assistance of many specialised networks on the basis of artistic disciplines. SPEDIDAM supports musicians and technicians and IRMA offers them professional and legal advice. The Union of Authors and Playwrights (SACD), as well as SACEM, is responsible for author's rights and offers training courses. It is the same for the visual arts, literature, comic strips, or the cinema (including animation and graphic designers of the digital industries).

France/ 8.1 Direct and indirect support to artists

8.1.1 Special artists funds

Public Commissions

Government Commissions have been set up for music, drama and the visual arts. The "1% for Arts" commission, established in 1951, is a special body created for visual artists based on the principle that 1% of the total amount spent on the construction, renovation or extension of a public building must be reserved for a contemporary art work specially conceived for the building in question. This obligation now applies to both local and state governments.

Between 1983 and 2004, over 1 400 visual arts works were commissioned (in addition to the works supported under the "1% for arts" rule), and some 60 commissions were earmarked for music works each year.

The National Fund for Contemporary Art (Fonds national d'art contemporain, FNAC), set up in 1976, provides funding for the acquisition, distribution and conservation of contemporary works in the fields of visual arts, photography, video and design. Acquisition policies are guided by three key objectives: to discover new young artists, to purchase outstanding works of artists who have attained maturity in their work, and to represent international art movements.

The Regional Funds for Contemporary Art (Fonds régionaux d'art contemporain, FRAC), set up in 1982 within the context of devolution policies, is now present in 23 régions. Intended for the purchase of contemporary art works, these funds ensure regular publishing activity and educational initiatives and affirm the role of local and regional authorities in the field of contemporary art. Since their creation, the FRAC's have set up rich and diverse collections of over 1 500 works, produced by 3 000 artists.

Sector Specific Measures in Support of Creativity

The different sector specific funds supporting creativity and creators are provided either by grants from the Ministry of Culture and Communication budget or by taxes which are redistributed via public bodies. For example, state government support to the cinema industry and audiovisual programmes is administrated by the National Film Centre.

Funds are made available to:

The Contemporary Arts Centres (institutions generally holding association status) are developing research and experimentation activities via policies embracing exhibitions, publications, critical research, training, the commissioning and production of works, and artist reception facilities. There are presently 32 art centres spread throughout 16 régions of which four are specialised in photography. The Constitution of the Contemporary Arts Centres calls for an agreement between the state government, the région concerned, other local and regional authorities (when relevant), and the association. There are two of these centres in Paris - the Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume and the Centre national de la photographie.

The "Contemporary Creativity Centre", which is devoted to young creators and which reinforces the visibility of the arts in France, was created in January 2002 in Palais de Tokyo, occupying 20 000 m2 of floor space (of which 5 000 m2 are open to the public).

A specific unemployment insurance scheme for artists, composers and performers and technicians classed as intermittents de spectacle (workers in the entertainment industry without steady employment) has been in existence since 1965. This scheme, which guarantees minimum living standards for professionals, thus contributing to the vitality of artistic production, is currently subject to criticism as a result of structural shortcomings.

Since 1977, a specific social insurance scheme has been operating for authors (writers, composers and authors of musical works, authors of works for cinema or television, authors of software, choreographers, photographers, etc.) and "artist-authors" in the graphic and visual arts (visual artists, graphic designers, etc.) which, although they are self-employed workers, provides them with social insurance cover under the same conditions as salaried workers.

Subject to the decision of a special committee, certain municipalities (such as Paris), the Ministry of Culture and Communication and its regional directorates (DRAC) provide a number of residencies for artists.

France/ 8.1 Direct and indirect support to artists

8.1.2 Grants, awards, scholarships

There are a large number of prizes in France, several hundred in the field of literary creation alone, of which the most famous are: the Goncourt prize (since 1903), Femina (1903, exclusively female jury), Renaudot (1926), Interallié (1930) and Médicis (1958).

Prizes exist in all the artistic disciplines, for example the "Molière" for theatre actors, the "César" for film actors, the "Golden Palm" of the Cannes Film Festival, the "Grand Prix of Dramatic Writing" for theatre work and the prizes of several cities (Paris, Marseilles, Strasbourg...). In addition to the "First Prizes" of the academies of music, dance or dramatic art, contemporary musicians also receive prizes from various institutions.

The majority of these prizes allocate grants for research or creativity.

Grants are also awarded to certain students on the basis of family income. In institutions supported by the Ministry of Culture and Communication, 8 000 students receive student income grants, which is 23% of students. (see chapter 8.3.1).

France/ 8.1 Direct and indirect support to artists

8.1.3 Support to professional artists associations or unions

Professional associations and artists' unions play an important role in the representation of the material and moral interests of their members and in the negotiation of relevant professional agreements. They are frequently represented in the committees of experts responsible for the allocation of support to creativity and are set up by the directorates and departments concerned. 

