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See below  details of past presentations

Wednesday 13th March : Quelques souvenirs de jeunesse

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This talk was given by circle member Christine Hughes who spoke about her childhood growing up in the small town of Aldeburgh in Suffolk. Inhabited since Roman times the town was home to a thriving shipbuilding industry during the reign of Henry VIII . Her time here inspired a love of the beach and sea swimming, while a visit to Ipswich led to an interest in old buildings. Other local areas of interest were Southwold (where George Orwell was born), and a Martello tower, originally constructed to deter Napoleon but now used as holiday accommodation, although the landscape has been somewhat changed by the construction of the Sizewell power stations. Christine also spoke about the Battle of Solebay, the presence of US soldiers during the second world war, and the life of Benjamin Britten who founded the Aldeburgh festival, first held in 1948. A nostalgic look back to Christine’s past in this coastal town.

Wednesday 10th April : Retour en Normandie

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We welcomed back guest speaker Andy Pugh, a French teacher at Trinity Academy Cathedral. This is a school in a deprived area, with few of the pupils having previously had the opportunity to visit France. The visit was coordinated with UNCMT, a French organisation in Normandy whose aim is to provide education and leisure opportunities for young people. During the trip they enjoyed visits to various sights including the Mont St Michel, the “Musée du Débarquement” at Arromanches and of course the Bayeux tapestry.

Andy then spoke about his new role at Trinity Academy, further to his retirement as head of languages. He is now responsible for organising educational visits for Cathedral and other schools within the Trinity Multi Academy Trust. One visit to Rome has taken place and others are planned as well as a visit to New York. It was interesting to hear Andy’s thoughts on the issues associated with organising these trips and the Turing scheme which aims to fund such international opportunities for students.

Wednesday 7th February : Le nord de Chypre - le pays qui n'existe pas

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Circle member Gillian Watson described a visit to “The Turkish republic of Northern Cyprus” a country which only Turkey recognises. She summarised the history of the island and how it came to be divided into the Turkish Cypriot region which is separated from the Greek Cypriot region in the south by a “green line” region policed by the UN. In Northern Cyprus she visited Famagusta, a city with an impressive cathedral, numerous churches, casinos and universities, although part of the city is a ghost town abandoned at the time of the Turkish invasion in 1974. There were also references to earlier history such as the ruins at Salamis (dating from about 400bc) and the Uluburun shipwreck (approx 14,000bc). Final observations related to the economy of the country today, in particular its dependence on Turkey and tensions relating to the ownership of oil and gas fields in the region.

Wednesday 10th Jaunary : Une espèce en voie de disparition

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Marine turtles and their increasingly threatened existence in Costa Rica were the subject of the talk by our guest speaker Julia Moss. Julia set the scene with facts about this little known country before talking about her visit, which centred around her time volunteering on a conservation project led by the “Turtle Trax” organisation. Julia spoke about the lives of the turtles and the threats which they face due to climate change and human activity. Participants in the project cleaned beaches, took part in night patrols, and relocated turtle nests. We were treated to some wonderful photos and videos of the turtles preparing their nests, and the hatchings struggling towards the sea. Other photographs highlighted the wildlife in the country including the wonderful sloths. An excellent talk which really brought these experiences to life.

Wednesday 13th December : Noël à Seville

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Circle members John and Jill Coffey were our speakers at this meeting. They spoke about their Christmas in 2022 which they spent in the city of Seville in southern Spain. Thanks to the warmer weather they were able to enjoy visting the sights of Seville including the largest gothic cathedral in the world, the impressive Alcázar Réal palace, and the beautiful Plaza de España. They also took the opportunity to visit Cordoba, with its mosque-cathedral and Malaga where they saw the Roman amphitheatre. Christmas in Spain runs to a different rhythm than in the UK, so instead of the usual turkey offering, Christmas dinner for John and Jill was a meal in a  tapas restaurant

Wednesday 8th November : 1949 – Année de destin pour trois Français célèbres

Circle member Pam Sykes gave an excellent talk about how the lives of 3 great French stars became intertwined further to a plane crash in October 1949. The adored French former middleweight world champion boxer Marcel Cerdan took a flight from Paris to New York to be re-united with his lover, the iconic French singer Edith Piaf, who was performing there.  On the same flight was a famous violinist, Ginette Neveu who was at the peak of her career.  A violin prodigy, from her early years she had been described as a phenomenon.

However the plane crashed in the Azores in circumstances which are still a mystery today. From her research into the flight and its aftermath, Pam related many fascinating twists, such the effect this had on Edith Piaf, the reaction in France to the loss of their boxing hero, and the misidentification of Ginette Neveu who was buried as somebody else.

Her presentation was interspersed with some interesting videos and recordings which really brought the story to life.

Wednesday 13th September 2013 : Il Duoro - Le fleuve et la région

Our speaker for the first meeting of the year was club member Jane Evans, who spoke about a recent river cruise holiday on the Duoro river in Portugal, a country with which the UK has the longest diplomatic alliance in the world. Other historical information concerned the the impact of the Salazar dictatorship and the “révolution des oeillets” which brought it to a peaceful end. Jane also showed some impressive photographs of the buildings in Porto (in particular the station), village life and the huge locks the boat went through to pass the dams on the river. Other topics included the local cuisine and of course the production of wine and port for which the region is famous.  

Wednesday 11th October : Une Journée inoubliable à Bristol

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Maria Curle, a member of the circle,  was the speaker at our October meeting. Maria described how a visit to Bristol introduced her to the work of the street artist Banksy, whose first works appeared in that city. Maria showed pictures of several of his works and explained how his message, his philosophy and sometimes his humour were represented in these images. She also showed examples of his work elsewhere, including Palestine (particularly pertinent at the time of this talk). Her presentation also included some interesting videos, one of which was about Banksy’s work across Paris and another about the French street artist Blek the Rat, a pioneer of street art and an inspiration to Banksy. Finally we were invited to consider if Banksy’s work should be thought of as art or vandalism

Wednesday 8th March 2023 : Le Tour de France

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We welcomed again as our speaker Mark Pattson, who described how he had gradually become an afficianado of the tour de France since buying a house near Carcassonne, a town which the tour often passes through. Mark spoke about how the tour originated with the first race in 1903 and evolved to become the international event that it is today. He gave an insight into the organisation of the tour, the team formations and their tactics and explained the meanings of the different coloured jerseys. Various controversies including in particular the doping scandals were looked at. Mark also spoke about some of the famous riders and British successes in recent years. The tour and the atmosphere which it generates is also very important to the French psyche, something which Mark brought out very well as he recounted his experiences as a tour spectator and with the photogaphs included in his presentation

Wednesday 8th February 2023 : Le Maroc Francophone

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Our speaker this month was circle member Chris Pateman, who spoke about a visit he made to Morocco in 2022. As usual Chris visited parts of the country where most tourists rarely go, such as the  villages in the Atlas mountains. His talk included descriptions of the wonderful Place Djemma el Fna in Marrakech,  life in the markets, street food, snake charmers, artisinal workshps and shops selling antiquities and traditional clothes. One of the villages he visited consisted largely of houses built from mud, although now largely abandoned. He also showed us a madrasah and images of an open air tannerie where the same techniques have been used since medieval times. Chris is a keen photographer and his talk was supported by some wonderful atmospheric photographs which brought these scenes to life.

Wedneday 11th January 2023 : Cuba Libre

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Our speakers were Philip and Maureen Booth from the Bradford French Circle, who spoke about their visit to Cuba in 2016. Their talk was illustrated by some excellent photographs from Havanna, other towns and the countryside throughout the island. There was some discusssion of daily life, for example the cigar industry and visits to the markets.

Throughout the island there are memorials to and reminders of key events and people from the country’s history. These were used as a starting point for further discussion on the lives of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, the dominant figures in the Cuban revolution. Significant events from that time included  the Bay of Pigs landing and the Cuban misssile crisis of 1962, which Philip also covered.

Wednesday14th December 2022 : Exposition de l’histoire d’un village en Ardèche

We welcomed a returning speaker Michael Brammah who owns a house in the village of Vogüé in the Ardèche region. Michael explained how he worked with his neighbours to prepare an exhibition about the history of the village. Featured in this exhibiton were a former hotel, the ”Gleyzette” chapel and in particular the the 13th century castle. He also described the village, its ambience and introduced us to some of the local inhabitants, who had worked together with the “Sauvons le petit patrimointe” association on the refurbishment of the mill. It was not hard to see why this village has earned its classification amongst the “Plus Beaux Villages de France”

Wednesday 9th November 2022 : Une visite scolaire en Normandie

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Our speaker Andy Pugh is currently head of languages at Trinity Academy Cathedral in Wakefield. He spoke about a recent school visit to Normandy which he organised and led. The school is in a deprived area and many of these pupils had never previously been to France. This visit gave them the chance to experience France, and to try our their spoken French in the local markets. Andy also felt that it was important for them to appreciate the historical significance of this region. Visits were therefore organised to the beaches of Arromanches, the war cemetery in Bayeux and the memorial museum in Caen. This was an excellent and amusing talk which was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Wednesday 12th October 2022 : Deux Hanovriennes à Londres en 1846

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Our President, Moira Marshall told a fascinating story based on a diary kept by an ancestor of a German friend of hers who, with her daughter was invited to visit London in 1846 by a relative who was a member of Queen Victoria’s court.

