Your Excellency, dear Alexandre Orlov,Mr President of the Organizing Committee for the Crossed Year France-Russia, dear Louis Schweitzer,Mr Commissioner, dear Cyrille Boulay,Dear friends,

Allow me first to pay tribute to the exemplary hospitality
Mr. Ambassador, on the eve of the
European Heritage, you have kindly opened the doors of
your Residence on the occasion of this exhibition. The Hotel d'Estrées
provides a case all the more suitable as it is the contemporary almost
the first visit of a Russian sovereign to Paris.
Being here tonight, I still have in mind the very last room of the
magnificent exhibition «Holy Russia» at the Louvre, which ended
precisely on a portrait of Peter the Great, leaving visitors
waiting for a sequel: here we are. The figure of Tsar Peter, the initiator
from the great turn towards the West, invites us to return to the signs
materials of a «westernisation» that has been so much debated in history
Russian culture: Slavophiles versus Westernists, Turgenev
Dostoyevsky. But what is also mentioned here are three centuries
friendship between France and Russia.
We have the opportunity today to discover or rediscover a
more private dimension of what binds us. When evoking the intensity of
our cultural relationship, the memory of the Francorussian Alliance is evoked
and the figure of Nicholas II, the francophonie of large families
or the trace of the French imperial adventure in the mirror
from Tolstoy to the Hermitage, in the gallery of war heroes
patriotic. Beyond the diagonal of the palaces that goes from Versailles to
Tsarskoye Selo is also a story made of objects - that circulate, that
come to populate the interiors, a history that fits into a certain
engravings and porcelains, goldsmiths' pieces, and
loupes and snuffboxes, the emblematic malachite that recalls the Palace
give us to feel something of the nostalgia of these years
Fabergé where, from Paris to St Petersburg, the same
way of scenography the intimate. It is therefore also in the interiors that
The history of our relationship is played out, in the hollow.
I would like to take this opportunity to meet with you to discuss
France–Russia Year 2010 was an undeniable success. The
and a half of visitors who attended the events organized in
this framework since the launch of the France-Russia Year last January
are already there to illustrate it.
Last February I had the great pleasure of inaugurating with my counterpart
the exhibition “Picasso – Moscow” at the Pushkin Museum:
has been a similar success to the exhibition «Holy Russia» at
Louvre. The Year France - Russia is also, we must remember, the
Transmusicales from Rennes in Russia, Russian in Expolangues
and Russian literature at the Book Fair; it is also, at this very moment,
a premiere by Angelin Preljocaj at the Bolshoi, or the Opera Ballet
from Paris to Novosibirsk. Soon, between Moscow and Saint Petersburg,
the exhibition «Napoleon and the Louvre», Les Arts Florissants, the «Nuits
On the French side, it is at the moment
«Paris/ Moscow/ Photographs», Russian cinema at the Forum of Images,
and soon the treasures of the Tretyakov gallery at the Museum of Life
romantic, not forgetting, in the field of live performance, the Ballet du
Bolshoi with Preljocaj in Lyon and Cirque Nikouline in Strasbourg.
Rarely has a season been so prolific in terms of
This is of course the sign of the exceptional mobilization of all those who have
that I want to salute. It is also, I believe, a sign of the intensity
of our relationship, marked decidedly by an ancient and persistent desire
to get to know each other better. It can be said that
the Year France – Russia has already clearly succeeded in its programming
to achieve its objectives, which were to focus on the
events open to a wide audience, and the
events especially dedicated to youth.
I would like to conclude this brief overview by
projects supported by our mutual desire for cooperation:
- I am particularly pleased that we will soon be able, I hope,
work with the City of Paris to create the monument that will
tribute to the Russian expeditionary corps who came to fight in France
during the Great War.
- In a completely different field, I would also like to point out that I am bringing my
support for the project of a Franco-Russian film academy, led by Pavel
Lounguine, whose prefiguration and negotiations are underway. In
meanwhile, I can only rejoice in the development of co-productions
collateral in the field of cinema, which reflects this dynamic
that we wish to fully support.
To conclude, I would like to commend the very fine work of Cyrille Boulay,
exhibition curator, and Alexandra Kalinine for her
scenography - as well as the great generosity of all people
who have agreed to lend their works for the occasion.
Thank you.