Cambridge Events

Wed 6th September 19:00 - Monthly Drinks

Wed 6th September 19:00 - Come and join us from 7pm to meet up for an informal evening. All Oxford and Cambridge Alumni and their friends are warmly welcome.
Just mention "Oxbridge" at the bar for a discounted price on the pint of beer. Typical pub food and soft drinks also available.
Murphy's House - 10 rue de la Chaussée d'Antin, 75009 Paris. Metro Opéra - RER Auber - vélib: station 2015 rue Louis le Grand

Tue 19th September 19:00 - Freshers' Welcome Drinks

CamSoc is delighted to take part in the University's "Freshers' Events" program and will be once again inviting new students going up to Cambridge for the first time, whether as Undergraduates, Graduates or through the Erasmus program, to join us on Tuesday 19th September at the Cercle Suedois on Rue de Rivoli for a wine tasting. The price for members will be €16 per person (free for new students). If you are interested in attending, please contact and more details and a registration form will be sent to you.

Thu 12th October 19:00 - Dinner Debate


The next Dinner debate will be on Thursday 12th October, at a new venue, the 5e Cru, 7 Rue du Cardinal Lemoine, 75005 Paris. More details, including the motion to be debated, will be provided at the end of August, but put the date in your diary now.

Sat 27th January 19:00 - Union Debate in Paris


We have been successful in agreeing a date with the Cambridge Union for them to send over a team of speakers to challenge us in a debate. The format will be close to that of a Union debate. The motion and venue will be confirmed later, but block the date in your diary now.

Fri 9th February 19:30 - 2018 Annual Dinner


Our guests will be Professor Robert (St. John’s) and Dr. Isabelle (Trinity) Tombs whose speciality is 19th Century French political history. Their book, “That Sweet Enemy - The British and the French from the Sun King to the Present” was published in 2006. It is a book which brings both British humour and Gallic panache to the story of these two countries, in sickness and in health, for richer for poorer, in victory and in defeat, in dominance and in decline. The venue and other details will be confirmed later in the year.

Tue 22nd May 20:00 - Fingask Folies


We have also enticed over to Paris (for the first time) the Fingask Follies, a great fun professional musical review in a private performance for the Cambridge Society and guests. The formula (but not the music) is Glyndebourne style; drinks, first half of the performance, dinner, second half of the performance, coffee. More details to follow.

Outside Invitations

Thu 31st August 0:00 - BCC Diary August

Please find attached the August calendar, issued by the BCC, presenting the events of the various British Associations in France which are affiliated to the BCC.
There is a change in format from this month. One-off events for all regions for 2017 are now grouped in one section (previously Paris and the Regions were presented separately). Those events for 2018 that have been notified then follow. The final section shows regular events that take place every month - for example the Monthly Drinks are now included in this third section.


Past Events

Wed 7th June 18:30 - Garden Party

The annual Garden Party was held on Wednesday 7th June, at the British Ambassador's Residence. The theme was Museums, with enlightening presentations from Sir Mark Jones FSA FSRE and Thomas Grenon. Sir Mark was Master of St Cross College Oxford until September 2016 and prior to that he was Director of the V&A Museum. Thomas Grenon is Director of the Laboratoire Nationale de Métrologie et d'Essais (LNE). 160 Cambridge and Oxford Alumni and their guests were joined by 40 alumni from the Association de l’Ecole du Louvre, making it the highest attendance ever recorded at one of our Garden Parties.

After the presentations, we all enjoyed cocktails including champagne and Pims on the Residence lawns, ably served as usual by the Embassy's staff.

Wed 17th May 18:30 - AGM and talk on Darwin

The Society's Annual General Meeting was held on Wednesday 17th May at the Maison des Associations du VIIe. 20 members voted unanimously to allocate the 2016 surplus to the Trevor Brown Bursary Fund.

The following new committee members were elected, also unanimously:
Ian Cooper
Philippa Ladbury
Andrew Lyndon Skeggs
The next committee meeting, to be held on 29th May, will elect a new President and Secretary.

The meeting was followed by a most interesting and entertaining presentation by Professor John Parker (Clare Hall) on the benefits of a Cambridge education, illustrated by the influences on Charles Darwin. As a student, he scraped through his ordinary degree having spent much of his time collecting beetles, riding horses and generally spending plenty of money on wine in the Christ's Buttery. However, he did not waste his time completely and became the man always seen in the company of John Henslow, a brilliant professor in Botany whose research can be seen in 7 of the 13 chapters of the Origin of Species. John Henslow found the position on the Beagle for Darwin and throughout the voyage published Darwin's reports sent back to him so meaning that when Darwin returned to England in 1836 he had become a respected and eminent scientist despite his relatively mediocre academic record before he left.