Visiting Paris en route and arriving by ferry in Brighton she recounts her impressions of the sights they saw such as the Coliseum in London (the Disneyland of its day) and the part-finished Trafalgar Square, and the people, including the nobility, they met.

Wednesday 13th September :  La vie d'une Française, issue d'un père irlandais et d'une mère française

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We welcomed as our speaker Axelle L’Amie, who spoke about her life as the daughter of a mother from a French aristocratic family and a father from Northern Ireland where she was born. Growing up, most of her time was spent in Marseilles and Chamonix in France, but she regularly returned to Northern Ireland where the family had business interests. After a gap year in South Africa, Axelle went to University in Paris and then Leicester, before meeting her husband in Shelley, West Yorkshire. They then spent some years in the USA, (where their children were born) before settling back in Yorkshire. It was interesting to hear about Axelle's life experiences in the different countries where she has lived, in particular regarding the differences between France and the UK and her observations on the educational systems in the two countries.

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Wednesday 13th April : Un jeune français pendant la guerre

This was an informative and fascinating talk by circle member Laurence Dickinson about the experiences of her French father, prior to and during the war. He was a gifted scholar with an interest in Germany sparked by correspondence with a young German boy, and a visit to Nuremberg in 1937. During the war he finished his studies, underwent military training and later become involved in the resistance movement

Laurence had assembled this presentation from hundreds of letters and other documents from the family archives. Copies of letters, newspaper cuttings, photographs and other items such as food coupons brought to life the reality of daily life in France during the war, especially for her family. They left the family home in Eastern France at the outbreak of war, and when they returned they found that it was being used as a canteen for the German army.

Her father survived the war and was awarded the Médaille de la Résistance Française.

Wednesday 9th March : Voyager avec les Vikings

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This talk was given by circle members Jill and John Coffey. Jill explained who the Vikings were, including information on the boats they sailed in, their clothes, customs, and their Gods. This was followed by a discussion of the Viking invasion of Western France in the 10th century. Their cruise to Norway had been inspired by paintings by Norwegian artists such as Edvard Munch hence the inclusion of information on Norwegian artists and culture, with Jill playing a Grieg opus on the piano. Their visits to the cities of Stavanger and Bergen, the Norwegian countryside and a trip to a glacier were illustrated by some marvellous photographs ably presented by John

Wednesday 9th February : Madagascar


This was a talk by circle member Chris Pateman who spoke about a visit to Madagascar, a former French colony and one of the poorest countries in the world. Chris presented some background data before discussing the places he visited, mainly rural communities and fishing villages rarely visited by tourists. Madagascar is a beautiful country but the infrastructure is very basic. The people were very welcoming, pleased to talk to Chris and had no objection to being photographed. Consequently Chris, who is a keen photographer was able to take some excellent photographs which brought to life their daily lives. A highlight was a wedding anniversary meal in a rudimentary beach restaurant. Although poor, the people are generally well nourished but population growth could be a problem in the future. Many children need to work rather than go to work, although there is little evidence of child exploitation. An excellent presentation with some memorable photographs

Wednesday 7th January 2022 : Qui étaient les Huguenots

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This presentation was by club member Mike Cordner, inspired by a random comment by his school French teacher that the name Cordner might have been derived from the French word “Cordonnier”. This talk summarised the history of the French Huguenots from the origins of Protestantism in France through the sixteenth century religious wars, the Saint-Bartholomew’s day massacre, and the Edict of Nantes introduced by “le bon roi” Henri IV in 1598. It was the revocation of the Edict of Nantes by Louis XIV in 1685 which led many Huguenots to flee France to other countries in Europe and further afield. There is in fact some evidence of a possible connection between Mike’s family and the small group of Huguenots who settled in Lisburn in Northern Ireland 

Wednesday 8th December : La vie d'une guide touristique


This was a talk by our guest speaker, Anita Mandl, a professional tour guide who has led and organised tours throughout the world, although with a particular interest in India, due to family connections with that country. Life as a tour guide inevitably generates memorable stories, some of which she shared with us. After working for other companies for many years, Anita set up her own company and a number of circle members have now taken part in tours led by her. Anita described how the nature of travel has changed over the years and has been impacted by the current crisis. She also spoke about the charity work she has been involved with in India. During lockdown she occupied her time writing a book based on her experiences, entitled “Tuk-tuks and Samosas”, which sounds an interesting read.

Wednesday 10th November : Une Ferme Inconnue

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During this talk circle member Nic Wimpenny spoke about his father’s experiences with an artillery regiment during the second world war. After a long period of training, he arrived in France during the D-Day landing operation before marching across France to the Netherlands


Of particular interest to Nic was a set of photographs taken during a short stay in a French village called Longchamps. By dint of some inspired detective work, Nic managed to track down and speak to a gentleman in the village who remembered the visit of the “Tommies” and knew the family in these photographs., although none of them were still alive. An interesting and personal talk, brought to life by some of his father’s personal possessions, including a diary and map showing the route of his march across France.

Wednesday 13th October : L'histoire du transfer d'un bien immobilier municipal à la communauté

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In this talk by circle member Mary Green, we were taken on a journey inspired by “un verre de trop” at a restaurant one evening, on the back of which she volunteered to assist the local community with a project to restore a building in the deprived Field Lane area of Rastrick. This vision was eventually to be realised in the form of “The Space” community centre. This talk took us through the ins and outs of CAT’s (Community Asset Transfers), the highs and lows related to the financing of the project and the nightmare of paperwork and bureaucracy – all of which introduced us to some unfamiliar vocabulary Overcoming these challenges required a significant commitment and much determination on the part of Mary and the community but they were rewarded with a successful opening day in September 2019. The onset of Covid was disheartening but the centre is now recovering and is being regularly used for a wide range of activities. A very inspiring story. 

Wednesday 8th September : Les hauteurs de l'Inde


Our speaker this evening was Philip Booth who spoke about a journey with his wife Maureen to Northern India in 2015. Highlights included visits to Delhi, Leh and Amritsar, the scene of the massacre in 1919. Climbing into the Himalayan mountains through spectacular scenery on some basic and challenging roads, they reached isolated villages and towns which were surrounded by glaciers and offered magnificent views of the mountain range. Accomodation on the trip varied from houseboats and tents to luxury hotels. Before returning they visited the capital Delhi and Srinigar in Kashmir, one of the most security conscious regions in the world. The talk included reflections on the impact of the Dalai Lama in the region and images of everyday life in these remote locations.

Wednesday 11th August : Pétanque

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Tonight we enjoyed an introduction to Pétanque, hosted by Huddersfield Pétanque club in Greenhead Park. A traditional French game with a typical British twist – rain stopped play after the first game. In the same vein, the traditional glass of pastis was replaced by a mug of hot tea. Nevertheless this was a successful evening, especially as it was the first opportunity in 18 months or so to for members of the circle to meet up in person. Congratulations to the tournament winner, Anne Cawdron (with the support of team partner Christine Hughes), who will be defending her title when we next organise this event

Wednesday 14th July: Quiz


One of the consequences of the Covid Pandemic was that the circle was unable to enjoy a 14th July celebratory dinner in the normal manner. Food for thought was therefore provided instead in the form of an online Zoom quiz presented by Mike Cordner. This was a wide ranging quiz including questions relating to French history, geography, culture and other aspects of French life. For anybody who wishes to explore further, most of the questions, can be found via the following link : Testez vos connaissances sur la France avec Quiz France - Le plaisir d'apprendre (

Wednesday 9th June 2021 : Baron Haussman

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For our June meeting we watched two films about Baron Haussman and the changes he wrought to the city of Paris to form what is always considered to be "La Ville  Lumière". On instructions from Napoleon II whole areas of Paris were subject to compulsory purchases and torn up to be replaced by new wide and long "avenues", monuments were moved and houses were demolished.From some there was an outcry and for others fortunes were made through re-development.  A whole new sewerage system was put in and new fresh water supply.  It was all very interesting and if you missed the films you can find them on YouTube, along with various others.

