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France in Houston

By Annie Galley, Intern

“Perfect is the enemy of good.” As a devoted Francophile, I clung to that Voltaire quote early in my attempted immersion into French culture. I cooked coq au vin unsuccessfully, sang Edith Piaf’s La Vie en Rose poorly and read Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables slowly. After years of studying French in college, I’ve made some improvements. And now that I’m back in my hometown, I can’t wait to get involved in Houston’s vibrant French community!

I searched online for a place to get started and voila: The Alliance Française . It’s the epicenter of all things French in Houston. The nonprofit celebrates and teaches the French language, which is spoken by 220 million people worldwide. Language classes ranging from beginner to advanced are offered to members, along with the option of conversational and specialty courses. The Alliance Française also holds a variety of cultural events such as film screenings, concerts and receptions.

Those interested in practicing their French in a more casual setting should check out The Houston French Language and Culture Meetup Group. These weekly or bi-weekly meet ups take place in areas such as Clear Lake, Rice Village and North West Houston, typically at La Madeleine locations. Participants are enthusiastic about French language and culture and eager to exchange bon mots.

Think that’s all the French Houston has to offer? Au contraire! Every March, Houston takes part in the French Cultures Festival. The FCF, which features many events including exhibits, lectures, concerts and film screenings, has two primary goals. They aim to showcase and explore the diversity of modern French culture (you’ll notice it’s the French Cultures Festival, not simply the French Culture Festival) and inspire exchanges with the public. Put it on your calendars for next year!

Appetites_cvrHere at Bright Sky Press, we’re celebrating Liberté, Egalité and Fraternité with two books: Appetites by Marie LeNôtre and Meditations in Color by Anne-Laure Lavagna.

Appetites is the intimate memoir by Marie LeNôtre, founder and director of the Culinary Institute LeNôtre. The author seamlessly weaves together the stories of her early life and her husband Alain and the creation of their Culinary Institute. The work details her journey from Greece to France and ultimately to Houston and all of the joy and pain along the way.

Meditations in Color shares Anne-Laure Lavagna’s profound faith through her rich paintings and thoughtful words, which are written in both English and in French. The symbolic paintings that brightly adorn the pages, inspired by events and quotes alike, illustrate her spirituality and creativity.

I’m looking forward to delving into Houston’s French community and I hope you take part as well.

Vive la France!

Bright Sky Press.
Where Texas meets books. France.