Welcome

Our aim is to promote the French language and culture in Winchester and surrounding areas.

We organise a number of lectures each year, always in French and usually by native French speakers. Monthly evening meetings take place in the Recital Room at the College Centre of Peter Symonds College in Winchester.

Our book group meets regularly to read and discuss French books. There are opportunities to join in French conversation groups and members also get together at social events throughout the year.

The Cercle Français de Winchester is affiliated to the Alliance Française de Londres, one of London’s foremost French language tuition providers. The Alliance Française de Londres proudly supports affiliated French circles which hold an annual programme of lectures and socio-cultural events across the UK. Our mutual endeavours are part of a global network of like-minded associations.

Cercle Français de Winchester is a charity, regulated by the Charity Commission, registration number: 1020086.

Our history

The first ever meeting of the then Alliance Française de Winchester was held in St. Paul's Church Hall on Tuesday, July 8th, 1941 and the speaker was Capitaine Barlone of the Free French Forces.

The Hampshire Chronicle, July 12th 1941, records:

"an admirable and moving account of the war from the point of view of a French soldier, an account based on his own experiences"

Not all the meetings were devoted to political themes; there were musical recitals, "lantern lectures" on French art and architecture, an exhibition of rare French books and manuscripts, and tea-time "get-togethers" for French conversation at the Cadena Café.

The yearly subscription was eight shillings and sixpence in 1941 but was reduced to five shillings in 1942 because of the problem in getting speakers to come to Winchester owing to "difficulties of travel, especially in trains to and from London". Plus ça change...

Upcoming events

Les Fables de La Fontaine

présenté par: Chantal Witchalls; commence à 1930h

La vie de Jean de la Fontaine. Son caractère léger. Vaux-le-Vicomte et Fouquet. Les animaux et le caractère psychologique qu'ils représentent. Analyse de "la cigale et la fourmi" et "le corbeau et le renard". L'art de La Fontaine (la versification) - Mime avec le chat, la belette et le petit lapin.

Chansons d’amour

présenté par: Tony Callen; commence à 1930h

Vieilles et modernes, tristes et comiques, métropolitaines et canadiennes, hyperconnues et inédites. Goûtez-les, discutez-les, et, (pourquoi pas?) chantez-les avec le conférencier, qui a la chanson pour violon d’Ingres.

Découvrir Frédéric Bazille

présenté par: Catherine Greensmith; commence à 1930h

Mort trop jeune au front durant la guerre franco-prussienne de 1870, Frédéric Bazille, un Montpelliérain de naissance, a pourtant été un membre-clé du groupe impressionniste. Cette conférence vise à faire découvrir cet artiste mal connu et une partie de son œuvre. La conférence est illustrée d'une présentation Powerpoint.

Christmas Party

venue: St Lawrence Hall; commence à 1930h

There will be a delicious meal and more. Tickets on sale nearer the time, price to be notified.

Assemblée Générale (AGM)

commence à 1930h

Please come along to vote on our proposed new constitution and to participate with your suggestions, ideas and comments on how the Cercle Français de Winchester is run.

Following the formal business John Romero will give a short talk entitled ‘Le Tanger que j’aime’.

France occupée, France divisée

présenté par: Germaine Jones; commence à 1930h

L'armistice de 1940, le début de l'occupation, de la collaboration et l'instauration d'un ordre nouveau. La France divisée, géographiquement et sur l'idéologie du régime. L'opposition entre les "Pétainistes" et les 'Gaullistes'. Le développement de la Résistance et l'affrontement de ses diverses factions. Période dramatique encore si vivante dans les mémoires. Transparents et/ou PowerPoint.

Le féminisme en France

présenté par: Cédric Cabanne; commence à 1930h

Le mot « féminisme » n’apparaît qu’à la fin du XIXe siècle. Dès la Révolution Française l’égalité entre les sexes est réclamée. Mais la Déclaration des droits de l’Homme et du citoyen néglige les femmes, puis le code civil a légalisé la soumission des épouses. Les mouvements revendicatifs deviennent surtout actifs dans la seconde moitié du XXe siècle. L’obtention du droit de vote, et l’accès à l’éducation témoignent de l’évolution des mentalités. Plus récemment, la nomination d’un « sous secrétariat d’Etat à l’égalité réelle » rappelle que les femmes, en 2016 n’ont toujours pas droit à l’égalité salariale.

