The Cultural Services is a division of the French Embassy in the United States. The Cultural Services was created in 1956 by Paul Claudel, the then-ambassador to the US. Claudel appointed Claude Lévi-Strauss as the first Cultural Counselor and the mission was to provide Americans with access and resources to engage with French culture and promote it within 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 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.
The French Cultural Services is interested in new and challenging ideas that will bring French and American people together in creative collaboration. Programs are offered either directly by the Departments or in conjunction with the Embassy’s non-profit partner FACE (French American Cultural Exchange). The French Cultural Services also coordinate nominations and award ceremonies for French official distinctions given to Americans and U.S. residents in recognition of exceptional artistic and academic accomplishments.