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House of France
Founded: 1935

House of France Cottage in Balboa Park


The House of France, formerly called the French Cottage, opened its doors after the 1935 exhibition. It moved to its present location in the 50s, where the space is shared with the House of the Philippines.  The House of France was a place where a lot of French War Brides gathered after World War II.  They could get together and while still speaking French could adjust to their new American life.  Today the House of France serves to give the opportunity to San Diegans and visitors to get a glance at the French culture and way of life.

Monthly Luncheon:
A group of people from the House of France and people interested in France meet every third Wednesday at 12:00 noon at the Bali Hai Restaurant, on Shelter Island for conversation and socializing.

Dances from Southern France

French Polynesian dances by the Kumu Kahne group


Lawn Program:
The annual lawn Program for the House of France, a.k.a. the French cottage or le cottage français, takes places in July to celebrate Bastille Day or le 14 juillet as the French call it.

Entertainment is provided by the different groups or individuals reflecting the French culture. We often have children from French immersion schools participate as well as from the House of France.  Typical French music is played as well as well known popular songs.

French Food:
The food that is traditionally served for the Ethnic Food Faire, the Lawn Program and the December Nights is cheese, madeleines, crêpes, onion soup as well as an assortment of French pastries (éclairs, mille-feuilles otherwise known in the US as Napoléon, fruit tarts, etc.)

Summer Picnic:
Every year in June and September the members of the House of France organize a picnic – location and dates vary and are announced in advance.



Parents and young children meet every 1st Sunday of the month to play and sing in French.

Christmas Party:
A Christmas Party takes place on a Saturday morning in December in the Hall of Nations.

Le Père Noël (Santa Claus) gives presents to the children who also enjoy the traditional “brioches” and mandarins given at Christmas time.

In the eastern region of France the Christmas celebration is on December 6th, la Saint Nicolas day, at which time the children receive their gifts.

French Coat of Arms

Rooster Gate at the Elysée Palace


The French Coat of Arms “The fleur de lys” was associated with the Royal Family, however this Coat of Arms is no longer used since France became a Republic. The new Coat of Arms for the Republic of France is now represented by “Marianne”, a woman. Her bust thrones in every French City Hall. Well known actresses like Brigitte Bardot and Catherine Deneuve modeled for the bust of Marianne.  Marianne also appears on postage stamps. She symbolizes the French Nation.

Another symbol, older but less important is the rooster.  Have you noticed that the House of France in Balboa Park has a rooster perched on the roof?  Look for it next time you are in the area. The Latin word “gallus” means both rooster (coq) and Gaulle.  The gate of the Elysée Palace in Paris also displays a rooster.

In France it is an accepted custom to wish somebody a Happy New year up until the end of January. Children usually receive money from relatives for the New Year (les Etrennes).

At Easter time, you won’t spot any Easter bunnies in France because over there the bells take care of the distribution of the chocolate goodies.

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Playing Petanque


Alliance Française de San Diego
The Alliance française is an international non-profit organization committed to promote French culture and friendship between nations.  It is partly funded by the French government. They offer various meetings on French Culture such as conferences and reading groups as well as socializing.
Web site: www.afsandiego.org
E-mail: bureau@afsandiego.org

Club de Pétanque
Pétanque is a popular game of boules in France.  To learn more about this game here in San Diego visit the
Web site: www.sandiegopetanque.com


Land Area: 545,630 sq km                              
Population:  60,876,136 (July 2007 est.)
Capital City: Paris                                        
Language:  French
Religion:  Roman Catholic 83%-88%, Protestant 2%, Jewish 1%, Muslim 5%-10%, unaffiliated 4%
Form of Government: Republic
Economy: France is in the midst of transition from a well-to-do modern economy that has featured extensive government ownership and intervention to one that relies more on market mechanisms.
Export: Machinery and transportation equipment, aircraft, plastics, chemicals, pharmaceutical products, iron and steel, beverages


Source: The World Factbook - France






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Lawn Program

Visit House of France
website for details.


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