If any of you get the chance to listen to Prof. Parker, I strongly recommend it.

Tony Banton
Outgoing President

Tue 17th January 19:30 - Annual Dinner

61 Members and guests attended the 2017 Annual Dinner at the Maison de Polytechniciens. Good company, plenty of animated converstations and above all a thought provoking presentation of some of the differences between the construction of English and French from Sir Michael Edwards. We can now recognise the impact of the dominance of consonents in English against the more lyrical and vowel fuelled French rhythm. Yes it was not always so as old French (listen to the Canadian accent) had far more consonent sounds. Questions fused after the presentation and the evening closed at midnight with all being replete and, I think, content.

Tue 13th December 18:30 - Carols at the Travellers

Once again a full house for the annual Carol singing at the Travellers'. Thanks to the musicians for providing the accompaniment and for the Choir's initiative of introducing each half of the singing with a piece taken from their concert of the previous Sunday.

Thanks again to Edward Archer for his A-Z organisation and we all look forward to next year's event.

Mon 7th November 19:30 - Dinner-Talk

Paula Fayos-Perez is a second year PhD student at the University of Cambridge, Department of History of Art. She works on the influence of Goya’s prints on 19th century French art, under the supervision of Prof. Jean Michel Massing. Paula is also the 2015-2018 Leslie Wilson Scholar, Magdalene College.

Paula will be presenting to us on the subject of her project, partially financed by our bursary.

‘Tout Goya palpitait autour de moi’: The Impact of Goya’s Caprichos on Delacroix. Further details are given in the attached document.

The Dinner Talk will take place in a restaurant in central Paris, minutes from Opera, and the price for members and one guest is €39 per person. Non-member alumni are also welcome to come along, at a price of €45 pp.

A registration form has been sent to members, but if you have not received one and would like to attend this event, please contact

Wed 14th September 19:00 - Welcome Wine Tasting

As part of the University's events to welcome those students having earned a place at Cambridge this year, we 21 new undergraduate and graduate students met with 10 of their Oxford counterparts to get to know each other and also to taste five Californian wines. Wine expert, Paul Tracy (Oriel, Oxford), was up to his usual high standard in selecting a range of white and red wines, including one sparkling, and giving us all an insight into the history of wnemaking in California in general and the origins of each of the wines in particular.

Our thanks go, above all, to Philippe Vennin (Oxford) for once again hosting us in his attractive hôtel particulier near Trocadéro.

Several of the students had not yet been to Cambridge at all and so they enjoyed the opportunity to ask the Society members present what to expect. The current President of the French Society of Cambridge, himself a second year undergraduate at King's was also there to give some up-to-date tips.

Many exchanged contact details, knowing that when they arrive in Cambridge there will be a few faces they know already.

We all thank Philippe and Paul for an extremely enjoyable evening and the new students were duly welcomed in Cambridge style and we wish them every success in their studies at the University.

Tue 21st June 18:30 - Garden Party

180 attended this year's Garden Party, an even balance from the three participating universities although Les Anciens de l'X were the most numerous by a short head. Given the weather this year, we were fortunate not to have even a shower and the proximity of the Fan Zone for Euro 2016 was not noticable from within the Ecole Militaire.

We were well attended to by the caterers, with champagne flowing freely and plenty to nibble at but the high spots were our two interesting - and entertaining - speakers. Dr Nicolas Bell explained why William Ireland forged Shakespeare documents and even wrote a new play, basically to please his father. President of the Republic Valéry Giscard d'Estaing gave his very own, extremely eloquant, view on Brexit.

The evening was one of those that show why is it worth being a member of the Cambridge Society as it was definitely out of the ordinary and I am sure everyone who came was glad they did.

Tue 31st May 18:30 - Annual General Meeting

The Society’s AGM was held on Tuesday 31st May. New committee members Natasha McNamara and Moez Draief and Duncan Low were elected, and the terms of Rosarita Cuccoli, Nathalie Gasperini and Peter Salinson were renewed.

After the formal meeting, we had an excellent and most interesting presentation by Dr Jean Khalfa, Fellow of Trinity College and a Senior Lecturer in French, on “French artists’ books in the 20th century: Trinity College’s extraordinary collection”. If you are in Cambridge it will definitely be worth a trip to the Wren Library to see the amazing works "in the flesh".

