Alliance Française‘s French Library promotes French culture and provides a space for intercultural exchanges between Ireland and the cultures of the French-speaking world. “The library is focused on social cohesion and the cultural centre is more about hosting artists”, describes Annabelle Malandrin, director of The French Library at Alliance Française. She goes on further to say: “We care about multiculturalism and people sharing more than introducing French culture. The cultural centre is really Franco-Irish.”
If you are a film buff, the Cinéclub hosted by the French Library is the perfect event to discover must-see French classic films. “I introduce the movie and then everyone watches it. This year we watch the classical French speaking movies you need to see in your life”, Annabelle Malandrin explains. “The movies are always in the original version, with English subtitles. For example, at the end of May, we’re going to broadcast Delicatessen by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro.”
The number of attendees dropped from 50/60 pre-pandemic to 25/30 viewers. The next session is due to occur on Thursday 25 May at 6.30pm.
Play board games and meet new people
The Board Game evening is open to everyone. Image by author.
The Board Game evenings are designed for every age. “The goal of those Board Game evenings is to create a bond in the French speaking community. We have between 30 and 40 people on average every month”, says Annabelle.
Diane Duval is a French language assistant. She gives a few hours of her time to teaching French in the Language Centre at Alliance Française. The 23-year-old came to the Board Game evening organised by the Library on Thursday 11 May. “It is the third time that I have come here. The first time that I came here, I was not yet working for Alliance Française”, recalls the young woman, “I was in Ireland for two, maybe three weeks. For me, it was a good occasion to make some friends and play board games. I also wanted to discover Alliance Française because I intended to work there.”
Olena and Daniel Kruger are respectively Ukrainian and South African. The couple studied in France and met there. After they moved to Ireland, they wanted to learn more about the French language and culture. “We liked this event and we think about coming back again”, they both agree at the end of the event. “We really like the board game “Speech” which is interesting because it develops your imagination and forces you to speak French.”
Listen to French and Irish tales
Every two months, La Sieste musicale sets a playlist with music in a room filled with deck chairs, couches, armchairs and carpets. A perfect setting for a 1-hour long auditory journey for people to relax, dream, sleep after a long day. Annabelle Malandrin remarked:“At the beginning, the goal was to share French music and during the pandemic we offered a journey to French places. We made auditory journeys to French cities by describing them.” This year, they focus more on storytelling by broadcasting French and Irish tales.
Reading Aloud is an activity for the grown-ups that takes place once a month. It is a great way for adult French learners to read out loud a variety of texts on a specific theme.
Events for the little ones
Three events are dedicated to children and families. Image by Jonathan Borba.
Toddler’s Time is an event aimed at children from 0 to 3 years with readings, finger games, songs every Tuesday morning at 10.30am. Parents and their toddlers are welcomed to a 30 minute-listening to French stories and songs in the Children’s Corner. Toddler’s Time offers a break to interact and bond with your kid and stimulate intellectual development.
Les Contes du Samedi (Saturday tales) meanwhile, are readings for children of all ages and levels. This event takes place every Saturday at 11.30am and goes on for 30 minutes with storytellings, album readings, Kamishibai (a Japanese paper theatre), shadow theatre and many more.
Matinée Screenings (Morning screenings) are walk-in screenings of animated movies, short and medium length features. No booking is required. French or non-French children alike come to see the movies. Annabelle Malandrin points out that the audience is composed of dual nationality children, French speaking expat families, and children that learn French.
All of the events are in French and are perfect for the little ones that are currently learning the French language.
Alliance Française’s recurring events are perfect to learn French and make new friends. They also offer a great insight into French culture, whether you are French yourself living in Ireland, or simply curious about French culture as a whole.