Does the University of California Have a French Program?

[Disclosure: I am a UC employee and an alum of the UC Davis French A.B. degree program. Endorsement of a specific campus or program is not implied. This post is not sponsored by the University.]


I bought this book from a bouquiniste in Paris


Going to college and thinking about studying French, the language of Molière? Maybe you’re wondering:

Does the University of California have a French program?

Short answer:

Yes! Currently, all nine undergraduate University of California (UC) campuses offer French language and/or French literature courses.

Long answer:

While all nine undergraduate UC campuses offer French language and/or French literature courses, only eight of them currently offer French degree programs.

So be sure to read program descriptions carefully, and note that:

  • Some UC campuses require French placement tests
  • Some UC campuses offer French programs as concentrations or specializations within their literature or linguistics departments
  • Students are encouraged to take advantage of study-abroad opportunities

Although I am not a college admissions coach, I hope you’ll find this link roundup helpful in your search and comparison of French programs offered at each of the nine undergraduate UC campuses.


UC Berkeley

The French Department

4125 Dwinelle Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720


UC Davis

Department of French and Italian

One Shields Avenue, Sproul Hall, Room 213, Davis, CA 95616


UC Irvine

European Languages and Studies

243 Humanities Instructional Bldg., Irvine, CA 92697



The Department of French & Francophone Studies

212 Royce Hall, Box 951550, Los Angeles, CA 90095


UC Merced 

Foreign Languages Program

5200 North Lake Road, Merced, CA 95343

*Currently, there is no French degree program at UC Merced


UC Riverside

Department of Comparative Literature and Languages

900 University Avenue, Riverside, CA 92521


UC San Diego

Department of Linguistics – Language Program

9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093


UC Santa Barbara

Department of French and Italian

5206 Phelps Hall, Santa Barbara, CA 93106


UC Santa Cruz

French Language Programs

1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95064


French dictionary: my constant companion in college


If you do decide to apply to a UC, here’s a friendly reminder: the filing period for the UC admissions application is November 1-30!

Bonne chance

Congratulations on your decision to go to college and study French. I wish you all the best – Bonne chance! Bon courage!



  • The content provided here is intended to be used and must be used for informational purposes only

  • Do your own research and contact the campuses directly if you have any specific questions about their programs

  • Information is current as of October 1, 2019 and is subject to change

  • The links point to websites administered by the Regents of the University of California

  • This post does not reflect the opinions or policies of the University

Sunday Brunch at La Note Restaurant Provençal in Berkeley, California

Go to La Note where brunch has been redefined as “a meal you plan to eat at breakfast time, but will eat by lunch time” (my words). Harsh, I know. But I’m not alone.

Many online reviewers have commented about long wait times to get a table at the East Bay eatery. But the gripes seem to only add to the restaurant’s cachet rather than deter both locals and visitors. That could explain why La Note has been serving up French fare since 1997.

Sunday Brunch

Seeing is believing, so my family and I decided to visit La Note for brunch. Maybe the food was worth the wait, we thought! After initially being told there would be a 40-minute wait time, we kept getting pushed back. Meanwhile, couples and groups of 5 people or more (some with small dogs even!) who arrived after us were being seated. Apparently, it’s not so easy to find a table for 4.

Finally, 90 minutes after putting my name on the list, my family and I got seated. Fortunately, we didn’t have to wait long to place our orders. We even got our coffees, pink lemonade, and Orangina almost immediately.

individually-wrapped sugar cubes are so cute

We ordered a few items à la carte, like a butter croissant, with a side of bacon, and an almond croissant, with two eggs sunny side up. From their Weekend Brunch menu, we ordered their Cote Est plate of scrambled eggs, strips of bacon, and a large pancake. I ordered the Pan Bagnat sandwich with a green salad.

Top: Pan Bagnat | Bottom: Cote Est plate

I know pan bagnat means “bathed bread” but the one I got must have been given a “warm” bath due to the roasted tomatoes. It didn’t taste bad – it just wasn’t the temperature I was expecting. I did, however, enjoy the baby spinach salad with La Note’s house Dijon vinaigrette dressing.

In the end, I had mixed feelings about the place.

While the wait time to get a table was long, the food and drinks arrived soon after we ordered. But, sadly, the food was not worth the wait. My family and I agreed that everything we had eaten was “just OK.”

I’d like to come back for either lunch or dinner when it’s less crowded and when they take reservations!

For more information:

La Note Restaurant Provençal

Poutine in Berkeley

[Update: Smoke’s Poutinerie in Berkeley closed on November 6, 2019.]

Poutine is a traditional dish from Québec, Canada, which consists of French fries, gravy, and cheese curds, the fun bits of whey that squeak when you bite into them.

This is the medium size

The first time I went to Smoke’s Poutinerie in Berkeley, California was a few years ago when it first opened. I had ordered the “Traditional” (French fries, gravy, cheese curds) and was unimpressed with the cold and soggy fries that were only made warm by the gravy. It was also topped with a so-so amount of cheese curds.

Korean poutine with kimchi

I went back to Smoke’s recently and I decided to be more adventurous. I broke from “Traditional” and ordered the Korean poutine (aka The Bulgoger).

Each poutine is made to order and you get to choose either French fries or tater tots. I chose fries, which were crispy, not greasy. You could tell they were fresh out of the fryer – they were hot!

The steak appeared to have been chopped so finely that it looked like ground beef. The picture on their wall menu didn’t include kimchi, or salted and fermented vegetables, but my poutine came with some on it, so that was a pleasant surprise. It almost made me forget I came for the cheese curds, which they kind of skimped on, by the way.

Overall, their Korean poutine was flavorful and I liked it. I’d order it again.

Update: Smoke’s Poutinerie in Berkeley closed November 2019

For more information:

Smoke’s Poutinerie

[This post was originally published on October 12, 2018.]

Since my local Smoke’s Poutinerie is now closed, where should I go to get poutine? Tell me in the comments below!