The society was formed three years after the end of the Second World War, under the leadership of Trixie Ford, a former chauffeur for Charles de Gaulle, and met at the Great Western Railway Restaurant above Newport station. The specific aim was to increase the understanding of France and the French at the cultural and linguistic level. A former president, Mr Graham Davies, was created a Knight of the Ordre des Palmes Académiques for his work. Mrs Joan Edwards and Dr Meagan McConnachie have been presented with the médaille Belmondo by the Alliance Française in recognition of their hard work, enthusiasm and passion for French language and culture. The medal was designed by the French sculptor Paul Belmondo (1898-1982) and minted by the Monnaie nationale.
The society consists of native French speakers and local people who are interested in France. Standards of French range from very basic to fluent but we are all united by our love of France, its language and its culture.
At our first meeting of the year a presentation is made, usually by either the French Consul or the mayor or his deputy, to the student from a Newport school who has obtained the highest mark in the WJEC Advanced Level Examination in French. In 2011 the award was increased to £300 thanks to a generous donation from the family of Dr Megan McConnachie in memory of their mother. Dr Megan McConnachie was a former President of the Society and an Honorary Vice-President for life. The award will now be known as the Megan McConnachie Award for Excellence in French.
On several occasions we have given books in French to Newport Library.
Subjects covered in our lectures include history, literature, art and crafts, regions of France, current affairs and topics of linguistic interest. The Alliance Française which has similar aims to the British Council working overseas, funds talks given by their lecturers. Trips to exhibitions of French art are frequently organised.
Présentation de la Bourse à Elizabeth John par Deputy Mayor Cllr Charles Ferris 2019
Bourse 2017. Rhys Batty was unable to attend but his grandparents and his French teachers were there to represent him.
Lily Roberts with her teachers after presentation of Bourse by the Mayor of Newport , Councillor Atwell, September 2016