Wednesday 10th May, 2021


Assemblée Annuelle et Vidéo

In May, we met together for our AGM, the only meeting of the year held in English. Although on Zoom, we tried to follow the pattern of all previous AGMs and sof or the first half of the session went through the normal business of an AGM with financial report, election of officers etc.  WE normally then have a pause for cheese and wine but instead watched a five minute film about the Chateau de Chenonceau and the flower arrangements there.  After that we continued as normal with a discussion of possible presentations for the year ahead. Some members offered not only their ideas but also their willingness to make prsentations and this was much appreciated.  

Wednesday 14th April, 2021

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Apprendre et Enseigner une langue - par Mark Pattison

For our April meeting, Mark Pattison gave a talk about the new home he and his family had purchased in France and in order best to enjoy it, talked about learning the French language. By contrast Mark then talked about his work as a volunteer at St. Augustine's centre in Halifax where he is very involved in teaching English to Asylum seekers.  This was very much a talk of two halves and was really very interesting.  Very many thanks to Mark for sharing his experiences with us.

Wednesday 10th March, 2021

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La Grand Evasion - par Sophie Michelana

We had a lovely presentation from, and conversation with, French National Sophie Michelana for our March meeting. Sophie told us about how she had always loved the English language and wanted to travel and as a result had lived in Canada for a year when she was eighteen.  We then learnt about her career and how she found her way to Leeds where she lived and worked for many years for national charity, Locality, working with voluntary community groups around the area. We also learned about the factors which culminated in Sophie's decision to leave a post Brexit vote Britain before the deadline and return to her home in France.  

Thank you so very much Sophie for this presentation which we all enjoyed to very much.

Wednesday 10th February, 2021


Une visite éclair dans la région de l'Himalaya

This month Marion Donaldson gave an interesting presentation of pictures with lots of information and stories about the Himalayas which she had gained during a short visit there in 2019.  Although by local standards it was probably something of a luxurious trip, many elements of it definitely weren't for the faint hearted......  

Very many thanks to Marion for this super presentation.

Wednesday 13th January, 2021


L'Inde - Réflexions sur un pays après 60 ans

For our first meeting of 2021,  Circle member Norris Bonser gave a stimulating presentation about India, a country, continent even, which he has visited many many times during his working life and more recently as a tourist.  We say fabulous pictures and Norris was able to explain very clearly some of the recent history of the country too.  

Very very many thanks to Norris for this presentation.

Wednesday 9th December, 2020

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Les fêtes et traditions hivernales en France et ailleurs

Pam's presentation for this meeting was a lovely way to divert us from pandemic news and make us all feel a little Christmassy.  This was a most informative and well illustrated talk about some of the festive traditions in the UK, in Germany and of course in France.  We saw videos and photos and listened to music.  Very very many thanks to Pam for so expertly putting is presentation together. 

Wednesday 11th November, 2020


Commercy et Ses Alentours - Une présentation personnelle.

Many thanks to Pauline Briollet who, direct from her home in France, gave us a lovely presentation about her home town and the surrounding countryside and cities.  Pauline also had us practising some of the local patois and we learnt about the local customs, especially surrounding Saint Nicholas. The famous French 'madeleine' which so many of us have tasted at a hotel buffet breakfast when traveling in France, was invented in Commercy, and Pauline assures us that Madeleines from there are absolutely the very best.

Un grand merci à Pauline d'avoir pris le temps pour faire la présentation.

Wednesday 14th October, 2020


Vietnam - pays en train d'évoluer

Many thanks to Jane Evans who for our October meeting gave a presentation on Vietnam, a country she had visited just as the Coronavirus was starting to spread but before anyone understood how serious it would be and before any signs of lockdown in the UK.  We saw some fabulous photographs and heard lots about the geography of the country, the history, the politics, the culture and the language.  Of course there was the added interest of the historic French colonisation of Vietnam which is still evident in the country's architecture and language.  Very very many thanks to Jane for this lovely presentation.

Wednesday 9th September 2020


Le Voyage des Vikings - John et Jill Coffey

John and Jill Coffey are really such devoted members of Huddersfield French Circle and we thank them once again for giving a presentation at one of our meetings.  This time it was Norway and it was so interesting with lots of detail about Norwegian history and culture both past and present.  Jill's enthusiasm for the country was plain to see and if we weren't already fans of this Scandinavian country before the presentation, we certainly were afterwards.

Very many thanks to both John and Jill.

Wednesday 12th August, 2020


Notre Vie en France - Lauren et Shonagh Wardell

How fortunate we were to have Lauren et Shonagh Wardell talk to us this month, via Zoom, about growing up in France. 

It was so good to hear their personal experiences and perceptions on everything on the food to the sense of irony (or lack of) in France.  It was a personal and really very interesting account.  Many, many thanks to Shonagh and Lauren for taking the time to give us this presentation.

Wednesday 8th July, 2020

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L'Ile Saint-Louise - Le Village au milieu de Paris

For our Zoom meeting this month, we watched a short film about the Ile Saint Louis in the middle of the Seine in Paris.  It was a lovely film and whilst sometimes we couldn't catch all the French, the film reminded us just how beautiful many parts of France are.  We heard about the village atmosphere in this island in the heart of Paris - and not unexpectedly about how property prices there have soared over the years.  What a fabulous bolthole un petit appartement there would be!

There are lots of other lovely films about places in France on You Tube under the title 'Les Ailes et les Racines'.

Wednesday 10th June, 2020


La Roche Blanche - Un aperçu d'un petit village en France - par David Wardell

Very much different to anything the Circle had done previously, this month's meeting was held via Zoom.  Twenty-six Circle members came together to get their own 'aperçu' of each other and then David gave a presentation on a village in the middle of France - Saint Paul La Roche.  It was here that we learned that  - La « Roche-Blanche », un monolithe minéral haut de 30 mètres, phénomène géologique unique au monde, n'est plus qu'un souvenir. Cette monographie propose une étude du contexte géologique, historique, culturel et touristique de ce petit coin de Périgord vert."  (words from the internet - not David)

This was an interesting presentation on something completely different - we are so lucky with our speakers.  Many thanks to David - who is talking to Mich Dearman in the picture below.

Wednesday 11th March, 2020

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Quelle Belle Guerre

Circle Member Michel Dearman told the story of how his father was an engineer in the war and after the D-Day landings (Jour-J) spent time in Normandy where he met the woman he would go onto marry and whose son would be Mich.  The complication to the story was that his father already had a family in England.  Michel told of how the sister he had never known made contact with Mich and his mother when his father had died.  It was a really touching story set against the backdrop of war and families whose lives were torn apart by such an awful event. Very many thanks Mich for putting the presentation together and for sharing your personal history with us.

Wednesday 12th February, 2020

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Voyage en Iran

For our February meeting we had a joint presentation by Laurence Dickinson and Gillian Wilson who had spent two weeks travelling around Iran in 2019.  We learned about the history of the county and many of the historical sites with learned explanations from Gillian who is an Archaeologist and then we had a personal perspective from Laurence.  It was really interesting because so much of what we see on television is about massed rallies and government crack-downs or international condemnations whereas this showed us the real, everyday life there.

Very many thanks to Gillian and Laurence and to Jim Dickinson too who had been on the trip too and who did the technical stuff for the presentation.

Wednesday 8th January, 2020

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Montréal - impressions d'une ville francophone

Many thanks to Circle member Mike Cordner for his presentation in January showing slides of his visit to Montréal. We were given some of the history of Montréal, interesting snippets of the cultural life there.  We learned how there are underground public areas like shopping malls and train systems to enable people to get about easily during the winter months when there is lots of snow.  We also saw pictures of some of the local food delicacies - not sure about my choice of word there.

Very many thanks to Mike.  It was a great presentation.

Wednesday 11th December, 2019


Les Victimes sont Coupables

This mysterious title was actually part of a discussion about a film which Jeannette Short presented for us.  A thought provoking film set in a Brittany where the most unlikely of candidats turned up to be the new Lighthouse Keeper.  In the closed community of a Breton coastal village we could see the different reactions of all the local populace (including of course the nature of relationships) made for a really 'French' film.

Very many thanks to Jeannette for this.

Wednesday 13th November, 2019


Plages des Pyrénées Présent et Passé

I think I speak for everyone when I say that the content of this presentation was most unexpected! 

After seeing photos of a range of beautiful beaches and marinas on the coast of South Western France, we then learnt about the largely hidden history of the area during the Spanish Civil War when there were so many refugees who fled Spain across the mountains of the Pyrenees to seek refuge in this particular corner of France.  

We were all really interested in this really moving story and keen to find out more so later in the year we will all watch together a film based on this piece of history.  

Very many thanks to Circle Member Christine Summers for this excellent presentation. 

