The Alliance Française in Charlottesville is a non-profit cultural center and language institute.

Our mission is to promote and share French language and culture for the enrichment and enjoyment of the greater Charlottesville community. We encourage cross-cultural dialogue by fostering community for people of all ages and walks of life with a shared interest in French language and culture. 

The Alliance Française of Charlottesville began in 1992, dedicated to promoting French language and culture. Come and join us if you want to speak French, learn French, or just soak up French Culture, right here in Charlottesville! The Alliance Française in Charlottesville is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and is not an agency of the French government. Your membership and donations are tax-deductible.

Our IRS Form 990 is available at guidestar.org




Since its creation in Paris in 1883, the Alliance Française has spread worldwide to offer cultural centers and a social forum for people interested in French culture and language. It is the largest cultural network in the world promoting French language and culture on 5 continents. Today Alliance Française is regarded as a standard that represents the highest quality for teaching French as a Foreign Language (FLE).

The Alliance Française, founded in the late 1800s in Paris, currently has over 800 chapters in more than 130 countries. Worldwide, over half a million students take classes at the Alliance Française. The Alliance Française network in the United States has more chapters than any other country in the world. The U.S. network currently boasts well over a hundred chapters, and nearly three-quarters of those offer French classes to the public. Annually, as many as 25,000 students enroll in classes at Alliance chapters in the United States.




We are proud to have a dedicated and talented staff, all with extensive knowledge in French instruction and a passion for our mission!



Head Teacher - adult classes

Claude has been on the teaching staff of the Alliance Francaise Charlottesville since 2007 and is our Head Teacher. A native of France, Claude earned a Diplômes d’Etudes Supérieures in English from the Sorbonne in Paris. She came to the US as a Junior Instructor at UVA where she obtained a Masters Degree in French while teaching all levels of undergraduate French courses at the university. She taught at St Anne’s Belfield where she headed the Language Department. She also taught at Western Albermale High School several levels of French including AP classes. 



Head Teacher - KIDS & TEENS classes

Michelle has a B.A. in French from UVA and a Masters in Teaching from UVA's Curry School of Education. She worked at EuroDisney in Paris the year it opened and then pursued a career in high school teaching at Charlottesville High School, where she taught taught levels 1 – 5AP. Michelle assisted in creating an online French language and culture learning program for Marines who will go to Senegal to serve. Michelle is the After School Coordinator for the AFC and teaches French to grades 1-5 in the After School program at Hollymead Elementary School, Baker-Butler, and Sutherland Middle School.



Sally graduated from Mary Washington College (now University) with a BA in French.  She spent a summer abroad studying French at the Université de Dijon in Dijon, France.  Her personal motivation for learning French has been to communicate with her Belgian family. 

Earlier in her teaching career, Sally was hired by the Fredericksburg City Public Schools to design and implement a French language program in the elementary school.  She also helped develop the K-12 language curriculum for the city wide school system.  More recently, she has been teaching French I-IV in the homeschool community and has taught French at Light Academy in Palmyra, VA.

Here at the AFC, Sally is delighted to be sharing her love of the French language and culture as she teaches beginning French.  She also teaches in the After-school program in area elementary schools.



Pascale was born and raised in Nantes, in the southern part of beautiful Brittany, France. She earned a “Licence” (B.A.) and a “Maitrise” (M.A.) in English from l'Université de Nantes. After marrying her husband, she moved to Charlottesville in 1988 where she earned a Masters and a Ph.D in French language and civilization from the University of Virginia. She has been teaching her native language for over 25 years, at UVA, in Madison county, where she taught French and Latin at the middle school, at Speak! Language Center as well as at Alliance Française.
Pascale is currently a lecturer in the French department at UVA, and teaches at Speak! as well as at AFC. 

Her other interests are playing tennis, skiing, traveling, reading, cooking, singing and sharing exciting cultural experiences with people around town.



Though having had a Parisian mother, Lisa did not actually learn the language until college when she spent her junior year in Paris, studying at La Sorbonne and Sciences Po.  She graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a BA in French and passed on her love of the language and Paris to her husband.  

Lisa has homeschooled her 3 children and taught art to 5-6 graders at a local coop.  She loves to make learning 'hands on' and to encourage children's love of knowledge.  In her spare time she hosts international students, hikes, teaches swimming and trains for triathlons.


The AFC is fortunate to have a talented and eclectic group of dedicated Board Members, each of them bringing something unique to the table. They generously give of their time, expertise, and money for the benefit of our organization.  We couldn't exist without them!




