In April 2001, Mr. Li Lanqing, vice premier that time, visited France and signed an agreement with the French foreign minister Hubert Vedrine on establishment of respective cultural centers and on cooperative efforts to strategize cultural years. On November 29, 2002, China Cultural Center was set up in Paris with vice premier Li and Mrs. Brigitte Girardin, French minister of overseas, inaugurating the center.
Located beside the Seine River, China Cultural Center in Paris is the first organization of its kind founded in the western world. It sits next to L'Hoteldes invalides, opposite to Grand Palaris and Petit Palaris. When former president Jacques Chirac met with vice premier Li, he referred to the building specifically, saying ‘We have every reason to believe that this hundred-year-old Western-style architecture will soon shine with bright colors of oriental culture.’
China Cultural Center in Paris consists of an old building and a new one with the total space increased from originally 1700 square meters to 4000 square meters. The new building, opened officially in 2008, is simple and modern whereas the old one classic and delicate, both demonstrating the culture’s nature of spatial transcendence and time heritance.
The Center aims to introduce Chinese traditional and modern cultures to the French citizens via lectures, seminars, performances, concerts, films and exhibitions. With the Chinese teaching as its focus, the Culture also provides public courses on calligraphy, traditional painting, instrumental music and traditional medicine. The multimedia library inside the Center also holds materials of a great variety including books, journals, CDs and tapes. Together with its website and quarterly entitled China beside Seine, these holdings are believed to transmit effective information to the French public. Combining the functions of cultural exchange, information dissemination and language teaching, the Center has conducted effective works for Sino-French communication and has its influence felt in France and even in the neighboring countries.
(Photos provided by China Cultural Center in Paris.)