Paris is merely across the channel and in terms of travel, is probably one of the easiest places to get to what with the Eurostar, channel tunnel and the Dover ferry services. With French being taught in most British schools and being one of the closest non-english speaking countries to the UK, as well as a long spanning history of French-English adversary or alliance, it is hard to escape the fact that the French have had a massive influence on this country.
The UK was even ruled by the French with William the Conqueror’s victory at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Pair this with the masses of opportunities for French speakers in the UK and you have a massive French community in London. It can be expensive to travel across the channel to Paris so below guests at the Park Grand London Hyde Park can find a few of the best French experiences in the city, whether you want to learn about their rich culture or are merely homesick.
The French Institute
The French Institute was founded in 1910 and is home to the cinema Lumiere, where you can see French classics from across the ages as well new cinema releases, as well as a children’s and multi media library. On top of this the institute is dedicated to the teaching of the French language and education in French culture. The classes are aimed at various different ages and skill levels and instil the institute’s core philosophy of upholding and spreading information on French culture, often collaborating with English schools in finding new and innovative ways to teach. With a grade II listed multimedia library consisting of 50,000 French magazines, books and videos, there’s always something new to learn and a little slice of home for any French locals looking for solace from Englishness.
French comedy nights
With a huge influence on English actors such as Sacha Baron Cohen and Russell Brand, French comedy in the “clowning” genre has meant that many British actors and coemdians have trained at French performance art institutes like Gaulier Academy or Le Coq, taking actor physicalities to the extremes of hilarity. This is why, in London you can find many French comedy nights that focus on French performers, styles of comedy or are heavily influenced by clowning and mime. These include Excuse my French which has French comedians play at venues such as the Et Cetera Theatre in Camden as well as the French Comedy Night at the Angel Comedy Club attracting English comedians with a connection to France as well as French natives, all performed in French.
Voila Festival is a performance festival which attracts not just French artists, but European artists in a celebration of culture and diversity. This year will see Voila! Celebrate art through multiple languages spreading new ways of looking at creativity, focussing on a multinational audience. The performances take place at the Cockpit Theatre and the E Cetera Theatre and are a great way to encourage a broad range of nationalities to come together in celebration of performance.
South Kens Kids Festival
For anybody staying at Hotels in Paddington, London with children later this year, the South Kens Kids Festival is a great place to bring your little ones. The south Kens kid’s festival is curated and upheld by children’s illustrator Quentin Blake and focuses on literature and arts for children from across England and France. The festival allows kids to hear and talk to children’s writers in both French and English as well as take part in workshops designed to introduce children to the wonders of illustration and storytelling.