In twenty-five years, the street of Valois knew twelve tenants. While Franck Riester has just succeeded Françoise Nyssen, eight of their predecessors testify to the difficulty of the job.
By Sandrine Blanchard (with Guillaume Fraissard)
After only seventeen months, Françoise Nyssen returned, becoming one of the most ephemeral ministers of culture and communication. The publisher Arlésienne, carried away by the reshuffle and replaced by Franck Riester, is far from the first to have made a flash passage rue de Valois. In the past twenty-five years, this ministry has seen no less than twelve tenants. Whether from the political world or from civil society, their fate has been comparable. Difficult, with an average duration of two years in office, to print its mark and carry out projects. Only André Malraux and Jack Lang have held this position for ten years each and have become tutelary figures.
But what "curse" touches this ministry that will celebrate, in 2019, its sixtieth anniversary? Why such a fugacity of its holders? While Franck Riester has just been composing – not without difficulty – his cabinet, eight former ministers of culture have agreed to return to their experience and entrust their memories on this post at once so coveted and so exposed. Solicited by The worldJack Lang (in office from May 1981 to March 1986 and from June 1988 to March 1993) did not wish to mix his word with that of his successors. More than bitterness, it is the regrets that prevail among those who have known this "Most beautiful departments".
Have (or not) the confidence of the president
De Gaulle-Malraux, Mitterrand-Lang, the former ministers all take an envious look at these duets that have marked the history of the Rue de Valois. Not only did André Malraux and Jack Lang stay for a decade, but they also enjoyed strong and public support from the Elysée, and for the second, a doubling of the ministry's budget. Since, "We are witnessing a trivialization of the cultural debate and its place in the public discourse", says Jacques Toubon (in post of …