Paris in London

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London has everything – even a little bit of Paris. Here's our guide to Gallic culture in the capital – French restaurants, bars, shops, theatre, music, dance and more

  • Paris in London

    St Pancras Grand © Britta Jaschinski


  • Restaurants | Bars | Shops | Sport | Churches | Cabaret | Music | Classical Film | Dance | Theatre

    Restaurants


    Galvin Bistrot de Luxe
    A lovely brasserie, all dark wood and white tablecloths, with great food and a superlative wine list.
    Galvin Bistrot de Luxe, 66 Baker St, W1U 7DJ (7935 4007/www.galvinuk.com).

    Le Mercury
    With its candles, low lighting and menu fixe, this somehow retains an intimate feel despite being spread over several floors, and the French classics served are reliable if not mind-blowing.
    Le Mercury, 140a Upper St, N1 1QY (7354 4088/www.lemercury.co.uk).

    Racine
    Classic French food at reasonable prices, served amid vibrant 1930s decor.
    Racine, 239 Brompton Rd, SW3 2EP (7584 4477).

    St Pancras Grand
    This is time-warp territory, all leather banquettes and a bar reminiscent of Manet’s painting ‘The Bar at the Folies-Bergère’. The food is modern British, though.
    St Pancras Grand, Upper Concourse, St Pancras International, Euston Rd, NW1 2QP (7870 9900/ www.searcys.co.uk/stpancrasgrand).

    Restaurants | Bars | Shops | Sport | Churches | Cabaret | Music | Classical Film | Dance | Theatre

    Bars


    Comptoir Gascon
    Parisians love Gascon and this lovely spacious bistro with its excellent wine list, Bib Gourmand and superlative duck-fat chips is more sophisticated north than genuine south-west eaterie.
    Comptoir Gascon,63 Charterhouse St, EC1M 6HJ (7608 0851/www.comptoirgascon.com).

    The French House
    Souse-hole of choice for many titanic Soho artist-drunks – what could be more Parisian? Apart, of course, from De Gaulle running his Resistance operation upstairs. Or the half-pint pression and litre-bottles of cider.
    The French House, 49 Dean St, W1D 5BE (7437 2477/www.frenchhousesoho.com).

    Terroirs
    A really, really Parisian wine bar, with offhand service, everyone chattering in French – and food and wine (most of it organic or biodynamic) so good you come back anyway.
    Terroirs, 5 William IV St, Strand, WC2N 4DW (7036 0660).

    Restaurants | Bars | Shops | Sport | Churches | Cabaret | Music | Classical Film | Dance | Theatre

    Shopping


    Agnès b
    Quirky French men’s, women’s and children’s collections over two floors of an Old Spitalfields Market unit.
    Agnès b, 16 Lamb St, E1 6EA (7426 0014/www.agnesb.com).

    Amié

    Stocks chic French fashion labels for women including hard-to-find APC, Isabel Marant and Forte Forte.
    Amié, 32 Ledbury Rd, W11 2AB (7221 7070/www.aimelondon.com).


    The French Bookshop

    This is the place to come for classic and contemporary French literature, children books and comics, French newspapers and magazines, CDs and DVDs.
    The French Bookshop, 28 Bute St, SW7 3EX (7584 2840/www.frenchbookshop.com).


    La Fromagerie
    If you want the real scent of Paris, go for a whiff of La Fromagerie’s 200-odd varieties of cheese (French and Italian). They sell wines, meat, fruit and bread, too.
    La Fromagerie, 2-4 Moxon St, W1U 4EW (7935 0341/ www.lafromagerie.co.uk).


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    The Institut Francais Mediathèque
    Institut Français Mediathèque
    An Institut Français membership card doesn’t just give your wallet an air of sophistication. It can also be used to access the Institut’s admirable mediathèque, enabling you to borrow a stunning selection of thousands of French films, CDs, comics and newspapers, as well as old fashioned ‘books’, if you still read those.
    Institut Francais Mediathèque, 17 Queensberry Place, SW7 2DT (7073 1350/www.institut-francais.org.uk).

    Ladurée
    Legendary Parisian pastry brand. Their large, old-fashioned macaroons filled with butter cream are particularly good.
    Ladurée, Harrods, 87-135 Brompton Rd, SW1X 7XL (3155 0111/www.laduree.fr); 71-72 Burlington Arcade, Piccadilly, W1J 0QX (7491 9155/www.laduree.fr).


