Paris, which is home to more cultural centers than any other capital, has much to offer the culturally curious. There are 53 foreign cultural centers and institutes in Paris, many of which offer free activities for the public.
The Chinese Cultural Center in Paris
The Chinese Cultural Center in Paris was the first cultural center created by the People’s Republic of China in a Western country. Its goal is to promote the relationship between China and France through regular conferences, exhibits, visits and shows. The center also publishes a number of printed works and offers Chinese language classes. The center organizes two flagship annual events: the Festival de l’Opéra Chinois and the Festival du Cinéma Chinois en France, which features appearances from major Chinese and French actors.
Each year, the center offers a variety of activities that highlight traditional Chinese culture. Past activities have included dance and calligraphy workshops, cooking classes and shows featuring traditional Chinese music. The center also organizes several free events each year. In 2016 for example, the exhibit “Dialogue Across Space and Time” commemorated the works of two literary masters, four hundred years after their deaths: Tang Xianzu, a famous Chinese playwright of the Ming dynasty and English playwright William Shakespeare. Also, in October 2016, French actress Laura Weissbecker came to discuss her book How I became Chinese. The actress, who starred in the film Chinese Zodiac with Jackie Chan, shared the surprising story that led her from Paris to Beijing.
These are just two examples of the types of free events that the center offers. The center regularly organizes free film screenings on a variety of themes. In November 2016, the chosen films are on the theme of “ethnies” (ethnic groups). Besides the Han majority, there are 55 ethnic minority groups in China. The four films chosen for November highlight the particularities and histories of these different groups. The theme for December is “adaptation”and features three films adapted from literature.
The History of the Chinese Cultural Center in Paris
The Chinese Cultural Center in Paris opened in 2002 on the eve of a cultural exchange program between China and France that would begin the following year. Starting in October 2003, France celebrated the Year of China in France. The year-long program included events designed to allow the French public to better understand the importance, the diversity and the energy of Chinese culture. The year’s events included numerous exhibits, conferences and an impressive Chinese New Year parade on the Champs-Elysées. The following year marked the Year of France in China. From October 2004 to July 2005, a variety of events were organized to bring French culture to the Chinese public. Events ranged from film screenings to theatrical performances.
More than ten years later, the Chinese Cultural Center in Paris continues to promote cultural exchange between the two countries.
If you’re interested in learning more about Chinese culture and seeing a complete list of upcoming events, visit the Chinese Cultural Center in Paris website.