Sun 29th May 10:00 - Walk with George Young


A walk on the traces of a lost Parisian river

Until it was covered over in the late 19th century, the Bièvre was an essential component of Parisian life. Its fast flowing waters provided the energy for numerous mills, and a whole series of trades developed along its banks: dyers, launderers and less salubriously tanners and butchers. It was diverted by medieval monks to irrigate their gardens, the wealthy built their houses in its meadows and in winter its frozen pools provided natural skating rinks. Although the river itself is no longer visible, much is course is marked by brass plaques, which gives this walk the flavour of a treasure hunt. Starting near the Butte aux Cailles, George Young will lead you to discover the main sights along the river’s course. The walk will begin at 10am, and, including a coffee break near the Eglise St Médard, finish at 1pm opposite Notre Dame. Afterwards, for those wishing it, a lunch reservation can be made near the end of the walk. There is no cost, other than paying for your own coffees/lunch.

Full details will be sent to members, but if you have not received the invitation and are interested, contact Peter Salinson on

Fri 29th April 19:30 - Annual Dinner

The 20th Anniversary of the Society was celebrated in style on Friday 29th April at the Maison des Associations.

80 members and their guests welcomed Dr Rowan Williams and who gave us a captivating talk to explain that University education should above all develop critical citizens, which means that teaching excellence and the highest quality of research must be combined, but also mixed with the Collegiate experience. Health and happiness are directly corellated with academic success. Dr Williams explained that this is the context for the University having challenged several of the principles set out in the recent Government Green Paper on Education as measuring a University's success based on salary levels several years after graduation is missing the point. An enlightening and interesting presentation, much appreciated by those at the Dinner and followed by some pertinent comments and questions from the floor.

We all thank the Master and Lady Jane for having travelled to Paris to share the evening with us.

Tue 12th April 17:45 - MEP Visit

We are happy to announce a guided tour of the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, MEP, on Tuesday April 12th.

The MEP has a new exhibition starting in April featuring Christine Spengler, an eminent War Photographer, and Patrick Zachman, a French News Photographer and film director.

The MEP is not charging for this special private evening visit. For those who want to stay afterwards and eat something, we can reserve tables at a nearby Spanish Tapas bar, who can offer us free sangria...

We will meet at the museum at 5.45 pm sharp in order to be able to join our guide and start the tour promptly at 6pm.

As there is a maximum group size of 20, please reserve your place by returning the form attached to Peter Salinson (

Sat 13th February 10:15 - Mundolingua Museum

On Saturday January 13th we braved the pouring rain to reach this most unusual Paris museum situated in rue Servandini, a small historic street in the latin quarter running down from the Luxembourg gardens to Saint Sulpice. Well worth the wet.

The museum’s 170 square metres of connecting cellars contains an intriguing array of exhibits, interactive screens, video tutorials and supporting texts. The content available in the 6 official UN languages leads us through the world of language roots and language history, linguistics and language evolution worldwide, via games, tests, experiments, and unusual objects.

Our guide led us through the different sections including an interactive human head showing how we create various types of sounds which differ between languages. The tutorial on differerent language family trees, and curious related exhibits included the Rosetta Stone facsimile and a wartime German Enigma language coding machine.

We were a full house of 17 participants and all appreciated our guide’s tutorial, easing us quickly into the complexity of languages roots worldwide, structures and coding methods. This introduction to the museum’s layout, touchscreens and interactive games in the different sections certainly helps the visit.

The Mundolingua museum has only been open for 3 years and clearly its uniqueness adds to its attraction.
We have provisionally reserved a second visit for April 2nd to accomodate several members who submitted late bookings after we became full up for this event.

Sun 4th October 10:00 - Roman and medieval Paris

Under pleasant October sunshine 18 of us were offered a tour of Roman and medieval Paris by our Camsoc expert George Young, a veteran of this area of Paris 5eme.
We enjoyed a fascinating discovery circuit, starting at les Arènes de Lutèce, the celebrated Roman sporting arena and theatre holding up to 10000 spectators, behind Rue Monge. 3 hours later We ended at The Roman Baths near Bvd St Germain having stopped at vestiges of the medieval walls protecting Paris, the remains of the numerous medieval colleges and churches of the Latin Quarter and a number of alleys and signs still to be seen by those who know. George’s researches helped us grasp the evolution of the original Roman settlement through the Medieval, Revolutionary , Napoleonic and Haussman eras, all marking Paris history and development..

