Columbia Maison Française

We are currently developing a new website for the Columbia Maison Française which will include more detailed information about the Maison and its ongoing activities, including video recordings of past events. In the meantime, this temporary page, housed on our Centennial website, includes a full listing of upcoming events and recent news coverage.

Activities hosted by the Maison Française include lectures, conferences, film screenings, seminars and salons, exhibitions, a book club and café conversation, receptions, and special events.

Café Conversation is reserved for current Columbia, Barnard and Teachers College students ONLY. These weekly sessions meet on Tuesdays on the 2nd Floor of Buell Hall: for beginners, from 12-1:30 p.m. and for intermediate/advanced, from 5-6:30 p.m.

The final Café Conversation for the current school year will take place on Tuesday, May 6.

Unless otherwise indicated, these events are free, open to the public, and take place in the East Gallery, Buell Hall.

To join our listserv to receive newsletters about our events, please sign up at right.

If you have any questions about our events or reserving space, please call 212-854-4482 or email Lindsey Long at

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Upcoming Events

September 2, 2014

10:00 AM

Coming Soon: New Maison Française website!

Bonjour à tous et à toutes ! The new Maison Française website is nearing completion, tentatively scheduled to officially launch on September 2 to kick off the new school year. The new website will include more information, including a full listing of upcoming events, photos, videos and news from past events, and more.

Mark your calendar to check back next week to take a tour of the new and improved Columbia Maison Française website!

For now, please see below for a few upcoming events.

September 4, 2014

7:30 PM

Low Plaza Steps

Films on the Green @ Columbia: The French Minister (Quai d'Orsay)

Bertrand Tavernier, 2013, 113 min.

The young Arthur Vlaminck is hired as speechwriter for the French Minister of Foreign Affairs. Struggling to handle the minister’s overbearing personality, Vlaminck navigates the ever-changing plots of foreign affairs with the minister’s ultra-calm private secretary and a band of quirky counselors by his side.

This screening is featured as part of the Films on the Green Festival organized by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, FACE and the City of New York Parks & Recreation. Sponsorship is provided by BNP Paribas, Air France and TV5 Monde.

*Please note that in case of rain, the screening will be held in the East Gallery in Buell Hall—seating is limited. No alcohol is permitted at this event.


For more information and a complete festival schedule, please click here.


September 8, 2014

7:00 PM

2nd Floor, Buell Hall

Book Club: Un été avec Montaigne

The book club is held one Monday a month at 7 p.m. and is open to Columbia University students and faculty with a valid and current CUID, and to members of the Société des Amis de la Maison Française.

Un été avec Montaigne by Antoine Compagnon
Moderated by Kat Balkoski

September 10, 2014

6:00 - 7:30 PM

East Gallery, Buell Hall

Crossed Wires: The Bell System in Europe, 1908-1929

Leonard Laborie, introduced by Richard R. John

Lecture in French (PowerPoint in English)

In the early 20th century, the North American and European telephone networks were not yet technically connected, but they interacted in terms of standards, business projects, advertising and other forms of representation.  Leonard Laborie explores why and how wiring continents can also be told as a transatlantic history.

Leonard Laborie is a research fellow with the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), UMR Irice (CNRS, Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne and Paris 4). Richard R. John is Professor of History and Communications at the Columbia Journalism School.

Event co-sponsored by the Columbia Maison Française, Journalism School, and Alliance Program

September 11, 2014

7:30 PM

East Gallery, Buell Hall

Cinema Thursday: Westfront

The Maison Française will show a series of World War I films to commemorate the centennial of the outbreak of war. Series co-sponsored by the School of the Arts.

Screenings are free and subtitled in English

Georg Pabst, 1918, 75 min.
In German with English subtitles

Presented by Richard Peña

A group of WWI German infantrymen live out their lives in the trenches of France. They find brief relief in a village behind the lines, but terror primarily fills their lives as the attacks on and from the French army ebb and flow.

September 17, 2014

6:00 - 7:30 PM

East Gallery, Buell Hall

Counterfactuals and Literary History: Racine, Sainte-Beuve and the Question of Tragedy

Talk by Christopher Prendergast

What if Racine had not withdrawn from the public theatre after the failure of Phèdre? Is this type of question simply futile, or does it open a perspective in which, under controlled conditions, literary history can be thought and written in a grammar consisting of multiple tenses of the imagination, including crucially the might-have-beens of history?

Christopher Prendergast is a Fellow of King's College, Cambridge. His latest publication is Mirages and Mad Beliefs: Proust the Skeptic (Princeton UP).

Recent News

Centennial News

The Columbia Maison Française Centennial celebration and exhibition have garnered great interest in the press. Articles have been published in the International Herald Tribune/New York Times, Ouest France, Columbia University Record, Columbia Spectator, France-Amérique,,  and more.

To read more, please follow the links below:

The leading design publication Communication Arts selected the Maison Française Centennial website as their "Webpick of the Week" on January 10, 2014. To read more and to view their spotlight on our Centennial website, please click here.

