French Cultural Institutions Providing Free Content Online

A large clock tower towering over the city of london with Louvre in the background

Culture in France is like a garden that grows year-round. But in times of confinement, when gardeners can’t tend to their flowers and the earth grows cold, it’s comforting to know that there are a few greenhouses in full bloom. These museums and performance venues are just a few of the ones offering wonderful online content right now, to make your time at home a little more enriching.


The Paris Opera, which encompasses the Palais Garnier and the Opéra Bastille, will be streaming popular operas and ballets from its archives each week, free to the public. This week, Rossini’s The Barber of Seville will stream, in partnership with France TV. Next week will be the balletic Tribute to Jerome Robbins, the famed American choreographer, followed by the comic opera The Tales of Hoffmann, Bizet’s Carmen, and a cycle of Tchaikovsky’s six symphonies. The above excerpt is from a recent streaming of Manon.

The Paris Opera’s YouTube channel has also launched a series of vocal lessons to teach popular operatic tunes, performed by various professionals in confinement around the world.


The Paris Philharmonic will broadcast a nightly concert at 8:30PM, showing everything from jazz to baroque music from some of its best concerts in recent years.

The French National Orchestra, an associated ensemble of the Paris Philharmonic, has taken to YouTube with incredible videos of its members playing “together” over satellite while in confinement, such as in the above video featuring their performance of Ravel’s Boléro.


The Centre Pompidou, Paris’s modern art museum, has a vast array of online resources for those in desperate need of portable culture. Listen to their podcast, which talks about the Very Important Pieces to be found on the Pompidou’s walls. Take a Masterclass with some of the world’s greatest filmmakers, or catch a film from the museum’s collection every Wednesday at 3pm. Explore an exhibit with art experts, dozens of which can be found on the Pompidou’s website. They even have a web series for children!

Take a trip to the Musée du Louvre without leaving your couch, with their virtual tours (sponsored by Shiseido). Explore Egyptian antiques, the remnants of the museum’s history as a medieval fortress, and the works of Delacroix and Rembrandt, among countless others. You can also find a selection of concerts filmed at the Louvre on YouTube for the duration of the lockdown.

The Château de Versailles offers virtual exhibits online, in partnership with Google Arts & Culture.


The Alliance Française in New York will be holding a virtual CinéSalon series through the end of the month called, “Nest of Spies: France’s Top Secret Agents.” Films will includes Les Patriots, Le Grand Blond avec une chassure noire, and Le Caire, Nid d’espions.

La Cinémathèque française, the Paris movie theater and museum of film, has made available hundreds of talks and interviews with the greatest minds in film. Considering that it houses one of the largest archives of film documents in the world, their repertoire is fairly exhaustive.

Featured image: Stock Photos from Netfalls Remy Musser / Shutterstock

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