    Pascalou
    A wide range of fab French products including fresh cheese, fish (imported daily from France), fruit, vegetables, bread and charcuterie.
    Pascalou, 355 Fulham Rd, SW10 9UU (7352 1717).

    Sonia Rykiel
    Sumptuous leather bags and studded berets as well as Rykiel’s signature stripey knits can be snapped up here.
    Sonia Rykiel, 27-29 Brook St, W1K 4HG (7493 5255/www.soniarykiel.com).


    Restaurants | Bars | Shops | Sport | Churches | Cabaret | Music | Classical Film | Dance | Theatre

    Sport


    Billingual football
    The Institut Français is a partner in the Arsenal Double Club language scheme. Up to 30 girls and boys in Years 8 and 9 – who don’t need to be Arsenal fans, or elite players – take part in sessions lasting six to 12 weeks that are conducted like a match, with half the group in the classroom, half on the field receiving football coaching using some of the language being taught. At half time the two groups switch. For more information contact Sami Singh on 7704 4158/ssingh@arsenal.co.uk (www.arsenal.com/doubleclub).

    Le Bouchon Bordelais

    An authentic French brasserie, which shows all major French football and rugby matches on its big screens.
    Le Bouchon Bordelais, 5-9 Battersea Rise, SW11 1HG (7738 0307/ www.lebouchon.co.uk).

    Restaurants | Bars | Shops | Sport | Churches | Cabaret | Music | Classical Film | Dance | Theatre

    Churches


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    Huguenot church
    Founded in 1891 for a community of French Protestant silk-weavers who settled in and around Leicester Square in the late nineteenth century.
    Huguenot church, 8-9 Soho Square, W1D 3QD (7437 5311).

    Notre Dame de France
    Founded in 1865 for London’s French Catholic community and rebuilt in 1953 after the original building was destroyed during World War Two.
    Notre Dame de France, 5 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BX (7437 9363/www.notredamechurch.co.uk).

    Restaurants | Bars | Shops | Sport | Churches | Cabaret | Music | Classical Film | Dance | Theatre

    Cabaret


    Edith Piaf: A Celebration of a Legend
    Paris comes to Piccadilly as award-winning singer Tina May revives the music and life story of legendary popular French singer Edith Piaf, with classics including ‘La Vie en Rose’, ‘Milord’ and ‘Je ne Regrette Rien’.
    The Pigalle Club, 215-217 Piccadilly, W1J 9HN (0800 988 5470/www.thepigalle.co.uk). Sat, doors 6.30pm, on stage 9pm. Dinner and show £50; show only (standing) £15.

    French Revolution @ 93 Feet East
    The bi-monthly celebration of all musical things French has been absorbed into the venue’s popular free Fridays, giving you a chance to sample a whole evening’s worth of lovingly researched up-and-coming bands and DJs for the same price as a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.
    93 Feet East, 150 Brick Lane, E1 6QL (7247 3293/www.93feeteast.co.uk). Friday from 7pm.

    Raison d’Etre
    Super cool fly guy, French DJ and producer Healer Selecta runs this outstanding collective of pan-Channel musicians who put on brilliant retro nights and keep the dancefloor full.
    Lexington Club, 96-98 Pentonville Rd, N1 9JB (7837 5371/www.reason2b.net/events). Apr 11 9pm-3am.

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    Volupté

    Volupté
    A sweet-as-flavoured-lipgloss basement supper club that nods to the Parisian absinthe chic of old and attracts London’s best skirt-shakers and burlesque starlets.
    Volupté, 9 Norwich St, EC4A 1EJ (7831 1622/www.volupte-lounge.com).

     



    Restaurants | Bars | Shops | Sport | Churches | Cabaret | Music | Classical Film | Dance | Theatre

    Music


    Neon Noise Project
    Catch up with the latest new wave electro-punk fashion-core sounds from the heavyweight labels Kitsune (home to rising Brit stars La Roux as well as Digitalism and autoKratz) and Ed Banger (Justice, Uffie, Sebastian) at a special May Day bank holiday special from Francophile club night Neon Noise Project at the Coronet Theatre.
    Coronet Theatre, 26-28 New Kent Rd, SE1 6TJ (7701 1500/www.coronettheatre.co.uk). May 1.

    Phoenix
    The popular Versailles yacht rock revivalists launch their fourth studio album, ‘Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix’ in May. They’ll also be popping over to London to play a special gig at Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen on Apr 23. They follow this up with a show at the more fittingly sizeable Koko on June 1.
    Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen
    , 2-4 Hoxton Square, N1 6NU (7613 0709/www.barworks.com).


