National heritage budget gets a €100 million boost

France's annual national heritage budget will be boosted by €100 million, French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced on Tuesday in a push to promote French culture and arts. In addition, under-25s will have free entry to all museums.


AFP - All French youths under 25 are to get free entry to public museums and monuments, from the Louvre to the Chateau de Versailles, under measures unveiled by President Nicolas Sarkozy on Tuesday.

In a New Year's address to the arts world, Sarkozy said under-25s and school teachers would be allowed in to all museums free of charge from April 4, in addition to under-18s who already enjoy free tickets.

As part of a raft of announcements aimed at promoting French culture and the arts, Sarkozy said he planned to create a new national history museum, in a "symbolic" site, in a bid to reinforce France's identity.

France's annual national heritage budget will be boosted by 100 million euros, with priority given to preserving "emblematic great monuments, cathedrals, abbeys and small town monuments," he said.

Sarkozy also announced he would lift a partial freeze on state funding for the performing arts in 2009, and said he was committed to preserving France's special welfare regime for arts and entertainment workers.

French film producer Marin Karmitz was named head of a new arts council, co-chaired by Sarkozy and Culture Minister Christine Albanel, that will aim to "refocus" state subsidies to promote "excellence" in the arts.

And the president signaled a major push on arts education, with partnerships to be struck between French cultural bodies and all schools -- from kindergarten right through to university.

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