We are an English and French conversation group. We meet regularly for drinks in the Toulouse city centre and currently have over 1400 registered members of many nationalities. The group is ever changing as people come and go. Some are here just for a few weeks, some for several months, and of course there are those who are here permanently. It's a network of friends, whether you've been in Toulouse all your life or have just arrived.
The group is open to native or fluent English speakers and most of our members are bilingual (French/English) or even tri-lingual speakers (German, Spanish, Polish etc).
Our aim is to develop a network of English speakers in Toulouse for conversation, and to provide an easy way to meet people with similar interests (travel, language, different cultures etc) while bringing English and French speakers together.
English in Toulouse is a free club, but you must support the venue by buying at least one drink/something to eat, per hour you attend and you must pay at the time of ordering. You can also buy Narelle a drink if you're feeling generous and would like to say thanks for organising the group. :-)
Every Tuesday afternoon: Tea Tuesdays
Join us for Tea Tuesdays. Tea and cake every Tuesday afternoon from 3pm and conversation in French and English.
Every Tuesday night: Writing Workshop
Join us for Writing Workshop. Unleash the writer within you (in English) and join us for a one hour writing session with creative exercises and stream of consciousness exercises.
Every Wednesday afternoon: Playtime Wednesdays (for parents and kids)
Meet other parents and their kids at weekly Playtime Wednesdays meetings.
Every Friday night: French Fridays
Join us for French Fridays. Drinks and tapas every Friday from 7pm 'til late our weekly pub night with conversation in French and English. It's a popular event! Sometimes we stay at the same bar for the whole night, sometimes around 9 or 10pm we move on to another bar or do something else (like see a movie, go for dinner, go dancing).
Every Sunday morning: Playtime Sundays (for parents and kids)
Meet other parents and their kids at weekly Playtime Sundays meetings.
Yes! We regularly have extra events like restaurant and cinema nights, hiking trips and wine tours. We also have annual events like the Halloween costume party, the Christmas in July BBQ and our end of year Christmas dinner.
You can also see the photos of past events on our photo gallery.
You don't have to be a member to attend meetings, but it's a good idea to join the group through our Web forum. It's free and you'll receive meeting reminders and special event invitations.
Hi, I'm Narelle Lewis. I'm from Australia and have been living in Toulouse since March 2005. I started the group when I moved here as a way to meet people and make friends. It's worked out pretty well so far! :-)
Professionally, I am a qualified journalist, I have taught English at universities and ecoles superieurs in Toulouse and I am now seeking a career in mixology and bar tending.
I'm also a writer, a web designer, an avid reader and a snowshoe hiking enthusiast! Get to know me better on: Narelle and Yves' Photojournal, check out my cocktail website or come and say hello at one of our next meetups! :-)
When I lived in Edinburgh, I started a French meetup group (which is still going strong!) and enjoyed it so much that when we were planning the move to Toulouse I wanted to be part of a similar group here. Not finding anything that matched what I was looking for, I started a Web site. Before long, some people signed up and we had our very first meeting the week I arrived in Toulouse, in April 2005.
Our first meeting attracted six people and we met in a tea salon in the city centre. There were a few subsequent meetups at cafes on Capitole and then things stopped for a couple of months while I went to Paris to get my teaching qualifications, came back and learnt French and got married.
Around September 2005 I really got to work on organising the group and I learnt all about la rentree. With a fixed monthly meetup time and venue, people started coming regularly and word spread. By December we had an average of 15 people coming to every meeting and were filling up the entire coffee shop — we had out-grown our first venue!
Over Christmas drinks at the Crowne Plaza in December 2005, we decided to move the group to a bigger venue. This became Crowne Plaza Nights.
In July 2006 a few of us started meeting up regularly at Bapz, a tea salon. By September it had become our 'Friday thing'. For many expats, opportunities to speak French outside of the classroom are few and far between and so we called this meetup French Fridays with the aim of speaking both French and English on a weekly basis. Often after our French Friday meetings those who would still be chatting at 7pm-ish would move on to a pub or grab a bite to eat and by October 2009, it had become an official weekly night out.
In December 2006, again over Christmas drinks (hmmm!), someone suggested an extra pub outing in January to mark our first meeting for the new year. We had our first meeting at De Danu in January 2007 and had so much fun we decided to make it a regular thing — this meeting became known as Irish Pub Nights and we met there on the last Wednesday of the month until April 2009 when Irish Pub Nights became known as Last Wednesdays and we moved to a new venue, Le Sylene (60 rue de Metz) in May 2009.
In April 2009, English in Toulouse held a logo competition and in May the official English in Toulouse logo was voted in.
In January 2010 we had officially become too big a group to continue meeting at the tea salon, Bapz, on Friday afternoons and we found a new venue in March 2010. Sadly that venue went out of business a couple of weeks later and the group started meeting at a Spanish tapas bar called Le Delicatessen. From there, it gradually turned into a Friday night pub meeting which replaced Friday afternoon tea.
With the immense success of our Friday night meetings, averaging between 30 and 50 people every week, in the summer of 2011 we axed our Wednesday night pub meetings and a new event was added to our regular meetings to counter-balance the pub nights. Christened Tea Tuesdays, this new event started in June 2011. It started to gain popularity in September 2011 and continues to attract an average of 10 to 15 people coming for tea and cake every Tuesday afternoon at Le Nouveau The on rue Tolosane.
2012 has been a big year for English in Toulouse. With a strong membership (1,364 in November 2012), and a loyal bunch of fun and active members, we now have more events than ever before! French Fridays got a new home during the summer (Le Bistrologue in Saint Cyprien) and Tea Tuesdays is going very well (mostly thanks to Michael the Canadian who kept it going every week of the year when I had to work and couldn't attend).
2012 also saw the launch of two new events: Creative writing group: an event for writers and aspiring writers, and Playtime: an event for parents and kids.
In 2013, one of our French members, Corinne, started a regular French/English lunch event which meets twice a month. Details can be found on the home page of English in Toulouse.
There are over 1400 members in English in Toulouse. The number of people, the average age and the nationalities attending events changes at every meeting, depending on the time of year, time of day, location of the event and people's availability. It's a lively group and you're bound to find someone with whom you have something in common!
Yes. If you can hold a conversation without using a dictionary (even if you make mistakes), then that's good enough for us! If you lack confidence or can't make yourself understood, try doing a language exchange (see below) until you are confident enough to take part in the group.
General questions should be posted on the forum where they'll have a better chance at getting a useful answer than if they are sent to just one person. To post a question, you must first register on the forum.
For press enquiries or questions specifically for the organiser, please contact Narelle.
I am happy for you to e-mail me and introduce yourself and of course I'm willing to answer members' questions. But, please do your own research first. You'll find that this Web site, the forum, Wikipedia and Google probably answer most of your questions already.
Questions I will not answer:
For press enquiries, interviews and ready-to-download high resolution images, please visit our press page. Also, please advise Narelle if you plan on publishing a story about English in Toulouse or using our photos or logo.In September 2007 we were featured in French women's magazine Chicks'Power. We're on page 68 and 69 in the article entitled Do you speak English?. Download a copy of the magazine (It's 25MB so may take a while to download).
Narelle receives lots of e-mails every day. Before you contact her with a question she's already answered, please read the frequently asked questions, do a search of the website, check the forum and post your question on the forum. If all else fails, and it's not one of these questions you may send an e-mail.