1. Looted Nazi artwork returned
Culture Minister Françoise Nyssen was on hand at the Louvre to return to its rightful owners a 16th century Flemish painting by Joachim Patinir.
It was forcibly sold to the Nazis by a Jewish couple, Hertha et Henry Bromberg, who fled to Paris from Germany in 1938.
Triptych of the Crucifixion was returned to the couple’s grandchildren Henrietta Schubert and Chris Bromberg. It was found during the recovery of art that took place at the end of the war, where the owners were known to the “MNR” (National Museums of Recovery).
60,000 works were recovered in Germany and returned to France, with around two thirds of them given back to their owners before 1950.
2. Paris caught on camera
As a film location, Paris has always been ready for its close-up. Now the US content provider Netflix has announced that the capital will be ‘the star’ of a new, original programme shot there – eight episodes of a romantic comedy co-directed by Noémie Saglio, who directed the edgy and cheeky hidden camera series and subsequent film “Connasse”.
This is a “new sign of Paris’s ever-growing attractiveness,” said the city’s mayor Anne Hidalgo. “In 2017, there was a 17% increase in film, series and advertising shoots. This represents a total of 11,000 productions, or 5,500 days of filming per year: an average of 15 per day.”
3. Gainsbourg fille awards triumph
Singer-actress Charlotte Gainsbourg was named Best Female Artist at the prestigious Victoires de la Musique awards, handed out by the French Ministry of Culture. This year’s awards were held at the new Seine Musicale venue in Paris.
The singer’s fifth album, Rest, includes collaborations with Paul McCartney and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo from Daft Punk, and won high critical praise.
Produced by SebastiAn, Rest explores the deaths of the singer’s father Serge (d. 1991) and her half-sister, Kate Barry, who died in 2013.
4. France’s big night for cinéastes
AIDS activism drama 120 battements par minute (120 bpm) was the big winner at the 2018 Césars on March 2 – France’s equivalent of the Oscars. The film won best picture and best original screenplay as well as two acting prizes.
The best director César went to Albert Dupontel for Au revoir là-haut (See you up there) while Jeanne Balibar took the best actress gong.
After the ceremony, guests including Penelope Cruz (who won the César d’Honneur) and her husband Javier Bardem, decamped to Fouquet’s restaurant for the traditional dinner.
5. Longer hours for libraries
President Macron and his Culture Minister Françoise Nyssen have called upon local authorities to extend library opening hours, notably by opening later into the evenings or on Sundays, in order to “reduce cultural and social divides”.
Only 130 of 16,500 libraries and reading points in France open on Sundays, according to a report on the future of libraries by the writer Erik Orsenna and cultural affairs inspector Noël Corbin.
During his presidential campaign, Macron lamented the fact that libraries were only open 41 hours a week in French cities “against 98 hours in Copenhagen”.