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Where in France do all the Canadians live?

The Local France
The Local France - [email protected]
Where in France do all the Canadians live?
Photo: AFP

There might not be as many Canadians in France as there are French in Canada but there are still a few thousand. But where are they living?


Canada is believed to be home to some 150,000 French nationals with several thousand moving across the Atlantic each year. Although only some 90,000 are officially registered with the registered with the French consulate.

But it's not been all one-way traffic in the direction of Montreal and Toronto. There are a few thousand Canadians who have made the move in the opposite direction.

Officially there are 12,568 Canadian citizens living in France. That's according to the most recent figures given to The Local by France’s Statistics Agency, Insee, although as with every nationality there are probably a few more hiding away after having enjoying a good night in the one of the country's Canadian bars like The Moose or the Great Canadian in Paris.

Now, it’s important to note that this doesn’t mean all those Canadians in France should be described as Anglophones or English speakers, as they may be in other countries like Australia.

Indeed, many will no doubt be French-speaking Québécois from the region of Quebec in eastern Canada. The following stats are for Canadians in general, so we won’t refer to them as Anglophones. 

Anyway, where are they?

Here’s a glance across the whole country, followed be an in-depth look at all 13 regions. 

At a glance

The 12,568 Canadians is a high enough figure to rank it fourth out of the eight Anglophone countries we’ve focused on (after Brits, Americans and Indians). And the Canadians are quite well spread around the country - they’re not all in Paris. In fact, just 39 percent are in Paris and its suburbs (compared for example to 73 percent of Indians in France).

Other popular regions include Occitanie, Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, and Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur, each of which has over 1,000 people from Canada. 

Let's not forget that Canada has a strong historical connection to France, too, especially during the second world war. 

In fact, with 15,000 Canadian troops taking part in the D-Day invasion of France, Canada represented the third largest force during the landing.

Below is a picture of a Canadian flag flying at the main gate of the Cintheaux Canadian War Cemetery in northern France, where 2,872 Canadians are buried. 

Photo: AFP

All the regions

The Canadians love the city of Paris

Who doesn’t, really? There are 2,577 Canadians in Paris, out of the 4,941 in the Greater Paris region of Île-de-France. That’s about 52 percent.

The other 48 percent in the suburbs are fairly evenly spread out, with around 200 in each of the seven other departments, with the exception of Haute-de-Seine, the department which hugs the western edge Paris, which has 741 Canadians.

To put these statistics into perspective, there are more Canadians within the 20 arrondissements of Paris than in any of the other 12 regions of France. 

You'll struggle to find a Canadian in central France...

But there are a few.

There are but 236 Canadians in the Centre-Val de Loire region, with almost the exact same amount (237) living in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region next door. Across both regions, you'll find no department more popular than Inde-et-Loire which has 73 Canadians. That's enough to open a pub there surely?

The loneliest Canadian

The department with the fewest Canadians is Haute-Marne, in the Grand Est region. You’ll only find one Canadian there. There are 550 people from Canada spread out across the rest of the region, with the department of Bas-Rhin the most populated (with 210 Canadians in total).

But that ties in with the trend of other expats from English-seaking countries. Central and eastern France just doesn't appeal to them as much as other areas; Could it be the cold winters or the fact France's beatiful beaches are so far away?

They tend to avoid the north
The two northernmost regions of France - Normandy and Hauts-de-France are not home to thrivng Canadian communities either but there are a fewhundred in each. The regions are home to 278 and 392 Canadians respectively. 
Of all the ten departments in the two regions, Canadians tend to flock towards the department of Nord (which contains the city of Lille). 
But it's worth remembering that with the Canadian cemeteries in lower Normandy, such as that in Bretteville-sur-Laize, there are likely to be more Canadians passing through these areas as visitors. 
Brittany is very popular

When it comes to Brittany, you'll find 693 Canadians. Now while that's just 5.5 percent of the total number of Canadians in France, it's a whole lot more than other countries. For example, there are only just a few more Americans than Canadians in Brittany (704 vs 693), but that's just 0.4 percent of the American population in France. 

Why? There is a strong connection between Brittany and Canada, as Canada was a hotspot for emigration from the western France region. Today, there are around 15,000 people living in Canada who consider themselves Bretons. It's safe to say that a large portion of the 700 Canadians in Brittany have come for family reasons.

The most popular department is Cotes-d'Armor with 422 Canadians. That's more than the total number of Canadians in the nearby Pays de la Loire, where just under 300 Canadians live. 

The numbers are much higher in southern France

Canadians like the southern half of France, it seems, with the three regions to the south boasting 3,000 Canadians, more or less evenly spread. 

The least populated region is Nouvelle-Aquitaine with 725 Canadians (most in Gironde with 250, fewest in Creuse with 8).

You're more likely to bump into Canadians if you go slightly east to the region of Occitanie, the third biggest region in France for Canadians.

In Occitanie, you'll find 1,181 Canadians, mostly in the departments Haute-Garonne and Herault, both of which have over 300 people from Canada. The least populated department is Lozere with just five Canadians. 

Haute-Garonne is very popular with expats from English-speaking countries in generalwith a few hundred Irish, 800 Amercans and nearly 4,000 Brits.

The Canadians most love…

The region of Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes is home to the most Canadians after Île-de-France, of course.

Yes, there are over 1,700 calling the region home. Most can be found in the department of Rhône with 470 Canadians (enough to rank it the fourth biggest department in the country, behind Paris, Hauts-de-Seine, and Yvelines).

That's likely because Rhône is home to the counry's second city Lyon, which is home to a Canadian consulate.

Back in Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, other popular departments include Isere (370) and Ain (300).

And they're not shy of the sun

In the lovely Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region to the south east of France, there are 1,125 registered Canadians. Most are in the Alpes-Maritimes department (429) which is home to the Riviera resorts of Nice, Monaco and Cannes and Bouches-du-Rhone (360).

The least popular region

Unsurprisingly Corsica is the least popular region, with just 45 Canadians living on the island. There are 17 Canadians on the northern island and 28 on the south. 

Despite being known as the Island of Beauty, expats from English-speaking countries have not been tempted by Corsica as they have been by other sunny areas of the south.

The higher cost of living compared to the mainline and the extra cost of transport links to the main urban and airport hubs like Paris appears to be a major factor.

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