Wednesday, 11th October  2019


L'Ile de Madère - présentation par John et Jill Coffe

For our October meeting, John and Jill Coffey returned to talk to us about a holiday they had taken in Madeira.  We saw lots of interesting photos - John looked a bit unsure of himself in the one where he was hurtling down the hillside in one of the Madeira Monte toboggan rides!

Many thanks as always to the Coffeys for taking the time out to prepare their presentations .

Wednesday, 11th September 2019


Les Mystères de l'Ile de Pâques

For our first presentation of the season, we were fortunate to have Jane Evans who gave a presentation about a visit she and her husband had made to Easter Island and specifically about the 'mysteries' of the island and the Moai carved stones which can be found all over the island.  To quote Wikipedia: "Moai, or mo‘ai, are monolithic human figures carved by the Rapa Nui people on Easter Island in eastern Polynesia between the years 1250 and 1500. Nearly half are still at Rano Raraku, the main Moai quarry, but hundreds were transported from there and set on stone platforms called "Ahu" around the island's perimeter. 

The heights vary from 4-10 metres, and they were so heavy that it took over 100 people to drag a single Moai to the correct position.  There are photos in the More section of the website.

Thank you so much Jane.  This was a fascinating presentation.

Wednesday 21st August, 2019


Soirée Estivale

Some twenty members of Huddersfield French Circle came together to enjoy an evening of French cheese and pâté and bread and wine.  The conversation seemed to mostly be in English but often of things French.  

The programme for the forthcoming year was presented by Christine Hughes - many thanks to Christine for organising this.  It looks really interesting - and many members paid their new subscripion for the coming year.

It was great to get together with more opportunity to talk than at regular meeting evenings and a good time was had by all 

Sunday 14th July, 2019


Annual Lunch

Thirty members and guests came together once again at Fixby Hall for a French themed lunch to join, in thinking at least, with people in France to celebrate France's National day of celebration.  

There were no fireworks as would have been the case all over France,but we had a very nice meal and lots of conversation and then, superbly, to finish it all off, Circle Members Paddy and Pam gave us a superb rendition of four favourite French songs which Pam accompanied on the piano.  Our many thanks to them!

Wednesday 1st May, 2019


Annual Dinner

Some twenty-two members of Huddersfield French Circle came together for a specially prepared French meal at Brooks Restaurant in Brighouse.  Everyone had a lovely time and the meal was excellent.  There was lots of conversation, although I think that most of it was in English.  

Wednesday 10th April, 2019


Paul Armitage - Pélerinage à Santiago de Compostela

Another really interesting evening.  Paul spoke about and illustrated with photographs, his pilgrimage to the Shrine of Saint Jacques de Compostela.  We saw photos of the mile upon mile of terrain Paul had covered, the different accommodation - sometimes very very rough and ready and cramped, we heard how this pilgrimage route came into existence and we saw some of the souvenirs Paul had brought back.  It was really interested and told with amusing anecdotes of the trip.  Many thanks, Paul.

Wednesday 13th March 2019

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Martyn Cusworth - La Ligne Marmot

This was fascinating.  Martyn has studied and is real enthusiast for anything connected with La Line Marmoz which was the first air postal link between South America and France back at the very beginning of the twentieth century.  Martyn has an important collection of letters and postmarks and information concerning what went on to be the beginnings of Air France. Many thanks Martyn for sharing your passion with us.

Wednesday 13th February, 2019


Julio Nunez - La Colombie

Our speaker in February was Julio Nunez who, until his recent retirement, was a local consultant anaesthetist.  Julio hails from Columbia and it was so interesting to get his personal insight into life there.  None of us really seemed to know anything about his home country and we were especially interested to learn about the local foods and a particular 'national pastime' type game call 'Tejo'.

The image shows a very popular local food called Tamales

Thank you so much Julio for your presentation.

Wednesday 9th January 2019


Claire de Ramaix - La Philosophie Baha'i

This evening Belgian National, Claire de Ramaix, gave a personal and inspiring talk about the Baha'i faith and philosophy.  There were only two or three people present who had heard about this before so it was something new and thought provoking for most of us.  We learned about the origins of the faith, the numbers of followers and the numbers of followers who have been persecuted in Iran because of it.  It is always especially good to have a presentation from a person whose mother tongue is French so we were particularly rewarded in that respect this evening.  There were lots of questions for Claire and we are most grateful to her for putting this presentation together especially for us and for the personal experiences she shared with us.  Thank you again Claire.

Wednesday 12th December, 2018


Jane Evans - Un voyage sur le Danube et Le Rhin

At our December meeting we were reminded of the blue skies of summer when Jane Evans showed numerous photos she and her husband had taken during a two week cruise along the Danube and the Rhine rivers.  The trip had taken place during the Spring but they had been blessed with fine weather and the pictures were a delight.

Very many thanks to Jane for the trouble taken to assemble this presentation which we all enjoyed.

Wednesday 14th November, 2018

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Jill Coffey - Un Séjour à Madrid

Thank you once again to John and Jill Coffey who, this time, talked about a visit they had made to Madrid with their son and with some Mexican friends.  We learned about Spanish artists much of whose work is exhibited in Madrid, about the beautiful buildings there and about the beautiful food...  Lovely!

Wednesday 10th October, 2018


Paul Simkins - La Pétanque

Paul Simkins, local pétanque enthusiast, gave a most interesting and informative talk about the game of pétanque, its origins, the current state of the game in France and the current state of the game in West Yorkshire!  All interesting stuff with lots of local teams.  

We hope to set up a match against other local French Circles.

Wednesday 12th September, 2018


Jeannette Short - Une Femme Comme les Autres, Une Vie Pas Comme les Autres

We listened in thrall to Jeanette Short when she gave us a presentation on the life of the French politician Simone Weil.  We were horrified as we learned of her time at Auschwitz and were in wonder as we heard about how she combined her early years of being married and raising children with climbing the legal and then political ladders, and then in awe as we heard about Simone facing down the various challenges posed toher as a judge and then as a leading politician.  It was all fascinating and as always we send our most sincere thanks to Jeannette for her preparation of this evening's talk.

Wednesday 8th August, 2018


Soirée Estivale

So many thanks yet again to Annie Bacon who so kindly hosted our summer social evening.  As always everyone had a wonderful time and Annie's hospitality was as excellent as it was generous.

Very many thanks to Annie for being such a generous member of the Circle

Sunday 15th July, 2018


Déjeuner Annuel

Our annual lunch in line with festivities in France for their Fête Nationale took place at Fixby Hall where over 30 members enjoyed a lunch in the Dining Room.  After lunch, we were entertained by Pam Sykes who sang some beautiful songs accompanying herself on the keyboard.  We loved it all.

More pictures can be seen on the Gallery section of the website.

Wednesday 9th May, 2018


Assemblée Annuelle

As always on the second Wednesday of May, we held our AGM.  There was a good attendance, the committee was re-elected and annual reports were presented to those in attendance.  Minutes have been circulated to Members.

Wednesday 2nd May, 2018


Dîner Annuel

Twenty members of Huddersfield French Circle attended our Annual Dinner at Brooks Restaurant in Brighouse.

The food was excellent and such a good time was being had by all that we overlooked to take any photographs!  

Very many thanks as always to Pat Rodgers, our Secretary, for organising the event.

Wednesday 18th April, 2018

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Paddy Readhead - Vraiment, Je ne Voulais pas y aller

Circle member, Paddy Redhead, kindly gave us a talk about a visit she had made with her husband to Saudi Arabia despite her protestations to him about terrorism and war torn areas.  He had been there during the war and wanted to see what the country looks like now.  How different it was!  Built on desert land, the buildings were magnificent and Paddy had seen and heard so many interesting things.  Thank you for sharing this with us Paddy.

Wednesday 4th March, 2018

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Nicole Adams - Le Bergerac

Former Circle Member and native French speaker, Nicole Adams, gave us a lovely talk about Bergerac where her son has made his home.  It was a delightful talk with interesting little anecdotes and afterwards we were treated to traditional cake from the area which Nicole had made and brought along.  Merci bien, Nicole.

Wednesday 14th February, 2018

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Chris and Jennifer Pateman: L'Ancienne Route tu The du Laos A Tibet

Chris Pateman gave us a most interesting presentation on a visit he and his wife Jennifer had made to the most western areas of China in a talk entitled L'ancienne route du thé.  The photos were really interesting and the stories about trips made without advance accommodation bookings intrigued us.  After the presentation, Jennifer showed us some of the different object which she had brought back and sever of us tasted some of the spices of the area.....  A big thank you to Chris and Jennifer for the work they had put in to preparing this presentation and for sharing their experiences with us.

Wednesday 10th January, 2018

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Jeannette Short - Le Sagouin

Jeannette Short gave a presentation on the François Mauriac story of Le Sagouin.  It was all so enthralling and atmospheric and we listened attentively as we tried to work out what had caused the death of the young man at the centre of the story.  Thank you so much to Jeannette for this presentation.  We loved it.

