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. On the dates when there is a speaker, shown in the programme by an asterisk *, Charlotte will do a ‘petit cours’, starting at 7pm, looking at vocabulary, idioms and the odd grammar point – we always start off with a Garfield cartoon (in French) as this cat can teach us many things about philosophy and the French language!

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

Our next meeting on Thursday 31st October…

Thank you to Claude Rapport , former Honorary French Consul of Wales – and a very amusing speaker – who entertained us last time with tales of the odd laws that still remain on the statute books of France.

We’re now looking forward to meeting Emilie Capulet who will present ‘Se taper un boeuf’: Le Groupe des Six dans le Paris d’après-guerre.

Charlotte will start the evening at 7pm with a ‘petit cours‘, a little look at some vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation – but nothing too serious! Emilie’s talk will start at 8pm.

Our first dinner of the season will be at La Guinguette, 243 Cheltenham Road, Bristol BS6 5QP on 7th November. Let Charlotte know if you would like to join us: charlottejanetaylor@tiscali.co.uk. We have only got 25 places so do get in touch as soon as you know you would like to come. It will be an £18 menu.

Films at the Watershed

Keep up to date with French films here.

Word of the week

le nombrilisme [nɔ̃bʀilism] – navel-gazing, self-centredness




Committee 2019–2020


President – Charlotte Taylor

Vice-President – Robin Harris

Treasurer – Ian Deegan

Membership Secretaries – 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.