American Library in Paris Conversation Circles

The Library is pleased to offer English and French conversation circles for Library members. These conversation circles are a way for English and French language learners with an intermediate (B1), upper intermediate (B2), or higher level to improve their speaking skills. We invite you to engage in stimulating conversation on a variety of topics and themes moderated by a Library volunteer in an informal and friendly environment.

The guiding principles of the conversation circles are as follows:

  • Focus on communication and fluency, not grammatical correctness
  • Dynamic engagement (i.e., taking turns speaking, listening actively, being cultural sensitive, etc.)
  • Theme-oriented discussions
  • Small groups (maximum of 5 participants per conversation circle)
  • Learn new vocabulary words for each topic/theme
  • Learn formal vs. informal conversation strategies

Conversation Circles will be held throughout the year, with sign-ups in September and January. Each Conversation Circle lasts one hour at the Library. Participants are strongly encouraged to attend all sessions. There is no additional fee for joining a conversation circle, but you must be a member of the Library.

For any inquiries, please email strategic partnerships manager Pauline Lemasson at

FAQs on Conversation Circles

Conversation circles are organized at the Library’s initiative and led by experienced Library volunteers. Conversation circle leaders — and participants — have broad discretion on how they unfold. The Library will offer an English Conversation Circle and a French Conversation Circle led by native-speaking Library volunteers. Each conversation circle meeting lasts one hour. See below for the online registration form.

Yes. If you are not yet a Library member but would like to participate in one of our conversation circles, please join the Library before the first session of your selected group or be prepared (and leave enough time) to join or renew at the first session (check/cash/credit card, photo ID and proof of residence required).

Conversation circles are offered throughout the year, with sign-ups in September and January . Conversation circle meetings take place in the Library unless otherwise advertised.

Please come to the first session prepared to chosen topic/theme. Your conversation circle leader will have sent over some essential vocabulary words for the chosen topic/theme. Arriving a few minutes early will allow everyone to become acquainted. If you will not be present, you are expected to let the conversation circle leader know as soon as possible, as others may be on a waiting list.

The Library can provide some beverages (wine, juice, coffee, and tea) for the conversation circle meetings, whose participants may also bring other refreshments or snacks. Everyone is responsible for clean-up in Library spaces, including the kitchen.

Please fill out the online sign-up form below to reserve a spot. The conversation circle leader will confirm your participation and send further details.

English Conversation Circles (Fall 2018)

The Library will offer an English Conversation Circle led by native-speaker volunteers, Judith, Melanie, and Anissa, which meets on Thursdays from 18h00-19h00 at the Library. The dates for the English Conversation Circle meetings are the following:

  • 20, 27 September
  • 4, 11, 18 October
  • 8, 15, 22 November

NOTE: The French Conversation Circle is NOW FULL. Please check back in January 2019 for the next sign-up.

French Conversation Circle (Fall 2018)

The Library will offer a French Conversation Circle led by a native-speaker volunteer, Clément Le Chanu, which meets on Thursdays from 19h00-20h00 at the Library. The dates for the French Conversation Circle meetings are the following:

  • 20, 27 September
  • 4, 11, 18 October
  • 8, 15, 22 November

NOTE: The French Conversation Circle is NOW FULL. Please check back in January 2019 for the next sign-up.

About Our Conversation Circle Leaders

Judith Cunningham (English) holds a Masters in Middle Eastern Studies from the American University of Paris. She taught English to children and adults in refugee camps in Palestine for three months in the summer of 2016. She organized lesson plans and traveled to various camps and community centers teaching English at a variety of levels. Judith loves libraries, reading, the smell of books, and the sense of community found in libraries.

Elisabeth Gires (French) holds a MBA in Management from HEC Paris Business School and a Master Degree in Telecoms from the University of Paris Dauphine. She worked 10 years for Vivendi the media and telecommunications group and then participated in restructuring small companies. Born in New Caledonia, a French Pacific Island, she has been living in Paris for 30 years. She is interested in cinema, media, educational systems, economics and volunteers for social works in her neighborhood.

Clément Le Chanu (French) is currently a student at Université Pierre et Marie Curie. His interests include aircraft maintenance and flight planning for gliders at the Ecury Sur Coole Airfield, as well as science, literature, and flying.

Melanie Reiter (English) holds a Bachelor of Science medical degree. She volunteered for the Girls Scout and the Martin Luther King Center in Mozambique. She was an English teacher in Mozambique, as well as taught English to teens who planned to apply for college in United States.

Anissa Calatayud Stocks (English) holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Journalism from the University of Minnesota with additional postgraduate work at the Sorbonne and New York University. Anissa also holds certification in teaching English as a Foreign Language from TtMadrid, with which she has spent many hours volunteering to provide outreach and educational support for students learning English.