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From France to London

Laura Mairot, 20/11/12

This article is in English. Click here to read it in French.

Some months ago now, an article by the BBC recounted a fact that could seem somewhat puzzling: it is said that there are more French people in London than there are in Bordeaux, Nantes or Strasbourg! In terms of population, that would therefore make London the sixth largest French city.

After spending two months in London, I was able to form my own opinion on the matter, and remembering this article that had so occupied me, I thought it would be nice to share it.

I don’t have any statistics to show you concerning the exact number of French people now living in London. However, as an expat in this great multi-faceted city, I can’t deny the fact that there are many French people here.

Laura Mairot, 20/11/12
Like me, you have surely already had the experience, during a trip to London, of asking for directions with your best English accent when somebody replies to you with “you’re French…” (Dang, busted!)

From Camden Town to London Bridge, through Notting Hill, South Kensington, Westminster, Piccadilly Circus or Algate East, French is in order. Chains by the sweet names of Paul, Ladurée and Nicolas are in abundance for food lovers (baguettes, macarons, wine…Ooh la la! We love all that!). For shopping-lovers (or window-shoppers, at least) there’s no way that you wouldn’t get lost in the midst of luxury stores, such as Chanel, Christian Dior or Jean Paul Gauthier.

Chanel - Tempting?

It’s just like being at home (or nearly!). Because you must admit that, despite the similarities, there are some differences that should also be noted (the weather, jet lag, currency and driving on the right). When it comes to food in particular, although imitated, the French are rarely equaled. So where there’s a return to France, there’s a compulsory stop at the bakery!

Going back to London, the French are certainly present in great numbers. However, they are not the only ones to have chosen to live there. Therefore, in each busy area you will find different cultural backgrounds (Spanish, Italian, Indian, Pakistani, Colombian…), London being a multicultural city where diversity is enjoyed.

Translation by Kenaira Inot.
Image credits:
1. Westminster, by Laura Mairot.
2. Piccadilli Circus, by Laura Mairot.
3. Chanel, Tempting? Central London, par _mubblegum_ on Flickr.


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