Maison Française


History of the Maison Française

At a meeting of the Board of Visitors held in Charlottesville on October 7, 1817, Thomas Jefferson wrote that he desired a French-speaking boarding facility at the University of Virginia "wherein it is proposed that the boarders shall be permitted to speak French only, with a view to their becoming familiarized to conversation in that language." In 1985, his desire came to fruition. The Maison Française, built in 1896 by Dr. Paul Barringer and located at 1404 Jefferson Park Avenue, is a prime example of the Queen Anne style of  architecture. The mansion was renovated in 1984 and opened its doors to the first generation of French-speaking students in the Fall of 1985. It is both a residential house and a center for French cultural life at the University of Virginia. Students, faculty and members of the community all play an important role in fostering the unique cultural and educational atmosphere of the Maison Française. 

Weekly Activities at the Maison

  • Time to talk! Join us on Zoom for the Pause Café every Tuesday from 5-6 pm and every Thursday from 3-4 pm for fun, informal conversations in French!  All levels are welcome!  Don't miss this opportunity to practice your conversational French!  For more information, please see our Facebook page  or email
  • Movie Nights! Every Monday at 7 pm, the French House hosts an informal discussion of a selected film from the Francophone world!  Discover exciting new films and revisit some of the classics.  Film selections are announced one week in advance of the Monday evening discussion and are generally available to stream for free online.  All are welcome to join the Ciné Club on Zoom at 7 pm on Mondays to chat about that week's selected film!  For more information, please see our Facebook page or email Nights!  Every Wednesday at 7 pm, there will be a screening of a recent French Film.  Are all welcome. 

For More Information

Interested in becoming a part of the the French House community?

  • Apply to live at the French House!  The French House is open to all second, third, and fourth year students who are interested in becoming part of an academic living-learning community with a strong emphasis on French-language immersion.
  • Interested students may apply through the Housing and Residence Life website.  Applications for the following academic year are generally accepted through late October.  Application dates for the 2021-2022 are due by, Thursday, January 28, 2021 at noon.
  • For more information, please contact French House Director, Professor Rachel Geer:
  • Want to learn more?  Attend a virtual open house event for the French House on Monday, January 25th from 7:30-8:30 pm!  This event will be hosted by French House director Professor Geer as well as students currently living in the French House.  Come get to know us and find out more about la vie en français à la Maison!!  For the zoom link and password, please email Professor Geer (