Wednesday 13th December, 2017

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Hugh Quarterman - Quatre Vieilles Villes Espagnoles

Hugh Quarterman, as always, gave us an amusing and anecdotal tour of a trip he had taken to visit the Spanish towns of Ronda, Cordoba, Seville and Granada.  Many thanks to Hugh for making yet another return visit.

Wednesday 8th November, 2017

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Philip and Maureen Booth - La Nouvelle Zé

This month, Philip and Maureen Booth from Bradford Circle came to visit us and presented photos and information on New Zealand which they had visited shortly after the earthquake which devastated Christchurch in particular.  In some cases they had both 'before' and 'after' pictures which made them all the more powerful.  Many thanks to both Philip and Maureen.

Wednesday 11th October, 2017

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Jill Coffey - Une Visite à Paris

This month it was the turn of John and Jill Coffey who gave us a presentation of photos they had taken on a visit to Paris.  Very many thanks to them both as always.

Wednesday 13th September, 2017


Yannick Minvielle-Débat - La Musique Traditionelle en France

What a special treat!  Yannick Minvielle-Débat brought musicial friends with her and gave a presentation on traditional music and dance in France.  We were treated to some excellent live music and one or two members of the Circle joined in.  Since this is Yannick's special passion, it was a superb presentation.  Many thanks to her and her friends for travelling over from Skipton to do this for us.

Wednesday 9th August, 2017

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Soirée Estivale

August is the date of our Soirée Estivale when we met at the home of member Annie Bacon for a lovely social evening and we are most grateful to Annie for hosting this and for all the trouble she had taken.  Annie even found a quiz and people worked in pairs on the answers.  A good time was had by all.

Sunday 16th July, 2017

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Déjeuner Annuel

We held our Annual Lunch in honour of the French National Day, at Fixby Hall,  where we had excellent weather for pre-lunch drinks on the terrace, private use of the Fixby Hall Dining Room, a super French meal and 'after-lunch entertainment' in the form of some twentieth century French songs broadcast with words on You Tube. Everyone joined in with the choruses.

Wednesday 10th May, 2017

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Assemblée Annuelle

This was our AGM and it was good to see it so well attended.

Minutes of the meeting have been sent to members and a hard copy is usually available for reading at the back of our meeting room

Wednesday 3rd May, 2017

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Dîner Annuel

Once again our annual dinner was held at La Cachette restaurant in Elland.

We had a lovely meal and all enjoyed socialising together with a mixture of both English and French conversation.

Wednesday 12th April, 2017

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Ann Marshall - Le Canal du Midi

Ann Marshall, aided by John Coffey on technical matters, very kindly came along to talk about the Canal du Midi.  Fascinating stuff - a vanity project par excellence but what a fantastic result and legacy for France and the French.  It was  most interesting and enlightening.  Many thanks to Ann for her work on the presentation.

Wednesday 8th March, 2017

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Jill et John Coffey - La Croatie

John and Jill Coffey so kindly came along once again to talk about Croatia, but this time their talk centred on Split.  We saw pictures of some lovely scenery, architecture and churches and heard a lot about the culture and history.  We also watched an extract of a performance they had chanced upon at their hotel by a local singing star.  All really good fun!  Many thanks once again to John and too Jill.

Wednesday 8th February, 2017

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Christopher Pateman - Un Voyage à travers le Gambia et Sénégale.

Gosh this evening's presentation was a real insight.  Chris Pateman spoke about a holiday (!) he and his wife Jennifer had taken travelling (in Rough Guide style) through French speaking Gambia and Senegal.  They had spent their time in the rural south of the country where life is still primitive by European standards.  It was all really interesting and the photos were great.  Very many thanks to Chris for taking the time to prepare this presentation for us.

Wednesday 11th January, 2017

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Michael Brammah - Les Mystères

We had a lovely presentation this evening from Circle regular presenter Michael Brammah who made a welcome return and spoke about the purchase of his new holiday home in the South of France.  We heard about the history of the house and why he has called it 'Les Mystères' and he told us lots of amusing tales about the neighbours.  It is obvious that Michael and his wife have made every effort to mix with the village population there and are taking a real part in the life and culture there.  It looks fabulous.

Wednesday 8th  December, 2016

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Hugh Quarterman - La Sicile

Hugh Quarterman gave us a lovely presentation of photographs he had taken on a visit to Sicily where had had toured around the South Eastern area of the island.  He had been particularly taken with the gargoyles underneath so many of the balconies, the demonstrative and chatty nature of the people and the fabulous interiors of very many very modest churches.  We also saw pictures of the area where the tv series 'Montalbano' is filmed and if this should return to our screens and you love Sicily, this is a series not be missed.  Very many thanks again to Hugh for this return visit.

Hugh is pictured here with Circle President, Moira Marshall.

Wednesday 9th November, 2016

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Philip and Maureen Booth - Les Séchelles

Philip and Maureen Booth from Bradford French Circle joined us to very kindly give us a presentation about a holiday they had taken in the Seychelles.  We saw some holiday photos of glorious beaches but also earned lots about the economy and population there and also about the language.  Very many thanks to Philip and Maureen.

Wednesday 13th October, 2016


Christian Quilliot - La Magie de Christian

Frenchman Christian Quilliot gave us a demonstration of his 'magicianship

Wednesday 14th September, 2016

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Christine Hughes - Une Visit à Vienne

Our first meeting of the new season and we were given an introduction to the history of Vienna and a photographic tour around some of its buildings.  Christine Hughes gave us a really interesting presentation at very short notice and very many thanks to Christine for this.

Wednesday 10th August, 2016


Soirée Estivale

This year for our Soirée Estivale, Circle member Annie generously offered her home for our August soicial evening.  A French guest came along which gave the atmosphere a  more Gallic flavour and certainly ensured that more French was spoken than would otherwise have been the case!  We were treated to a table full of French cheeses and amus-bouches and we are indebted to our host for such a delightful end to the 2015-2016 season.

Sunday 17th July, 2016

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Déjeuner Annuel

Our annual Bastile Day celebration took the traditional form of a summer lunch this year, like last, at Fixby Hall.  Twenty-six of us enjoyed a lovely three-course French lunch and the extra delight was the ending of the meal with a performance of French songs sung by Paddy Readhead with Paddy accompanying herself on the guitar.  It really was very special.  

June 2016


Visites Culturelles

There were two 'visites culturelles' during June.  One was a visit to a concert, backed by film, of Jacques Brel songs at the Square Chapel in Halifax.  It was a really good introuction to Brel music and poetry as well as giving a good understanding of the singer's life.  All in all it was something of a 'tribute act' with a difference.

Wednesday 11th May, 2016


Assemblée Annuelle

We were really delighted to see a very good attendance at this our one 'business' meeting of the year.  Minutes from the 2015 meeting were approved, our President Moira Marshall read out her report on the year and this was followed by reports from the Secretary and the Treasurer.  After the customary 'vin et fromage' we discussed ideas for the programme for the forthcoming year.

One point to note for next year is that the minutes of this AGM are e-mailed to Circle Members who are requested please to retain the minutes to skim through again before next year's AGM so that they can be approved - or not as the case may be.  

The current officers of the Circle agreed to stand again and were re-elected en bloc.

Wednesday 4th May, 2016


Dîner Annuel

Only a small number of people were able to attend the Annual Dinner this year which was once again held at Bradley's restaurant in Huddersfield.  Those who were there though had a good time and were too busy chatting to remember to take a photo!

Wednesday 13th April, 2016


Claire de Ramaix - Une Visite en Belgique

From Belgian national, Claire de Ramaix, we were treated to an in-depth introduction to the people and culture of Belgium.  How interesting to hear so much more about this little known country - we tend to think just of chocolate, the EU headquarters and, more latterly, the bombing at Brussels airport - and yet here was a wonderful introduction to the Belgian people.  The North is so different from the South, most people speak at least French or Dutch, English and German or all four languages.  The rich live int he North and so on.  All good stuff.  Very many thanks to Claire for her entertaining and interesting talk, plus the added benefit of hearing French spoken by someone for whom this is their first language.

Wednesday 9th March, 2016

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Mary Green - André Chénier, Son Histoire

Circle Member, Mary Green, gave a presentation on the life of the French poet André Chénier.  The talk was illustrated with photos of his friends, the places he visited and so on.  Jeannette Short very kindly read extracts from two of Chénier's poems.  These poems were so eloquent, especially the one written by Chénier during his last days at Saint-Lazare prison, before he was taken to the Comité du Salut Public for sentencing and onto his death at the guillotine.