VIDEO: Columbia Maison Francaise Centennial Celebration at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, November 7, 2013


Columbia Maison Francaise Centennial Exhibition, September-October 2013

Columbia Maison Francaise Centennial Celebration on November 7, 2013


New York Times/International Herald Tribune: "When Sartre and Camus Met Hoover's G-Men"

French Morning: "La Maison Française de Columbia fête ses 100 ans"

France-Amérique: "Inauguration de l'exposition pour le centenaire de la Maison Française de Columbia"

France-Amérique: "La Maison Française de Columbia: Cent ans d'histoire franco-américaine"

The Columbia University Record: "Bon Centenaire! Maison Francaise Turns 100" (article includes a brief slideshow of Centennial highlights)

French Culture/Cultural Services of the French Embassy: "Columbia Maison Francaise Centennial Exhibition"

Columbia Spectator: "A Storied History: La Maison Française at 100"

Video interviews with Maison Française Director Shanny Peer: "Les cents ans de la Maison Française de Columbia"

BFM Business: "Le Grand Journal de New York: La Maison Française de Columbia fete ses cents ans"


Event News

Press coverage, photos and videos of recent events:

Videos of recent events:

Spring 2014

Edmund White in conversation with Elisabeth Ladenson, Inside a Pearl: My Years in Paris, February 4, 2014

Roundtable discussion with Srinivas Aravamudan, Siraj Ahmed, with Stathis Gourgouris and Gauri Viswanathan as discussants, moderated by Madeleine Dobie, Orientalism, Philology, Literary History, February 12, 2014

Talk by Domna Stanton, Enslaved to Chocolate: Culture, Commerce and Gender in 17th Century France, February 19, 2014

Columbia French professor, Vincent Debaene, speaks in French on the topic of: Entre informateur et auteur: anthropologie, littérature et authenticité culturelle, February 27, 2014

Conversation with historian Alice Conklin, In the Museum of Man: Race, Anthropology and Empire: 1850-1950, March 11, 2014

French chef Jacques Pépin in conversation with Adam Gopnik, French Cuisine, American Taste: Life as a Chef on Two Continents, April 1, 2014

Thomas Piketty on his recent book Capital in the Twenty-First Century, April 17, 2014

Didier Eribon, On Social Verdicts: Classes, Identities, Trajectories, April 23, 2014

Pre-concert talks preceeding the Before the Deluge concert series by the Four Nations Ensemble:

Paul LeClerc and Andy Appel, Music and Literature in the 18th century, February 19, 2014

Mary Tavernier Holmes and Andy Appel, Les Fêtes Galantes, March 31, 2014

Caroline Weber and Andy Appel, The Goncourts brothers and literary salons, April 21, 2014

Fall 2013

Andy Martin, THOUGHT POLICE: the FBI and French Philosophers, September 18, 2013

Barbara Carnevali & Fred Neuhouser, Reading Rousseau Today: the Question of Recognition, September 25, 2013

Proust Reread / Proust relu: Du côté de chez Swann at 100, October 4-5, 2013:

Part I; Part II; Part III; Part IV; Part V; Part VI

Isabelle Gournay & Marie-Laure Crosnier Leconte, Paris-New York, ca. 1913: Architects and the Beaux-Arts Connection, October 7, 2013

Carolyn Burke, Edith Piaf in Manhattan, October 9, 2013

Najat Vallaud-Belkacem and Anne-Marie Slaughter, The Balancing Act: Women, Work and Family in the U.S. and France, October 14, 2013

Roundtable on The Humanities and the MLA Today, October 21, 2013

Antoine Compagnon on his 3 recent books, November 13, 2013

Rachel Mesch, Photoshop Feminism: Belle Epoque Women's Magazines and the Elusive Triumph of the French Woman Writer, November 18, 2013

Roundtable discussion on the question: Does Reputation Matter?, November 22, 2013


Najat Vallaud-Belkacem and Anne-Marie Slaughter, The Balancing Act: Women, Work and Family in the U.S. and France on October 14, 2013 in Low Library

Jacques Martial's performance of Aimé Césaire's Notebook of a Return to My Native Land on October 30, 2013 in Miller Theatre

See more photos on our Facebook page


On April 1, 2014, the Maison Française hosted a talk and cooking demonstration with French chef Jacques Pépin, a graduate of the School of General Studies and GSAS at Columbia, to inaugurate our newly renovated kitchen. For a short video and images of these exciting events, please click here. (see above for link to full video of the conversation with Jacques Pepin and Adam Gopnik)

Press release from the French Cultural Services in the U.S. announcing French director Bertrand Tavernier's visit to New York and the Columbia Maison Francaise: French Director Bertrand Tavernier Comes to New York

Last May, the Maison Française hosted a performance exhibition, peace gathering and procession with Cambodian artist Leang Seckon's Flowering Parachute Skirt  as the event's centerpiece. Seckon transformed a parachute from the Vietnam War, into an emblem of reconciliation. To learn more about Seckon, his work and inspiration, please follow this link to an article in the Phnom Penh Post: "Man in the Mirror: the Many Sides of Leang Seckon"

Andy Martin, who spoke at the Maison Française in September on FBI files and French Philosophers, wrote an essay based on this talk published online by Prospect Magazine: "The FBI Files on Being and Nothingness"

The Balancing Act: Women, Work and Family in the U.S. and France, a dialogue with Najat Vallaud-Belkacem and Anne-Marie Slaughter on October 14, 2013:

To watch the video of this discussion, please click here.

Le Monde: "Walls and Bridges, Festival de la pensée transatlantique"

France-Amérique: "Najat Vallaud-Belkacem et Anne-Marie Slaughter débattent de l’égalité hommes-femmes à Columbia University" Video: "La ministre Najat Vallaud-Belkacem en conférence à Columbia University"

French Morning: "La ministre française, l'ex-diplomate américaine et l'égalité des sexes"