The Lycée Français de New York was founded in October 1935 with three classes and 24 students all located in the French Institute at 22 East 60th Street.
Encouraged and supported by a group of French nationals and Americans, the school was created by the Consul General of France in New York, Mr. Charles de Ferry de Fontnouvelle, who wanted to bring to New York an establishment comparable to the ‘top high school’ found in France. Despite the fact that the new school was an American private institution, it took the name of the Lycée Français as a tribute to an educational system unanimously recognized for its quality and discipline and to highlight its originality and personality compared to the American context.
Shortly after the American authorities had given their approval to the foundation of a ‘foreign’ school – not without some reserve – the Lycée Français and its first charter, dated April 17, 1936, received the support of various representatives from both countries.
A French academic, Mr. P. Brodin, was appointed academic dean and worked at the Lycée for more than 40 years. In 1938, the Lycée Français got a final charter approved by the Board of Regents of the State University of New York (SUNY) and granted its first baccalaureate degree.
By the 1970s, the Lycée had more than 1,000 students. The expansion of the buildings started in 1958, with the construction of the 5 East 95th Street building, followed in 1964 by the buildings on East 72nd Street and finally, in 1978, the building on East 93rd Street. In 1994, the Lycée acquired a new building located on East 73rd Street, attached to the space on East 72nd Street. This allowed the Lycée to increase the number of small classes offered.
In 2003, the Beaux-Arts townhouses with the marble staircases were sold, and for the first time since 1938, the students of the primary and the secondary were brought together under the same roof. The French President Jacques Chirac inaugurated this new building of the Lycée Français de New York.
Since 1935, nearly 35,000 students have registered at the LFNY and it is estimated that more than 150 nationalities have been represented throughout the school’s history.