Authors' rights management societies must devote 25% of remuneration generated from private copying and income, collected on works whose beneficiaries cannot be identified or located, to activities which support creativity, to the diffusion of live performances and to artists' training schemes.

Among the best known associations are:

France/ 8.2 Cultural consumption and participation

8.2.1 Trends and figures

The Department of Studies, Future Trends and Statistics (DEPS) of the Ministry of Culture and Communication has carried out 4 surveys on cultural participation in France, published in 1974, 1982, 1990 and 1998 (a new survey is in process).

Latest results are available from the documents of the Ministry of Culture and Communication ( particularly from Développement culturel n°128 and Culture Prospective, 2007/3. A summary of the results are as follows:

Initially disappointment, meaning that the cultural efforts did not obtain the anticipated results

Then confirmation of results envisaged in advance

Finally, some pleasant surprises in that some practices have evolved more positively than forecasted

In 1998, the DEP published the results of a fourth survey on cultural practices of the French, which it had previously carried out in 1973, 1981 and 1989. The results demonstrated:

In conclusion, the interest for art and culture has currently more diverse forms than thirty years ago, due to the development of the audio-visual media and new technologies, the success of cultural events being held away from traditional venues, and the rise in amateur artistic practices.

France/ 8.2 Cultural consumption and participation

8.2.2 Policies and programmes

The programmes of cultural policy concern essentially:

However, other fields are always on the agenda because they constitute the background of everyday cultural life in France. Here are some examples.

Artistic education and cultural mediation

The democratisation of culture is a major theme of government political action aimed at increasing attendance levels for heritage and creative works and amateur activities in all artistic disciplines. Without adequate mediation, real encounters with cultural heritage and art works are extremely rare. Arts education is fundamental to France's cultural development policy. Relevant programmes are implemented via specialised training under the Ministry of Culture and Communication and local authorities and via training under the national education system. See also chapter 8.3.1.

Although it is never the only obstacle, and seldom the only deciding factor, admission prices to cultural facilities tend to curb the cultural participation of a good number of people and young people in particular. The question of admission charges appears to be a vital element in the move toward cultural democratisation. Numerous cultural structures have made significant efforts to reduce admission charges, especially for young people and the underprivileged. Young people under 18 benefit from free entry to national monuments and national museums. Since 1 October 1999, the 98 state-owned monuments offer free admission on one Sunday per month, outside of the tourist period (1 October - 31 March). The national museums adopted this measure on 1 January 2000. Certain cities, like Paris, gave permission for the exemption from payment to their museums.

An assessment of the scheme offering a standard admission price (8 euros) on Thursdays for all national theatres indicates that the people benefiting from it were mainly students, followed by visitors and regular theatre-goers, and thus the measure was not successful in attracting new audiences. Thus, there is a clear need for a communication policy aimed at targeted audiences and, more generally, escorted visits.

A "Culture Cheque" scheme for high school students (15-20 years) has been introduced. This system has already been applied in the Rhône-Alpes région. In contrast to the subscription cards which provide entry to specified cultural establishments, the culture cheque can be used in different establishments (cinemas, theatres, museums, libraries). An assessment of these experiments indicated that culture cheques serve not only as a pricing mechanism, but also as a means to foster new relationships with culture by demystifying cultural spaces, improving cultural choice and "customer" loyalty, broadening interests, etc...

France/ 8.3 Arts and cultural education

8.3.1 Arts education

Arts education is a field in which all cultural policy actors play a part. The field includes arts education in schools, for which the government is mainly responsible, and arts education during leisure time, which is either partially or totally administrated by local and regional authorities; the major share of responsibility falls on the municipalities. Great importance is placed on the partnership between the different ministries and between ministries and local and regional authorities.

Arts education at school

All French children receive a basic education in the arts within the context of the Ministry of Education's general education portfolio. The Ministry of Education determines the national syllabi and timetables for all public and private educational establishments. Arts education is included in the obligatory syllabi of primary (6 to 11 years) and secondary (11 to 15 years) schools. Arts options are available in high schools (15 to 18 years). The importance of arts teaching in general education was affirmed by the Law of 6 January 1988.

In 2000, the Five-Year Plan for Arts and Culture in Schools, jointly introduced by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Culture and Communication, established the priority of arts and cultural education in educational policy. The High Council for Artistic and Cultural Education, installed in 2005 (see also chapter 2.3), insists that artistic education, which was sacrificed for a long time, has its rightful place in education.


Since 1983, the Ministry of Culture and Communication has been co-operating with the Ministry of Education to broaden the field of arts education to include all disciplines, to increase collaboration between educational establishments and cultural structures, and to further involve culture professionals in the various action projects.

