Specific Community Interest

Alliance Française Melbourne

alliance francaise melbourne john myriam willy foundation

Alliance Française




What is the Alliance Française?

Française means ‘French’, of course.

Alliance refers to a relationship between people or groups with a common aim.

The first Alliance Française institution in Australia was founded in Melbourne in 1890 by French artist and educator, Berthe Mouchette. Its mission is to engage Victorians with French language and culture. People can enrol in language classes, borrow books, watch films, listen to music and much more… It provides opportunities for friends of French language and culture to come together in a welcoming and inclusive environment. The Alliance Française’s rich pallet of cultural activities among which the Berthe Mouchette Competition has made it an integral part of Melbourne life.

What is the Berthe Mouchette Competition all about?

Reciting poetry…

For centuries students in France have been reciting poetry off by heart and the Berthe Mouchette Competition aims to keep this tradition alive in Victorian schools. Currently, year 3 -12 students from more than 125 metropolitan and regional schools participate. Each year, the competition pays tribute to a well-known French poet and the selected poems focus on a theme. The students have a wide range of classical and contemporary poems to choose from. From 15 000 participants, 1200 go through to the finals. The 100 students judged as best receive their much-coveted awards at an official ceremony held each November.

…and other things

The competition offers various other activities to provide opportunities for students who are truly passionate about and dedicated to all things French. There is a drawing competition for primary school students, written and oral examinations for VCE students and, for bilingual students, even a poetry writing competition!