Claude Lambert arrived in San Francisco from Orléans, France, in 1966, bringing with him his love of his native culture and his knowledge of the French education system, to become one of the principal ambassadors of French culture in Northern California. He was a founder of the first entirely French school in San Francisco, La Petite Ecole Française, which became Le Lycée Français La Pérouse. He was instrumental in establishing the school at the Alliance Française de San Francisco. He taught at both schools and served on their respective boards for many years.
While still teaching, Monsieur Lambert and his wife, Micheline, purchased and renovated a rundown property on Nob Hill and turned it into a charming bed and breakfast. The Cornell Hotel de France, which houses the well-respected Jeanne d’Arc restaurant, has become a San Francisco landmark, integral to the fabric of the French community in the Bay Area. The Lamberts have hosted many distinguished visitors: well- known writers, artists, members of the diplomatic corps and top French government officials. The Lamberts frequently make their establishment available at little or no charge for French cultural and educational activities. The Cornell Hotel was the headquarters hotel for the 2005 Assemblée Générale of the Federation of Alliances Françaises USA.
On July 14, 1994, Mayor Frank Jordan decreed “Claude and Micheline Lambert Day” in honor of the Lamberts’ ongoing contribution to the local Franco-American community. On July 14, 2011, a California Senate Resolution, under the auspices of Senator Leland Yee, recognized and thanked Claude Lambert for a lifetime of achievements for the people of San Francisco.
Born in Orléans, France, Monsieur Lambert attended the Ecole Normale d’Orléans. He served for 28 months as an officer during the Algerian War.