Friday, 22 June 2012

Londres ou Paris

images via wikipedia
The English have had a long standing love affair with France, but up until recently it has been rather one sided.
Many of our senior citizens live in little villages all over France, however, it would be wrong of me to say that it is mainly confined to the older generation, our eldest son spent 5 years living in Paris with his young family.
Suddenly, however, there is a reverse situation taking place, mainly amongst the young well educated French, who are now moving to the UK in considerable numbers.
In London alone there are now over 400,000 French people residing, and the numbers are climbing rapidly. After the election of François Hollande as President last month, even more may be coming to what is being dubbed the 'fifth French city'. French financiers base themselves in South Kensington, where the Lycée offers the best in Gallic education. Thanks to the French government, fees there are relatively low - £2000 a term - compared with other private schools in London. Nearby there is a French cinema at the Institut Français and you will be hard pressed to hear an English voice on Bute Street, which is packed with French cafes, patisseries, grocers and bookshops. The newsagents are stacked with Le Monde and Le Figaro. French mamans push strollers, buy brie, and after work, outside the Zetland Arms, French business men and women crowd together to talk, smoke and drink red wine.
We can see the change taking place in our own quiet little corner of the Cotswolds. We have a delightful restaurant run by a young French women and her family. The restaurant is in a beautiful old stone house. When dinning there, the atmosphere is akin to eating on the continent. The owner has a little ante-room off the restaurant in which she sells olive oil, lavender products from Provence, and a large selection of pâtés and olives. In our nearest local town there is a lovely vintage shop selling brocante for the home which is owned by a young French couple.
Several French markets are held during the year in the nearby small towns selling freshly baked bread, cheeses, pâté, wine, garlic and olives etc.
As I mentioned the pronounced flow of French people are mainly young, educated people who want to escape the stuffiness of Paris, their words. In Paris, class, contacts and family background matter much more. The labour market is apparently much more accessible to them in London.
courtesy the Economist
Paris on Thames
A young French illustrator from Paris said that she loves the freedom of London. She said she would never have been able to set up her own business in France because of too much bureaucracy. 
Another young women, with an Algerian mother said she encounters no problems of mixed race in London, and said how welcoming people are. A women in her mid twenties, a fashion designer, said the best thing about London is the fashion. If France is the home of understated chic, London is more stylish and adventurous. There is a freedom of expression here that you don't get in Paris, she said. She also said that at home, the look is very conservative - beautiful and elegant but muted and plain. At London fashion Week, anything goes. It is colourful and outrageous, everyone mixing different styles.
We should remember that this not a completely new thing. In the 17th century, 16,000 Huguenots, expelled from France, settled in London. They were mainly skilled silk weavers, silver and goldsmiths and masters of numerous other crafts. London benefited hugely from their input.
I personally welcome our Gallic arrivals; our country should again be the beneficiary.
some of the facts and quotes sourced from the Sunday Times

32 comments:

  1. Gosto das duas cidades mas...meu coração pende para Londres onde tenho família.
    Beijo
    Graça

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    1. Caro Grace - obrigado por comentar e para se tornar um seguidor. Ambas as cidades têm sua arquitetura interessante, Museus e Galerias de Arte, mas se você tem família em Londres, que é um bônus.

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  2. No question about it, my preference goes out to Paris, the food and culture are just better. London is also top but Paris is better.

    Greetings,
    Filip

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    1. Hello Filip - Paris is a romantic city, a place for lovers.

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  3. I had heard that the French population in London was growing, but had no idea it was a big as this. Bizarre isn't it.... Brits flocking to France, French in London, people who live in Leeds working in Manchester, Mancunians working in Leeds.... I'm hoping having a home in 2 places will satisfy the wander lust, but not enlarge my global footprint too much. Thanks for a really interesting, thought provoking post.

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    1. Dear Janice - I had no idea how many French people were living in London until I read about it and heard it on the radio. The world is a much smaller place these days. It is a big change though, from my own limited experience, the French population as a whole like to stay at home and holiday in their own country. However, it appears that the younger generations are not following in their parents footsteps.

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  4. Hello, Rosemary.

      Sense and expression.
      Aesthetically your work has been held by both.

      The prayer for all peace.
      I wish You all the best.
     
    Have a good weekend. From Japan, ruma ❃

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    1. Dear Ruma - thank you for your visit and comment. Wishing you all of the best too.