    Restaurants | Bars | Shops | Sport | Churches | Cabaret | Music | Classical Film | Dance | Theatre

    Classical


    Charpentier’s ‘Leçons de ténèbres’
    The French baroque composer’s work for Easter is suitably performed by Les Talens Lyriques.
    Wigmore Hall, 36 Wigmore St, W1U 2BP (7935 2141/www.wigmore-hall.org.uk). April 11, 7.30pm.

    Louvre Musical Pictures
    The 20-year-old Parisian chamber music series swaps its palace of the arts for King’s Cross, presenting young French performers.
    Kings Place
    , 90 York Way, N1 9AG (0844 264 0321/www.kingsplace.co.uk). May 6-9.


    Orchestre National d’Ile de France

    The Parisian orchestra performs three seminal works from the French twentieth-century repertoire: Ravel’s ‘Mother Goose Suite’, Debussy’s ‘La Mer’, and Stravinsky’s ‘Firebird Suite’.
    Cadogan Hall
    , 5 Sloane Terrace, SW1X 9DQ (7730 4500/www.cadoganhall.com). April 24, 7.30pm.


    Paris Jazz
    A four-day celebration of the City of Light and its jazz connections, from Josephine Baker in the 1920s to today’s Henri Texier.
    Kings Place
    , 90 York Way, N1 9AG (0844 264 0321/www.kingsplace.co.uk).
    June 10-13.

    Restaurants | Bars | Shops | Sport | Churches | Cabaret | Music | Classical Film | Dance | Theatre

    Film


    François Truffaut Directorspective

    Coinciding with a re-release of Truffaut’s lyrical coming-of-age debut ‘Les 400 Coups’, the Barbican offers a chance to revisit the great director’s back catalogue, from new-wave classics such as ‘Jules et Jim’, through to more conventional later work such ‘The Last Metro’.
    Barbican, Silk St, EC2Y 8DS (7638 8891/www.barbican.org.uk). April 12-May 31.

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    Nouvelle Vague season: 'The 400 Blows'

    Nouvelle Vague season
    Huge, cover-all season of films looking back at the French New Wave from its explosion in the late 1950s to its legacy. Work by luminaries such as Godard, Rohmer and Rivette sits next to films by lesser-known (but no less important) talents such as Agnès Varda, Alexandre Astruc and Roger Leenhardt.
    BFI Southbank, South Bank, SE1 8XT (7928 3232/www.bfi.org.uk/southbank). April 9-30.  

    The Nouvelle Vague – 50 Years On

    Another big season celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the Nouvelle Vague, mixing screenings of lesser known works by the Cahiers du Cinema gang with ‘New Wave’ films from other countries such as Vera Chytilová’s ‘Daisies’ (from Czechoslovakia) and '50s French classics such as Louis Malle’s ‘Lift to the Scaffold’.  
    Ciné Lumière, 17 Queensberry Place, SW7 2DT (7073 1350/www.institut-francais.org.uk). Until Apr 21.

    Restaurants | Bars | Shops | Sport | Churches | Cabaret | Music | Classical Film | Dance | Theatre

    Dance


    Breakin’ Convention
    There’s always a strong French contingent at Breakin’ Convention, the annual hip hop dance festival.This year, star popper/clown/mime artist Salah and Compagnie Revolution are flying the flag.
    Sadler’s Wells, Rosebery Avenue, EC1R 4TN (0844 871 0090/www.sadlerswells.com). May 2-4.

    Pierre Rigal
    Former athlete Rigal confines himself to a boxed stage just three-and-a-half metres wide in a brilliant demonstration of the principle that in contortionist dance theatre, less is more.
    Lilian Baylis Studio
    , Rosebery Avenue, EC1R 4TN (0844 871 0090/www.sadlerswells.com). May 28-30.


    Royal Ballet ‘Three Short Works’
    They may have been called the ‘Russian’ ballet but Paris was the city that saw the birth of Diaghilev’s great Ballet Russes, 100 years ago this year. The Royal Ballet commemorates the centenary with performances of Fokine’s ‘Les Sylphides’ and ‘The Firebird’.
    Royal Opera House, Bow St, WC2E 9DD (7304 4000/www.roh.org.uk). May 4-30.

    Restaurants | Bars | Shops | Sport | Churches | Cabaret | Music | Classical Film | Dance | Theatre

    Theatre


    Andromaque
    Declan Donnellan’s acclaimed European-influenced company Cheek by Jowl usually premiere their works in Paris; their production of Racine’s tragedy should be a highlight of the ‘Paris Calling’ season.
    The Barbican Theatre, Barbican Centre, Silk St, EC2Y 8DS (7638 8891/www.barbican.org.uk). Apr 22-May 2.

