At a meeting of the Board of Visitors held in Charlottesville on October 7, 1817, Thomas Jefferson, wrote that he desired a French-speaking boarding facility at the University of Virginia "wherein it is proposed that the boarders shall be permitted to speak French only, with a view to their becoming familiarized to conversation in that language". In 1985, his desire came into fruition. The Maison Française, built in 1896 by Dr. Paul Barringer and located at 1404 Jefferson Park Avenue, is a prime example of the Queen Anne styleof architecture. The mansion was renovated in 1984 and opened its doors to the first generation of French-speaking students in the Fall of 1985. It is both a residential house and a center for French cultural life at the University of Virginia. Students, faculty and members of the community all play an important role in fostering the unique cultural and educational atmosphere of the Maison Française.