J. Ridgely Porter III is an attorney and a former partner with the firm of Carr and Porter, with practice areas in real estate, maritime and international law. He is a former President of Virginia International Terminals, a former Chairman of Chesapeake Hospital Authority,and a former President and current Director of the National Society of  the James Madison Family Descendants. He serves on the Governing Council of the Miller Center of the University of Virginia and the Board of the Boy's and Girl's Club. Mr. Porter received his BA (History) from the University of Virginia and his JD from Washington and Lee University. He has been a member of the Alliance Francaise de Charlottesville since 2007.




During a junior year abroad in London, Elizabeth had the opportunity to travel extensively in Europe. She visited France and fell in love with its language and lifestyle. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications-Rhetoric from the University of Pittsburgh in 1997, she immediately flew back and stayed for over a year in Nice, where she absorbed the culture, and learned how to speak French. It was there that she developed an appreciation for wine and its meaningful place at table. Upon her return to the States, she began a career in wine wholesale and importation. She spent 6 years with The Country Vintner, in Out-Sales, then in Brand Management & Development, and she served as the Assistant Director of Operations with Williams Corner Wine, a boutique and local operation that specializes in natural and biodynamic wines from Europe. Currently, Elizabeth is the Business Manager for Michael Shaps Winery Management Group, which consists of Michael Shaps Wineworks, a farm winery and custom winemaking facility, Vineyard Management Services, which maintains and maximizes strategic vineyard sites in Virginia, and Kenahora Wine Company, a small importer, focused on wine from France. Elizabeth adores entertaining and sharing her French-inspired affection for spending hours around a dinner table, eating, drinking and enjoying thoughtful conversation.




John Vernon worked for 21 years in United Technologies Corporation until his retirement from the company in 2013, most recently serving as Vice President and General Manager, Global Fire Suppression for United Technologies Climate, Controls, and Security, located in Ashland, Massachusetts. Before this, John served as the Managing Director of UTC Fire and Security Distribution France, where he led a challenging consolidation of French fire businesses into a single entity. For 18 years prior, John held posts of increasing responsibility in United Technologies’ Carrier air conditioning division. In 2007-09, John was the President, Residential Light Commercial International for Europe, Middle East, and Africa, based in Paris, France, where he managed multiple subsidiaries and partnerships and where he previously served as Vice-President of Distribution. Before transferring to France, John spent eight years in the Asia Pacific region, serving as Executive Vice President in the Toshiba Carrier Corporation Japan and as the Managing Director of the Toshiba Carrier Thailand factory, located in Pathum Thani, Thailand. He has held a variety of functional and management positions at Carrier locations in Brunei, California, New York, Italy, and Japan. John joined United Technologies in 1991 through the Carrier Leadership Associates Program. He holds a bachelor’s degree in History and Economics from University of Virginia, a master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Chicago, and an MBA and master’s degree in Asian Studies from the University of Virginia. He also served for four years on Darden Graduate School of Business Corporate Advisory Board at the University of Virginia.





Nicole Kardell is an attorney for the Washington D.C.-based firm, Ifrah Law. While she travels regularly to D.C. for her practice, Charlottesville is home, where she is raising her daughter on her family’s farm. Before returning permanently to Charlottesville, Nicole practiced law for large law firms in New York and Washington. She earned both her BA and her juris doctorate from the University of Virginia.

French language and culture have been an important part of Nicole’s life since childhood. She began her exploration of French language in middle school and continued her education through college, living at La Maison Française while an undergraduate, and spending her third year of college abroad in Paris. She also interned for a law firm in Paris while in law school and has had the opportunity to travel periodically to Paris for work. She hopes to make travel to France an annual tradition for her and her daughter. Nicole has been a member of the Alliance Française since 2014.





Bruce received a BS from Wake Forest College and then an MD from U.Va. in 1970. He did his residency in ophthalmology at U.Va. and then a fellowship in pediatric ophthalmology at the Childrens’ Hospital of Pittsburgh. He has been in private practice in Charlottesville since 1977. 

He has served on the vestry of All Saints Anglican Church, the Board of Directors of the Virginia Society of Opthalmology (president for three years) and has been on the Alliance Francaise de Charlottesville Board since 2007. He served as President for 2 years.





A native of France, Anne Burroughs moved to the US in 1990 in search of adventure, was naturalized at Monticello in 2012, and now considers herself a “French Virginian”, having lived in Charlottesville since 2000. Her husband Jim is a professor at the University of Virginia and together they have two teenage sons. A passionate home cook, Anne studied at the Cordon Bleu in Paris during an 8-month sabbatical that took her whole family to France in 2011.

After years in marketing and advertising, Anne switched to the non-profit sector and worked as the Director of Admissions and Marketing for the International School of Charlottesville from 2005 to 2010, serving as interim director of the school in 2006-2007. She has taught middle school French and tutored at all levels. She is now a residential realtor with Montague Miller & Co. 





