Appointment of Paul Rondin as director of the Cité internationale de la langue française – Château de Villers-Cotterêts

At the proposal of Philippe Belaval, president of the Center des monuments-nationaux (CMN), Rima Abdul Malak, Minister of Culture, approved the appointment of Paul Rondin to the position of director of the Cité internationale de la langue française at Château de Villers-Cotterêts, on the Aisne.

The progress of the various projects led by the Center des monuments nationaux makes it possible to set the opening to the public of this City in the month of June 2023. Due to the proximity of this deadline, it is now necessary to assign of a personality that will be in charge, within the CMN, of the preparation of the cultural program and the general management of the project in all its dimensions (educational, territorial, touristic, economic, international, etc.).

The Cité internationale de la langue française will contribute to the attractiveness of the Pays du Valois, a literary land where Alexandre Dumas (Villers-Cotterêts), Jean Racine (Ferté Milon), Jean de la Fontaine ( Château Thierry) and even Paul Claudel (Villeneuve-sur-Fere). A permanent visit will allow you to discover the history of the castle and travel through the French language, its evolutions, its interaction with other languages, its relationship with the State. Exhibitions, shows, films, debates: the cultural program will share the richness and diversity of creations from the French-speaking world. Twelve workshops will be set up for residencies for artists, writers, researchers and entrepreneurs. An educational venue, the Cité will also host training sessions in France. A center of innovation, the Cité also aims to be a laboratory around language technologies.

Paul Rondin held the position of Deputy Director of the Festival d’Avignon from 2013 until last summer, where he commissioned, together with Olivier Py, ambitious and innovative projects, both local and international, with the aim of continue to renew audiences. Previously, as Secretary General of the Odéon – Théâtre de l’Europe, he opened the institution to all literatures through multidisciplinary programs. An expert in the regeneration of territories through culture, he dedicated his career to cultural democratization, constantly exploring new ways of interacting with audiences.

Paul Rondin will assume his duties at Villers-Cotterêts on January 18, 2023. He will be assisted by Xavier Bailly, who has until now served as administrator of the château and who will take the title of managing director of the City, as he continues to fulfill his acting as steward for the castles of Pierrefonds and Coucy.

Rima Abdul Malak is particularly grateful to Valérie Senghor, Deputy Director General of the Center des Monuments Nationaux, who was responsible for the Villers-Cotterêts project manager throughout the preparation phase. Thanks to his commitment and the many partnerships he established, locally and nationally and internationally, he was able to give visibility and credibility to the Cité internationale de la langue française. Thus, his work allows the new management to advance on a solid foundation to make this new cultural establishment a reality that serves both the attractiveness of the Aisne territory and its surroundings and the influence of the language and French culture around the world.

Biography of Paul Rondin

Born in 1971, Paul Rondin first followed a literary education before switching to performing arts, under the direction of Robert Abirached, while accompanying his course with additional training in the management of cultural institutions and political science.

In 1988, he created a multidisciplinary festival in Villeneuve-sur-Fère on the Aisne and headed an association that supports and implements cultural projects.

From 1994 to 1996, he was a manager in the Theater department of DRAC d’Ile-de-France at the Ministry of Culture, then project manager at AFAA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs). He then decided to put himself at the service of the artistic projects of Balazs Gera and François Lazaro.

From 2000 to 2007, he was curator of the Center Dramatique National d’Orléans, under the direction of Olivier Py, and worked with the International Parliament of Writers.

In 2007, he joined Olivier Py at the Odéon-Théâtre de l’Europe to be its general secretary until autumn 2012, then became deputy director of the Festival d’Avignon from 2013.

In 2014, he co-founded French Tech Culture, taking part in many conferences in France and abroad on the topics of cultural policy and dealing with the digital/cultural relationship. He is also co-president of France Festivals and president of ERACM (Regional School of Actors of Cannes and Marseille).

The Cité internationale de la langue française in some numbers

23,000m2 for the entire area, including 5000 m2 for the royal residence

1,600m2 permanent and temporary exhibitions

1,200m2 permanent tour route

An auditorium with 250 seats

2 local shops: a bookshop-boutique and a café

12 residency workshops for artists, researchers and entrepreneurs

A varied program of shows, events, conferences and exhibitions

Educational, training and French language learning activities

A laboratory of research and innovation on language issues

State funding: 185 million euros (€55 million from the Ministry of Culture, €30 million from investment for the future program, €100 million as part of the 2021-2022 recovery plan).

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