Poles in France

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Poles in France
Total population
(1,000,000 (2009) [1][citation needed]
2% of the French population)
Regions with significant populations
Île-de-France, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Alsace, Lorraine, Centre-Val de Loire...
Polish, French
Christianity (ethnic Poles)
Related ethnic groups
Poles, French, Silesians

Poles in France form one of the oldest Polish diaspora communities in Europe.

About one million people of Polish descent live in France, concentrated in the Nord-Pas de Calais region, in the metropolitan area of Lille and the coal-mining basin (Bassin Minier) around Lens and Valenciennes.

Prominent members of the Polish community in France have included Frédéric Chopin, Adam Mickiewicz (temporarily), Aleksander Chodźko, Rene Goscinny, Marie Curie, Raymond Kopa, Ludovic Obraniak, Edward Gierek (who was raised there), Matt Pokora and singer Jean-Jacques Goldman, the son of a Polish Jew.

French Revolution and Napoleonic wars[edit]

Large numbers of Poles settled in France during the rule of Napoleon when 100,000 Poles fled Russian rule of Poland in the early 19th century. Many enlisted to fight in the French army, like Józef Antoni Poniatowski, Ludwik Mateusz Dembowski and many other Polish commanders of the Napoleonic Wars and Polish legionnaires.[citation needed]

Great Emigration (1831-1870)[edit]

Most of the Great Emigration of political elites from Poland between 1831–1870 settled in France.[citation needed]

Interwar period[edit]

Another wave of Polish migration took place between the two World Wars, when many were hired as contract workers to work temporarily in France. Polish refugees also fled Nazi or Soviet occupation (1940s).[citation needed]

Polish resistance during the Nazi occupation in France[edit]

During the Nazi occupation, a specific Polish Resistance group, Polska Organizacja Walki o Niepodleglosc – Organisation Polonaise de Lutte pour l’Indépendance (POWN), was created on September 6, 1941 by the Polish general consul in Paris, A. Kawalkowski (code name Justyn), and fought alongside the French Resistance. There were also other Polish Resistance movements in France, most notably former soldiers from the Jaroslaw Dabrowski Brigade who had fought in the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War went on in their struggle against Fascism in the FTP-MOI. Since 1941 the PPS activists in Northern France had also founded two resistance movements, Organisation S and Orzel Bialy (White Eagle). In 1944 Polish Committees for National Liberation (PKWN) were set up to support the Communist Polish army. There were clashes between POWN resistants, under the authority of the London-based Polish government in exile, and the Communist FTP-MOI resistants.[2]

French Poles after WWII[edit]

When the Communists took power in Poland, several thousand French Poles decided to go and live in the "Socialist paradise", like French Armenians did in the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic.[citation needed]

There are estimates of 100,000 to 200,000 Poles living in Paris and many E.U. program guest workers in regions of the south (including the cities of Arles, Marseille and Perpignan).[citation needed]

From the year 2012[edit]

The number of new Poles who migrated to France was multiplied, many are students and traders and other percentage are displaced workers who come from Poland to work in France. Poles are well integrated into French society, the number of new Polish citizens in France amounts to 350,000 in 2012.[3]

Notable Polish French people[edit]

First half of the 19th century[edit]

Second half of the 19th century[edit]






See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.prezydent.pl/x.node?id=74
  2. ^ Nentwik, Stanislas. "La résistance polonaise en France". Gazeto Beskid (in French). Retrieved 2009-11-12. 
  3. ^ The Guardian article

External links[edit]