Edinburgh Council approves ‘House of France’

Edinburgh Council has approved a plan for the Lothian Chambers, a B-Listed building on George IV Bridge, to host the French consulate, and take on a new lease of life as Scotland’s ‘House of France’.

The move is expected to save the council £173,000 annually on running costs.

The Embassy’s proposals for the building will include: a 100-seat auditorium, featuring an extensive programme of theatre, music, dance and artist residencies that aim to support as well as showcase performances from Scottish, French and international artists; a 20,000 book and multimedia library, offering a variety of lectures, reading groups and youth activities; and an art gallery and a Scotland centre for photography.

Other plans recommended in the plans include creating a French and European language school; an
information and support centre for French and European citizens; an outsourced cafe offering
refreshments and light catering; and a continued rental space for receptions, weddings and civic

Emmanuel Cocher, the French Consul General, said: "True to the Auld Alliance as well as our European bonds, France wants to invest in Edinburgh and Scotland.

"The Lothian Chambers are set to house an enhanced programme of international and Scottish cultural activities, relevant to all audiences which bring people together.

"We are conscious of taking over a central element of the civic heritage in the capital of Scotland and, in doing so, we commit ourselves to nurturing the spirit of creation and Enlightenment and cross-cultural exchanges that have made Edinburgh the 'world art beacon' it is known as internationally."