March : “le mois de la francophonie”

This March might be the best time ever to be French in Austin.

French Tech Club 2015When it arrives from Paris and beyond for South by Souhtwest, La French Tech is going to take over the French Legation again for a week, from March the 15th to March 20th (compared to three days for the last -and first- edition, at a downtown location) with a French Tech Club that will feature dozens of French artists and speakers, but also two French chefs from Austin’s sister city in France, Angers, French musicians, and digital artists. Details on FrenchTechClub.com.

And for the first time, a couple of events are going to offer the locals a preview of SXSW fun.

fullloungesmallerA first InterFrench speed business meeting is going to take place on Monday March the 2nd at Departure Lounge, where the newly created French American Business Council of Austin will present the French Tech Club. Details on the event page.

Vino Vino 2While a wine tasting at Vino Vino on March the 9th will give the Austin Angers sisters cities committee (alias Austin Angers Connect) an opportunity to introduce Austinites to the delicious wines of the Loire Valley, and to the Austin Psych Fest showcase at the French Tech Club (the Austin Psych Fest, organizer of the Levitation France festival in Angers, being Angers’ partner in Austin). Details on the event page.

La Belle

In the meantime, the Alliance française of Austin will have launched its own festivities with a very special apéritif at Café Express on March 4th in company of art registrar and installation specialist Thierry Vincent, who will lead attendees in a discussion focused on La Belle, the last ship in a fleet commandeered down the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico by 15th century French explorer La Salle.
siteon0That will only be the beginning of the month long celebration of the International organization of la francophonie’s anniversary by the Alliance française. “Le mois de la francophonie” (or French Cultures Festival as the French Consulate in Houston advertizes it) will involve a visit of the La Belle exhibit at the Bullock Texas state history museum, a family day at Central Market North, a movie night at the Marchesa theater, etc. Details on the upcoming events page of the Alliance française of Austin’s website.

a month of la francophonieThe Austin public libraries will also celebrate “a month of la francophonie” this year by showing a French film every Tuesday of the month:
Amelie (Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain) on March the 3rd at the Terrazas Branch
The Chorus (Les Choristes) on March the 10th at the Hampton Branch
He Loves Me… He Loves Me Not (A la folie… Pas du tout) on March the 17th at the Howson Branch
Micmacs (Micmacs à tire-larigot) on March the 24th at the Manchaca Road Branch
– and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Le scaphandre et le papillon) on March the 31st at the North Village Branch.
This month-long celebration of French culture will culminate with a French afternoon of live music by Euro lounge folk jazz accordion band Rumbullion and complimentary refreshments at Wooldrige Park on March the 29th. Details on the programs page of the Austin public library website.

Image1Despite spring break, activities at Austin French schools will also be in full swing, since both Austin International School (the French curriculum school in Austin) and Education française Austin (or EFA, a French after school) have planned French immersion spring camps. Only the EFA one still have spots. People interested should write to info@efaustin.org.
And before spring camp starts, Education française Austin invites us to their first “Foulées” on March the 8th: a fun run that will help the nonprofit finance French books. Details on the event page (in French).
Prior to EFA’s Foulées, there will be an opportunity to learn about the new French public school project during an info session directed to potential volunteers. This is about convincing the Austin area school districts that French-English bilingual education is worth considering for our community. Details on the project’s website.

The list goes on:

Partnering with the new boutique company Sojourner Tours, the Freestyle language center is offering its students A francophile view of Austin tour in French (that Sojourner Tours also proposes in English on a regular basis).

The Austin French Circle MeetUp group will have its first French games night on March the 3rd.

After organizing a march in solidarity with France following the recent terror attacks, the Austin group of the South Central USA branch of Français du Monde, a French organization representing the French living in the area with the French Consulate in Houston, is planning a French-Arabic party “to fight intolerance”, invites us to a planning meeting on March the 7th, and is planning to see French-Mauritanien movie Timbuktu on the rise djihadists in French-speaking Africa when it releases on March the 13th (go to the event page to find the showtime).

French and Vietnamese locally owned coffee shop Café Crème will launch a French movie night on March the 27th.

And our very own French In Austin is thinking of doing something special for our second French Friday, on March the 20th, after realizing it fell on the exact day chosen by the International Organization of la Francophonie to celebrate te French language.

We’ll keep you posted on that!

But what’s clear, from all the March events programmed on top of the multiple conversation hours, pétanque sessions and Austin’s French-speaking welcome organization monthly “Café Accueil” (welcome coffee) each last Tuesday of the month, is that the month will be litterally FILLED with French events. So I hope you take advantage to be French in Austin, and to see you on many occasions this month!

On D-Day 70th anniversary, a moving meeting with two Normandy veterans

On the 70th anniversary of occupied France's invasion by the US, Texan D-Day veterans Robert Bearden (left) and Johnny Marino (right) told their stories of that day at the Texas state history museum in Austin via the Voice of veterans program (whose representative is at the center of that picture).

On the 70th anniversary of occupied France’s invasion by the US, Texan D-Day veterans Robert Bearden (left) and Johnny Marino (right) told their stories of that day at the Texas state history museum in Austin via the Voice of veterans program (whose coordinator, James Crabtree, is at the center of that picture).

My grandparents shared memories of the Spanish civil war and WWII with me, and I’ve met concentration camps survivors when I was a student (it was for a project for my master’s degree in which me and my classmates also visited numerous concentration camps over a week in Poland -quite an experience!). But meeting two D-Day veterans yesterday at the 70th anniversary ceremony organized at the Texas state history museum was very moving for me, a French living in Austin.

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