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Maison Française

la maison fancaise

History of the Maison Française

Meeting of the Board of Visitors

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.

The history of la Maison Française is also narrated by Addison Patrick in the following movie.


  • Time to talk! Join us for the Pause Café every Wednesday from 4-5 pm and Thursday from 3:30-4:30 pm for fun, informal conversations in French!  All levels are welcome!  Don't miss this opportunity to practice your conversational French!  For more information, check us out on Instagram or email the French House activities coordinator, François Namur (   

  • Movie Nights! Every Thursday 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.  Weekly film selections are announced through our email listserv and on Instagram.  To be added to the email listserv or to receive more information, please contact the French House activities coordinator, François Namur (   


  • For more information or other inquiries, please contact the French House director, Rachel Geer (  


  • 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 2023-2024 year are due by November 1st. Highly ranked candidates will be invited to attend a brief interview on Saturday, November 5th and Sunday, November 6th.  

  • For more information about applying to live at the French House, 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!! In the fall of 2022, we are hosting several events for students interested in applying.  We look forward to meeting you soon! 

  • Thursday, October 20th: French House Tour & Information Session.  Come meet Professor Geer during the Pause Café, ask questions about applying, and tour the inside of the French House! 

  • Thursday, October 27th: Open house party!  Come join us for our festive open house party! From 4-5 pm we’ll be hosting a free concert by Parisian experimental jazz quintet Ozma.  Then from 5-6 pm, prospective students are invited to meet current French House residents, ask questions, and see a sampling of the unique and beautiful dorm rooms at the French House!   

  • Friday, October 28th: UVa Alumni Q&A session + cheese tasting!  The French House will host a UVa Alumni Q&A session with Mary Sue Fields, Career Foreign Service Officer with the State Department.  Cheese tasting to follow!  Parents are welcome to attend.  Also on Friday 10/28, you can come find our table at the On-grounds Housing Fair from 11:30-4 pm in Newcomb Hall.