Wednesday 10th February, 2016

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Jill Coffey - Dubrovnik

Jill and John Coffey entertained members with a presentation about their travels in Croatia and specifically Dubrovnik.  Illustrating their talk with a series of pictures, Mr and Mrs Coffey described the history of the region and also the art and architecture of Dubrovnik.  

Many thanks to John and Jill, who head up Calderdale French Circle, for making a most welcome return visit to Huddersfield French Circle.

Wednesday 13th January, 2016

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Michael Brammah - La Sauvegarde du Patrimoine en Jordanie

Michael Brammah gave a really interesting presentation on work in Jordan to prevent any further damage to its historic sites as well as to try to increase visitor numbers to four particular cities there.  It was all something of a revelation to us all and we were all fascinated that such work should be going on in an area so riven with strife.  Very many thanks to Michael for opening our eyes to some of the issues we had not considered but which remain part of an important agenda of bring revenue to these areas.

Wednesday 9th December, 2015

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Sheilagh Mudd - Restauration d'une Maison Edouardienne

We were most pleased to welcome Shelagh Mudd, a member of Halifax French Circle who gave a fascinating insight into the renovation of a house built around 1911.  With the help of lots of 'before' and 'after' photos, we saw a miraculous transformation before our eyes.  Shelagh had done lots of the work herself and the final result was testament to her efforts and enthusiasm.  Shelagh's photos were accompanied by an amusing and insightful commentary.  Many thanks to Shelagh for sharing with us the challenge she had undertaken and the journey she had been on.

Wednesday 11th November, 2015

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Yannick Minvielle-Débat - Le Costume Traditionnel en 

What a delight!  Yannick Minvielle-Débat gave a super presentation about traditional costumes illustrated with lots of photographs, some samples and members of the audience modelling a particular head-dress.  We learned about the significance of different variations in the dress worn by both men and women and most of all were amazed that there could be so many different styles of dress around the different  regions of France and even with Brittany.  It is always special when we have a presentation from a native French speaker and this was no exception.  Many many thanks to Yannick. 

Wednesday 14th October, 2015

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Mary O'Meara - La Cappadoce et Antalya

Well this was no ordinary presentation of holiday photos!  Circle member Mary O'Meara had been on a touring holiday of Cappadocia - IN THE SNOW!  We saw some really interesting photos and learned about the various religions present in the area.  Many thanks to Mary.

Wednesday 9th September, 2015


Jeannette Short - La Ronde des Métiers

What a lovely evening.  Circle member and French national, Jeannette Short, treated us to an entertaining presentation of songs which feature different types of employment in the words.  As with all French traditional songs, the words are absolutely the most important and they all tell a story.  They were often sad and sometimes amusing.  We listened to them with the words on the screen and even joined in with one or tow.

Wednesday 12th August, 2015


Soirée Estivale

Nine members of the Circle came together at the home of our President, Moira Marshall, to hear details of our forthcoming programme of presentations which Christine Hughes had kindly put together.  There was also lots of friendly conversation and a review of the past year.  Moira had put together some delicious food and everyone enjoyed some wine supplied from French Circle stocks.  A really very very pleasant evening was had by all.

Sunday 19th July, 2015

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Déjeuner Annuel

35 members and guests from Hudddersfield and Halifax French Circles met together for a lunch at Fixby Hall.  Everyone enjoyed a meal with a very French flavour: Salade Niçoise, Boeuf Bourguignon or Confit de Canard or Passaladiere, Brie de Meaux and Gateau St. Honoré.  At the close of the event, we even sang La Marseillaise.  A good time was had by all.

Wednesday 22nd May, 2015


Visite Culturelle - Film, Deux Jours, Une Nuit

Our June meeting is usually a visit to a French themed evening the locality.  This year, this actually took play in May since this excellent modern and thought provoking film was being shown at Hepworth Village Hall under the auspices of the Holmfirth Film Festival.

Wednesday 13th May, 2015


Assemblée Annuelle

A good attendance of 14 at this year's AGM were able to hear the President's report on the year as well as the financial report of the year and various other matters of official business.  As in previous years, after a short break for cheese and wine, there was a discussion of potential speakers for the 2015/2016 year.

Wednesday 6th May, 2015

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Dîner Annuel

A group of 20 people, a mixture of members and guests, enjoyed a very social evening at La Cachette in Elland where everyone enjoyed a meal with a French twist, lots of convivial conversation and also a quiz on French cheeses.  Many thanks to Pat Rodgers who had organised the evening.

Wednesday 8th April, 2015

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Dominique Rebout - Le Poitou

Dominique Rebout of the Modern Language School at Meltham gave a presentation on her native Poitou-Charentes.  We learned some of the Poitou dialect and listened to a song from the area as well as sampling some of the local liqueur.  Very many thanks to Dominique.

Wednesday 11th March, 2015

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Jeu Concours

Unfortunately our planned speaker could not attend, so President Moira Marshall kindly put a quiz together.  Much fun was had and everyone was horrified at how much they didn't know!  Very many thanks to Moira for her hard work in putting this together.  Maybe we will all do better another time.......

Wednesday 11th February, 201

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Gillian Wilson - Souvenirs d'un Archéologue 

Circle member Gillian Wilson gave a presentation of pictures of her time as a young archeologist in England, in France and in Peru.  Of course none of us were familiar with anything to do with archaeology so we all found it absolutely fascinating.  Very many thanks to Gillian for the presentation.

Wednesday 14th January, 2015

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Mary Green - Thérèse Humbert et L'escroquerie du Coffre-fort Crawford

A presentation of the story of Thérèse Humbert and her family and of how she conned lots of people, banks and even French presidents out of their money in Paris at the end of the 19th century.

Wednesday 10th December, 2015

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Laurence Dickinson - Témoignage d'un Poilu de la Grande Guerre

Laurence Dickinson gave an exceptional presentation showing photographs and letters which were a n eye witness account by her grand-father of life on the front in World War 1.  Where their homes were not far away, soldiers were able to return home at weekends for meals and to have their washing done but they kept the realist of life 'at work' away from their families.  It was a really interesting presentation and we are so very appreciative to Laurence for sharing these personal stories with us.

Wednesday 12th November, 2014

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John et Jill Coffey - Une Expérience Mexicaine

Wednesday 17th October, 2014

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Christine Summers - Languedoc-Roussillon

At a very well attended meeting, Christine Summers spoke about the southern French region of Languedoc-Roussillon.  Illustrating her talk with a series of pictures, Christine described the historic cities of Montpellier and Perpignan, the ports and resorts of Sète, Collioure and La Grande Motte with its futuristic architecture, and the famous fortified town of Carcassonne.  The south western corner of the region is very proud of its Catalan identity and Christine, being a Rugby league enthusiast, took the opportunity whilst there to watch the Catalan Dragons play on home turf.

Wednesday 10th September, 2014

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Hugh Quarterman: Villes Forteresses de l'Ombre

Hugh Quarterman kindly gave a very interesting talk on the mediaeval village of Umbria.  His talk was in his usual impeccable French and was made all the more interesting as it was supported by many superb images.  There were over 20 people at the meeting and after the presentation members enjoyed some convivial conversation in French supported by un verre de vin.

Wednesday 13th August, 2014

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Soirée Estivale

As in so many previous years, Valerie and Douglas Smithson were kind enough to invite members to their home.  Members brought some snacks, the highlight of which were Stephen's brioches and everyone enjoyed a glass or two of wine.  Special at this meeting was the presentation by the President, Moira Marshall, of a gift and some flowers to Valerie in appreciation of her more than thirty years as Circle Secretary and Programme Secretary.  Valerie has always carried out these roles with enthusiasm and charm and the Circle will always be most grateful to her.

Sunday 13th July, 2014


Déjeuner Annuel en Souvenir de la Fête Nationale en France

Members from Huddersfield Circle were joined by some new members at the Cedar Court Hotel for a lunch to celebrate la Fête National in France.  A good time was had by all with lots of friendly banter and conversation.

Tuesday 24th June, 2014


Visite Culturelle

Some members attended the live screening of the opera 'Manon Lescaut' at the Odeon cinema.  This opera by Puccini is based on the story of Manon Lescaut and the Chevalier Des Grieud written by Abbé Prévost.

Thursday 27th May, 2014


Visite Culturelle

Some members attended a French film screening in Holmfirth as part of the Holmfirth Film Festival

Wednesday 14th May 2014


Assemblée Annuelle

Members came together at the Town Hall for the AGM of the Circle.  Circle officers and committee members were elected and reports on the past year were read out.  After a break for cheese and wine, ideas were put together for the programme for the coming year.

Wednesday 7th May, 2014


Dîner Annuel

A group of members met at Bradley's restaurant in Huddersfield for the Annual Dinner.  The food, wine, company and conversation were all excellent.