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  5. I had no idea that at some point many English people moved to France and now the opposite thing takes place but then again, I live in Belgium of course; it was very interesting reading material nevertheless. Always love your posts.
    Bye,
    Marian

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    1. Thank you Marian - I am pleased that you enjoyed reading the post. I was really surprised when I read in the paper that so many young French people were living in London, but also I recognise that we have quite a few French businesses near where I live too. Thank your for your comment.

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  6. I agree with you.... I think the French bring so many good things with them! I have worked with quite a few French ex pats and they love London for its city life, culture and beautiful parks that make it such a green space :-)

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    1. Dear Nat - it is interesting that it is the younger generation that are coming to live over here. As I mentioned in an earlier comment, the older generations have traditionally tended to stay in France and also to holiday in France. The young people have obviously decided to do things differently, and you are right they do seem to enjoy life in London according to quotes that I have read.

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  7. Fascinating, Rosemary: only the other day Phil quizzed us as to what we thought the 6th biggest French city was. The answer: London, in terms of population!

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    1. Dear Kate - surely it must improve our French as a country.

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  8. Dear Rosemary, How wonderful that young people are moving about and bringing with them their culture and way of life. Nothing but good can come from this. Maybe we can all be more kind to each other because we learn to appreciate what once was foreign and therefore, not readily accepted.
    I love your new roundels. Will you share with us how you made them. I would love to know how. ox, Gina

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    1. Dear Gina - I agree whole heartedly - new input, new ideas, new culture, new inspiration, which can only be for the better.
      My new roundels are rather a case of trial, error, and experimentation. I was thinking how nice it would be to do round photos sometimes and break up all of the straight lines.
      I shall work on a post and try to explain how I did them so that you can all share and give them a twirl♥

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  9. Rosemary, how interesting! One reason I love London is the diversity of cultures. As someone visiting from abroad, I am very cognizant of this diversity. But, I never knew there were so many French people living there. I would have never guessed.
    A great weekend to you!
    Loi

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    1. Dear Loi - the big cities, including London, seem to be able to absorb so many different people and cultures.
      It wasn't until I was reading an article and then heard more on the radio that I realised to what extent young French people were moving here.
      Hope you have a good weekend too.

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  10. I had no idea that so many French people lived in England. I wish more lived around me here in Georgia. I am French but never speak it because I don’t know a single French person here – I think they live mostly in New York or Los Angeles. I went to London when I was 13 ½ years old and fell in love with it. Every time I would travel back to Paris to see my family I would stop in London for a couple of days – I also went to school in England for a year and had a great time. From my 13th year to about the time I moved to the US I would go to London for the Christmas vacation as it was more fun than in Paris. I wrote a post on it last December – here is the link should you care to read it : http://avagabonde.blogspot.com/2011/12/recollection-new-year-party-to-remember.html. I hope I can go to England next year because it has been a while since I visited.

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    1. It is a fairly recent thing for so many young French people to settle and work in England, but it is predicted that more will be arriving.
      I can appreciate how you feel about not having any of your compatriots living nearby. My granddaughter, aged 10 years, spent her early years in Paris at a French school. She now lives in Norway, but her parents were able to put her in a French school again in Norway. She has just started in the British system, but needs to keep her French up to scratch so her parents take her to a French lady every week for conversation, reading and writing in French.
      I am just about to go and read the post you wrote. Thanks for your interesting comment.

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  11. I had heard this too on the radio, and was surprised, as in our household, we hanker after the French life (planning our escape, someday!) We have had a French girl on work experience for the last five weeks, and taking her out to get a flavour of England has made both me and my husband appreciate our own neck of the woods a bit more. Now I can see the green grass on both sides of the Channel!
    x

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    1. Dear Alix - I think that I began to appreciate more of our history, art and architecture when I began blogging. We have such a rich heritage on our doorsteps and also all over the country. There is so much to photograph and write about that so far I am never stumped for a post. Our main problem is the weather, the winter was wonderful, but the summer, will it ever begin? However, I think that the weather in France is poor too this year.

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  12. Never thought so many people from France are moving to the UK. Never to old to learn though.
    Have a great weekend Rosemary

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    1. I was surprised to learn this myself Marijke. It is mainly because the young French find that they have more career opportunities in the UK, and they apparently find that we are more easy going. Enjoy your weekend too, they seem to come round so quickly these days.

