|1,000,000 (2009) |
2% of the French population
|Regions with significant populations|
|Île-de-France, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Alsace, Lorraine, Centre-Val de Loire...|
|Christianity, Atheism, Irreligion, Judaism|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Poles, French, Silesians|
Poles in France form one of the largest 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, the coal-mining basin (Bassin Minier) around Lens and Valenciennes and in the Ile-de-France.
Prominent members of the Polish community in France have included Frédéric Chopin, Adam Mickiewicz, Adam Jerzy Czartoryski, Aleksander Chod?ko, Marie Curie, Michel Poniatowski, Raymond Kopa, Ludovic Obraniak, Edward Gierek (who was raised there), Matt Pokora and singer Jean-Jacques Goldman and Rene Goscinny.
Close ties between the Kingdom of France and Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth were cemented in the 16th century, when emissaries from Poland persuaded French Prince Henri de Valois to stand for election as King of the Commonwealth. Valois won and reigned for two years in Poland but abdicated after he inherited the French throne as Henri III. The queen consort of Louis XV and grandmother of several of his successors was Marie Leszczy?ska (1703-1768).
Many members of the Polish Szlachta fled to France during the rule of Napoleon when 100,000 Poles tried to throw off Russian rule in Poland early in the 19th century. Many had enlisted to fight in the Grande Armée, like Józef Antoni Poniatowski, Ludwik Mateusz Dembowski Polish commanders of the Napoleonic Wars and Polish legionnaires.
The so-called Great Emigration was the flood of exiles in the aftermath of the 1831 November Uprising, made up of political elites mainly from the Russian Partition of Poland between 1831-1870 who settled in France.
Another wave of Polish migration, this time in search of manual work, took place between the two World Wars, when they were hired as contract workers to work temporarily in France. After the outbreak of World War II Polish refugees also fled Nazi or Soviet occupation.
During the Nazi occupation of Poland, 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 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.
When the Communists took power in Poland, several thousand French Poles decided to go and live in the "Socialist paradise", as some Armenians in France moved to the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic.
The number of new Poles who migrated to France has 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.