Report on the Programme 2021 – 2022



Our series of lectures started in September 2020 using the on-line method ZOOM. We were able to provide a full programme consisting of ten lectures for our members who were all used to the on- line format. Equally, our lecturers were more confident with on-line delivery and we had fewer mishaps during our lectures. Our members became much more appreciative of the need to “mute“ themselves during the course of the lectures. As usual, our lecturers offered a wide range of topics. All lectures were well-attended and appreciated by our members.

Cedric Cabanne started off our programme in September with a talk about Marie Curie, detailing her life in France and her dedication to pioneering research into radioactivity.

Emilie Capulet followed with a lecture on “Manon Lescaut, sphinx étonnant “. Emilie outlined the story of the chevalier des Grieux and Manon Lescaut and its legacy and influence on many presentations of opera and ballet.

Annie Kean introduced the topic “De Tilsit a Berezina” in which we followed the history and geography relating to Napoleon’s retreat from Russia. The hard conditions of the retreating army were hard to imagine but it was a very enlightening talk.

Constance Bantman gave a talk on “Les prochaines elections présidentielles”. She introduced all the presidential candidates and outlined their political views and policies. It gave our members an excellent insight into the political situation prior to the all important elections.

James Ross gave us a talk on the “Trois cents ans de compositrices Francaises” which was complemented by musical interludes. Some of the musicians were names not widely known, so members were introduced to music they had not heard previously.

Raymond Vincent-Barker talked about three well-known French women, “Trois Francaises, Juliette Greco, Odile Lewis et Annie Ernaux”. Raymond chose to talk about Juliette Greco, the well-known actress and singer, Odile Lewis, a personal acquaintance who has vivid memories of living under the occupation and the author, Annie Ernaux.

Christine Nivet lived for many years in Chicago and presented the second part of her talk on “L’impressionnisme français à l’Art Institute de Chicago”. Christine is extremely knowledgeable on this topic and, once again, we were dazzled by the wealth of French paintings in this museum. Part III of this talk is included in our new programme.

Brigitte Thibaut gave a talk on “L’histoire du textile dans la region du nord”. Brigitte introduced us to the towns and families that were instrumental in the development and success of the textile industry in the 20th century.

Germaine Jones gave a talk on “Saint Exupery: Mysteres et revelations”. Germaine introduced us to the author of the popular children’s book, “Le petit prince”, who was also a pioneer in aviation and philosopher.

Thierry Viennois concluded our programme by giving us a view of his native area of France, “Le Vercors: Massif en or”. Thierry presented the history and geography of this beautiful area and outlined the cruel consequences of being a centre of resistance during WWII.

Our last lecture for the season with Thierry Viennois was held in our new venue; The Guildford and Godalming rugby club pavilion. With the assistance of the in-house team, we were able to present our first hybrid conference to an audience of members in the hall and on-line participants. The committee members were very happy that this evening was a success and appreciated by those members who wanted to meet up together again and equally providing a service for those who wanted to participate from home. After the conclusion of the lecture there was an aperitif and many members were pleased to be able to spend some social time together.