A Treaty on the statute and conditions of operation of the French Institute of Culture in Sofia and of the Bulgarian Institute of Culture in Paris was signed on February 14, 1990. The Bulgarian Institute of Culture in Paris, or as it is called “The Bulgarian Centre of Culture”, was established in 2004 and officially opened on October 7, 2004.
Over the past 4 years, along with its major activity – presentation of the Bulgarian culture in its contemporary diversity and historical development – a number of repair works were carried out, which turned the neglected former Art Gallery into a modern multifunctional space. The exhibition hall, which can be transformed into a concert hall and a conference room, meets the requirements for a rich cultural and artistic activity, but in the event of more complex and large-scale events it seeks realisation at other premises. There are also visits to the provinces with exhibitions – mainly documentary and aiming at popularising Bulgarian culture among the French community and the Bulgarian Diaspora. In May this year a bronze plaque was affixed on the building’s façade in memory of Hristo Botev and his poems, translated by Paul Eluard, were published. Both events stirred and strengthened the interest of French people towards Bulgaria.
One of the major objectives of BIC in Paris is the presentation of Bulgarian culture in close relation to the French and the other European cultural traditions. Bulgarian-French formations and groups with international participation increase the interest towards our culture and greatly broaden the circles of its admirers.
For several years now the Bulgarian Centre of Culture provides language courses, conducted by qualified lecturers and modern forms of tuition.
The library’s fund is not very big, but it has some very valuable editions, among which is the Slavic section of Prof. Roge Bernard’s personal library, which was donated by his daughters. Forthcoming is also the inclusion of Evgeni Silyanov’s library. Works by Nikola Vaptsarov, Atanas Dalchev, Ivan Davidkov and of a number of contemporary Bulgarian writers are in a process of preparation for publication.
There is also a Bulgarian-French choir “Sedyanka”, whose main objective is studying Bulgarian folklore.
BIC in Paris has a rich website where the monthly programmes are announced and the extensive activity, related to presenting the Bulgarian cultural life in the French capital is popularised.
A brochure in four colours, published every two months, informs the admirers of Bulgarian culture for the forthcoming events and casts light on the work of the participants.
The Bulgarian Centre of Culture in Paris is member of FICEP (Forum of the Foreign Centres of Culture in Paris) from the very beginning of its existence and every year participates in the Week of Cultures, held in late September and early October.
This year, 2008, when in France, on the occasion of its chairmanship, the European cultural season is held, the participation of the Bulgarian Institute of Culture in Paris is noticeable.
The Bulgarian Institute of Culture in Paris has the statute of an extended cultural office of the Bulgarian Embassy and its Director has the diplomatic rank of Councillor.