Tue 30th June 18:30 - Embassy Garden Party

We willed be joined this year for the annual Oxbridge Garden Party at the Embassy Residency by guests from A3 CNRS as well as our friends from the Oxford Society.
Continuing last year’s successful formula, our cocktails in the Residence grounds will be accompanied by Jazz from Olivier & Jean-Baptiste Franc and Gabrielle Jeansealme.
Full details have been emailed to all current members, but they can be obtained from the President at if you have not received them. The registration form and payment must be received by June 22nd at the latest.
Alumni who have paid their 2015 subscription may bring two guests at member prices, with special rates for members under 26 and their guests. Payment will be accepted by cheque or bank transfer - see details on the registration form.

This is traditionally a most enjoyable evening and a prestigious event in our season, and we hope the programme will prove especially attractive. Make sure of your place by booking as soon as possible.

Tony Banton, President

Tue 19th May 19:30 - Annual General Meeting

at La Maison des Associations du VIIe, 4 rue Amélie, 75007 Paris (Métro La Tour Maubourg or Invalides). The AGM will be followed by an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) called as required to approve changes to the Statutes. The AGM is an important event for the running of our Society, and even more so this year as five committee posts are up for renewal. So if you are interested in getting involved please get in touch with the President (as per your convocation or via the Contact page). A Proxy form is included with the convocation for those members who are unable to attend.
The Society also invites members to share an informal cocktail and after the meeting there will be a screening of the “Party Games” episode from “Yes, Minister”.

Tue 25th November 19:15 - Oxbridge Dinner Debate

30 attended the Dinner-Debate held at the Victory Restaurant just off the Champs Elysées on 25 December. Equal representation from Cambridge and Oxford both in attendees and speaker with a Cambridge pair proposing the motion "This house believes the EU will play a greatly diminishing role on the World stage for the rest of this century", Oxford opposing. Andrew Lyndon-Skeggs valiantly presented his seven reasons why the EU was doomed to decline, with Daniel Weiss providing the other view. Ably seconded with suitable statistics by Michael Webster for the motion and Peter Huggins against. With about 10 comments coming from the floor supporting both sides the motion came up to vote, the debate ended with a resounding vote in favour or the motion. So it is now official, the EU is in decline! More seriously the evening was enjoyed by all, the Victory did us proud with good choices for our food and they also added an unexpected kir on arrival. The next debate is will be in the spring and suggestions for the motion will be gratefully received.
Our great thanks goes to Michael Webster for organising the event from start to finish. We are all looking forward to his next event! Tony Banton - President

Mon 20th October 19:30 - Andrew Roberts & Napoleon

October’s special dinner talk for the Cambridge Society of Paris at Les Noces de Jeannette restaurant attracted 30 people who dined well and had an opportunity to hear best-selling historian Andrew Roberts give a very fluent account as entertaining as it was informative of main currents in Napoleon’s career. We were lucky that he had come to Paris for a colloquium at the Embassy and was free the evening before that event. He fielded very good questions from our members but reluctantly had to leave for drinks with Sir Peter Ricketts some time after 10:00 p.m. Roberts stressed Napoleon’s energy, multi-faceted genius, and, despite silly nepotism, his general use of meritocracy. Nevertheless, our historian was pleased that Napoleon had failed to invade and occupy the British Isles. He signed his massive and handsome book for those who had brought their copies with them. The evening was a delight for our stomachs and our brains! Andrew Parkin.

Fri 26th September 22:00 - Requiem with a difference

One crescendo (yes !) of this year’s 26-28 September Cambridge alumni weekend was the Friday night performance in King’s College Chapel of Mozart’s Requiem. Unusually, about 200 visiting alumni delegates had chosen to volunteer to sing the chorale. Tony Banton our new President was amongst them. They had assembled in the afternoon of Friday for a first rehearsal, followed by a 8pm full rehearsal with the solo singers and orchestra from East Anglia Chamber Orchestra.
Late Friday evening over 300 delegates filled the anti-chamber of the Chapel for what had to be a remarkable performance given the resonance of the solo singers and orchestra, the surroundings and the impressive ‘ad hoc’ choristers who had only one full afternoon’s rehearsal.
We discovered that Tony was not alone as a Cambridge singer from Paris since we got chatting to a French lady soprano (Selwyn) who lives in Paris and might join us for our December 9th Carol Singing in the Travellers. See photos in the Gallery.

