Mr Prefect,

Mr Mayor,

Ladies and gentlemen of the House,


Ladies and gentlemen elected,                          

Dear Director Eloi Recoing,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear friends,


I’m really delighted to be here, delighted to be able to pay tribute to the puppet arts, which are a great pride for our country. A pride on which the spotlight is too rarely placed.  It is also a pleasure to be here in the Ardennes, in the Great East, where I continue the tour of the regions that I have started since my appointment. And, of course, delighted to inaugurate this new School with you.

Basically, as Minister of Culture, you offer a model.

The model of a France that is supported by three riches: its know-how, its territories and its youth.

These are the three riches that I defend every day with the department.

The know-how, first of all.

Our country is full of them. That is what makes it unique; that is what makes our artistic landscape famous; that is what makes our culture the backbone. The challenge is to maintain them, to enhance them, to transmit them. That is precisely what you are doing here in Charleville, around the puppetry arts.

It is a rare know-how, incredibly rich. A know-how that crosses heritage, since it is a tradition shaped over the centuries, and creation, since it is – thanks to you – always in motion. It is a know-how that affects all ages, all audiences. You are prolonging a millennial legacy here. And you continue the more particular legacy left by Jacques FELIX, to whom I obviously want to pay tribute.

It was he who, in 1961, was at the origin of the Festival de la marionnette which opens tomorrow, for the 19th edition, and who made Charleville-Mézières a world pole of reference in this discipline. He’s the one who started this school 30 years ago.

It was André MALRAUX who said that a legacy is not passed on, “it is won”. You do that here, every day. Charleville-Mézières is a world reference for puppetry arts.

Our role is to accompany you. So I’m very pleased to be able to confirm to you, as was announced by the previous minister, that we will strengthen our support for your expertise. Last year, the Ministry of Culture promised you the creation of a new label dedicated to «Central national de la marionnette», as there are already national centres for drama and choreography, national stages. A label to recognize artistic excellence, and the mission of general interest of places dedicated to puppetry. The professional organizations in your sector have worked with the department to define its mission book. And its creation is underway: I asked my services to launch the regulatory process by creating a 13th national label.  With this label, we will provide new support to your sector.


The second force that is fully manifested here is that of the territories.

Jacques FELIX had a double passion: that of the puppet, as I said, but also that of this Ardennes territory. In the adventure of this cultural entrepreneur that was Jacques FELIX, who was born here. Who started from nothing. Who went to forge his know-how with a master-puppeteer in another city of the Great East: Nancy. Who came back with the dream of living his passion in his hometown. And who succeeded.

And 30 years ago, he succeeded in creating in Charleville-Mézières a real cultural «life: with this festival, this meeting place, this school.  That is to say, he did not simply allow an art to develop. He did not simply bring it into the lives of his fellow citizens. It allowed the territory to find a new cohesion, to develop, and to radiate through it. He did not simply create a “cultural life” in this territory; he created a “territorial life” through culture.

This is my double mission.

Everywhere. And especially where cohesion is most fragile: in rural areas; in neighborhoods; in the Overseas Territories. Jacques FELIX’s energy is everywhere. The mission of the Ministry of Culture is to give him the opportunity to express himself. To be realized. On each of our territories.

The third force expressed here is that of youth.

Dear Students,

It is you who are the future of this art, of this know-how. It is you who will be able to wear them tomorrow, in all our territories. And thus transform, on your scale, parts of our country. Transform destinies: create vocations in those who see you play. Like Jacques FELIX to Nancy.

You are in a unique institution in France: the only National School of Puppetry Arts. An institution that innovates. Since its creation 30 years ago, it has helped to professionalize, enhance and renew the profession. And an institution that is growing today. Thanks to this work, it will be able to accommodate twice as many students.

I want to thank all the teams at this school.

I thank the professors for their tradition of excellence.

I would also like to salute all those who contributed to the success of this project: the architects, masterminds and technicians; the elected officials who mobilized; the teams of the festival and the Institute, who were associated with it; the regional affairs department.

Thank you all for having created this new School. This new place of creation and transmission.

This place where the future is being prepared.

 France has all the keys to success.

And especially the three I mentioned: the excellence of its know-how; the energy of its territories; and the commitment of its youth.

You are exemplifying them here.

I congratulate you on that.

And I thank you.