Where to find France in London

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To those who know it well, London isn’t so much a city as it is a thriving example of hundreds of different countries and cultures living together in one place.

In order to be called a Londoner, you don’t necessarily need to have lived in London your whole life and neither do you need to be English. The quinntessential Londoner is someone who is a faction of all the different things that it has on offer.

As such, it’s hard to nail down exactly what a genuine London experience or trip is like – there is simply too much to put into one sentence. All you really need to know is that if there’s a culture or country for which you have an affinity, you should be able to dip your toe into it somewhere in the city.

For example, there are lots places to find France in London and you should be able to locate Paris particularly easily.

There is French influence all throughout the city, some is easy to spot – such as the fashion industry and restaurants, while other things are more subtle.

We’re going to tell you about just a few of the sights and sounds you can follow to find France in London.

Knightsbridge

Although this is best known for being the area to house the famous Harrods department stores, it’s also where you’ll find the French Embassy.

The embassy has been here since 1853 and around the corner you’ll find L’Institut Francais – or the French Institute, which was founded in 1910 and is a must-stop for Francophiles. Here, you’ll learn French, enjoy wine tastings, the library and you can watch French films at the Lumiere theatre. If you’d just like to soak up the surroundings, you can do so over a cafe creme, c’est delicieux!

In South Kensington in general, you’ll notice a lot of French-speakers who are both tourists and local Londoners. Largely because of the embassy and also the Lycee Charles de Gaulles, but also due to the fact that this is a bustling London hotspot.

After all, this is where some of the most famous attraction are, including the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Natural History Museum.

There are lots of great hotels that are near to these attractions and French institutions, including The Shaftesbury Collection’s Premier London Paddington hotel. To get to Knightsbridge Station from there take the Circle line from Hammersmith to South Kensington for nine minutes and swap to the Piccadilly line to be in Knightsbridge in two minutes. As South Kensington is so close by, people tend to get off at this stop and enjoy the walk to Knightsbridge.

Theatre and cinema

Due to London being such a cultural hotspot, you can expect to find a lot of international theatre and cinema in the city and a great majority of it is French.

In fact, this year is the 12th celebration of London’s Favourite French Film event, which has seen more than 500 French films screened since 2004.

Each year, it features the best French cinema that has been screened in that particular season and to take part you simply rank your top five in order of preference. You can vote between now and 9th September, and the event premiere is on 22nd September at the Picturehouse Central.

Lots of London city hotels are close to the Picturehouse Central, if you’d like to take in this evening when you visit. One of those we would recommend is The Shaftesbury Collection’s Hyde Park Hotel on Bayswater Road.

Great accommodation for those with families, this hotel is ideally located near lots of famous London attractions. To get to the Picturehouse from the hotel itself, take the Circle line for seven minutes from Bayswater Station to Gloucester Road, then swap to the Piccadilly line and travel nine minutes to Piccadilly Circus Station. From there, it’s just a three-minute walk to the cinema.

In terms of theatre shows, there are lots of French acts that work their way throughout the London circuit as part of their tours. Make sure you grab a guide from the hotel or have a look online to see which shows are on when throughout the season. They tend to fluctuate quite a lot, but there’s always something to see at any time of year.

Food and drink

It should come as no shock that there is a massive choice when it comes to French food and drink in London. Some of the best Michelin-starred restaurants in the city are owned and run by people who are French or who have trained in classic French cooking.

Two that come straight to mind are the famous Alain Ducasse and Michel Roux Junior, who are the owners and chefs in residence at Alain Ducasse on Park Lane and Le Gavroche in Mayfair respectively.


Cocktails at Park Grand Hotels

These eateries are the perfect place to enjoy some truly decadent food that is modern but has classic French style and ingredients at its heart. If you want to know what passion tastes like, you need only book a dinner seating at either of these places.

Perhaps you would prefer to have a sampling of something French but you’re not quite in the mood for an entire meal? In that case, you should look no further than the Androuet Cheese Shop, which you’ll find in Old Spitalfields Market.

Located close to St Paul’s Cathedral and ten minutes on the Tube from Covent Garden, you can make an entire day of going to this cheese shop. Wander through the shops and galleries and take a tour of the amazing cathedral, once you’re finished you’ll have worked up a massive appetite, which is the perfect time to go for cheese and wine!

If you’d like to take the Tube straight there from the hotel, head to Queensway Station and take the Central line for 18 minutes to Epping. From there, it’s a short eight-minute walk to Spitalfields Market.

For somewhere a bit farther afield, but no less French, we recommend Oui Monsieur, as the perfect choice for dinner. Located in the hip and trendy Stoke Newington area, you’ll find it as cool as it is delicious.

At this restaurant, expect a lot of seafood like salmon tartare and cod with ratatouille, and don’t forget that the French love their meat, so get ready to tuck into bavette steak or duck – the choice is yours!

Pleasingly, the wine list is as long – if not a bit longer – than the food menu, and ranges from syrah and bordeaux to sancerre and petit chablis.

To get to this taste of France from the hotel, jump on the Central line from Queensway Station and take it 17 minutes to Liverpool Street. After this, you’ll swap to the Docklands Light Railway and ride it for 26 minutes to Amhurst Road – the restaurant is almost on top of the stop.

Don’t forget though, there’s a lot of French culture to be found at London’s many markets, including those at Borough and Camden. However, if you’re looking for the Breton breakfast delicacy that are pancake galettes, you’ll want to look no further than Brixton Market – they’re simply the best.

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