Bourgogne et Beaujolais - Joyaux de la France profonde

présenté par: John Dixon; commence à 1930h

Ces deux parties de la même région de Bourgogne, devenue maintenant la section ouest de la grande région Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, sont célèbres dans le monde entier pour leurs vins, qui, eux, diffèrent énormément en caractère les uns des autres. La présentation examinera les vignobles de la Bourgogne et du Beaujolais et les différences qui distinguent la production de chaque région. On regardera aussi les autres aspects importants de l’histoire et de l’habitat de la Bourgogne, qui représente tout ce qui est essentiel pour bien connaître la France profonde, en tant que paysages, histoire et villes célèbres. Présentation Powerpoint.

Les Français d’aujourd’hui - une esquisse!

présenté par: Thierry Viennois; commence à 1930h

Dépeindre un peuple est toujours difficile mais vouloir donner une image assez précise du Français-type s’avère être une chose coriace. C’est pourtant ce que cet exposé se propose de faire sur la base d’articles tirés du magazine Le Point (avec l’accord de la Rédaction) et de l’expérience et du jugement personnels du conférencier. Alors, râleur ou bon-vivant ? Inventif ou sans imagination ? Travailleur ou paresseux ? Traditionnel ou moderniste ? Audacieux ou craintif ? Économe ou dépensier ? Nostalgique ou tourné vers l’avenir ? Casanier ou aventurier ? Disséquons le Français de ce début de siècle !

Fête Nationale: le Quatorze Juillet

Join us for a social event to celebrate La Fête Nationale.

Check back for more information nearer the time.

Get in touch

‮enroH nyL

Membership Secretary

‮esolC egdirevoL 53

Basingstoke

Hampshire, UK

‮EL3 12GR

‮871893 7187 (0) 44+

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Legal Form

Cercle Français de Winchester is a charity, regulated by the Charity Commission, registration number: 1020086.

General, membership and media enquiries should be made using the Contact Form, or email link, available on this website.

The address for written correspondence is:

‮enroH nyL

Membership Secretary

‮esolC egdirevoL 53

Basingstoke

Hampshire, UK

‮EL3 12GR

Member Information
Subscriptions

Individual membership:

£20

Couples:

£32

Guests:

£5 per meeting *

Under 18s:

£2 per meeting

*(refunded if full membership taken later in current membership year)

Cercle Français de Winchester: A Brief History

The first ever meeting of the then Alliance Française de Winchester was held in St. Paul's Church Hall on Tuesday, July 8th, 1941 and the speaker was Capitaine Barlone of the Free French Forces, who "gave an admirable and moving account of the war from the point of view of a French soldier, an account based on his own experiences" (Hampshire Chronicle, July 12th, 1941).

Following the success of this first meeting it was decided to inaugurate a season of talks, beginning on Tuesday, October 7th, 1941.

In these early days, when France was a defeated and occupied country, many of the speakers were members of the Free French Forces and their talks had patriotic and morale-boosting titles, such as "France has lost a battle, but not the war" and "How France is resisting". Indeed, as the war progressed the Alliance received first-hand accounts of the physical and psychological damage which was being wreaked upon the French people.

Emphasis was placed on hope for the future, however, and eventually, by 1945, the speakers could talk about victories, such as the Battle of Normandy, which was graphically described by Professor Contamine of the University of Caen, whilst a talk by Mlle. Anne Marie Bauer of the French Resistance about her two-year internment in Ravensbruck concentration camp had the immediacy then that a talk by a released conflict hostage would have today.

The yearly subscription was eight shillings and sixpence in 1941 but it was reduced to five shillings in 1942 because of the problem in getting speakers to come to Winchester owing to "difficulties of travel, especially in trains to and from London". Plus ça change!

Not all the meetings were devoted to political themes; there were musical recitals, "lantern lectures" on French art and architecture, an exhibition of rare French books and manuscripts, and tea-time "get-togethers" for French conversation at the Cadena Café and Cercle Français de Winchester, as it is now known, continues this tradition of fostering an understanding of historical and contemporary French themes

Events Archive

The Committee of the Cercle Français de Winchester develops a considered programme of meetings and lectures to run between September and July. It is designed to appeal to a wide range of interests.

Please click the following links to look back at our previous schedules and the subjects covered.

Programme 2017 - 2018

Programme 2016 - 2017

Programme 2015 - 2016

Programme 2014 - 2015

Programme 2013 - 2014

(documents open in a new window)