The Alliance Française de Bangalore – centre for culture and language

About 2 years ago, after landing in Bangalore, I decided it was high time I expanded my extra-curricular activities list since I had some time on my weekends. Learning a language had been on my list for a bit and I was short-listing my options. French was pretty much on the top of the list for no obvious reason though. I had these romantic notions of going to France and sitting at a roadside café and ordering coffee (in polished French, S’il vous plait!) at some point of time but I had no other reason.

Finally, after getting directions to the Alliance Française, I set off one day in an auto rickshaw. The building is easy to miss, situated as it is in the midst of a lot of greenery, trees and a large compound. After some navigation around that area, I saw the non-descript board announcing, ‘Alliance Française’ and stepped into the compound, immediately feeling at home.

Alliance Française de Bangalore

They had a course beginning in a week or two so I enrolled for the first level of French. It was June 2004. It’s been a long journey since then. And I still can’t claim to be good at the language after 2 years of battling through “verbes”, “pronom personnels”, “COD/COI”, “adjectifs”, tenses and other such confusing grammar of this frustrating but extremely beautiful language.

Besides my ongoing battle to master the language, one thing, I’ve enjoyed greatly is going to the campus every weekend. It’s something I look forward to with anticipation. It’s a small island of greenery, peace and quiet (not really when class is on!) in the otherwise busy Queen’s Road area. Whether it is the café or the lovely shaded walkway or the little nooks and corners where you can sit down and sip your tea, it’s a place that has almost become like a second home. And maybe that’s why, after 2 years, I am almost sad to let go. I have my finals of the last level of this journey this month end after which I have to decide whether I want to go on. Much will depend on whether I pass the level, of course.

Recently, the main building underwent a makeover. The cheerful red and white walls and the renovated lobby and the canteen, with the lovely cane chairs in the garden have given it a much more cheerful look. Walk into the Alliance and you’re likely to spend at least a few hours there. Rajan is usually there at the café (now called Café Libérté) with a smile. And the wonderful teachers who I’ve had the fortune of having at different levels (Rathika, David, Sandhya, Vidya) make our classes so vibrant and interesting.


Even if you’re not a student, you can walk in there and enjoy the lovely atmosphere of the place. The hallway usually has some exhibition or the other going on. The library is also open for non-students. And the café is open for everyone. Plays, music festivals, cultural events, dance, music and photography classes are held at the alliance almost every weekend. A must visit if you’re ever in and around that area!

Picture Album

4 Comments so far

  1. usha (unregistered) on June 12th, 2006 @ 12:14 pm

    Oh yes, coming to the AF on weekends is the bright spot of my week – in fact all the effort I put into learning the language is to make me worthy of visiting this place. Braving through an hour and half of traffic, I reach here in such low spirits and then voila, the mood changes – I realise that the destination is worth all the trouble. Thanks for capturing the magic through your lens ma Chere amie!

  2. Ravi (unregistered) on June 13th, 2006 @ 12:15 pm

    Sounds good. Looks equally good too. Will check it out one of these days! Thanks for the primer. Cheers.

  3. Thejesh GN (unregistered) on June 15th, 2006 @ 2:43 pm

    This weekend World Music Day 2007 is happening there. Its free and many great performers are part of it. Click on my name below to get more details.

  4. Amitabh (unregistered) on June 15th, 2006 @ 2:54 pm

    I am a student @ A.F. de Hyderabad. Thanks for the information. :)

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.