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 Thursday from 3:30-5:30 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 the French House activities coordinator, Priscille Garnier (  

  • Movie Nights! Every Monday at 7 pm, the French House hosts the Ciné Club, a screening and 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 screening & discussion through our email listserv and our Facebook page.  To be added to the email listserv or for information, please contact the French House activities coordinator, Priscille Garnier ( 

For More Information

  • Check out the Maison's facebook page
  • For more information or other inquiries, please contact the French Houe director, Rachel Geer (

Interested in becoming a part of 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 2022-2023 year are due by November 1st. highly ranked candidates will be invited to attend a brief interview on Sunday, November 7th. 
  • For more information, please contact French House Director, Professor Rachel Geer:
  • Want to learn more? Come get to know us and find out more about la vie en français à la Maison!! Attend our annual Halloween Pause-Café and open house event on Thursday, October 28th from 3:30-5:30pm! Come meet current French House residents, carve a pumpkin, ask questions, and get a tour of the Maison! We look forward to meeting you!