Editor and Art Director of "La Belle France: The Sophisticated Guide to France" from its inception until 2004, personally reviewing upscale travel throughout France focusing primarily on the chefs, restaurants, and lodging.

Originally from Nashville,  Barbara went to NYC after college at Hollins University and lived in NY over ten years where she was with Ford Models doing  television commercials and print photography before moving to Charlottesville.  After relocating to Charlottesville, she published monthly travel newsletters: "La Belle France: The Sophisticated Guide to France"... and also:  "Golf Travel" - covering golf destinations around the world. She has numerous local interests including the Paramount Theater, the Charlottesville Garden Club, and the Virginia Film Festival. Although she has traveled a great deal throughout France, she has never lived there and does hope to one day spend an extended period of time in France.  She truly adores French values and lifestyle!





Majida Bargach was born and raised in Morocco. She obtained her education abroad, at the University of Bordeaux-Montesquieu, France (Law and Economics for undergrad and Political science for graduate studies). She taught at Bordeaux University from 1987 to 1993 and again from 2004 to 2009  a week long seminar for their Masters in Political Science.

Bargach immigrated with her family to the US in 2000. She has served at UVa in multiple positions. In Spring 2001, she started teaching at UVa both French and Arabic before accepting a full time lectureship position in the French Department. In 2002, she launched the UVa study abroad program in Morocco, which she still runs every summer.  She was hired in June 2009 as Associate Director of the Center for International Studies and in May 2012 as Interim Director. In the summer of 2009 she served as interport Lecturer with Semester at Sea from Alexandria, Egypt, to Casablanca, Morocco, in 2012 from Istanbul, Turkey, to Casablanca and 2013 from Ghana to Casablanca. Since December 2013 she serves as inaugural Director of Global Internships and Special Projects. She is currently also serving as Board member of the Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies in Washington, DC.





Gail Babnew was born in Washington, D.C. and spent her childhood in Middleburg, VA. She attended Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA where she received a BFA in Interior Design.  Gail became a licensed architect in CA in 1981, and was the first female architect to become an Associate Partner of The Luckman Partnership, Charles Luckman’s international architectural firm. While working full time for Luckman, she enrolled in UCLA’s Executive MBA Program in 1982, earning her MBA in 1984.  In 1987, Gail left L&H to form her own real estate development firm, establishing a partnership known as KBL Associates with projects in Beverly Hills and Santa Monica, CA.Gail is President of the Babnew Corporation which manages equities and she assists her husband, Joel, in their real estate business located in Los Angeles. 

She is a licensed real estate broker in the State of California, a member of the American Institute of Architects, and a member of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards. She is a Director on the National Society of Madison Family Descendants Board, serves on the Board of the Boys & Girls Club of Orange, and is a member of the Dolley Madison Garden Club.Gail and her husband, Joel, own Springfield Farm in Gordonsville, Virginia where they are now full time residents.





An architectural historian, Roulhac earned her BFA from Tulane but also studied at the University of Madrid. 

She has published biographies, art history and architecture books. Active in the historical preservation of New Orleans, she has served on several non-profit boards and CODOFIL in Louisiana. 

She is a long-time supporter and Board Member of the Alliance Francaise de Charlottesville.





Jean Howell was born in Virginia, and graduated from Sarah Lawrence College, majoring in history. She then spent most of her adult life in the NYC area, building a career and, with her husband, rearing a family.  They returned to Virginia in the late ’80s, living first in Bluemont, then in Bath County, Virginia on a farm on the Cowpasture River.  Almost three years ago, she relocated to Charlottesville.
Her professional background was in business, focusing on sales and marketing in several industries. Prior to retirement, for twenty years, she was president and owner of an executive search firm, with a specialization in global strategic sourcing.  Jean’s experience outside of her business career includes broad non-profit board experience, serving in several officer positions, including - President, Vice President, Garth Newel Music Center; President, Vice President, Alleghany Highlands Free Clinic; and various other organizational leadership positions.

A lover of travel, and all things French, she spends several weeks to several months each year in Paris and other locations in France.



Ruth Pineo

Claire Beardsley



Ariane Bailey Hiribarne- Served 5 years on the Board, including 4 as Vice President. 

Ann Bearden - Served 4 years on Board, including as Secretary

Ann Ferré - Board member between 2001–2016. Anne joined the Alliance Française Charlottesville in 1998 and has been an active supporter ever since!

Marijke Ford - Board President from 2006–2011

Yates Nobles - Served 8 years on the Board, including as President and Secretary