Culture & Leisure

The Ministry of Culture’s budget for 2007 was €3.2 billion. The financing of cultural activities costs some €12.6 billion, half provided by the State and half by local authorities.

On average, households spend €1,385 a year on culture, leisure activities, sports and games.


In 2006, 65 298 books were published including 33 460 new titles and 31 538 reprints totalizing 512 billions books
396 million copies were printed by 277 publishing houses.
Publishers’ annual net sales (2006): €2.9 billion.

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Kiosque à journaux à Paris.
© Claude Stéfan / M.A.E.


- 27% of the French read a daily newspaper every day.
- There are 10 national newspapers and 109 regional papers (dailies and weeklies).
- Total annual circulation: 4.7 billion.


Among the top 100, eight have a circulation of over one million and ten over 500,000 copies.
With 460 copies sold for every 1,000 residents, France ranks first in the world for magazine readership.


Watching television remains the favourite leisure activity of the French, with an average of 3 hours 24 minutes per person per day.

There are some hundreds television channels.

- Five national public channels: France 2, France 3, France 4, France 5 (educational channel) and France ô (first multicultural French channel)
- Arte (Franco-German cultural channel)
- Three national private channels: TF1, M6 and Canal Plus (pay channel with 5.14 million subscribers in France and 6.8 million abroad)
- The number of of households connected to TNT at the end of 2006 was 6 millions (5 millions for cable network and ADSL
- Multichannel satellite packages (Canal Satellite, TPS).
- TV5 and Canal France International (CFI), are the two operators in France’s external radio and television network


Radio France is the umbrella company for the country’s public service radio stations: France Inter, France Info (24-hour news), France Culture, Radio Bleue and FIP.

The private sector is represented by the general interest stations RTL (France’s most popular radio station), Europe 1 and Radio Monte Carlo (RMC) and a host of music, specialist, community and regional stations broadcasting on FM.

Radio France Internationale (RFI - 44 million listeners worldwide), RMC-Moyen Orient aimed at the Middle East and Medi 1 aimed at North Africa, the Maghreb, form France’s overseas radio broadcasting network.

Information Technology and Multimedia

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Un cybercafé à Paris. 77 % des
connexions à Internet se font à
domicile et 38 % sur le lieux
de travail.
© F. de La Mure / M.A.E.

While computers are considered primarily as tools for work and are used as such by 80% of the French, an increasing proportion, currently 55%, of French households now have one.

The French have rapidly taken to the Internet, the new form of access to knowledge. It is used by 46% (80% with ADSL)

Internet use in France has grown swiftly and remarkably in a few years: every institution, daily newspaper, government department and business now has its own website and there are sites of all kinds (sport, education, services, films, etc.).

The most visited sites are portal sites, ISP websites (such as France Telecom’s Wanadoo) and service sites.


France, which invented the cinematograph in 1895, is still very active in this sector. 203 films were produced in 2006, making France second in the world for film investment.

62.5% of the French population goes to the cinema at least once a year, and 33% at least once a month. With a network numbering over 5,366 cinemas - 140 of which are of multiplex type - France is among the countries with the densest cinema coverage.

Music and dance

France is home to some 11,300 dramatic artists and dancers, 16,200 musicians and singers, 250 music, opera and dance festivals, 8,700 variety performers; etc.

In addition, amateur performers are increasing in number as teaching in these fields has grown apace (more than 4,300 institutions specialize in music alone).


Every year, some 33,300 performances put on by the national theatres, national drama centres, other subsidized playhouses and private theatres attract a total audience of eight million. In addition to the great theatres in Paris, its suburbs, in smaller cities and at world-renowned festivals such as Avignon, over a thousand independent theatre companies have sprung up.

Museums and Monuments

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Photo : F. de La Mure / M.A.E.
Musée d’art moderne
du centre Pompidou.

Around 1,200 museums draw more than 41 millions of visitors each year.

The Louvre, the Chateau de Versailles and the Musée d’Orsay alone welcome nearly 16 million people annually.

Most cities outside Paris have at least one museum. In addition, more than 2,400 historic buildings are open to the public (seven million visitors a year), with the Eiffel Tower the most popular attraction with 6.7 million visitors a year. Moreover, some 42,300 buildings are classified as historic monuments and as such are protected by the Ministry of Culture.


Participation in sporting activities has grown rapidly in recent years. Almost 16 million people are enrolled in sports federations, with football and tennis the largest. Judo, pétanque, horse-riding, badminton and golf have recorded notable success in recent years. In addition, adventure and discovery activities such as mountain biking, hiking, climbing, hang-gliding and canoeing are winning increasing numbers of followers.

Cultural Festivals

Internet Festival, Heritage Days, Music Festival, the literature festival Lire en Fête, and Science Week are all cultural and leisure events in which the French love to take part, and whose success is growing every year:

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Chambord, châteaux de la Loire © F. de La Mure / M.A.E.

- on the Heritage Days, historic buildings (ministries, embassies, firms, banks) usually closed to the public open their doors.
- The aim of Science Week is to inform the public about developments in science and their implications for society.
- Focusing on books and reading, Lire en Fête organizes meetings with writers, writers’ workshops and short story competitions and introduces visitors to trades within the book industry.
- Finally, the Internet Festival raises public awareness about the information society.

Updated on July 2007

Dernière modification : 11/09/2007

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