Programme

2023

All talks start at 6.30pm at the Brighthelm Centre.

A warm welcome from 6pm. All talks and activies are held in French.

Talks and events 2023 – 2024

2024

28 February: Madame de Sévigné – Suzanne Hinton et les membres du Cercle

Widowed at 26, Marie de Sévigné (1636-1696) poured all observations of society and all her love into letters to family and friends, but above all, in letters to her daughter.  French Circle members will recount the life of this famous letter writer, illustrating the story with readings from her letters and music of the period. 

Image: CC0 Paris Musées / Musée Carnavalet

13 March: La Rochelle – Isabelle Martin

A thousand-year-old city resolutely turned towards the future, La Rochelle is a beautiful and generous city which combines the preservation of an exceptional architectural heritage with innovative development. A story which will lead you from the Old Port and the Middle age arcaded walkways to the largest sailing harbour in Europe.

Image: Isa Martin

27 March: Return to Vietnam – Dany Marx

Dany Marx spent a large part of her childhood and teenage years in this fascinating country;  its history and beauty can but be an abiding memory for anyone who has ever stayed there, whatever the circumstances.  The proudest and most majestic dragon of Asia has, despite appearances, always remained faithful to itself.

Image: Dany Marx

10 April: Le Lapin Agile – Brigitte Thibaut

This legendary cabaret was built over 150 years ago at the bottom of La Butte in Montmartre. It is part of the history of this village.

Talent has flourished here, and painters like Picasso, musicians like Claude Nougaro have been entertained. We will hear some astonishing anecdotes, as we visit one of the most picturesque places in Paris.

Image: Gallica.bnf.fr / Bibliothèque de France

Talk Sponsored by the Alliance Française de Londres

24 April: Questions d’actualité / Current affairs – Béatrice Moreau

8 May: Carcassonne – Nathalie Morgan

Destination Carcassonne! City in the south of France, located in the Occitanie region, Carcassonne with its medieval city listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most visited cities in France. Come and discover Carcassonne and take a trip into the past. 

Image: Philipp Herzog

22 May: AGM in English and social evening (French and English)

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Previous talksSaison 2023-2024

27 September: Les Vendanges / The Grape Harvest – Gill Forte and members of the Cercle

11 October: Le français, langue d’Angleterre / French, England’s language – Simon Coffey

25 October: Traduire G Simenon / Translating Simenon – Ros Schwartz (with Claire Peligny)

8 November: Bruxelles / Brussels – Elspeth Broady

22 November: Les abeilles & le miel / Bees and their honey – Alain Caron

13 December: Honfleur – Dan Lippman

10 January: Social evening in French

24 January: Un parcours international / An international career – Jessica van Thiel

14 February: Je t’aime moi non plus / Speak to me of Love – Agnès Baetens

Previous talks2022-2023 Season

28 September: Soirée d’accueil / Welcome evening

12 October: Russian immigration to France around 1917 – Annie Kean

26 October: The Auvergne – Adriano Capuano

9 November: Café-théâtre parisien – Béatrice Moreau-Gray

23 November: Les Misérables: The novel of the century – Peter Smith

14 December: The Breton Connection – Frances Stenlake

11 January: Brian Walsh and his guitar

25 January: Belgium, with help from Jacques Brel – Francesca Delescluse   

8 February: Fifteen years which transformed France: 1885 to 1900 – Christopher Doidge

22 February: From prisoners to tourists – Isabelle Martin

8 March: The first refugees : the Huguenots in England  –  Sue Delafons

22 March: Limoges: a town that is not just porcelaineRobert Winton

12 April: Haute Couture – Brigitte Thibaut

26 April: Learning French through the ages – Suzanne Hinton

10 May: The Gorges of the Tarn – Nathalie Landroit

24 May: AGM