Cambridge Events

Sat 27th January 10:00 - Burberry Photo Exhibition


The Oxford and Cambridge Societies have received an invitation from Burberry to a private visit (in French) of an exhibition of photos, "Here we are", on Saturday, 27th. January at 10am at 11 rue Béranger, 75003 Paris. Breakfast will be provided.

The exhibition presents the work of over 20 of the 20th Century's most celebrated social and documentary photographers illustrating the British way of life. These images inspired the Burberry September 2017 prêt à porter collection.

The Paris exhibition will include works by Dafydd Jones, Armet Francis, Janette Beckman, Brian Griffin, Charlie Phillips, Chris Steele-Perkins, Colin Jones, Ian Tyas, Homer Sykes, Karen Knorr, Ken Russell, Roger Mayne, Ian Macdonald, Daniel Meadows, Tom Wood, Colin O’Brien, Shirley Baker, Jo Spence, Peter Marlow, Ian Berry, Tony Ray Jones, Andy Sewell, Tessa Traeger, Jane Bown, Stuart Franklin.

You can access some pictures of the London exhibition via the following link: .

The visit is free. There is a limited number of places, which will be awarded on a "first come, first served" basis.

If you would like to participate, please send an e-mail to indicating your name, the names of any guests and your telephone number.

Sat 27th January 18:00 - Union Debate in Paris

Witness a truly historic event: The Cambridge Union, the oldest continuously running debating Society in the world, the model for the Oxford Union, has agreed, for the first time ever, to participate in a debate outside the UK.

We, the Cambridge Society of Paris, threw down the gauntlet and challenged the Cambridge Union to a debate here in Paris and, most impressively, the Union has agreed.

The Cambridge Union, noted for its high-profile speakers including Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Rowan Williams, will be visiting Paris on Saturday 27th January to debate against representatives from the Cambridge Society the motion "This House believes that we shall have a post human economy run by robots with artificial intelligence within twenty years."

The debate will take place at the Travellers Club, 25 Avenue des Champs Elysées, in the magnificent Hôtel de la Païva, famous for its silver bath, built by the self-styled Marquis de la Païva for his mistress Esther Lachmann, to fulfil her dream of having the most beautiful house in Paris.

The Union team will be led by their President Jonah Surkes, and will include speakers Jali Packer and Penelope Jones. The Cambridge Society of Paris will field two redoubtable speakers, and each side will have a high-profile external speaker.

The event will commence with a champagne reception at 6.00 pm, and will conclude following the result of the debate, at 8.00 pm. Attendance will be strictly limited to 100 and it is expected that there will be a strong demand for tickets, which are priced at €35 per person. We shall much look forward to seeing you. Members should have received their invitation by email, but if you do not have yours, please contact Tony Banton on and he will send you one.

Wed 7th February 19:00 - Monthly Drinks

We are holding the Monthly Drinks evening with Cambridge and Oxford Alumni. Same time as usual, 7pm, so come and join us 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

Fri 9th February 19:30 - 2018 Annual Dinner

Our guests will be Professor Robert (St. John’s) and Dr Isabelle (Trinity) Tombs. Robert Tombs is Emeritus Professor of French History and a Fellow of St John's. He is a specialist in 19th century French history, having written, among other things, France 1814-1914 (1996) and Paris, bivouac des revolutions (2014). In recent years, he has worked on Franco-British relations, writing That Sweet Enemy (2007) with Isabelle, and co-editing Cross-Channel Currents (2004) and Britain and France in Two World Wars: Truth, Myth and Memory (2013). His most recent book has been in a different field, The English and Their History (2014). We will again meet at the Maison des Polytechniciens for this “black tie” event. Details and a registration form will be sent to members early in December.

Sat 10th February 18:00 - Ensemble Via Luce

Concerts given by the Ensemble Via Luce on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th February:
BACH Cantata 22 "Jesus nahm zu Sich die Zwölfe"
BACH Cantata 23 "Du wahrer Gott und Davids Sohn"
KOUSSEVITZKY Concerto for Double Bass
Saturday 10th 6 pm at Eglise luthérienne de St Jean, 147 rue de Grenelle, 7e
Sunday 11th February at 4 pm at Eglise de St Ignace, 33 rue de Sèvres, 6e

Sun 11th February 16:00 - Ensemble Via Luce

Concerts given by the Ensemble Via Luce on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th February:
BACH Cantata 22 "Jesus nahm zu Sich die Zwölfe"
BACH Cantata 23 "Du wahrer Gott und Davids Sohn"
KOUSSEVITZKY Concerto for Double Bass
Saturday 10th 6 pm at Eglise luthérienne de St Jean, 147 rue de Grenelle, 7e
Sunday 11th February at 4 pm at Eglise de St Ignace, 33 rue de Sèvres, 6e

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

Fri 19th January 8:30 - Oxford Breakfast

The next Oxford Breakfast will be held on Friday, 19th January at Angelina’s, 226 rue de Rivoli, 75001 PARIS from 8.30 - 10 am.  

