Few Americans realize that French is spoken by 200 million people in 56 countries and that hundreds of French words like garage, lingerie, fiancée, entrepreneur, petite, ballet, rendez-vous and carte blanche have become part of the English language.

Every March, francophones – as French-speaking people call themselves — unite with Francophiles around the world for a celebration of their diverse cultures and shared language.

Atlanta’s Francophonie Festival 2011 offers a series of free and ticketed cultural events March 19 – 27 in Midtown and Buckhead.  This year’s highlights include storytellers, French-themed exhibitions, films, wine receptions and a gourmet brunch.

Highlights include:

  • An afternoon of storytelling on March 20 from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Atlanta International School with storytellers from Québec, Louisiana, Haïti and Burkina Faso performing raditional tales for all ages in French and English.
  • A private viewong the Toulouse-Lautrec and Henri Cartier-Bresson exhibitions at the High Museum with a wine reception and two films on March 24, starting at 6 p.m.
  • Films from Québec and France at the Alliance Française at Colony Square on March 26 from 6 to 10 p.m.

For details and tickets, visit www.francophonieatlanta.org.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.