The Five-Year Plan for Arts and Culture in Schools provides arts and cultural structures (over 6 000 cultural establishments: museums, theatres, cinemas...) with the necessary means to enable them to carry out initiatives together with partners in the field of education. The main lines of the Plan were defined as support for innovative educational initiatives and the training of arts and cultural contributors, mediators and teachers.

Moreover, the central directorates of the Ministry of Culture and Communication administer programmes appropriate to their field (e.g. heritage classes and secondary school visits to cinemas). The Division for Development and Regional Initiatives (Délégation au développement et à l'action territoriale) co-ordinates the initiatives of the different directorates of the Ministry in the educational environment, administering across-the-board measures (arts activities, workshops, cultural classes, twinning), and maintaining constant dialogue with the Ministry of Education.

Programmes covering art and culture, at regional and département levels, fix objectives, draw up inventories of existing mechanisms and available resources, and organise co-operation between the Divisions of the Ministry of Education, the Regional Directorates of Cultural Affairs (of the Ministry of Culture and Communication) and the local and regional authorities.

Arts education during leisure time

Arts education is one of the most important areas of municipal competency. It holds the second largest outlay in terms of cultural expenditure. The municipalities spend an average of 25 euros per inhabitant on arts education. A large majority of the outlay is devoted to music education, an area which has been steadily increasing over the last several decades. Other areas of arts education (such as the visual arts, audio-visual media, etc) are not developed to such a degree.

Approximately 3 000 public music schools and associated schools, subsidised by the local and regional authorities, provide music teaching and a progressively increasing amount of teaching of dance and dramatic art. These schools are mainly funded by the municipalities. 144 schools (national conservatories in the regions and national music schools) receive supplementary funding from the state (equal to of 10% of their budget on average).

The integration of higher education, "Culture" in the European Space of higher education

"Higher Education Culture" (Enseignement Supérieur Culture, ESC), supervised by the Ministry of Culture and Communication, is composed of 120 institutions, including the national academies for music and dance of Paris and Lyon, the School of the Louvre, the national Institute for Heritage, the 20 schools of architecture, the 57 schools of art, Fémis (European Foundation of Image and Sound Professions, created in 1986 and renamed in 1999 as the National Institute of Image and Sound, INIS), the School of Chaillot and the National Theatre School of Strasbourg. This higher education involves 35 000 students, employs 3 000 teachers and delivers more than 40 diplomas. It comprises a professional dimension, accompanied by theoretical knowledge and research. Research shows that 75% of graduates are still practising their professions three years after obtaining their diploma. This teaching is being formatted to European standards (Bachelor-Master-Doctorate).

Specialised university education

According to the site of the University of Bourgogne (Institute Denis Diderot), the French universities propose, in 2006-2007, 571 courses for cultural professions, including 268 Masters Degrees (cinema and audio-visual; exhibitions, museums, heritage; books; science and technology; performing arts; cultural tourism; multi-field activities), and 303 short courses of less than one academic year (administration, management; mediation, communication; production, diffusion; technology; general courses).

France/ 8.3 Arts and cultural education

8.3.2 Intercultural education

Intercultural education does not exist in France, as such. On the other hand, cultural diversity is present in all the cultural formations as well as the institutes specialised in the field of cultural and artistic expression of other continents. Moreover, many associations give the public an overview of the arts from the cultures of immigration (African dances, visual arts, music of the world, theatre...), which are presented with the assistance of local, national or European authorities.

For more information, see our Intercultural Dialogue section.

France/ 8.4 Amateur arts, cultural associations and community centres

8.4.1 Amateur arts

A survey in 1996 showed that half of those aged 15 years and older in France had practiced amateur arts in their lifetime and that 23 % continued to participate. For those aged between15 and 24 years, these proportions went up to two thirds and 50% respectively. Additionally, the younger amateur artists are more likely to practice two or more artistic activities.

It is interesting to note that artforms considered as less significant were in fact very popular, such as writing (poems, plays, novels, news) and dance. In addition, support for some artforms depends on the cycles of life, such as the choral societies - strong during youth, stagnant during the middle years and strengthening again at retirement age.

However, public supply does not meet the demand for the increasing number of people who wish to participate in numerous artforms, which is a phenomenon of this generation. An effort was agreed by the authorities to support the organisation of more activities and to provide spaces for meeting, practising and performing.

France/ 8.4 Amateur arts, cultural associations and community centres

8.4.2 Cultural houses and community cultural clubs

Information is currently not available.

France/ 9. Sources and Links

9.1 Key documents on cultural policy

Ahearne, Jeremy (ed.): French Cultural Policy Debates. A Reader. London, New York: Routledge, 2001, 240 p., ISBN 0-415-27500-8.

