The French in London: statistics don’t tell the story

London is now known as France’s sixth biggest city. Despite stereotypical views of the UK hosting bad weather and bad food, it is estimated that around 400,000 French people are living in London.

Once confined to the bilingual streets of South Kensington, where the first French school, Lycée Charles De Gaulle is situated and shops such as ‘Cave au Fromage’, stuffed with imported cheese and wine have opened, the French, in recent years have sent a new breed of migrants across the channel.

The highly skilled, high earning with families in tow are still steadily trickling to the capital, including recent influx due to the tax increases imposed by socialist president Francois Hollande, yet in areas such as Arsenal or Hackney, amongst others, young, skilled professionals, sans famille are residing and working, fluent in English and seeking the opportunities London has to offer.

Below are the official statistics taken from census results. They show the 15 most common  countries of birth amongst Londoners:

One young French professional told the BBC in an interview that employers were more likely to give young people a chance in the UK than in France, as contracts can be terminated more easily here.

Unemployment in France stands at 3.2 million, at the moment the UK figure is 2.56.

We spoke to a 22 year old French man, Aymeric. He has been trying to find work in the capital for over six months and in the pod-cast below, he explains why the opportunities that come with London life are not available for everyone. To read more profiles of young French people in London, visit this site, run by a French journalist who lives in London.


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