Tue 16th September 19:00 - Welcome Wine Tasting

Our traditional WELCOME PARTY in the form of a wine tasting was very well attended by students going up to Cambridge from the Paris area. See attached article and photos in the gallery.

Wed 10th September 18:30 - Annual OxBridge Pétanque

On the beautifully sunny late summer evening of 10th September, eight members each from the Oxford and Cambridge Societies of Paris met at the Boulodrome of the "Pétanque Neuilly sur Seine" club to do battle for the Presidents' Cup. This was the second year we have used this location, which can be found on the island under the Pont de Neuilly bridge. It is a fabulous location with the Seine running by and an uninterrupted view of the La Défense skyscrapers across the water.
It was also something of a special occasion, since the club president, Patrice Drevet (ex TV weatherman - who had actually laid on the sunny weather for us), was getting married that Saturday to Corinne Chatelain, who organised our refreshments and dinner.
We played two rounds of 4 pairs v 4 pairs, with the first pair to 13 points winning. Unfortunately, I can only say that Cambridge received a thorough thrashing in both rounds. Not even our tactic of plying Oxford with as much wine as possible during the delicious paella dinner we enjoyed between rounds seemed to help. In fact they only played better!
So this year the Presidents' cup goes to Oxford. For next year, we could benefit from more young, fit Cambridge members, who can maybe turn things around. It is a wonderfully relaxed, convivial evening, so do remember to sign up next year and help us regain the cup! Edward Archer
photo link:

Thu 19th June 18:30 - Embassy Garden Party

On a glorious June evening, at the kind invitation of Sir Peter and Lady Ricketts, the Cambridge and Oxford Societies held an exciting and innovative Garden Party in the Residence of the British Embassy. The Cambridge Society had also invited Alumni of H.E.C. and some members of the Harvard Club, resident in Paris, who filled in where H.E.C. failed to participate.

Cambridge has always been proud of its musical talent, and we asked Beate Perrey, a former Music Fellow of Christ’s and Trinity, now a professional pianist and also a member of our Committee, to play at the short concert opening the party. She gave a wonderful performance of little known works of Mozart, with 4 members of the Orchestre de Paris. After this everybody went out into the beautiful gardens for champagne and canapés to the amazing music of Yves Riquet’s Paris Boogie Speakeasy, who entertained us brilliantly with jazz from the 1920s and 30s till dusk sent everyone home. It was indeed a memorable evening, greatly enjoyed by all. Photos by Andrew Lyndon Skeggs - see more in the Gallery.

Mon 24th March 20:00 - Oxbridge Snooker Challenge

With a full team of four and cues in hand, the CamSoc Cuers waited in trepidation in the NEW BILLARD CLUB at Kremlin Bicetre for the holders of the Challenge Cup to arrive on the green baize of battle … but the army was not to be seen. Yet one messenger was sighted weaving between the myriad of tables in the billiard hall to explain that the OUSP champion was indisposed and hence his army, without leadership, were not fit for battle. A no-show was declared and interpreted as a victory for CamSoc but being a generous bunch, the messenger was integrated into a game of revolving players and shared the liquid refreshment that by tradition accompanies the game at our level. The evening ended with a feast at the local trattoria and the return home of the Victors; Peter, Neil, Tony and Bob.

Tue 4th February 19:15 - Dinner Debate

The Cambridge Society held a debate at the Victory restaurant on the motion “The U.N. forecast that the world’s population will reach 10 billion by 2050 represents a serious threat to the well-being of humanity"
The speakers were Michael Webster and Bob Bell, seconded by Christopher Segar and Richard Sheard. The discussion following the talks was animated and ultimately the motion was passed by 8 votes to 7, a satisfactorily close call that reflects the quality of the debate.
This was followed by a very pleasant dinner, promptly served, and guests left by 10.30.
The general feeling was that the event had been a successful revival, in spite of the reluctance of members to sign up in good time, and those present agreed enthusiastically that we should hold another before too long, which more members might sign up to and enjoy.

Tue 21st January 19:30 - Annual Dinner 2014

Some 90 guests enjoyed the annual dinner which was once again held in the prestigious Maison des Polytechniciens. We were honoured to have Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University as the after dinner speaker. 345th Vice Chancellor and half way through his seven year term Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, spoke about and conveyed great enthusiasm for his role and the University objectives to continue as a centre of academic excellence and achievement. See full report attached and photos in the Gallery.