About us


Alliance Française de Sydney

The Alliance Française de Sydney (AFS) is an independent, not-for-profit language and cultural organisation promoting Franco-Australian exchange. With 120 years’ experience in teaching French, the AFS offers a wide range of French courses, cultural events and services for all levels and ages at its CBD and Chatswood locations.

With an ambitious mission to spread the French language and culture well beyond the borders of France, it is one of 834 Alliances Françaises in 135 countries all over the world and the most highly regarded school for learning French in Sydney.

Since 1989, AFS has organised the annual Alliance Française French Film Festival (AFFFF). This prestigious festival has become a very important event in Australia with an exponential increase in attendees every year.

    Our Locations

    The CBD school is home to a media centre, conference room and French café, housed in an attractive building designed by the famed architect Harry Seidler between 2005 - 2009. Representing Seidler's final commercial comission before his passing, this project was realised thanks to the tenacity and vision of the Board, spearheaded by Joel Hakim and Bruce Bland. 

    AFS also offers French courses to North Sydneysiders with classes for kids at the Dougherty Community Centre in Chatswood.

    Our Mission and Values

    Our mission is to:

    To promote the learning and use of the French language in our state

    Enhance the knowledge of Francophone cultures

    Contribute to the cultural and linguistic diversity of Sydney

    Contribute to and be a part of the innovative network of Alliance Française branches around the world 


    We are driven by our values:

    The Alliance Française de Sydney embraces and promotes understanding of cultural diversity through its extensive range of events and experiences

    We collaborate closely with other organisations which share the traditional French values of ‘liberty, equality and fraternity’

    We are apolitical but steadfast in our desire to bring people together from all walks of life in a safe and respectful learning environment

    We respect our environment as protecting our planet is key to all our futures

    Our History

    For over 120 years, Alliance Française de Sydney has been working to fulfil its mission of promoting the French language and enhancing knowledge of Francophone cultures.

    1895

    The doors are opened

    Before opening its doors as a language centre, Alliance Française de Sydney opened as a Media Centre with 600 books donated by the Paris Committee Donation

    1899

    A focus on education

    The centre as we know it today first opened in this year, with a focus on education as opposed to cultural events. Georges Biard D’aunet was the first president of the Alliance. 


    1980

    The French Hub

    The Alliance shared a building at 2 Bond Street with FAACI and Le Courrier Australien, the French Consulate and the French Benevolent Society.

    1903

    A happy and dynamic era

    On 6 October, under Albert Pinard, the first social event took place: the Bal-Concersazione. French conversation evenings and recitals were also launched for AFS students.

    1915

    Period of Hibernation

    Following Germany's declaration of war, the Alliance returns to its state as a library, with the absence of so many members of Sydney's French families and disruptions to daily life.


    1916

    Relocation

    Due to "problèmes relationels", the Alliance moves to 36 Moore Street, on the corner of Castlereagh Street.


    1926

    The Inter-War Period

    The Alliance moves again to 42 Bridge Street, and remained here throughout the inter-war period. 


    1995-1996

    Cross Cultural Tension

    France restarts nuclear testing in the Pacific Ocean, much to Australia's displeasure. This causes some cross-cultural tension which is felt by the Alliance. 


    2005-2009

    Harry Seidler building

    The spiralling staircase which cascades toward the entrance foyer was the last commercial and public design by famed architect, Harry Seidler. Joel Hakkim and Bruce Bland lead this project.

    2020

    Transition to e-learning

    Over the period of a week, the Alliance develops and transitions to a remote learning model, as Sydney is plunged into lockdown in attempt to contain an outbreak of the coronavirus.

    Be a part of our history

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    Exterior of Alliance Francaise de Sydney Harry Seidler Building showing greenery Internal staircase of Alliance Francaise de Sydney Harry Seidler Building Internal shot of cafe at Alliance Francaise de Sydney Harry Seidler Building

    Acknowledgement of country

    We acknowledge the traditional owners of the country on which the Alliance Française de Sydney stands, the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay respect to elders, past, present and emerging.