Wednesday 9th April, 2014


Le Mot le Plus Long

Members came together to exercise their brains with a game of Le Mot le Plus Long, a sort of Countdown.  There were three teams and members had to find the longest word with a selection of letters pulled out at random from a bag of consonants and a bag of vowels.  Good words were 'Déjeunat' and 'Eloignez'.  Jeannette Short stepped in to be in Dictionary Corner and also amused us with anecdotes in between each word making session.  It was a very pleasant evening.

Wednesday 12th March, 2014

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Mary Green: Saint-Lazare, Prison - 'Le Pourrissoir'

Mary Green gave a presentation on Saint-Lazare as a prison after the French Revolution and until it was closed in 1932.  Her talk was illustrated with artist drawings and photos of inside the prison and described life in the prison for both the prisoners 'judged' and committed to prison for their sentence and also for the 'administrative' prisoners, especially prostitutes rounded up from the streets of Paris.  What is left of the buildings is currently to be transformed into a mediatheque for the multi-national population of the 10th arrondissement in Paris.

Wednesday 12th February, 2014


Michel Dearman: Quelle Belle Guerre!

Michel Dearman gave a really interesting and personal presentation describing the meeting of his mother and father after D-Day (Jour-J) in World War II.  The presentation gave us a real insight into life in Northern France towards the end of the war and how life turned out for his parents.  Our very many thanks to Michel for his talk especially since it was an exceptionally stormy night and everyone who turned out deserved their own medal!  It was also a very personal story.

Wednesday 8th January, 2014


Jeannette Short: Grincheurs-Grincheuses

Jeannette Short led us in an musing litany of moans and groans about the world to-day.  Everyone was able to practise their French as they shared their pet frustrations with the world and we heard one member read a letter he is sending to Monsieur Hollande to complain about the difficulty of say numbers like 95 in French.  (I rather think Président Hollande may have other more pressing and/or personal matters on his mind....)  Thank  you so much to Jeannette for organising this evening.

Wednesday 11th December, 2013

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Lawrence Kneen avec son Accordéon

Lawrence Kneen, a local accordion player, came along and played a variety of French songs to which members sang the words.  It was a lovely way to spend our last meeting of 2013 and we are very grateful indeed to Lawrence for his super music.

Wednesday 10th November, 2013


Anne Marshall - L'Islande

Anne Marshall from Halifax French Circle gave a most interesting talk on Iceland supported by slides she had taken on a trip there.  Many thanks to Anne

Wednesday 9th October, 2013

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Kevin Matthews - Les Artisans de la France et Ailleurs

Kevin Matthews, an ex-teacher and artisan clogmaker presented a dvd he had made following his sabbatical year travelling around Europe to meet with, see and film various artisans at work in their studios and workshops.  It was a really interesting evening as we learned more abut various crafts, considered the future prospects for young artisans and so on.  A lovely evening and very many thanks to Kevin.

Wednesday 11th September, 2013


Christian Quilliot - La Magie de Christian

Christian Quilliot, a member of Bradford Magic Circle and of the French Magic Circle, entertained members with a series of magic tricks which had us completely confounded.  His entertaining conversation and jokes held our attention too and we had a splendid evening.  Our many thanks to Christian.

Wednesday 14th August, 2013


Soirée Estivale

Members met at the home of Secretary, Valerie Smithson, for general conversation and new copies of the programme for the coming year.  Our very many thanks to Valerie for organising this.

Sunday 14th July, 2013

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Déjeuner Annuel en souvenir du 14 juillet 1789

Fourteen members of Huddersfield Circle were joined by four members of Halifax Circle for lunch at the Cedar Court hotel on Sunday 14th July for our annual celebration of National Day in France.

A very pleasant time was had by all.

Thursday 13th June, 2013


Soirée Culturelle - Film 'Les Misérables'

Seven members came together to see the film of Les Mis at the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield.  Everyone enjoyed the film, some for the second time of viewing.

Wednesday 8th May, 2013


Assemblée Annuelle

The Committee was elected for the coming year.  The President gave her report on the past year, there was the Treasurer's report, the Secretary' report and then cheese and wine before a meeting to discuss the programme for the coming year.

Wednesday 1st May 2013


Dîner Annual at Bradley's restaurant

Fifteen members joined together for a lovely meal at Bradley's, some French conversation and fu.  Oh and a quiz with general knowledge questions on France.

Wednesday 10th April, 2013

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L'Université du Troisième Age à Huddersfield

Moira Marshall and Mary Green, two Circle members, spoke about their experiences of teaching French under the umbrella of the Huddersfield and Districk U3A and five members of Mary's class performed a short amusing play they had learned in class.

Wednesday 13th March, 2013

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Pierre Tanguy - Ma Vie en Angleterre

Pierre Tanguy spoke of his move from Brittany to Norther England originally to learn English, but then where he met his wife and settled.  He told us about his experiences as a chef in England now his life as Chef/Manager at Polyanna's Bistro in Barnsley.  It was fun to hear his tales from the kitchen and also to understand more about the differences between being a chef in England and in France.  Very many thanks to Monsieur Tanguy for giving up his time to come along and talk to us.

Wednesday 13th February, 2013 - 

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Eric Pratt - La Résistance Française

Eric Pratt, a member of our own Circle and also of Halifax Circle, kindly spoke to us about the French Resistance during the Second World War.  He described the extraordinarily dangerous conditions under which the Resistance operated, the difficult precautions which they had to take and he mentioned specifically Jean Moulin and other noteworthy members of the Resistance movement, including several Britons, most of whom did not survive.

Wednesday 9th January, 2013


Hugh Quarterman - Quinze Jours en Ethiopie

For our first meeting of 2013, members really enjoyed the presentation by Hugh Quarterman about a trip he had made to Ethopia, primarily for birdwatching.  Mr. Quarterman's excellen photos showed - in addition to some highly unusual and colour birds - many aspects of the country, with its several languages, and sharp contrasts between the modern bustle of Addis Ababa and the rural peasant life which has appartently not changed for centuries.

Mr Quarterman taught French at Greenhead College for many years and now teaches Italian.  We are most grateful to him for his time and for the excellent presentation. 

Wednesday 12th December, 2012


Soirée Musicale et Fête de Noel

Members brought along CD's of their favourite music, mostly French and played the music after first introducing it and explaining why it was so important to them.  A Christmas supper was enjoyed by everyone accompanied by some very nice French wine

Wednesday 11th November, 2012

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Margaret Seed - Les Instruments Anciens

Members had a wonderful evening when Margaret Seed, who is an accomplished musician, talked abut her collection of reproduction mediaeval musical instruments.  Not only did Margaret talk about these 15 instruments but, accompanied by a friend on percussion, she played them all too.

Wednesday 10th October, 2012


Michael Brammah - A Visit to Tonga

Many thanks indeed to Michael Brammah who kindly gave of his time again to talk to us about the time he spent in Tonga where he was working in his role as an International Urban Planning Consultant.  As well as some beautiful scenery, we were able to learn from Michael's presentation for from his photos learn about the life of the people of Tonga.  The talk was entertaining as well as informative and we are most grateful to Mr. Brammah.

Wednesday 12th September, 2012


Jeannette Short - Une Promenade Poétique

Very manay thanks to Jeannette Short, ably assisted by her husband Bob Short and grand-daughter Anoushka Harris, for the wonder reading of a selection of French poetry through the years with additional information about the authors and the poems themselves.  We also enjoyed listening to musical renditions of some of the poetry from artists like Juliette Greco.

Wednesday 8th August, 2012


Soirée Estivale

On Wednesday 8th August, we spent a lovely evening at the home of Valerie and Douglas Smithson.  We enjoyed some social conversation in French, joined in as Mr. Smithson played a few French songs on the piano and savoured Stephen's fruit loaf laced with Armagnac as well as Valerie's home baking too.  Of course, French wine was the beverage of choice.  It was a lovely evening and many many thanks to Valerie and Douglas for their hospitality.

Sunday 15th July, 2012

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Annual Lunch

Members of Huddersfield French Circle met with members from Halifax French Circle for a very pleasant lunch at the Cedar Court Hotel at Ainley Top.  The conversation was a mixture of French and English made all the more pleasant by two visitors from France.  A pleasant time was had by all.

Wednesday 20th June, 2012


Summer Cultural Outing

Members attended the screening by Dominique Rebout of the Modern Language School of the very successful 2011 French film 'Les Intouchables'.  Telling the true story of how the life of a fully disabled man injured in a parascending accident was transformed when he employed a previously unemployed petty crook as his carer.  We watched how both men learned so much from each other and the disabled man's mental well-being was re-invigorated.  In real life, the disabled man said that 'sans lei, j'aurae été mort de décomposition.  A truly excellent film and with the pre-viewing activities organised by Dominique we were able to understand some of the slang used in the film which we might not otherwise have known.