Benhamou, Françoise: Les dérèglements de l'exception culturelle. Paris, Seuil, collection « La couleur des idées », 2006, 350 p.

Cardona, Jeannine et Lacroix, Chantal : Chiffres clés 2007, statistiques de la culture. Paris : La Documentation Française, 2007, 223 p., ISBN 978-2-11-006514-8.

Clement, Catherine: La Nuit et l'été. Rapport sur la culture et la télévision. Paris / Seuil : La Documentation Française, 2003.

Département des études, de la prospective et des statistiques : Les dépenses culturelles des collectivités locales en 2002, Note statistique n°21. Paris : Ministère de la culture et de la communication, 2006.

Département des études et de la prospective : Atlas des activités culturelles. Paris : Ministère de la culture, La documentation française, 1998, 95 p., ISBN 2-11-003990-6.

Département des études, de la prospective et des statistiques: Approche générationnelle des pratiques culturelles et médiatiques. Collection Culture prospective, n°3, juin 2007.

Département des études et de la prospective et des statistiques: Les dépenses des ménages pour la culture. Évolutions et déterminants, Développement culturel n °132. Paris : Ministère de la culture et de la communication, 2000, 8 p.

Département des études et de la prospective : La montée irrésistible de l'audiovisuel, 1973-1997, Développement culturel, n° 128. Paris : Ministère de la culture et de la communication, 1999, 12 p.

Département des études et de la prospective : Les pratiques culturelles des francais. Evolution 1989-1997, Développement culturel, n° 124. Paris : Ministère de la culture et de la communication, June 1998.

Donnat, Olivier : Les pratiques culturelles des Français. Enquête 1997. Paris : Ministère de la culture, Département des études et de la prospective - La documentation française, 1998, 359 p., ISBN 2-11-003991-4.

Jammet, Yves, sous la direction de: Médiation culturelle et politique de la ville. Un lexique. Paris: Association de prévention du site de La Villette (Apsv), 2003.

Looseley, David L.: The Politics of Fun. Cultural Policy and Debate in Contemporary France. Oxford-Washington: Berg Publishers, 1995, 280 p., ISBN 1-85973-013-2.

Mayol, Pierre : Les enfants de la liberté. Paris : L'Harmattan, collection « Débats jeunesses », 1997.

Mayol, Pierre : « De la démocratie dans les associations culturelle », Agora Débats/jeunesse, n° 40, 2006.

Metral, Jean (sous la direction de) : Cultures en ville ou de l'art et du citadin. Paris : éd. de l'Aube, 2000. Sur la diversité culturelle et les pratiques « émergentes. »

Moulinier, Pierre, sous la direction de, Les associations dans la vie et la politique culturelles. Paris : Ministère de la culture, collection « les travaux du DEP », 2001.

Moulinier, Pierre: Politique culturelle et décentralisation. Paris : l'Harmattan, 2002. 336 p., ISBN 2-7475-2802-2.

Poirrier, Philippe : L'État et la culture en France au XXe siècle. Paris : Le Livre de Poche, 2000, 250 p., ISBN 2-253-90464-3.

Rioux, Jean-Pierre, Sirinelli, Jean-François : La culture de masse en France de la Belle Époque à aujourd'hui. Paris : Fayard, 2002.

Rioux, Jean-Pierre, Sirinelli, Jean-François : Pour une histoire culturelle. Paris : Seuil, 1997.

Waresquiel (de), Emmanuel (sous la direction) : Dictionnaire des politiques culturelles de la France depuis 1959. Paris: Larousse-CNRS éditions, 2001, 658 p. ISBN 2-03-508050-9.

For more complete information, bibliographies and sets of themes are downloadable at (choose : « documentaire » then « les bibliographies »).

L'Observatoire : semi-annual review on cultural policies, actual dynamics in arts and culture, published by the Observatory of cultural policies.

France/ 9. Sources and Links

9.2 Key organisations and portals

Cultural policy making bodies

Ministry of Culture and Communication

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Educart site (cultural and artistic education)

Division of French language and the languages of France (DGLF-LF)

Cultural Policies in France

Cultural research and statistics

Applicable legislation in France with regard to artists' and authors' copyright

Department of Studies and Future Trends (DEP)

French legislation service

Information on the taxation of culture

Observatoire des politiques culturelles

Bibliographic database Mnemo

Culture / arts portals

National Book Centre

National Library of France database "Gallica"

National Museums' database of art works "Joconde"

Architecture and Heritage Reference Library "Mémoire" Database

Museums' Photographic Database

Portal with access to the sites of numerous French institutions

Database of State Museums


The Council of Europe/ERICarts "Compendium of Cultural Policies and Trends in Europe, 9th edition", 2008