The Cultural Services is a division of the French Embassy in the United States. The Cultural Services was first imagined in the 1930’s by Paul Claudel. In 1945 General de Gaulle appointed Claude Lévi-Strauss as the first Cultural Counselor, with the mission of providing Americans (individuals and organizations) with access and resources to engage with French culture and promote it in their own communities.
Today, under the leadership of Bénédicte de Montlaur, Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy and Permanent Representative of French Universities in the United States, the French Cultural Services promotes the best of French arts, literature, cinema, language, and higher education in the US. Based in New York City, Washington D.C., and eight other cities across the country, the French Cultural Services brings artists, authors, educational and university programs to cities nationwide. It also builds partnerships between French and American artists, institutions and universities on both sides of the Atlantic. In New York, through its bookshop Albertine, it fosters French-American exchange around literature and the arts.
Programs are offered either directly by the French Cultural Services or in conjunction with the Embassy’s non-profit partner FACE (French American Cultural Exchange) and the Albertine Books Foundation. The French Cultural Services also coordinates nominations and award ceremonies for French honorary distinctions awarded to Americans and others living in the U.S. in recognition of exceptional artistic and academic accomplishments.