Los Angeles is home to a large French and French-speaking expat population and long-term Angelinos. One has only to look at some of the great French restaurants around town to notice. Why not put the "LA" back into "C'est La Vie" with a little exploration of French culture in Los Angeles?
Whether you're looking to infuse your life with French culture, are learning French, are a French expat looking for a community or just love French food, LA beckons with many avenues through which to explore 'L.A. Vie en Rose.'
French Celebrations, Festivals and Seasonal Events in LA
Colcoa Film Festival
All of French LA finds a meeting spot in April during the Colcoa Film Festival. Taking place in the Directors Guild of America in West Hollywood, it includes awards screenings, free screenings, Happy Hour talks and a chance to win a trip to Paris.
Nothing says 'Vive la France' like Bastille Day or French Independence Day on July 14th. Angelinos celebrate with the Bastille Day Festival in Elysian Park. The annual family-friendly event features comedians, artists, street performers, wine and French food.
Ooh La L.A. Le Festival
This short September/October event honors French culture in LA--in this case, music. French indie pop, rock, and folk groups perform over several nights at this French music festival taking place at the the El Rey Theatre.
French Food in LA
Nothing evokes Champs Elysées memories and Provençal dreams like the rich and delicious foods of France, from escargots (snails) to coq au vin.
Restaurants like Figaro Bistrot in Los Feliz and The Little Door on Third Street are owned and manned by French expats and attract loads of Français in LA who know the difference.
Looking for a more intimate way to 'just say oui?' Consider dining in with some gourmet French meals, ready-to-heat and available at a Los Angeles Farmers Market near you. Saveurs is a local company, co-owned by a French chef, that lets you enjoy your favorite French food pre-prepared while leaving the cooking to them.
French Bookshops in LA
Since the closure of the Cité des Livres in Westwood, it's become more difficult to find French books in LA. The former was popular with students at the nearby Lycée Français de Los Angeles French school in West Los Angeles.
Local French Resources
A great way to get in touch with our local French community is to reach out to resources like the French Consulate of Los Angeles. They often host events that celebrate French culture in LA.
Similarly, the website Bonjour L.A. is a treasure trove of information for French-speaking Angelinos wishing to connect to their home culture.
Learn to Speak French in Los Angeles
The best way to delve into francophone LA is to take the big step and learn French or improve your existing understanding of the language. Personally, immersion courses and conversation-focused classes are my favorites.
The best place to start is at the Alliance Française de Los Angeles, which is located at 10390 Santa Monica Boulevard, Suite #120. They offer free placement tests and classes for adults, children and even pre-schoolers. Call 310-652-0306 for more info.
Take French Cooking Classes in LA
No one said it was easy. But you have to start somewhere...with your first soufflé (well maybe not in such an advanced direction). Cooking classes are a great way to learn about one of the most important facets of French culture on every level (via each ingredient).
Again, the French Consulate is a good resource for such things. But I also like to check out what's cooking at French restaurants in LA as some have weekend cooking workshops. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Laguna Beach teams up with Eno Wine Rooms for 'Eno-Versity' wine and cuisine classes covering different regions including France.
There's also, of course, always the professional route, if you want to make a career out of being a French chef. LA is home to a Cordon Bleu culinary academy and an École de Cuisine Los Angeles in Glendale.