Meet Alliance Française of Calgary

Meet Alliance Française of Calgary

As any artist who has ever dreamed of moving to Montreal can attest, Canada’s second language, French, is alive and well.  According to a 2014 article from Forbes which dubs French the “language of the future”, French could even overtake English for world speakers by 2050. Now just might be the time to learn and future cSPACE Marda Loop tenant Alliance Française Calgary has you covered!

AFC will activate French language and culture at cSPACE Marda Loop through a media library, host over 1,000 language students a year in their dedicated classroom space, and utilize the event spaces to showcase French culture through art, film screenings, theatre and music performances, literary readings, presentations on gastronomy, contemporary affairs, and more. AFC was chosen in part as a fit for cSPACE Marda Loop for their community and artist minded partnerships, actively organizing and partnering with over 50 cultural and arts events a year.

We spoke with Executive Director Jean-Baptiste Roux to learn more about what Alliance Française has to offer the Marda Loop community.

What makes AFC different from other language centers in Calgary?  What is your approach to teaching language?

The AFC is a non-profit association that provides a complete Francophone experience–from teaching French to exposing students and the public to the richness and diversity of different Francophone cultures. As a member of the international network of the Alliance Francaise, the AFC is the only French language training school in the city to benefit from worldwide recognition and official accreditation by the government of France. Home to the largest all-French media library in Alberta and host of more than 70 cultural events per year, the AFC is truly the best place in Calgary to experience a French connection.

For all ages and levels, there is a great variety of courses including standard, grammar, conversation, and literary study. You can take it slowly or study intensively. Our teaching philosophy is in line with the CEFRL (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages,), a modern method of learning, teaching and assessing with an action-oriented approach. Our 16 teachers are all driven by the passion of the French language and are all experienced and certified French as a Second Language teachers.  The intertwining of language study and cultural exposure enhances the learning experience.

Café-croissant goers enjoy the ultimate French pastry and get to know the AFC.

AFC was selected as a cSPACE Marda Loop tenant in part for how actively the organization supports the arts in Calgary- tell us a little more about the past french language activities you have supported.

The AFC values being an active member of the local cultural community and we partner with and support on many different levels both francophone and broader community events and organizations.  Some of these include: La Cité des Rocheuses, the ACFA (Francophone Association), Franco Fest, Dîner en blanc, Wordfest, Calgary International Film Festival, Calgary European Film Festival, Theatre Junction, and Global Fest.

Party goers sample the fine wine offerings at Soirée Bretagne

You hold many varied events where people can conversationally speak French outside of a classroom session.  Tell us about some of your popular events and favourite past experiences…and please provide a suggestion to entice first time attendees!

Pub nights are a very popular and relaxing opportunity to come out but our French movie evenings and theme evenings when we explore different regions of France such as Provence or Brittany, or French holidays are also very well-attended.  It is hard to choose a favourite event since we really enjoy them all.  Hiking, concerts, readings, wine and cheese, book clubs – there really is something for all interests.

For first-timers, no matter if you are a complete newcomer to French language and culture or an experienced speaker or traveler, come by the centre for a look around the media library and enjoy a coffee.  Or jump in a little deeper and come to a Saturday Cafe Croissant or one of our theme evenings–you’ll see how wonderful and warm the atmosphere is.

AFC members practice their conversational French on a Hike in French event.

With over 1,000 students a year, French language is alive and well in Calgary – who are your members and why are people interested in increasing their French language capabilities?

We have a very diverse membership from children to retirees, arm-chair travellers to jet-setters, students to government employees, culture-lovers to grammar fiends.  But despite their diverse backgrounds and reasons for coming to the AFC – be those work needs, study opportunities, a new challenge – or refreshment of a rusty skill, our students all share an interest for learning something new and a curiosity for other cultures.

Wine and cheese spread for party goers at Soirée Bretagne

We are excited about the prospect of being part of the cSPACE community and believe the Marda Loop space will help us attract new members and provide us with an engaging long-term home. We will, of course, continue to offer many options to study French and we plan to expand our cultural programming.

Learn more about AFC at, and visit them at cSPACE Marda Loop in 2017!