La Maison Française du Maine

La Maison Française du Maine is dedicated to promoting cultural exchange, educational activities, and lectures on francophone issues and French-American exchange.  It is the foremost Francophone Cultural Center in Maine and it complements and enriches the programs offered by The French School of Maine, which is accredited by the French Ministry of Education (AEFE), the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), and the Maine Department of Education. The School is affiliated with MLF (Mission Laïque Française), AFSA (Association of French School in North America and AEFE (Agence pour l’enseignement français à l’étranger). 

The classes are offered to prepare the students for the DELF/DALF exams. The Diplôme d’Etudes de Langue Française (DELF) (English: Diploma in French Studies) is a certification of French-language abilities for non-native speakers of French, administered by the International Centre for French Studies (Centre International d’Etudes Pédagogiques or CIEP) for France’s Ministry of Education.

Since 2012, L’Ecole Française du Maine has also become an official testing center for the DELF and DALF, alleviating the previous need to travel to Boston to take the DELF/DALF exams. La Maison Française du Maine is the only test center in the state of Maine and North of Boston.

May 25, 2018, Launching of the renovations.  In attendance: the students of French Teachers Patrice Larivière and Estelle Pettier.  French Cultural attaché Bruno Eldin of the French Embassy in Washington D.C., Latifa Bentiri, and Edit Dibrah Cultural attachées from the French Consulate in Boston.

1906 Sears Robuck Modern Home: The Chelsea Model

Founded in 2017 by Elizabeth and Willy LeBihan, La Maison Française du Maine, adjacent to The French School of Maine, occupies a 1906 historic “Sears Robuck Modern Home: The Chelsea Model”.  This quintessential four square style home features a broad porch, spacious reception hall, parlor, living and dining rooms on the main floor. An interesting pantry layout bridges the kitchen to the dining room so serving and storage provide a transition from a busy or hot kitchen to a serene formal dining area. Four bedrooms and a bath populate the second floor with a full attic on the third floor.

Sears Modern Homes were catalog and kit houses sold primarily through mail order by Sears, Roebuck and Co., an American retailer. Sold predominantly to customers in East Coast and Midwest states, Sears homes have been located as far south as Florida and as far west as California. Sears reported that more than 70,000 of these homes were sold in North America between 1908 and 1940. More than 370 different home designs in a wide range of architectural styles and sizes were offered over the program’s 34-year history. Primarily shipped via railroad boxcars, these kits included most of the materials needed to build a house.

Renovation of La Maison Française du Maine was completed in 2020. Principal Douglas Piehl of of Freeport supervised the careful remodeling and improvement of the historic building.  The house is entirely furnished with antiques and furnishings donated by the founding family.

The main floor offers a large living room and dining room for gatherings and cultural events, a music room for piano, violin, and guitar lessons and French tutoring.  A modern classroom with wireless connections is used for adult French classes and DELF/DALF instruction.

Renovations were completed in November 2020

Ciné-Club, discussions and French book club meetings on contemporary issues are part of the menu offered at La Maison Française