Alliance Française

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Not to be confused with Foreign alliances of France.
Alliance Française
Founded 1883
Founder Louis Pasteur, Ferdinand de Lesseps, Jules Verne, Ernest Renan, Armand Colin
Type Cultural institution
Area served
Product French cultural and language education

The Alliance Française (French pronunciation: ​[aljɑ̃s fʁɑ̃sɛz], French Alliance), or AF, is an international organization that aims to promote French language and culture around the world. Created in Paris on 21 July 1883, its primary concern is teaching French as a second language and is headquartered in Paris.[1] In 2014, the Alliance has 850 centers in 137 countries, on all five continents.[2]


First publication of the Alliance française in 1884.
Alliance française Paris Ile-de-France
Alliance Française de Manille, the oldest branch in the Far East, existing as early as the 1920s.

The Alliance was created in Paris on 21 July 1883 by a group of eminent men, including the scientist Louis Pasteur, the diplomat Ferdinand de Lesseps, the writers Jules Verne and Ernest Renan, and the publisher Armand Colin.

It finances most of its activities from the fees it receives from its courses and from rental of its installations. The French government also provides a subsidy covering approximately five percent of its budget (nearly 665,000 in 2003)

More than 440,000 students learn French at one of the centres run by the Alliance, whose network of schools includes:

The organizations outside Paris are local, independently run franchises. Each has a committee and a president. The Alliance Française brand is owned by the Paris centre. In many countries, the Alliance Française of Paris is represented by a Délégué général. The French Government also runs 150 separate French Cultural Institutes that exist to promote French language and culture.[3]


In 2005, along with the Società Dante Alighieri, the British Council, the Goethe-Institut, the Instituto Cervantes, and the Instituto Camões, the Alliance française was awarded the Prince of Asturias Award for outstanding achievements in communications and the humanities.

By country[edit]



The Alliance Française Paris Ile-de-France is a Higher Private Education Institute. It is an association from the law 1901. Located in the heart of the capital, the Alliance Française Paris Ile-de-France is a genuine international meeting point where more than 11,000 students from 160 different countries come every year to learn French. It is also the oldest one since the school offers courses in Paris since 1894.

The 110 faculty teachers at the Alliance Française Paris Ile-de-France are all certified in teaching French as a foreign language.

Until 2007, the year of creation of the Alliance Française Foundation, the Alliance Française Paris Ile-de-France was called "the Paris Alliance Française".

It was divided into three branches: the International Relations (DRI), the School of Paris, and the Department of Human and Financial Resources (DRHF). In 2007, the DRI has become the Alliance Française Foundation, while the School and the DRHF became the Alliance Française Paris Ile-de-France.

Three conventions are now governing the relations between the Foundation and the Alliance Française Paris Ile-de-France:

  • a financial agreement: the Alliance Française Paris Ile-de-France supports the Foundation financially.
  • an agreement for the premises: the Paris Alliance Française donated its building in Boulevard Raspail to the Foundation at the time of the division in 2007
  • a teaching agreement: the Alliance Française Paris Ile-de-France supports the Alliances Françaises worldwide in their projects to professionalize their teaching and administrative staff. More than 40 missions per year are made abroad.

The Alliance Française Paris Ile-de-France works with Alliances Françaises from around the world, ministries, public bodies, and also large companies, supporting them in their desire to improve their command of the language in a professional environment.

It is also a training center for French language teachers. Each year, nearly 2,300 teachers across the world are trained on site or remotely, initial or continuing training.

It delivers specific diplomas for French teachers such as the ‘DAEFLE’ (Diplôme d'Aptitude à l'Enseignement du Français Langue Étrangère), created with the ‘CNED’ (National Center for Distance Education) or the ‘DPAFP – FLE’ (Diplôme Professionnel de l’Alliance Française Paris Ile-de-France en Français Langue Étrangère), which you obtain in five months after an initial training on site.

It also offers summer teaching courses for French teachers wishing to deepen and improve their knowledge. The Alliance Française Paris Ile-de-France has been awarded the FLE Quality Label, achieving top marks for each of the criteria studied by the auditors: welcome, quality of teaching, premises, school management.

It is also co-founder of ALTE (Association of Language Testers in Europe), an association that includes some of the most prestigious European institutions in the field of evaluation in foreign language.

Since 2010, it is the provider of the ‘OFII’ (French Office for Immigration and Integration) for language training of the signatories of the Contract Integration living in Paris.


Alliance Française in Mindelo, São Vicente Island, Cape Verde.


