Lao-French Institute (L’Institut Francais du Laos)

Lao-French Institute (L’Institut Francais du Laos)

Promotion of French culture and arts

More on Vientiane

The Lao French Institute, or L’Institut francais du Laos was established in 1993 and was initially focused on promoting the French language. The centre has since become a hub for cultural exchange, with its primary focus on France and Laos but other cultures as well – though programming is Francophone-centric. Francophiles will enjoy the multimedia library, a theatre that’s also used as a cinema and the cafe. They have a branch in Luang Prabang as well.

Travelfish says:

The courtyard functions as an outdoor gallery; a temporary exhibition shows development in rural Laos.

The airy and lushly gardened compound lends itself well to outdoor performances and exhibitions. Its grassy courtyard and outside corridors frequently feature collections of Lao-centred art or photography. The institute hosts a number of projects with local organisations promoting contemporary Lao art and performance, often through international collaborations. This brings a new flavour to the Lao art forms that, while steeped in Lao traditions, are skilfully fused with poignant themes of identity and modern Laos.

At night the courtyard is turned unto an outdoor theatre.

The multimedia library (Mon-Fri, 09:30-18:30, admission free) has 25,000+ books, magazines, DVDs and CDs in line with their ethos of promoting French culture and knowledge. French films are shown once or twice a week, open to the public. The centre also occasionally organises festivals with local and international musicians, artists and food. Check their website or visit to find out about upcoming events.

The French Institute's Cafe is a nice spot for a for a pre-show drink or to just come and relax with something sweet.

The cafe here is a good spot for a for a pre-show drink or to just relax with something sweet.

La Cantine serves French cafe fare and tasty French desserts – not surprising, it’s a popular spot with the French crowd. It serves delicious made-in-Vientiane artisan ice cream of local ingredients like passion fruit, pomelo and cashew. At 25,000 kip for two scoops, it’s a bit pricey but definitely a treat.

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What it says on the can.

Contact details for Lao-French Institute (L’Institut Francais du Laos)

Address: Lang Xane Avenue (diagonally opposite Lao-Viet Bank, halfway between Patu Xay and the Royal Palace), Vientiane
T: (021) 215 764;
Coordinates (for GPS): 102º36'54.83" E, 17º58'2.3" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Admission: Free

Reviewed by

Cindy Fan is a Canadian writer/photographer and author of So Many Miles, a website that chronicles the love of adventure, food and culture. After falling in love with sticky rice and Mekong sunsets, in 2011 she uprooted her life in Toronto to live la vida Laos. She’s travelled to over 40 countries and harbours a deep affection for Africa and Southeast Asia. In between jaunts around the world, she calls Laos and Vietnam home where you’ll find her traipsing through rice paddies, standing beside broken-down buses and in villages laughing with the locals.

Tours in Laos

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Our top 10 other sights and activities in and around Vientiane

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Two days in Vientiane

What to do in the capital city of Laos

Mekong riverfront at sunset
Mekong riverfront at sunset

An iconic Vientiane experience

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Vientiane's Arc du Triomphe

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Buddha Park (Wat Xieng Khuan)

Bizarrely beautiful

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Wat Ho Phra Kaew

Beautiful temple and Buddhist art

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That Luang

The golden symbol of Laos

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After a long bus or boat trip

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Cooking classes

Dig into Lao cuisine