Mr President of the Republic, dear François Hollande,

Prime Minister, dear Laurent Fabius,

Ministers, dear Pierre Joxe, dear Michel Charasse, dear Frédéric Mitterrand,

Your Excellency the Commissioner,

Ladies and gentlemen parliamentarians,

Dear Marie-Guite Dufay,

Dear François Sauvadet,

Dear François Rebsamen,

Ladies and gentlemen artists,

Ladies and gentlemen elected,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear friends,


I am particularly pleased to be with you today for the reopening of the Museum of Fine Arts in Dijon.

Because every time a museum reopens, it’s part of our history that we wake up.

It is a part of our culture that is reborn.

It is a part of our country that is alive and well.

With the ambitious work you have carried out over 10 years, you are once again demonstrating that our heritage is a living heritage.

A heritage that is regenerated and transformed.

A heritage that is made of the lines of force left by history.

But also of successive architectural gestures.

As such, allow me to have a thought for Ieoh Ming Pei, a key figure in the world architecture that left us yesterday. He was able to bring modernist designs into dialogue with pre-existing classical structures, of which the Louvre Pyramid is a brilliant illustration.

Thank you, Mr Mayor, Dear François Rebsamen, for allowing this architectural gesture to be drawn in a spirit of openness.

It is the sense of general interest that has dictated your approach.

And a certain vision of culture.

This ducal palace that is a testimony of six centuries of history, this architectural masterpiece to which Jules Hardouin-Mansart contributed, this historic building that hosted the Dukes of Burgundy, the school of drawing, and the town hall of Dijon, you wanted to open it.

Open it to the city, open it to all audiences, open it to its time.

And you did it.

Opening onto the city first,

It’s an architectural success, no doubt.

We owe this success to Yves Lion, master architect, and Eric Pallot, chief architect of historic monuments.

I would like to thank them and their teams.

Dear Yves Lion, as a specialist in urban architecture, you have ensured that the symbolic and physical space of the museum is open in every way.

Your achievements – I am thinking in particular of the Masséna-Bruneseau district in Paris, or the Maison européenne de la photographie – always take into account the subtle relationship between a building and its space.

And so with its visitors.

You managed to make the Bar Court a real urban place.

And this transformation is not insignificant.

It has already changed the relationship of passers-by to a space they have always known.

It will influence new habits, new encounters.

Inside the Ducal Palace you managed to enlarge the exhibition areas while creating a new relationship between the city and the museum.

I too am convinced that culture must play a greater role in the revitalization of urban centres.

The so-called “arts district” is already a reality.

- Streets lined with antique shops;

- Through its boutiques showcasing the gastronomic know-how of your region;

- And thanks to the pedestrianization of part of the city centre that ends today.

I believe in the need to develop new flows to our cultural facilities.

So that everyone can naturally enter a museum.

Without being afraid.

Without considering that it is not for oneself.

In parallel with this opening to the city, you have ensured that the museum is open to all audiences.

Opening more and opening more doors to our cultural institutions is my ambition.

I know it’s yours too. 

You chose to keep the museum open throughout the construction site, alternating the phases of construction and the rotation of the works.

You then ensured that the building was fully accessible for people with reduced mobility;

You have also introduced free admission in all the museums of the city.

Despite the technical constraints, the mediation team continued to pursue its policy of cultural action:

- Developing numerous mediation tools, including digital;

- Offering family workshops, lectures and guided tours – sometimes blindfolded!

- Finally, special attention should be paid to young people, especially in school.

Arts and cultural education, as you know, is essential.

I am pleased to see the importance you attach to it.

And of course, it is no coincidence that you chose the day before the European Night of Museums as your inauguration date.

A new opportunity to expand your doors. 

Thank you, Director and General Curator, dear David Liot.

Thank you to your teams for your hard work and investment.

Thank you for the work you do for all audiences.

The opening of the Museum of Fine Arts in Dijon is finally that of a real museum of the XXIe century.

A museum having made the bet of architectural audacity:

I am thinking in particular of this magnificent golden roof, which adorns one of the facades of the Court of Bar. A roof that will soon be remembered as the glazed tiles of Burgundy.

I am also thinking of the purple concrete slabs that accompany the visitors' entrance. 

I am thinking of the glass extension and the rooms now dedicated to temporary exhibitions. Spaces in which contemporary creation will find its place.

Indeed, if the works will now dialogue with the architecture of the museum in a coherent chronological path, they will be enriched especially by their comparison with more contemporary creations.

For a museum of the XXIe It is also a collection of 130,000 works from antiquity to the present day. And especially a medieval collection that makes reference all over the world.

The infinite delicacy of Jacques de Baerze’s altarpieces will thus meet in the same place the curves of François Pompon’s sculptures.

