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History of the Alliance Française

Initiated by geographer Pierre Foncin and diplomat Paul Cambon, the Alliance Française association was established in Paris on July 21, 1883. From the beginning many influential figures such as Jules Verne, Louis Pasteur, Jean Jaurès, Armand Colin made a commitment by joining the Alliance Française Committee.

In 1896, the new born Association is qualified of “public utility”.

By the 1890’s, many Alliance Francaises have already been created, in America, Africa, Asia, Oceania: Mauritius in 1884, Mexico in 1885, Rio de Janeiro in 1886, Melbourne in 1890…

The Alliance Française, from its very beginnings, adopts three main principles:

  • It is a non-governmental, independant organization
  • Culture and cultural exchanges among the peoples are preferable to conflict and war
  • Every Alliance Française in the world is a local right association : all Alliances Francaises are “free associations of free men and women”

In 2013, The Alliance Française celebrated its 130th birthday. A book was published on that occasion, retracing all of this long history. You can consult this book at the Alliance Française of Taiwan Media library (in Taipei and in Kaohsiung).


The Alliance Française Foundation:

Created on July 26th 2007 in Paris, the Foundation is the mothership of all Alliances in the world. It coordinates their action, and is their moral and legal reference. When a new Alliance is born, it has to be approved by the Foundation. When it wishes to expand, the Foundation helps it. When it needs training, logistic support, technical  help, cultural programmes… the Foundation supports it.

Today, the Foundation supervises an international and unique network of 1 040 Alliances françaises, established in 136 countries, attended by around 500 000 students.