Uncovering the Distinctly French Parts of London

Aside from being a sprawling metropolis representing the capital of the country, you wouldn’t really say that there are too many similarities between London and Paris. Over the centuries, the French the British have had what could be generously called a strained relationship, but thanks to the close ties once formed under the European Union, the two cultures have been allowed to spill into each other.

In London, that has created several little pockets of distinctly French locations and offerings. Having these locations further enriches the cultural mixes that we get to enjoy every day around the capital, but in a very distinct way. After all, France is known for its cuisine, classy culture, and as a pioneer of classic entertainment. All of this can be enjoyed just around the corner in London.

Finding Little Paris in Big London

The first place that you’ll be pointed to for finding a slice of Paris in London is just to the west of Central London. In South Kensington, you’ll find what has been deemed the unofficial French quarter of the city. Standing since 1910, the French Institute is the centrepiece of the area, having been established to promote the ways of France in the British capital.

Nearby, you can also find the French school of Lycée, and Librairie La Page, which is the oldest exclusively French bookshop found in London. Head further west to Hammersmith, and you’ll uncover a bit more of the French footprint in the city. If you like your South of France cuisine, then you couldn’t go wrong by visiting Le Petit Citron and its cosy local bistro experience.

Of course, if you like French cuisine, you’d best head a bit further north from Hammersmith and South Kensington. In Notting Hill, chief among eateries is Cépages. It deals in what is essentially French tapas and all within a delightful little setting. For even finer pallets, nearby is Core by Clare Smyth, which has earned three stars from Michelin, as well as the also very highly-rated Caractère.

Fun from the classic entertainment pioneers

The French are famed creators of so many forms of entertainment that we still treasure today. One of the most storied is that of the table game roulette. Still found at the historic London casino Hippodrome, the randomised numbers game remains a staple of the classy entertainment medium. In recent years, it’s even seen a bit of a modern transformation.

When you play roulette online, you’ll find that the London casino offers its own roulette room, Live Hippodrome Roulette, as well as the powered-up versions of Live Lightning Roulette, Lucky 6 Roulette, and Mega Fire Blaze Roulette. More towards the west is another French gem of entertainment. Ciné Lumière is here to deliver French films alongside new releases, independent films, and other superb creations from overseas.

Importantly for French film aficionados, the venue not only hosts film screenings, but also French creatives. Filmmakers from France will make their way to the South Kensington cinema to discuss their films. You can also revel in a different show each month by heading to the Soirée Pompette cabaret hall on Exmouth Market. All of the performances are French, as are the venue’s staff members, making for a unique night out.

There are many great little ways to get a nibble of French culture in London, and best of all, much of it can be found towards the western reaches of the city.

Top Tips