French & Francophone Studies

The Department of French and Francophone Studies unites superb teaching, scholarship, and thought leadership in the field, and has excellent study abroad opportunities.

The French language gave me an entrée into another culture. It allowed me to discover different means of expression, a different way of life, different values, a different system of thought. Because when you’re a judge and you spend your whole day in front of a computer screen, it’s important to be able to imagine what other people’s lives might be like, lives that your decisions will affect.

—U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer

Courses in the Department of French and Francophone Studies target fluency in the language of France and French-speaking countries and open doors to cultures that are rich in tradition and have pivotal roles to play in a rapidly diversifying Europe and a rapidly contracting world. With few exceptions, our courses, elementary to advanced, are taught in French. The subjects we teach in literature and culture span ten centuries, from the Middle Ages to the present. In addition to covering a broad cultural range, our courses are designed to help students develop a number of critical life skills—linguistic, analytical, interpretive, expressive, creative.

Our La Maison Française is a residence and a cultural center for the community of Wellesley and that of the Francophones of Boston. Fourteen students from Wellesley College and two students from the University of Aix-en-Provence live at the House each year. During the academic year, several conferences on various subjects are organized there.
Last, but by no means least, the department administers the Wellesley-in-Aix program for juniors in Aix-en-Provence, France, and motivated Wellesley students may start their fall semester early with our Bordeaux-Before-Aix programa three-week intensive language and culture course in August (by nomination only).