The guest speaker, Mme Stéphanie Seydoux, has kindly agreed to talk to us on  ”Gender equality: can public policy be effective?”

From 2014 until the end of 2017, Stéphanie Seydoux (St. Hugh's 1985, ENA 2004) was Head of the French department for women's rights and equality between women and men. From 2007 to 2010, she was director of promotion of equality in the "Haute autorité de lutte contre les discriminations et pour l'égalité (HALDE)" where she drew up and implemented its strategy to encourage companies and social organisations to put in place practices guaranteeing equality, especially between women and men.  Having originally begun her career in the French Foreign Office, she re-joined the Diplomatic Service in 2010 when she was appointed First Counsellor and deputy to the Head of Mission at the French Embassy in Kenya, a country concerned by the strategy of "gender and development" pursued by France. As of November 2017, Stéphanie is Présidente du Conseil d'administration de l'Institut régional d'administration de Lyon, a regional public body which trains civil servants and local government officials. 

The cost is €25 per person and if you wish to attend, please contact no later than 16th January for details of how to register.

As always, you will enjoy an exquisite Angelina breakfast in a cheerful and stimulating atmosphere. We look forward to your company!

Wed 31st January 0:00 - BCC Diary January

Please find attached the January 2018 Diary, issued by the BCC, presenting the events of the various British Associations in France which are affiliated to the BCC.
The final section shows regular events that take place every month - for example the Monthly Drinks are included in this section.


Past Events

Tue 9th January 23:00 -

Mon 18th December 20:00 - NEW!CamSoc Christmas Party

The first CamSoc Christmas Party will take place on Monday 18th December at the Musée des Arts Forains. This exceptional location will host a fun, fun, fun evening with traditional jazz, tap dancing, and much more. Invitations have now been sent to members so if you do not have yours, contact - and tell your friends as you will be able to invite them to come too!

Sat 25th November 14:30 - Global Cambridge in Paris

The University visited Paris on Saturday 25th November, at La Maison de La Chimie. 220 Alumni, mostly from France but also from our neighbouring countries, heard Pro vice-Chancellor Professor Eilís Ferran provide an update on developments at the University, followed by Professor Dame Athene Donald (Professor of Experimental Physics and Master of Churchill Collegeand Professor Tim Lewens (Professor of Philosophy of Science) who debated how ethics could or should apply to scientific research. The meeting closed with a brief introdution of the Cambridge Society of Paris to the assembled alumni.

After the more formal presentations, there was an opportunity to mix over cocktails, and much catching up was done.

The event was a great success, both for the University in gathering so many Alumni but also for CamSoc Paris as we were able to attract several of those present with our upcoming events and we hope we will gain quite a few new members over the coming weeks.

Thu 12th October 19:00 - Dinner Debate

Another successful Cambridge Society event, the debate at the 5e Cru wine bar at 7 rue Cardinal Lemoine.

Supported by a young and enthusiastic group of CamSoc and OUSP members and their guests, following a most excellent and convivial dinner, the group debated the motion “This House believes that the Technological Revolution has brought more Good than Evil to our communities.”

The motion was proposed by Christopher Chantrey and opposed by Andrew Torrance, supported respectively by Andrew Lyndon-Skeggs and Clare Hohler.

Lively comment from the floor prior to the summare by the two lead speakers and the vote, counted by Moez Draief: 15/15.

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

19 new students, a mix of first time undergraduates and graduates aiming for Masters or Doctorates, and 13 members attended the Welcome Wine Tasting on 19th September. We were particularly fortunate that 9 members are also current students, including Lydia Bunt who was using her Student Travel Award wisely to visit us and so fulfil her remit of promoting contacts between current students and Alumni groups. The Oxford contingent was of a similar size.
Our thanks go to Paul Tracy for his excellent guidance and explanations on wines made from unusual grapes, featuring Chile, Portugal, South Africa, Portugal, Italy and Crete.
Many were reluctant to leave when the event closed, but great contacts were made so that friendships will hopefully have been started, to be continued when the Michaelmas term begins.

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.

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".

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.

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 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.