Cité Internationale de la Langue Française

Mill+, the production and experiences department of The Mill – a Technicolor Creative Studios Group brand – joined forces with…

Mill+, the production and experiences department of The Mill - a Technicolor Creative Studios Group brand – joined forces with Ilusio - a digital scenography agency - to create 60 audiovisual and interactive installations for the permanent tour of the Cité internationale de la langue française in Villers-Cotterêts - inaugurated on 30 October by the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron.

As the inaugural cultural institution fully devoted to the French language, the Cité internationale de la langue française is hosted within the historic Château de Villers-Cotterêts, where in 1539 François I declared French as the official language. The project was initiated by President Emmanuel Macron and entrusted to the Centre des Monuments Nationaux (National Monument Center)

The Mill+ and Ilusio consortium, known for their work on mediation devices for Hôtel de la Marine, Muséoparc Alésia, and the Cité du vin de Bordeaux, were selected for their technical excellence and creative abilities to develop innovative formats. Each creation resulted from a collaborative effort between the Mill+ and Ilusio writers and directors, the project management, the supervising team (Projectile & Lundi 8), and the members of the scientific committee. Together, they developed engaging and accessible concepts to narrate the French language and Francophonie through various themes.

"Our mission is to transform concepts into tangible and captivating experiences for the public. This project provided us with the unique opportunity to demonstrate the depth of our expertise on an exciting topic: the French language. It stands as the most extensive production experience we’ve embarked on to date. Over a span of almost two years and a half, we successfully rallied and guided a diverse team to craft 60 ingenious and entertaining installations. We trust that the public enjoys discovering this immersive journey into the essence of the French language as we derived from bringing it to life"

Hugues Allart & Maud Chirat, Producer

"I had the privilege of joining the Centre des Monuments Nationaux team in the project concluding year. When dealing with digital installations, the foremost consideration is how they will be perceived by the public upon completion. Each content piece is designed to be simultaneously entertaining and inclusive for diverses audiences, spanning from, academics, and foreigners’ visitors. I take immense pride in the achievements resulting from our collaborative efforts with the CNM, The Mill, and Ilusio teams. It has been challenging endeavor, and we are looking forward to receiving feedback from the public."

Julia Guglielmi, Digital Mediation Project Manager


In a setup inspired by miniature theaters, a series of scenes narrate the international rise of the French language in the 18th century. Above, prominent figures of the Enlightenment take turns playing the role of accomplice narrators. Their portraits are embedded in period frames or medallions, providing a historical introduction and context for the scenes. Quotes and archival images also appear on the frieze, enriching the interplay between past and present. The aim is to provide visitors with keys to understanding the Enlightenment mindset, elucidate the connections between our language and reason, thought, and to give faces to the protagonists and figures of the time (intellectual and scholarly leaders, crowned heads, tutors, etc.). The presentation visualizes the circumstances that foster the dissemination of values carried by the French language: who were the actors, the settings, the levers? What global influence does "French culture" gain during this period? Which popular words continue to enrich the various languages of Europe (common lexicon)? A staging of three sources of images coexists on a frieze, offering a comprehensive spectacle between a panoramic band, the main seat of the story, and a medallion enhanced by a video projection that evokes the protagonists and historical documents. A film directed by Nicolas Thépot.

"The scientific committee had a very precise idea on how to approach the subject of the "Enlightenment" language, through the figure of Casanova. So, with Didier Laval, we envisioned a series of scenes that, through the encounters of this Venetian adventurer, and based on his memoirs, tell the story of how French became the language of intellectuals and crowned heads in Europe. It's a complex setup that mixes paintings and engravings, where the action takes place in the lower part of a triptych of screens. The actors move through sets that are reminiscent of Carmontelle's "transparencies" from that time. On the upper part, archives are projected to illustrate the narrative. We paid special attention to the fluidity of the story. The sets change, eras unfold, the action moves from screen to screen, to constitute a single narrative."

Nicolas Thépot, Director

The Road of Words

Using the power of immersive projection onto the internal surface of a 360° globe, a film meticulously charts the etymological journey of 12 words, portraying their evolution from inception to contemporary usage. Through a audiovisual setup seamlessly integrating 3D motion design, video mapping, and spatialized sound, visitors are cordially invited to partake in an enriching expedition through time and space, sharing in the fascinating narrative of these words. This remarkable installation is the brainchild of the talented Nicolas Thépot.

