While awaiting the upcoming opening of the Cité internationale de la langue française, this area of discovery and civic involvement – for inhabitants of Villers-Cotterêts and the surrounding villages, ramblers and curious minds – offers a chance to:
- Rediscover the history of the Château de Villers-Cotterêts and find out all about the remarkable restoration under way. The château has had several chapters in its life: King Francis I ordered it to be built in 1532; the edifice became a workhouse for beggars in 1808; and until 2014, it was used as a retirement home. Thanks to the large-scale restoration project that has been undertaken since 2020, this architectural gem will soon undergo a true renaissance.
- Understand the different stages of the works: 3,600 m² of roofing to restore; the tallest crane on a heritage worksite after that of Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral; around 500 journeymen working at the peak of the project; a 620 m² glass roof over a ‘lexical sky’ in the Jeu de Paume court – so much is going on within this project behind the fencing, comprising expertise in different yet complementary trades.
- Look to the future, that of the Cité internationale de la langue française, a cultural and artistic site with a programme dedicated entirely to the French language. A 1,600 m² surface area of permanent and temporary exhibitions, including 1,200 m² of permanent visitor circuits on the French language, a 250-seat auditorium, areas for educational activities, twelve residency workshops for artists, researchers and entrepreneurs, and two retail outlets (a bookshop and a café-tearoom).
Come step inside the Maison du Projet!
Open Saturdays, 10am–12pm and 2pm–5pm
Freely accessible and free of charge
The future Cité internationale de la langue française © Olivier Weets
From 18 March, two wonderful surprises await at the Maison du Projet:
- Inside the Maison du Projet, discover (during opening times, each Saturday) one of the many digital devices that will punctuate the visitor circuit of the Cité internationale de la langue française: Paroles de Cotteréziens (‘Voices from Villers-Cotterêts’).
Inhabitants of Villers-Cotterêts talk about their attachment to the château and memories of it through video.
Shared personal experiences.
- Around the Maison du Projet, take part in a panoramic virtual reality experience via the freely accessible Timescope terminal. Dive into the château’s history with a glimpse of its different life chapters, from when it was built under the orders of King Francis I all the way up to today’s restoration works and the future Cité internationale de la langue française.