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Discover: A Cultural Guide to French London

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Image Credit: Blanchette London via Instagram

Zut alors! Fancy finding a bit of France in the capital? Read on to dive deeper into London's French quarters...

France isn't just about croissants and berets - it's a country of freedom, pleasure, and joie de vivre. We can trust the French to show us how to become bons viveurs, and now it's a way of life we no longer need to cross the Channel for. In a city as cosmopolitan and internationally representative as London, France has a strong presence. So if you're looking for a touch of 'je ne sais quoi', there are a number of places in London guaranteed to bring out the Francophile in you. Santé. 

Where to eat...

Blanchette Shoreditch

Image Credit: Blanchette London via Instagram

 9 D'Arblay St, London W1F 8DR

First on our list is Blanchette in Soho, a calssic French bistro serving traditional french meals that would satisfy any foodies fantasy. It has all the classics with a concept based on sharing. They have a delicious lunch and pre-theatre menu to sample from costing £15 per person upwards and their A La Carte menu is filled to the brim with French delights, from truffle suacisson to rich cheese and honey pairings, succulent meats and fruitful salads. 

To book a table or find out more information, click here.

La Petite Auberge

283-284 Upper St, London N1 2TZ

If you fancy something a little more rustic, Islington's La Petite Auberge is the epitome of a traditional French tavern, from its red and white checked tablecloths to its hearty menu. With an extensive wine list, hot, cheesy Soupe a l'Oignon and a separate menu just for crepes, La Petite Auberge is authentic and unassuming and affordable.

To make a reservation, click here.

Chez Antionette

Image Credit: chezantionette.co.uk

Convet Garden: 30 The Market Building, London WC2E 8RE

Victoria: 22 Palmer St, London SW1H 0PH

For lunch, Chez Antoinette  is the perfect spot - if you can get a seat. This tiny little tartinerie (or in English, sandwich shop) and wine bar is pleasant and warm, does an amazing charcuterie board and, of course, perfect tartines. With its owners hailing from Lyon and aiming to recreate memories of a French childhood, Chez Antoinette is atmospheric, charming and comes with a delicious dessert selection.

To book a table or find out more information, click here.

Caractère

Image Creidt: Caractererestaurant.com

The innovators behind this sophisticated Notting Hill hotspot are Emily Roux (Michel Jnr's daughter) and her husband Diego Ferrari, a former head chef at Le Gavroche. Together they created this casual, independant restaurant with and independent take on classic french dishes and some additional - more universal platters. Caractère in French literally means character, something both Emily and Diego pride themselves in when it comes to their dishes. Their menu, which is divided into 6 characters can be explored here.

Bookings can be made here

Opening Hours
Tuesday - Saturday
Dinner 18.15-21.00pm

Thursday - Saturday
Lunch 12.00-13.45pm


Where to drink...

The French House

49 Dean St, London W1D 5B

For Francophile history buffs, The French House in Soho offers a healthy dose of history (General Charles de Gaulle supposedly wrote his post-World War II speech  'tous les Français' here) and Ricard - they sell more of it than anywhere else in Britain. The French House has long been popular with artists and writers - they only serve beer in half pints, as per French tradition - and it's a fine place to sit and soak up the atmosphere. They serve over 30 types of wine and champagne with a contraversial no music, no mobile phones, no machines and no television rule making it a haven for conversationalists. 

For their menus and more information, click here.

Brasserie Toulouse-Lautrec

Image Credit: toulouselautrec.co.uk

140 Newington Butts, London SE11 4RN

If you prefer 1920's Paris to 1950's London, the Brasserie Toulouse-Lautrec is one of the liveliest jazz bars in south London. Named after an artist known for his provocative paintings of decadent Parisian life, this art-deco brasserie lives up to its namesake, looking like a true bohemian Parisian bar. A family run affair, an evening here is guaranteed to be good, with live music every night and a great value wine list.

With over 5 different menus to choose from with vegan and vegetarian options, you can be sure there's something for everyone. 

Le Beaujolais

25 Litchfield St, London WC2H 9NJ

If it's French wine you're fiending for, Le Beaujolais is guaranteed to fit the bill. Tucked away in Soho, this eclectic French-style bar serves exclusively French wine is not only one of London's oldest wine bars, but also one of the easiest places in London to come across and authentic, fresh, French baguette. Cosy, dark and low-key- time passes very quickly in Le Beaujolais.

To check our their wine list and menu, click here.

To make a reservation, click here.


What to do...

Institut Français

Image Credit: insitut-francais.org.uk

17 Queensberry Pl, South Kensington, London SW7 2DT

Feeling like you want to seriously involve yourself in French language and culture? Based in South Kensington, the Institut Français is run by the French government with the aim to promote French language and culture throughout the world. Complete with a language centre, French cinema (Ciné Lumière), two French libraries and a café that does a truly French croissant, this is the best place in London to get truly immersed in French society. The Institut also runs numerous festivals, seminars, talks and educational events throughout the year, actively encouraging cross-cultural exchange in an area known for its arts and sciences.

To learn more about their upcoming events, click here.

To discover their available courses, click here.

Soirée Pompette

Image Credit: soireepompette.blogspot.com/

Should you prefer something more along the lines of Moulin Rouge, Soirée Pompette is an action- packed monthly variety and cabaret night that will most certainly tickle your fancy. Every month they showcase live acts, bingo games, all presented to you by a coquettish host named Miss Pompette. The only catch? You can only speak French from the moment you enter the cabaret hall, but the staff are more that happy to accommodate if all you can manage is "Encore du vin, s'il vous plaît. 

With entry at £10 and a glass of wine handed to you when you walk in the door, this is a form of French culture that everyone can enjoy.

If you wish to purchase your tickets in advance, you can click here.


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