Origins of L'Alliance Française


L'Alliance Française was created on 21 July 1883 on the initiative of  Paul Cambon1, then Chief of Staff of Jules Ferry, and with the support of a committee including such personalities as Philippe Berthelot, Jean Jules Jusserand, Ferdinand de Lesseps, Louis Pasteur, Ernest Renan, Jules Verne, Félix Charmetant and Armand Colin at 215, boulevard Saint-Germain in Paris. Select committee of eight members attending the official founding general meeting of March 10, 1884.

The purpose of this creation was to rebound after the French defeat of 1870, by strengthening French cultural influence abroad, particularly the philosophy of the Enlightenment in the nascent colonial empire. The Alliance's status was apolitical and not religious. The first board was thus composed of a Catholic, Father Charmetant, a Protestant, Paul Melon, a Jewish dignitary, Alfred Mayrargues, and notorious anti-clericals. The name Alliance française may have been inspired by the Alliance israélite universelle, created twenty years earlier.

The links with "the Saint Simon circle" are obvious. Founded like the Alliance française in 1883, this association welcomes the same founders and many of its leaders into its ranks and have the same address.

In 1906, the American patron of the arts James Hazen Hyde founded the Federation of Alliances françaises in the United States and became its president until 1953.

The Fondation Alliance Française

The Fondation Alliance française is a French foundation under private law recognized as a public utility whose mission is the promotion of the French language and culture abroad. Its head office is located at 101, boulevard Raspail in Paris 6e where the Alliance française Paris Île-de-France is also located.

The Fondation Alliance française is linked to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs by an annual agreement specifying that the Alliance française forms with the French cultural centres and institutes abroad "a unique network" and "situates its action and development within the framework of the linguistic and cultural policy defined by the French government and implemented by the Ministry". The evolution of the map of the Alliance network, particularly from the point of view of jobs financed by the Ministry, is studied jointly by both parties and decisions are validated jointly. In accordance with Act No. 2010-873 of 27 July 20103 on the State's external action, an agreement was signed with the new "Institut français" to continue and strengthen the "single network" policy, resulting in particular in a draft common logo and a common directory of the French network abroad .

L' Alliance Française de Fresno

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The Alliance Française de Fresno (AFF) is a non-profit association based in California It was created in accordance with the statutes and goals of the French Alliance founded in Paris in April 1883.  The goals of the AFF are to disseminate the French language in Fresno and in the San Joaquin valley, to bring together all those who wish to promote the French language, its culture and more broadly to foster mutual respect and understanding between the United States and France through developing linguistic and cultural exchanges.

The AFF is one of the 119 Alliance Française in North America, among the 837 Alliances spread out over 131 Countries worldwide.

The AFF does not engage in political or religious debates and prohibits any form of discrimination.
Its duration is illimited and it is affiliated with the “Délégation Générale de Washington D.C.”

In no specific order, the principal undertakings of the association include:


   -The creation of French language courses


   -Support for french language education in schools


   -The dissemination of French or French-speaking cultural works (written, audiovisual or other) through the creation of appropriate structures (libraries, resource centers, media libraries, film clubs, exhibition and entertainment halls) and by the participation in French and foreign cultural channel

   -The organisation of French and national cultural events (shows, recitals, exhibitions, conferences, seminars, etc.), and reunions for recreational or promotional purposes 


   - The organization of language-based trips to France or French-speaking countries