There’s more to learning a language than just saying the right words. To really know and appreciate a language, you have to understand the culture from which it comes.

That’s why College of Charleston French professor Juliette Bourdier and David Desplaces, professor of entrepreneurship and assistant director of the Global Business Resource Center, have organized “Le Don du Livre” (or “the gift of the book”), an event aimed at distributing 2,000 French books to Charleston-area educators and students. The event will take place from 3:30-5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019, at Café Framboise located at 159 Market St. in downtown Charleston.

The College of Charleston accepted the donation of books on June 21, 2019, after the French navy ship Le Tonnerre arrived in the Port of Charleston with a delivery of 35 boxes of books that are of cultural and educational value. The donation is part of the French navy’s mission to share French culture with the world through reading.

Teachers from area K–12 schools and from the College, The Citadel and other universities have been invited to attend the event on Wednesday to review a list of academic books (vocabulary, grammar, etc.) that they can request for their classrooms. A total of 300 French novels will be raffled off to students of all ages and levels.

Bourdier says she and Desplaces have also set aside 50 books to create an open, free-access library at Café Framboise. Another set of French children’s books will be distributed to local day care centers and community centers to encourage parents to expose their children to other languages.

The event is sponsored by the School of Languages, Cultures, and World Affairs; the Global Business Resource Center; the Department of French, Francophone and Italian Studies; and the Association des Membres de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques. For more information, contact Juliette Bourdier at