New building of the Alliance Française in La Paz, Bolivia
Alliance Française in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
  • Argentina there are 72 partnerships with 16,000 students forming a network is considered one of the largest and oldest in the world. In Rosario, Buenos Aires, Córdoba, Campana, Santa Fe, Mendoza.[10]
  • Bermuda has 1 Alliance Française.[11]
  • Bolivia has 5 Alliances Françaises in all the main centers of population: Cochabamba, La Paz, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Sucre, Tarija.[12]
  • Brazil There are 39 Alliance Française schools in Brazil, and 6 partner learning centres. Out of the federation's 26 states, only 7 have no schools ot learning centres. Alliance Française has been in the Brazilian educational scenario for over 125 years, since 1885.
  • Canada has 12 Alliances Françaises from coast to coast: Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto (one in Downtown and one in North York), Mississauga, Markham Ottawa, Moncton, Halifax.[13]
  • Colombia has more than 20 Alliances Françaises in 16 cities.[14]
  • Costa Rica has 3 Alliances Françaises, the first in Barrio Amón, in the East side of the capital San José and another two, one in La Sabana (West side of the capital) and also in Heredia, another province of Costa Rica.[15]
  • Dominica has 1 Alliance Française, in the capital city, Roseau.
  • Dominican Republic has 4 Alliance Françaises, one in the capital city, Santo Domingo, and others in Santiago, Mao and Monte Cristi.
  • Ecuador has 5 Alliances Françaises, located in the capital city of Quito and in the cities of Cuenca, Guayaquil, Loja and Portoviejo.[16]
  • El Salvador has 1 Alliance Française Centre in the capital city, San Salvador.[17]
  • Grenada has 1 Alliance Française in Saint George's
  • Honduras has 2 Alliance Françaises, one located in Tegucigalpa and the other in San Pedro Sula.
  • Mexico has 38 Alliance Française organizations throughout the country and 12 affiliated centers.[18]
  • Nicaragua has 3 Alliance Française Centre, in the capital city, Managua and others in León and Granada[19]
  • Panama has 1 Alliance Française organization.[20]
  • Paraguay has 2 Alliance Française organization throughout the country.[21]
  • Peru has 12 Alliance Française organizations, 6 in the capital city, Lima and others in Trujillo, Arequipa, Iquitos, Cusco, Piura, Huancayo and Iquitos.[22]
  • Puerto Rico has 1 Alliance Française, located in the capital city of San Juan.
  • Trinidad and Tobago has 1 main centre located in the capital city, Port of Spain, with additional classes on offer in San Fernando and Tobago.[23]
  • United States have 111 chapters in 45 states, including Alliance Française de Washington, Alliance Française de Chicago, and Alliance Française de San Francisco.[24]
  • Venezuela, has 12 Alliance Française, 5 in the capital city Caracas, and in several others states of Venezuela.

Asia and Oceania[edit]

The Médiathèque of the Alliance Française de Manille
An Alliance Française office in Astana, Kazakhstan.
Alliance Française de Taiwan


Alliance Française de Moldavie
  • Albania has four Alliance Française organization located in Tirana, Korça, Shkodra and Elbasan.[30]
  • Armenia has one Alliance Française organization located in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia.[31]
  • Croatia has one Alliance Française organization located in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia.[32]
  • Iceland has one Alliance Française organization located in Reykjavik.[33]
  • Ireland has six Alliance Française organizations. Dublin, the capital of Ireland, is home to the third largest Alliance in Europe.[34] There is also a location in Cork, Ireland's second city.[35] Alliance Française de Cork also organises the Cork French Film Festival.[36]
Other locations in Ireland include Galway, Kilkenny, Limerick and Waterford, which also has a branch in Wexford.[37][38][39][40]
  • Malta has one Alliance Francaise organization located in Floriana.[41]
  • Moldova has one Alliance Française organization located in Chişinău, the capital of Moldova.[42]
  • Romania has three Alliance Française organizations located in Braşov, Constanţa, Piteşti and Ploieşti.[43]
  • Spain has twenty Alliance Française organizations located all over the country, promoted by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in Spain.[44]
  • Turkey has one Alliance Française organization located in Adana.[45]
  • United Kingdom has eleven Alliance Française organizations. The first Alliance Française organization in the UK was located in London, which traces its roots back to 1884.[46] During WWII, the London location served as the international headquarters of Alliance Française when the Paris location was closed.[47]
Other locations in the British Isles include Bristol-Bath, Cambridge, Exeter, Glasgow, Jersey, Manchester, Milton-Keynes, Newscastle-upon-tyne, Oxford and York.[48]

Further reading[edit]

  • Bruézière, Maurice (author) L'Alliance Française, Histoire d'une Institution 1883-1983, 1983 Librairie Hachette, Paris. ISBN 2-01-009341-0.
  • Ürményházi, Attila J.(author) Un Centenaire de Rayonnement de la Culture Française (the abridged version of the AF's history to include Une Célébration de l'Alliance Française en Tasmanie), 2004. National Library of Australia, Canberra (Australian Collection) Np 943.9052 U77.