The French Connection

Guest Saucedier Annie Rose Favreau explores language tables at local bars.

By Annie Rose Favreau April 28, 2011

Courtesy of Steve Forney

A spectacular intern, Annie Rose, has gotten Sauced for me today (and in a foreign language, no less). Read on. -JV

You know those French classes you’ve been meaning to sign up for…forever? Put yourself out of your procrastination misery: practice your language skills in the comfort of your favorite sipping spot instead. For novice to native speakers, these three “language tables” furnish casual environments for free-flowing conversation.

Where & When: Café Presse, 4–6 every other Wednesday (call for dates)
What they’re Drinking: Miradou Côte de Provence Rosé
L’ambiance: For the true Francophile

Watch a European football match or buy a foreign-language magazine before settling into a seat at Seattle’s own slice of Paris, Café Presse. Established by co-owners Jim Drohman and Joanne Herron, the bi-monthly rendezvous always features a large group (15+): “It’s great because you don’t feel like you’re on show,” says Drohman, who participates regularly. Other perks? “The mix of people is really interesting—beginners, people who’ve lived in France, natives. All of them love France and the French language.”

Where & When: 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea, 7–9 every Tuesday
What they’re Drinking: Alamos Malbec
L’ambiance: For the casual conversationalist

If you’re looking for a more laidback tete-a-tete, head over to 15th avenue’s Starbucks-inspired café for tea, coffee, or a glass of wine. Organized by French on the Hill, this group encourages all ages and experience levels. Bonus: the frequent meetings (every week) makes improving your accent that much easier.

Where & When: Black Bottle, 7–9:30 once a month (check the World Affairs Council calendar for dates)
What they’re Drinking: Owen Roe Cabernet
L’ambiance: For the internationally-inclined

Started through the Young Professionals International Network, this group is seriously diverse: “Only about 20–30% are Americans,” says organizer Philippe Arida. The rest hail from France, Canada, Francophone Africa, Vietnam, Reunion, and elsewhere around the globe. Although aimed at mid-level to native speakers, Arida makes it clear that “Everyone’s welcome.”

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