    Phèdre
    2009 looks like it will be a good year for Racine, with Helen Mirren taking the title role as the queen who falls for her stepson, with dire results.
    National Theatre Lyttelton
    , South Bank, SE1 9PX (7452 3000/www.nationaltheatre.org.uk). June 4-Aug 2.


  • Add your comment to this feature

Huge, cover-all season of films looking back at the French New Wave from its explosion in the late 1950s to its legacy. Work by luminaries such as Godard, Rohmer and Rivette sits next to films by lesser-known (but no less important) talents such as Agnès Varda, Alexandre Astruc and Roger Leenhardt. Another big season celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the Nouvelle Vague, mixing screenings of lesser known works by the Cahiers du Cinema gang with ‘New Wave’ films from other countries such as Vera Chytilová’s ‘Daisies’ (from Czechoslovakia) and '50s French classics such as Louis Malle’s ‘Lift to the Scaffold’.  Restaurants | Bars | Shops | Sport | Churches | Cabaret | Music | Classical Film | Dance | Theatre

Users say

14 comments
Helene
Helene

You should like also my shop Little Paris in Crouch everything come from France. We are French couple and we are frequently scour our homeland for original and beautiful retro items and bring them back to London to offer a taste of French elegance to your interiors.

Cristina
Cristina

Hi there. Could somebody help? I trying hard to find some review on a French place in London, where one could just go for a drink, sit at a table/on a couch for hours, listen to old French music and have nice long drinks...with no food involved and no need for reservations. It seems that all recommendations here are on food... and even if some of the places sound great...where can you go just to relax and sit with friends in a bohemian french atmosphere?

Pauline
Pauline

I can't say that I've tried all French places in London but I can't understand why no one mentionned the Savoir Faire near Tottenham CR station. This little restaurant is excellent, the food is really French (I should know coz so am I) the staff is mostly French, the decor is lovely (even in the bathroom) and they even thought about the veggies (only one menu for them but that's huge progress for French cuisine). It's very much a place for French people as it is not trying hard to be and look French in a way the tourists would like, it just really is. Must try: the fries of course and the melon-goat cheese salad.

tim arture
tim arture

Gastro's a nice enough gaff and granted, it's very French - but the food is pretty atrocious, actually. Not to mention savagely overpriced

Shona Shahryar
Shona Shahryar

Where are the best French patisseries in London?

Laura
Laura

...Fromagerie was mentioned, but, Marylebone High Street, home to many French expats, has many boutiques never seen before this side of St. Germain des Pres....Comptoir des Cotonniers, Agnes B, Diptyche, L'Artisan Parfumeur, Terre d'Oc, Decamps, a Nicholas, for your wine, and Patisserie Valerie for your cafe and croissant, of course!

Laura
Laura

How could you forget the timeless Le Beaujolais wine bar? It serves traditional French food, plays Blues and Jazz music, and is a fav alternative for French House die-hards wandering between Soho and Covent Garden. The two french owners usually speak french while serving you at the bar and the interior hasn't changed in decades. Le Beaujolais 25 Litchfield Street, London WC2H 9NJ Telephone 020 7836 2955

RJF
RJF

I agree with Gastro, that place is great. Proper French food and staff....

Dolores Murphy
Dolores Murphy

I agree with Jack wernick about Mon Plaisir. It is the most quintessentially French resteraunt you will find. You could be forgiven for thinking you are in the heart of Paris when you sit there inhaling the odour of fabulous French cheeses and garlic laden dishes. We first discovered this gem over 20 years ago, and am v pleased that it is still going strong. Great place for a romantic diner a deux or just to splash out for a special occasion.What a refreshing change from the usual run of the mill pseudo French resteraunts we are now reduced to in the south east of england.This one is the "real deal". Try it.

Jack Wernick
Jack Wernick

London's oldest French restaurant, Mon Plaisir, is a wonderfully evocative bistro near Covent Garden. The menu is as traditional as the transporting decor. You will likely forget you are in the Capital City whilst dining there.

sense
sense

Volupté is as French as Gordon Brown is honest. I was there last week, and not one moment did I think "This looks a tad French.." The bar and restaurant are as 'Leicester Square' as you can get. Having said that The Kitten Club were magnificent. But the prices were not reflective of the venue.

roy fox
roy fox

I think you should include Gastro restaurant at Clapham Common. The food is excellent.