This French City Was Once ‘Culturally Dead’ – And Free Public Art Brought It Back To Life

“‘The city was culturally dead when I arrived here,’ says Jean Blaise, an artistic director and cultural impresario who has been based in Nantes since the mid-1980s. ‘There was one interesting festival and the opera house, that’s all.'” Now it’s France’s fastest-growing city and has real cachet. The key? “‘If you make people pay for culture, or only offer it in enclosed spaces like theatres or museums, you will only ever reach a small percentage of the population,’ Blaise says.”