Saturday 16th June, 2012


Summer Cultural Outing

Members of the Circle attended a concert at Huddersfield Town Hall where they were transported by the music Berlioz, Saint-Saens, Bernstein and Vaughan Williams at a concert by the Slaighwaite Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of their professional conductor Benjamin Ellin.  The concert had a very French theme and members enjoyed meeting together at the concert where seats had been obtained all together.

Wednesday 2nd May, 2012


Assemblée Annuelle

At the AGM the officers reported on a successful year, with a variety of interesting speakers.  At several meetings there had been a good number of visitors, some of whom returned at later meetings and a few joined the circle as members.  After the AGM business, members adjourned for refreshments before reconvening to discuss the programme for 2012-2013

Wednesday 2nd May, 2012

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Dîner Annuel

A group of members from the Circle gathered together at Bradley's restaurant in Huddersîeld for the Dîner Annuel.  This is a chance for members to socialise together for rather longer than is possible at the normal meetings.  As circle member Stephen put it: "Je trouvais la soirée au restaurant très agréable et la cuisine était excellent".  A good time was had by all.  Our grateful thanks as always go our secretary Valerie Smithson for organising the event. 

Wednesday 11th April, 2012

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Laurence Dickinson - Mayotte - Ile Française?

Mrs. Laurence Dickinson gave a most interesting talk abut a French Département d'Outre Mer which many of us had trouble placing but which is in the Indian Ocean and is the envy of many of the neighbouring islands because of the benefits it gains as a French département.  Although poor in relative terms, it is richer than the neighbouring islands which are not French.  Of course, this means that immigration is a real problem and affects the economic stability of the island.  Mrs. Dickinson is French herself and with a relative on the island was able to convey her real understanding of the situation there.  It was a most interesting and well presented talk and we are most grateful to her.

Wednesday 14th March, 2012

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Mary Green - Derrière (le nom de) la Gare Saint-Lazare

Circle member Mary Green told everyone about the existence in the 10th arrondissement of Paris, near the Gare de l'est, of the 19th century buildings which ad formerly been part of the Saint-Lazare women's prison.  We learned about events at Saint-Lazare on 13th July 1789, the night before the storming of the Bastille an during La Terreur.  Many who would later meet their fate at the guillotine were imprisoned there including the celebrated poet André Chénier.  Gircle member Mrs. Jeannette Short read a very moving extract from one of Chenier's poems.  Mary was also helped by Moira Marshall who read an extract from the book Manon Lescaut where Mary had first read about Saint-Lazare and by David Robinson who read the harrowing prescriptions placed upon anyone found to be suffering from leprosy in the Middle Ages.

Wednesday 8th February, 2012

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Gillian Wilson - La Route de la Soie

Mrs. Gillian Wilson gave a very interesting talk and display of photos of the very ancient sites she had seen when following 'La Route de la Soie' y inclus une visite à Samarkand et des villes très peu fréquentées par les touristes de l'ouest

Wednesday 11th January, 2012


Mrs. Pam Sykes gve an interesting and enlightening talk entitled "Tahiti et ses Iles d'Outre Mer et l'Eclipse Solaire Juillet 2010"

Mrs. Sykes had followed a dream to see a solar eclipse and that dream had led her to a tiny island off Tahiti, staying with a local family and soaking up the local culture.  The photos were beautiful and we were also given a brief introduction into the Polynesian language - although it is unlikely that the locals of Tahiti would have recognised it as such as we tried to repeat it!  Thank you again to Mrs. Sykes for this most interesting evening.

Wednesday 14th December, 20


Cinderella and Call my Bluff

The Circle's December meeting had a Christmas party flavour. Five members performed a brief version of Cinderella in French, and this was followed by a game of 'Call My Bluff' also in French. The winner, with 10 correct words out of 12, was Pat Rodgers. The evening ended with French wine and a supper provided by circle members

Wednesday 9th November, 2011

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Sandra Parnell - Ma Vie Idéale sur le Bateau Gadabout

Mrs. Sandra Parnell, retired teacher, told members about the many months she and her husband had spent travelling on their narrowboat on the canals of Belgium and France including their stay in Paris.  Her tales of the dangers they had faced when on waterways really only used by large freightboats were made entertaining but we were in no doubt of their bravery.  By contrast we were all most envious to learn of their travels on the canals of France and of their stay on the Canal St. Martin in Paris, although it did look a little cold to see the boat covered in snow in the winter.  This was another excellent talk accompanied by photographs and our many thanks to to Mrs. Parnell.

Wednesday 12th October, 2011

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Jean-Pierre Courouble - L'angleterre - L'Ile aux Trésors

Monsieur Jean-Pierre Courouble presented some of the 'trésors' of his home town of Lille and then of the 'trésors' he had found when he married an Englishwoman and settled in Yorkshire.  Monsieur Courouble kept us excellently entertained and we were reminded of many of the things we have to be proud of in the UK and which we often forget.  The talk really was the 'salade composée' we had been promised.

Wednesday 14th September, 2011


Jeannette Short - Vous croyez parler français?

For this first meeting of the 2011/12 season, the speaker was one of our French members, Jeannette Short, whose talk was entitled 'You think you can speak French?'  With help from her husband, Bob, Mrs. Short gave a most entertaining presentation of French colloquial and idiomatic expressions, explaining not just their meanings, but also how they had come into existence.

Sunday 10th July, 2011


Annual Lunch

For the July meeting, members of both Huddersfield and Halifax French Circles remembered the French Revolution and the establishment of the République Français with a Sunday lunch at the Cedar Court Hotel in Huddersfield.

26th May, 2011


Cultural Outing - April in Paris

This year's June outing was brought forward to 26th May so that members could attend the Lawrence Batley theatre to see the  John Godber play 'April in Paris' about a couple ho unexpectedly win a holiday in Paris.  In the play Paris works its romantic magic on the couple and for the French circle members attending, the play rekindled their love of Paris and all things French.

11th May, 2011


Assemblée Annuelle, Vin et Fromage

At the of the Huddersfield French Circle, officers reported on a successsful year, not just financially but also in respect of attendance and quality of events.

4th May, 2011


Dîner Annuel

Members of Huddersfield French Cirle held their annual dinner at Bradley's Restaurant in Huddersfield.

This was an opportunity for members to get together in a social setting and enjoy each other's company at the same time as enjoying an excellent meal.  The conversation was a mixture of English and French with lots of discussion about lovely holidays spent in France and the differences between the English and French cultures.

13th April, 2011


Michael Brammah - La Sauvegarde de la Ville la Plus Ancienne du Monde

Michael Brammah is an international town planning consultnt.  His topic was the conservation of the city of Ebril in Iraq which claims to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world.

Illustrating his talk with a series of images, Mr. Brammah described how,under his guidance, a team of young architects and archaeologists from the Middle East are in the process of restoring the citadel with a view to applying for UNESCO World Heritage status.

9th March, 2011

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Mary Green - Variations sur le The1me de Manon Lescaut

A presentation was given by Mary Green on the variety of musical works which had been based on the theme of l'Histoire du Chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut'.  This novel by the 18th century French author Abbé Prévost has been made into an opera and a ballet by several composers.

Mary showed DVD excerpts from the opera 'Manon' by the French composer Jules Massenet and also explained the story and showed photos of the places which appear in the story. 

Wednesday 9th February, 2011


Une Vente aux Enchères et la Dégustation de Crèpês

An auction was held which raised £50 fro French Circle funds. Members brought items to be auctioned and auctioneer, Circle member Jeannette Short, conducted the sale in French.

The evening ended with a supper of crêpes and wine provided by members.


Wednesday 12th January, 2011


Présentation d'un film

Jeannette Short talked about one of her favourite films and showed extracts for us.

Wednesday 8th December, 2011


Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme

Directed by Doreen Priestley, members of the group acted out selected passages from this play.  This was followed by a Christmas flavoured supper

 10th November, 2010


Gillian Wilson - Shanghai

Gillian Wilson gave an illustrated talk abut her visit to Shanghai with her son.  Gillian who had been born in Shanghai had returned there particularly to visit the English and French enclaves which had previously existed there.

Wednesday 13th October, 2010


Jeannette Short - Ces Sacrés Français et Leur Cinéma

Classic films were in the spotlight when Jeannette Short spoke about the history of French cinema.  This included the early work of the Lumière Frères, the advent of talking films, through to the early sixties and present day.

Wednesday 8th September, 2010


Juliette Massin - Ses Pensées

Juliette Massin, a Frenchwoman and Postgraduate Student at Huddersfield University, spoke about the latest developments in French society.  These included the current controversy over proposals to raise the retirement age, and attempts to introduce new words in the language to stem the flow of English words.

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