The bright Sunset over the Doges of Charles Lapicque will make us take another look at the Night Navy Charles-François Lacroix of Marseille.

This dialogue between heritage and modernity is precious.

This dialogue is fruitful.

It is one of the conditions of a living heritage.

Dear Yan Pei-Ming, I am delighted that an internationally renowned artist like you will be joining the collections of one of France’s oldest museums.

I know your attachment to Dijon, where you did part of your studies, and where you are now settled.

I also know your attachment to good Burgundy products!

Finally, I know your concern for dialogue between tradition and modernity.
When, for the first time in his lifetime, an artist was exhibited at the Louvre, you were chosen.

It was you who brought us a new look at the Mona Lisa through your funeral.

I am very pleased to be here with you for the opening of your exhibition “The Crying Man”.

I know it has a special emotion.

The loss of your friend, Xavier Douroux, co-founder of the Dijon Consortium, to which you were all very attached.

Today I wish to pay tribute to him.

And to thank, on behalf of the State, its commitment to culture and contemporary creation.

During our next visits, before Mourners of tombs or Portraits of the Fayoum, it is now yours that we will also think of. And probably also a little to him.

So once again, thank you all.

Thank you to my predecessor and friend, Frédéric Mitterrand.

Dear Frédéric, I know your involvement in the "Museums in the Regions" plan that this place has benefited from and I know your ongoing commitment to access to culture and art for all.

Thank you to the Burgundy Franche-Comté Region and to you Madam President, Dear Marie-Guite Dufay.

I am pleased to see you working together with the DRAC.

The contract of Plan State Region is an illustration.

I know that your vision of cultural development takes into account not only heritage, but also the performing arts, tourism, and gastronomy.

As you recalled, the Climates of the Burgundy Vineyard are now classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

And with them, the safeguarded area of Dijon, one of the largest in France.

Our terroirs, our way of life, our gastronomy are also part of our culture.

Let’s not forget that Dijon will host in 2021 «The international city of gastronomy and wine». And here I greet his architect Anthony-Emmanuel Bechu. A project that will be carried out by the Greater Dijon Metropolis and will take shape on the site of the former general hospital, classified as historical monuments.

A project that will echo the «International City of Gastronomy» of Lyon, also installed in a historic monument in full conversion: the Grand Hôtel Dieu.

As I said, our heritage must be alive.

And the projects of international cities in the great God hotels participate.

Thanks also to the departmental council, and its President François Sauvadet, for their support in this project.

Thanks to the private partners: the SUEZ group, the firm Cléon Martin Broichot et associés, and Lyonnaise des Eaux.

Your support shows once again that culture is everyone’s business, not just the public authorities.

Thanks to the teams of the National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research, whose work has revealed many remains.

Thanks to the restaurateurs who brought their expertise from all over Europe. This project has allowed some of your most beautiful pieces to regain their lustre or to be studied again.

Thank you to the Castellologie Center of Burgundy, and its volunteers.

Finally, thank you, to the teams of the DRAC Burgundy-Franche Comté and to you, the Regional Director, dear Anne Matheron, for your action and your attentive follow-up.

The Ministry of Culture can count on the expertise of its decentralized services and their responsiveness.

On the ground, you ensure an always constructive dialogue between the State, local authorities and local cultural actors.

Your Worship,

Ladies and gentlemen elected,

On the reopening of the Museum of Fine Arts in Dijon, as on so many other subjects, the State is present at your side.

As it has been for a long time in Dijon, city of Culture, heritage, creation.

He is present with you through his support for live entertainment equipment certified by the Ministry of Culture.

I am thinking of the Opéra de Dijon, the Vapeur, the Théâtre de Dijon Bourgogne, the Minoterie, and the Centre de développement chorégraphique national Art danse.

I am also thinking of the many historical monuments in your city or the Saint-Bénigne cathedral.

Monuments whose restorations are supported by the State.

I am thinking of the work of the Grand Théâtre, which will open up to the various labels we mentioned.

The State credits entered in the Contract of Plan State Region will thus contribute to the success of this ambitious project.

Finally, I’m thinking about your desire to create an architecture school in Dijon.

Here too, the State services, and especially the DRAC, are at your disposal to accompany you. 


Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear friends,

As we prepare to celebrate this re-opening together, I have in mind a special moment in the history of French thought. 

While the Enlightenment extended its influence throughout France and Europe, right here in Dijon in 1755, Jean-Jacques Rousseau received the Academy Prize for his Discourse on the origin and foundations of inequality among men.

We all know that access to culture is still sometimes a factor of inequality.

Yet culture is a right.

And it is up to all of us to make it respected and to make it live.

Your willingness to be open has shown us that.

My determination to make it exist everywhere will support you. 

Thank you.