Washington, DC is a lovely international city with large populations of diverse nationalities. One of my favorites, of course, is the French.
Reaching back into my family for any hint of French ancestry, I took the last name LaPorte and have been studying the language in an attempt to really be French. And so I thought I’d offer my favorite places to mix with the people, the culture, and the food.
1. Alliance Francaise: This cultural home away from home for those who speak French, whether they live here now or are just passing through, is one of the best places to interact with France. They provide language classes, host lecture and film series, throw happy hours and other parties, and even have a lending library. Check out their website for upcoming events and be sure to sign up for their eNewsletter.
2. Bistrot du Coin: This French-style cafe north of Dupont Circle has wonderful food, nice wine, and a friendly staff happy to oblige you when you want to practice ordering in French. Whatever the occasion, Bistrot du Coin provides the perfect backdrop. Check out their menus and more here.
3. Presse Bookstore: Tucked away in Georgetown is this small bookstore absolutely stuffed with books in French. They also host afternoon conversation groups to talk about the books. The woman who runs the store is incredibly knowledgeable and friendly, so settle in for a chat! More information here.
4. Cafe Bonaparte: Also in Georgetown, this is my favorite location for brunch. It is incredibly intimate (read: small) and fills up quickly. So go early or late and go hungry! Their crepes are what they are known for, be sure to sample both savory and sweet. Check out their website for the full menu.
5. DC French Meetup: This Meetup group is one of the most active French language groups in the area. The organizer, Phillipe, is so patient and cool and he always puts together fun things to do. The people who are involved love the language, and even if you’re a complete beginner, you will be welcomed and made to feel like every effort is heroic. Brush off your dictionary, join the group, and get ready to meet some really cool French speakers!