Edinburgh Council building to become 'house of France'
The Lothian Chambers in Edinburgh is set to take on a new lease of life as Scotland's "House of France" after councillors gave the plan the green light.
The French consulate will move into and lease the B-Listed building on George IV Bridge.
It will save the council £173,000 a year in running costs.
Wedding bookings have been taken for the Lothian Chambers to September, which the council will honour.
The Embassy's proposals for the building 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
- An art gallery and a Scotland centre for photography
- A French and European language school
- An information and support centre for French and European citizens
- An outsourced cafe offering refreshments and light catering
- Continued rental space for receptions, weddings and civic occasions
The French Consul General, Emmanuel Cocher, 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."