When French President Emmanuel Macron took office in 2017, he pledged to improve cultural activities and spread French culture worldwide. Since then, he has taken several steps to further his cultural improvement agenda. One of the most notable was the culture pass, which allotted citizens £500 in their 18th year to enjoy cultural activities.
The policy was met with mixed reactions as experts debated its potential impact. The goal was to have a system where these youngsters receive this governmental allowance on their 18th birthday. Then, they subsequently get notifications about cultural activities around them. The pass could be used to enjoy any cultural activity, from attending concerts and visiting museums or galleries to paying for a dance lesson.
The President’s latest effort in cementing his cultural legacy was the inauguration of a French language museum. The Cite Internationale de la Langue Francaise museum is housed in a Renaissance castle built in 1539 under King Francois I. The project aims to attract about 200,000 visitors yearly to the museum, which will hold interactive exhibits and cultural events.
The museum’s main attraction, though, is the extensive library, which is replete with an artificial intelligence-supported suggestion engine. The goal is to make the museum a place where people can appreciate French history and architecture. The choice of the site for the museum is not without its cultural impact. It is located in Villers-Cotterets, the hometown of Alexandre Dumas, the author of The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo.”
The area is also known to be largely far-right, with factory closures and high unemployment. The museum is expected to drive increased attention to the area, which is around 80 kilometers from Paris and home to about 10,000 people. While the museum has just opened, it is already set to host the 19th summit of the francophone world next year. About 88 world leaders are expected to attend the event.
Since his tenure began, President Macron has made numerous efforts to propagate French culture within France and beyond. His goal is to reclaim the greatness once associated with French culture. He has since done this by encouraging people to learn French and visit cultural sites in the country.
As part of his effort to expand France’s cultural influence worldwide, the President has strengthened cultural ties with Africa. This effort to build France’s “soft power” extends beyond the country’s former colonies to others, such as Anglophone Nigeria and Ghana. He also pledged to return African art stolen during colonial rule. The repatriation process has been long and arduous, but the results are expected to soothe a bit of colonial angst.
President Macron has noticeably revived the tradition of French presidents undertaking a grand project to cement their legacy. Whether this project will succeed in reviving the dying legacy of the French language and culture remains to be seen. Macron will surely hope so as he battles political opponents for public support.