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  13. Dear Rosemary,

    Unless I am really mistaken, the Brits don't really love the French and call them FROGS! People from Southern Europe are WAPS. They love to hate anything that isn't British, as they believe they still have an Empire. WRONG!

    I love England and have lived here for a very long time, so I know how people think, in this country. Sometimes I love the attitude, others I hate the bigotism.

    London and Paris are both Northern European capitals. London, to me, means wide streets, freedom and beauty. Paris still has the charm of the old Continental European capital. It has its own history and the pride of having started the first great revolution.

    Europe is a great continent. I believe that the further down you go, the more beautiful and historic it becomes. But I'm not going to knock London down. I feel happy walking through London: it's beautiful, multi ethnic, the people are certainly friendlier than the French. How do you strike a balance? Well, you don't! You just take the best out of every place you visit, appreciate it and enjoy life.

    The city where I was born is a Norman city. There is a huge Norman Castele in the city and many more dotted round the countryside. We eat snails, lots of cream cakes, as they do in Normand and we also eat le cheval! We don't eat frogs, as we don't get rain. If it did, maybe we would. Who knows?

    Making it in UK, as a foreigner, is very hard. You have a label stuck on you which says: DIFFERENT. Like Kermit used to say: IT'S NOT EASY BEING GREEN!I have been through some very rough times, here, though now I don't really care, anymore. If I were a Parisien, I would stay put, actually. But... DE GUSTIBUS! We are citizens of the European Union, aren't we? Are we, or... are the UK trying to stop immigration? You can't be part of a Union and then make your own laws, to suit your nedds!

    Au revoir! Ciao, ciao!

    ANNA
    xx

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    1. Dear Anna - some people may use derogatory terms for different nations, but that is not my style or that of my friends. I have acquaintance and friends from many different nations, after all H worked for the United Nations. I am sorry if you personally have come across that attitude, and apologise to you for it.
      Lets just enjoy each other and our little differences.
      I have not actually had the experience of living in another country and making it my home, so it is difficult for me to comment.
      My eldest son lived in Paris for 5 years and there are always bound to be cultural differences which I know that they overcame by participating in things that were going on locally. My daughter-in-law became very involved in helping the local Marie to promote good relations, and now that they are in Norway they try to involve themselves with local people and events. My grandchildren and my daughter-in-law even wear Norwegian national costumes on National Day.

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    2. Oh, my god! You see? What kind of WOP am I if I write WAP insted of WOP? Mamma mia... what a mistake!

      Rosemary, I have lived in this Country I love and respect, for most of my life. I have a degree in English Language and Literature and I do "partecipate" as you say (I don't even have an Italian accent!) but I have recently experienced something very unpleasant.

      Let's just be friends, as you say... I am very friendly and open and I love to get on with everyone.

      CIAO!

      ANNA

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    3. Oh dear Anna!!! - now I am very very disappointed that you do not have an Italian accent. I love an Italian accent, so do try to cultivate one just for me♥
      Ciao.

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  14. A very interesting post, Rosemary, I started to learn about this 5 years ago when having my hair done in Oxford by a French hairdresser who told me how many younger French people there already were in London and elsewhere. Many of them will probably retire back to France eventually, but they find British society much more open to talent and innovation than the very rigid and bureaucratic system in France. Certainly the younger Britons who emigrate to France often find it very hard, if not impossible to make a living there.

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    1. Lovely to hear from you again Perpetua and good to know that you have arrived safely in France. Hope you are getting improved weather.
      I only recently heard about this trend of young French people coming over here, although as I mentioned we had noticed it happening in our own neighbourhood.
      I nearly called on you today as I was having blogger problems, and I immediately thought of you as being the fountain of all knowledge.
      It was my own fault, not blogger, I have put a DNT - do not track me button on the computer, and it blocked all of my Google Friend Contacts. Luckily I resolved it before I threw the hammer in once and for all. However, I can't do that because I would miss all of my lovely blogging friends too much.

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    2. I chuckled to be thought of as a Blogger guru, Rosemary. It's a good thing you worked it out for yourself, as I don't think I would have had a clue his time. :-)

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    3. I am so pleased that I resolved it Perpetua - there is nothing stops me sleeping properly than a problem to solve on blogger or the computer - stupid isn't it.

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