Welcome to the Bristol French Circle!

The Bristol French Circle is for all those who enjoy speaking and listening to French.

Founded in 1905, the Circle is affiliated to the Alliance Française which provides us with financial support.

We meet at BAWA on alternate Thursdays from October to May each year. Our programme is very varied and we have French speakers on a wide range of subjects (including art, music, geography, culture and society), informal conversation evenings, a literary discussion and a ‘café-concert’ – an evening of poetry and music presented by our members.

Outside the programme, we enjoy dinners in local restaurants in Bristol and trips to see French films.

The main event of each evening starts at 8pm, with the announcement of information about the weeks to come at about 7.55pm, and we encourage members and visitors to come along from 7.30pm to have a chat before the start of the talk or other activity.

Do have a look at the ‘Why join?’ tab to see members’ comments about the Circle – and come and join us if you enjoy this lovely language! Our FAQ (Frequently asked questions) may help you too.

Please don’t worry if your school French lessons seem a long time ago or you feel very rusty – there is absolutely no minimum level of language proficiency required and you are assured of a warm welcome. If you have any questions or hesitations, do get in touch with Charlotte, the President of the Circle by email (charlottejanetaylor@tiscali.co.uk) or by phone (07976 922636) – she will be delighted to have a chat with you.

Bristol French Circle News

The end of the season

We have come to the end of this season. Thank you to everyone who participated in our Annual General Meeting on 23rd May in which we looked back at the year and forward to the next one.  The new committee was elected and we thank Christine Liddle and Sally Masey for their years of faithful service, and welcome Geoff Astle and Frances Prince as they join the committee.

The 2019–2020 programme is being prepared and finalised at the moment and we will publish it here as soon as it is ready. It promises to be just as varied and interesting as ever, with a mix of old favourites and new faces.

In the meantime, please study this year’s programme to see the sort of things we do.

La Fête Nationale 2019 – le 14 juillet

For the first time we are going to have a joint meal with members of the Alliance Française at a French bistro, La Guinguette, 243 Cheltenham Road, Bristol BS6 5QP at 19:30. Places cost £15 per person for a buffet with the following menu:

Selection de canapés. Assortiment de fromages, charcuterie. Un stand chaud en libre service avec du boeuf bourguignon et de la ratatouille pour les végétariens. Plateau de mini desserts.

Do let me know as soon as possible if you would like to join us: charlottejanetaylor@tiscali.co.uk. The restaurant is small and we only have 15 places of which 12 are already taken so do contact me as soon as you can!

Films at the Watershed

Keep up to date with French films here.

Word of the week

un florilège [flɔʀilɛʒ] – anthology, compendium, collection




Committee 2019–2020


President – Charlotte Taylor

Vice-President – Robin Harris

Treasurer – Ian Deegan

Membership Secretary – Barbara Redshaw and Robin Harris

Programme Secretary – Annella McDermott

Hospitality Secretary – Heather Clarke


Steve Alexander

Geoff Astle

Vicki Hasaballa

Martin Lean

Frances Prince

Norman Shufflebotham

Honorary Presidents

Dan Kelly

Rod Shepherd

Why join?

  • Parce que toutes les séances se déroulent en français
  • As a newcomer and non-fluent speaker I am grateful for the opportunity to ‘fit in’ at my own pace
  • I always enjoy the conversation evenings – of particular benefit when fluent French speakers join those (like me) who are not so fortunate!
  • Parce que les conférences sont sur des thèmes variés et intéressants
  • I have really enjoyed the mixture of different activities in this my first season with the group, and look forward to the next.
  • Parce que les soirées de conversation sont très sympathiques et tout le monde peut y participer, quel que soit son niveau de français
  • For 90 minutes once a fortnight… ‘je suis en France!!!’
  • Parce que l’on choisit un livre chaque année, on le lit et on en discute en français – très bon pour élargir son vocabulaire
  • Parce que l’ambiance est chaleureuse et sympathique
  • I am really pleased that I have discovered the Circle. I am very encouraged by my success in speaking and understanding French, and by the warm welcome I have received
  • En tant que débutant, je trouve les réunions une bonne occasion de pratiquer la conversation. Les présentations m’aident à découvrir davantage la culture française
  • Pour moi la chose la plus importante c’est que l’on entend du français authentique parlé par quelqu’un qui a le français comme langue maternelle (ou par quelqu’un qui est expert dans la langue française) pendant au moins une heure et c’est toujours sur un sujet intéressant – à mon avis c’est mieux qu’une leçon de français (et beaucoup moins cher bien sûr!)
  • Tout d’abord c’est une opportunité de partager des soirées agréables avec des amateurs de la culture et la langue françaises. Cependant être experimenté avec la langue parlée n’est pas obligatoire!
  • Ayant habité en France pendant quelques années, mais maintenant installé en Angleterre, le Cercle m’a aidé à maintenir mon français et me garder au courant des affaires françaises.
  • Le Cercle me donne l’occasion de parler et d’écouter le français régulièrement dans une ambiance amicale.
  • I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed myself last night. I feel so inspired to go an visit. And I had a tremendous boost to my confidence when I realised I was understanding more than I thought I would. I was even able to laugh in the right places! I felt welcome and included from the very beginning. I won’t pretend that I knew everything that was said but I understood enough.