Alliance Française de Lagos is a 60-year-old French Language and Cultural Centre, a member of the world largest cultural network with more than 840 centres across the globe. The Nigerian network has ten associations spread across the country, in Enugu, Ibadan, Ilorin, Jos, Kano, Kaduna, Lagos, Maiduguri, Owerri and Port Harcourt. Each Alliance Française is a not-for-profit Nigerian association with a Nigerian board. Alliance française has a strong international image as a Nigerian institution supported by the French government. It is the only official centre for French Language certifications in Lagos.
Alliance Française de Lagos was first located inside the “Maison de France” (House of France), in Victoria Island until 1990 and then in its more famous Kingsway Road location until 2006, which had become for years the meeting point of the bubbling artistic life of Lagos. The year 2006 marks the end of the “Maison de France”: while the French Cultural Centre relocates its activities in Abuja, Alliance Française de Lagos enters a more complicated period of its history: facing the rise of the rent prices, the institution soon had to relocate its headquarter in Yaba, thanks to the generous support of the late Chief Thomas, then President of the Board. During that period, Alliance Française de Lagos successfully managed to expand its presence over Lagos adding to its already existing Yaba branch two new branches in VI, thanks to a partnership with the Lycée Français Louis-Pasteur, and in Ikeja, thanks to a partnership with the Lagos State Ministry of Education, where it is still present today. The desire to return to the islands however never left, and soon the dream came true!
When informed of Alliance Française’s desire to move back to Ikoyi, Dr Mike Adenuga generously offered to build a brand-new cultural center in a pristine location. The project was supervised with care and vision by Dr Adenuga’s daughter, Bella Disu Adenuga, to make the place not only an efficient and fully-equipped building, but also a real architectural masterpiece. Instead of demolishing the beautiful but shanty existing villa, it was decided to preserve and renovate it as a testimony of the architectural heritage of the City of Lagos and to add a magnificent contemporary building.
On Wednesday, the 4th of July 2018, the French President Emmanuel Macron, together with The Governor of Lagos State, The Nobel Laureate of Literature Prof. Wole Soyinka, and of course the Chairman Dr Mike Adenuga, pre-inaugurated the brand new headquarters of Alliance française Lagos located inside the new Mike Adenuga Centre. This is a support at the highest level for a new cultural vision for the city of Lagos. A few months later, in May 2019, the first sessions of French classes opened in this brand-new building.
The new venue offers numerous facilities: a world class Art gallery, a French restaurant and daily fresh bakery by Maison Eric Kayser, a state-of-the-art Cinema, Artists’ studios, an outdoor Amphitheatre, a Library and e-Library, 9 fully equipped French language classrooms, translation and interpretation service, a Campus France branch, offices, and much more!
The high profile cultural centre offers more than 200 events yearly for thousands of patrons, including concerts, cocktails, dance shows and exhibitions! In 2019 only, for its first year of activities, Alliance Française Lagos welcomed prestigious events such as the Ake Festival, the Lagos Design Week, the encounter between Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie and Dior’s Creative Director Maria Grazia Chiuri and the very exclusive and intimate decoration ceremony of Dr Adenuga’s daughter, Mrs Bella Disu Adenuga by French Secretary of State for Youth and Education, Minister Gabriel Attal.