We love our members! In fact, we love them so much that we want you to get to know them and share in our community. In this series, Member Spotlight, the French Cultural Center introduces you to a member via our blog. This edition we are featuring Judith Solar, a member who loves the unique speakers the Center features, as well as the film collection at the library! Read on to learn more about Judith...

"The film collection at the French Cultural Center right now is outstanding, and I cannot imagine a better selection of French films at universities and large libraries. "

What is your connection to the French language and/or francophone culture?

Destiny rekindled my interest in French and my association with the French Cultural Center. In 1973, my husband and I, through the Harvard Host Family International program, received a young French judge, studying for an advanced degree at Harvard Law School. (The judge, Dominique Hascher, now serves on the Cour de Cassation.) We began visits to France every year, along with my attempts at speaking French, and our making other friends in Paris. On a visit to Chareau’s Maison de Verre, our guide, Philippe Fouquey, an architect and cousin of the original owners of the house, Annie and Jean D’Alsace, invited us to his home to meet his wife, Claudine. We became life-long friends with Philippe and Claudine, and their apartment inspired us to move from Lincoln into Boston in 2002.

Why did you decide to become a member of the French Cultural Center?

Of all the buildings in Boston, we bought an apartment on the corner of Beacon and Clarendon Street, a two-minute walk to the French Cultural Center, where I had begun borrowing films. It was closer to walk between my home and the Center than between my classroom and the auditorium at Dana Hall, the school where I taught English all those years.

What do you like about being a member at the Center? Do you have any favorite classes or events that you have participated in?

The most inspiring part of the French Cultural Center for me has been to hear unforgettable speakers, such as Bernard-Henri Lévy, who spoke to a standing-room only crowd at the church across the street; Stéphane Gerson, charismatic professor of French and History at NYU, presenting his new English edition of Patrick Boucheron’s avant-garde France in the World: A New Global History; and Laure Hériard Dubreuil, founder of the Webster boutique in Miami, now one of her chain of six boutiques in the United States. Thank you to all at the Center who have created these and many other fabulous programs.

The film collection at the French Cultural Center right now is outstanding, and I cannot imagine a better selection of French films at universities and large libraries.  Ingrid Marquardt, head of the library, and her associate Elizabeth Taft, have infinite creativity and patience. I also love the Ciné-Club de l’Alliance. The French Cultural Center, my inspiring neighbor, offers wonderful new opportunities all the time. Just this week, I took part, for the first time, in the afternoon and evening programs of Alors,  a monthly conversation group for members. Ingrid, Elizabeth, and Natalie Collet, head of membership, are party planners as creative as those at le Palais de l’Elysée!

If you could travel to any Francophone country, what would it be and why?

Paris is my favorite city in the world and I hope that I will be able to visit it often for the rest of my life. I recently enjoyed a trip to Morocco and would like to visit Algeria soon.

Interested in sharing your story or becoming a member?

Contact our Membership Manager, Natalie Collet, at or call (617) 912-0400.

Natalie Collet

Membership Manager

From the Midwest, Natalie is a Francophile at heart. Her interest in French started when studying ballet and​ the language and culture entranced her through her student years.​ She became involved with the - Alliance - in the suburbs of Chicago after she spent an unforgettable year teaching English in a French high school near Bordeaux. She is happy to join the team in Boston and work with the members to provide them with unique opportunities​, ​quality programming​, and a community through French!

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