Le bonheur est dans les pres vallonné

We have a French woman staying with us at the moment, who's noted what also strikes us about Brockley - that there are a lot of French speakers around.


Judging by the amount of French we hear on the train, when we drop our son at school or go to Hilly Fields, France and the Francophone nations have contributed a large chunk of the local population.

And yet, with the honourable exception of Degustation, there's relatively little evidence of their influence over the area. So, are you French? If so, why did you end up in Brockley and when can we expect bistros and cafe culture?

53 comments:

Anonymous said...

If they are young people they are probably exchange students,there are lots of Spanish students in Hither Green the moment

Société de Promenade de Chiens de Brockley said...

Oui.

Où est ma baguette?

Matt-Z said...

Costcutter has the Delice de France bakery range.

Brockley Nick said...

And the fake Morley's sells French Fries

Matt-Z said...

Brockley, twinned with Nouvion.

ooh la la said...

A French 'woman' and not a French 'lady', Nick?

SamB said...

I remember watching some program a few years ago about some French people who lived in Sydenham. I can't remember any more details than that unfortunately.

The Cat Man said...

I must say, this is a fascinating thread. So far we have concluded nothing in particular

le chat est sur la chaise said...

Not true, we can conclude that you are still a dick.

hilly dogger said...

we like a bit of French from time to time up on the Fields

mintness said...

As an active fan of all things stand-up, I'm a little disturbed I can't identify the "les pres vallonné" reference. :(

lb said...

Yes, I have noticed quite a few French speakers around. I assume this is down the effect where one or two people move to an area of London and perhaps recommend it to friends, who recommend it to other friends, etc.

lb said...

I should add that all the French people I've seen in Brockley have been families with children, not students.

Anonymous said...

Ugh. Imagine loud children in tbe Brockley Mess - but French.

Anonymous said...

How can you tell there French, they wearing berets with strings of onions round there neck.

Brockley Nick said...

@Mintness - you mean you don't know the 1995 French comedy film classic Le bonheur est dans le pre (or Happiness is in the Fields)? For shame. Pres Vallonne is the Hilly Fields version...

@LB - yes, lots of young families, rather than students.

Anonymous said...

Loads of sexy young male French students on the train, all the time.

welcome to 2010 said...

@Anon you can tell they're French because they have better written English than you

garlic necklace said...

Mmm, I bet their understanding of English grammar is better than yours is.

Brockley Nick said...

@welcome, @garlic - touche!

Matt-Z said...

Crossing the border to Italy for a minute, is there any news on La Lanterna?

Anonymous said...

Hilly Field Dogger (Chiener?)

French Stick or French Horn?

Brockley Dogging Society said...

Crusty baton.

Ladywell Borders said...

As long as we're not coming to any grand conclusions, I spotted two French Canadians on the 484 the other day.

Lanterna said...

@ Matt-Z

Lanterna is working on a PR stunt for the launch.

They are waiting for pizza starving clients to camp in front of the shop before opening it.

Perhaps we should call channel 4 Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares for directions.

hilly dogger said...

C(r)oque Monsieur

Anonymous said...

C(r)oque, Madame?

Huh said...

Surely it should be les prés vallonés.

Brockley Nick said...

Yes it should but I couldn't do the accent.

Pompier said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Cheese eating surrender monkey said...

Mange tout

aimer le detective said...

loads of french speakers in catford

Sue said...

Between 5 and 8% of those registered to vote in Brockley, Crofton Park, Ladywell and Telegraph Hill are voters from other EU countries - they are marked on the electoral register as they can vote in local but not general elections. I got the impression that there were more Italians than French in Brockley, or at least quite a long-established Italian community, but I could be wrong about that. Lots of Poles, Lithuanians and Germans too.

(Apologies for electoral geekery)

Faith said...

What about Catholics? Any Brockley Catholics about. It's great to see the Pope in the UK.

B L Zeebub said...

I stopping in and drawing the curtains to be honest.

Anonymous said...

Monkeyboy good evening.

Mb said...

Damn you anon! Rumbled.....

Anonymous said...

Yes also many Irish and Scottish in Brockley

Anonymous said...

I have spotted a couple of Frenchwomen in Brockley.

You have just got to look for the copy of Proust they carry for moments of philosophic contemplation between artistic engagements.

A dead giveaway.

Anonymous said...

I stumbled off the train at Brockley late last night and there was a Frenchman drinking a bottle of wine on the platform. Another passenger had somehow procured a glass and Frenchman poured him some. They were toasting each other all the way out, as if it were the most natural thing in the world. I swear this actually happened, not just in my booze riddled imagination.

Englishman said...

Ive seen a couple of English people too.

TJ(O) said...

Yes - I'm a Brockley catholic. Don't feel the same way about the Pope though...but let's not get started on that one.

drakefell debaser (an aggressive atheist) said...

Aside from the lovely people in Degustation, I haven't come across many French folk but I often see the odd Zimbabwean foraging in the shrubbery around the station for food.

If we apply Cardinal Kaspers logic (Cardinal Sin Number 7?), the diversity of Brockley makes it positively 3rd world.

Monkeyboy said...

Sorry, cant help myself...

Saw a lady interviewed yesterday, shew was asked what she would say to the Pope about the little difficulty they have been having. Said she would ask him to pray for her and she would pray for him and the church "so they can get through this". Great, asking god to help one of the richest, most powerful instiutions in the world to beat the rap.

Point. Missed

Faith said...

Its great to see the Pope in the UK, such a rarity so I appreciate it.

DJ said...

Yes, yes. Nobody bit earlier so you're trying again. We get it.

JD said...

What do 'we' get, who are you speaking on behalf of?

Brockley Nick said...

I believe JD was using a commonly-understood expression "we get it" meaning "it's obvious what you're trying to do"

Move along.

Faith said...

Um I am happy the Pope is here I wanted to connect with other Catholics.

Welcome to 2010 said...

is it the insults he's dished out to the British people, the lies he's told about the Nazis, the gloss he's painted over the global paedophilia scandal or the damage he's done to the fight against the spread of HIV or the intolerance he's shown towards minority communities you're most excited about?

Faith said...

No because that is not a characterisation of the Pope's visit I recognise.
I am happy because of the rarerity of such visits and wanted to hear from other Brockley Catholics were enjoying the visit.
thanks

Tamsin said...

Pas les pres vallonnes, du preferance la colline Telegraphique ;o) - and the Telegraph shutter system used was invented by a couple of French schoolboys so we have that connection too.

I also can't do accents...

Agree that the significant term is probably Francophone rather than French. I love the mix of languages you hear around.

Anonymous said...

@Faith, maybe should call yourself Blind Faith instead. Typical case of a Catholic only seeing what suits them. The fact is that he is heavily implicated in the child abuse cover-up, and that's aside from all the other things that Welcome 2010 outlined. I don't know how on earth it can't dent people's faith. I for one am deeply unexcited by the Pope's visit and wish he had stayed in his ivory tower.

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