Meet your Neighbors: Zoe Hess and the Alliance Française

Parlez Vous Français, Lowry? Want to?

In Lowry, the Alliance Française School has moved. It’s in the parking lot across from Colorado Free University and south of Montclair International School, 7701 E. 1st Place. There you can sign up for classes in conversation, grammar, travel French, and cultural classes. These classes are fun, work well with seniors and younger students’ schedules, and can take you from “I’ve always wanted to improve  my French” to “Wow, your French is super fluent now!”

Alliance Francaise is one of the oldest non-profit organizations in Denver, founded in 1897. Through the years they’ve moved around but a building collapse in their last location on 6th brought them out to Lowry to have classes in the Montclair International School – and now they’re in their new location with plenty of parking and classroom space. Walking down the hall, voices are buzzing with the lilting French words and phrases floating out the door. Music is playing in another room while timid voices try to compete with French singers. Joy is everywhere. Oh, I should say “la joie.”

Executive Director Zoe Hess moved to Denver three years ago from Belgium and is happy to be living in Lowry and working with adults and younger students. The school promotes engagement, gentle learning and correction by native speakers. Her experience teaching in France and in the U.S. blends nicely with students no matter their age.

The online classes reach out to students across the U.S., and some in-class learning sessions also have students participating from all over the country. It is estimated that more than 275 million people speak French and by 2050, it is estimated to be one of the most spoken language in the world.

Here in Lowry the sparkling faces on the screen show students struggling for a verb, being encouraged  to work it out, and finishing their thoughts. One young woman takes the class in her car. “I can focus better without the kids interrupting me,” she says holding her phone transmitting the class. Modern technology really helps in educating students of all ages. And the joy in hearing a student find the right noun and phrase delights the whole class. France and French is at their fingertips.

Denverite Nan Campbell  has been a student for ten years. “I know, looks like I should be teaching here now, but really, my high school and college French were more than 50 years ago, so I am happy to meet weekly and hear our great teacher take us through a lesson and have a nice conversation with adults both in town and in Kansas. We have an engineer hoping to upgrade his French, a flight attendant who needs to keep current and people like me who just rejoice in hearing the beautiful language and learn more about the French culture.”

Check out their classes and schedules for this fall. And by this time next year, you too, will be “parlez vous-ing”  with the best of them.  Call 720-568-9976 to get started on your road to speaking and understanding this beautiful language.  Join the other 275 million folks.

Meet Your Lowry Neighbors has moved to the LUN newsletter and website. Sally Kurtzman, our intrepid reporter, has her finger on the pulse of our community! If you have a suggestion for a Lowry neighbor we should meet, contact Sally at: