Isabelle Janvrin and Catherine Rawlinson
The French in London
Translated by Emily Read
The French in London; From William the Conqueror to Charles de Gaulle
Ever since 1066 there has been a substantial French presence in London. It is now said to be the sixth most populous French city and this book illustrates, explains, and exposes how this came about over more than a 1000 years.
Full of individual stories and overlooked details covering a common history, from William the Conqueror, via the Huguenots (e.g. David Garrick’s family), and the émigrés of the French Revolution ( such as the families of Joseph Bazelgette, Augustus Pugin and Isambard Brunel), and on to London, the capital of the Free French during WWII.
It is also a guide book to those streets, museums, monuments, churches and art dedicated to the French of London. Voltaire, Rimbaud, Verlaine, Foch and dozens of others are all honoured by plaques or statues. Traces and stories of those escaping the French Revolution and the Commune are remembered. Talleyrand, Chateaubriand and Madame de Stael all lived in London during those turbulent years.
The lives of French Queens of England such as Eleanor of Aquitaine, Isabella the “She-Wolf of France” and Catherine de Valois are described with fresh insight. Isabella and Henriette-Marie de France have been honoured with London streets named after them.