Beyond the technical challenge posed by the scale of this device, the focus has been on the clarity and precision of the message. Tracing the journey of a word and all its iterations from a simple object. On a borderless map, a cascade of letters charts the word's course. It is initially inscribed in the language and calligraphy of its time, before embarking on a transformative journey. Letters jostle, some vanish, others metamorphose while adhering to the period's aesthetics… The word finally arrives on the hexagon, seamlessly integrating into everyday language, a carrier of myriad cultural influences. The display windows illuminate sequentially, triggering each animation.

Nicolas Thépot, Director

French Speakers

In a 360° installation crafted by Grégoire Korganov, diverse portraits of French speakers set against vibrant backgrounds captivate our attention, each taking their turn to speak. Upon entering the room, visitors are surrounded by a mosaic of screens, prompting them to unravel the meanings behind phrases and expressions from different regions. This immersive experience, enjoyable for both the youth and adults, sheds light on how languages and external influences have played a role in enhancing the French language, spoken today by over 320 million individuals worldwide.

The Spelling Lesson

"The Spelling Lesson" offers a playful and collective approach to learning grammar and spelling, presented by the speakers and French and philosophy professors Jérôme Piron and Arnaud Hoedt. Visitors are invited to take part in a French dictation, responding by positioning themselves on the left or right side of the screen. This interactive experience avoids stigmatizing their spelling proficiency and provides a humorous exploration of French spelling and its complexities. This content was directed by Shaun Severi.

Interactive Games

These installations offer games and activities centered around the usages and norms of French, such as the use of gender, accents, and registers in the French language. On curved screens shaped like slides, words slide down, allowing the viewer the choice to play and test their knowledge on interactive devices. The game on 'Gender' invites exploration of the question of gender in the French language through an interactive narrative enhanced by the playful illustrations of Pierre Emmanuel Lyet.



PRODUCTION : The Mill (Mill+)

Executive Producers: Hugues Allart, Maud Chirat

Project Director (Ilusio): Thierry Prieur

Editorial Director: Didier “Dee” Laval

Art Director: Bernard Brechet

Production Director: Laurent Rebeillard

Legal Counsel: Hélène Clark & François Bachelerie


Directors: Nicolas Thépot, Bérangère Lallemant, Grégoire Korganov, Antoine Dauer, Cédric Aussir,

Shaun Severi


Graphic Designers: Max Baile, Stéphane Jarreau, Olivier Jarry, Manon Bailler, Emmanuel Vincent,

Tanguy Puech, Jean Yves Parent

Editors: Franck Chaffei, Pauline Chabauty

Cinematography: Marc Marchand, Christophe Graillot

VFX Producer: Benjamin Cathala

Post-Producer: Samuel Kumessa


Composer: Rémi Boubal

Sound Engineer: Bruno Ginestet


Illustrators: Benoit Guillaume, Pierre-Emmanuel Lyet


Spectacle de Molière : Hakim Bah, Valérie Cachard, Carole Frechette, Nicolas Kerszenbaum


Escalier du Roi : Julien Cigana, Marie Armelle Deguy, Benjamin Lazar, Olivier Martin Salvan, Mélodie

Richard, Charles Sadrac,

Métamorphose des mots : Vincent Berger, Sandra Chartraire, Pauline Parigot, Jean-Christophe


Les sons du français : Feodor Atkine, Marie Armelle Deguy, Benjamin Lazar, Olivier Martin Salvan,

Mélodie Richard, Charles Sadrac, Gilles Siouffi

Les Lumières : Denis Ardant, Ulysse Bosshard, Léa Binsztok, Jean-Christophe Quenon, Manon Rony,

Nicolas Thépot.

Spectacle de Molière : Marion Bottollier, Diarietou Keita, Jennie Anne Walker, Gabrielle Lazure, Denis

Ardant, Farid Rezgui, Ulysse Bosshard

Les doublures : Pauline Parigot, Denis Lefrançois, Maxence Bod, Claudia Mongumu

Les intraduisibles : Jade Herbulot, Kim Julian

Récit d’un avènement : Sandra Chartraire

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