Welcome to the Amitiés Françaises, Godalming
We are a community based group and our sole purpose is to enable you to experience France by providing lectures; reading French literature or visit locations with French connections.
Two nations with a shared history – sometimes of confrontation and war, more recently as allies – but often eyeing one another with a degree of suspicion and mutual incomprehension. A relationship not helped by what seems to be a particular difficulty in mastering each other’s language, especially the spoken word.
For almost 30 years though, a local society, with the support of the Alliance Française de Londres, has been doing what it can to break down some of these barriers. Founded in 1989, on the initiative of a Belgian married to an Englishman, Les Amitiés Françaises Godalming now has around 100 members with an interest in all things French.
Our main activity is to organise an annual programme of ten lectures based on France or French activities. Click on Programme to look at the list of lectures for the current year and see a review of the lectures we had during the previous year.
French art is always a popular topic, as are talks giving an insight into French history, but it is not all high culture.
We also run a Cercle Littéraire, where a group of people choose a number of French books for reading over the season. Each month, the group meet together to discuss their readings. Click on Cercle Littéraire to see the books chosen for the current year.
Of course, no society with a focus on France can ignore the French love of food and drink. So each year Les Amitiés celebrates the Fête des Rois (Epiphany) with a dinner including the traditional Galette des Rois, with the person finding the hidden fève (token) being crowned king or queen. Each July, Bastille Day is celebrated with a festive evening, which, given good weather, continues under the stars.
In addition, each year we organise a number of events to locations with a French connection, e.g. Goodwood – where they have a ceramics collection from Sèvres, Paris. Please click on the Events page to see what is organised for the current year.
Les Amitiés is always welcoming new members and visitors to its meetings, so if you have a reasonable knowledge of French and an interest in French lifestyle and culture, why not give it a try?
You do not need to be totally fluent to join us and enjoy our activities. If you are interesting in joining us please go to our Membership page.
We will make you very welcome, and please ensure you introduce yourself to a Member of the Committee.
Members Activities & Events
During the COVID restrictions, we have had to abandon the Baptist Church Hall in Godalming, and we are now holding our lectures using the ZOOM video application. The link to connect to the ZOOM lecture is sent to all members the day before the lecture. We are currently experiencing a similar attendance to the ZOOM lecture as we had in the Baptist Hall. The additional benefit of ZOOM is that it allows members living some distance away from Godalming the ability to link in and see the lectures.
We have members based in Stockport and Oxford regularly attending the lectures, as well as members of other Alliance Françaises groups around the country.