finding europe in london - leg 9
From: Holland Street
To: French Place
DISTANCE: 2.1 miles
TOTAL DISTANCE: 6.8 miles
Keep running along Holland Street until you get to Castle Yard on the right. Take the public path directly opposite to Castle Yard. Follow the path as it takes a sharp left turn and then turn right onto the Thames Path.
When you see Millennium Bridge (it's silver and pedestrian only) go over it. Keep running straight afterwards until you get to the traffic lights.
Turn right onto Queen Victoria Street and run along it for 5 minutes or so. At Bank Station go straight on up Threadneedle Street. After a few minutes, turn left onto Old Broad Street and run along it for a couple of minutes.
When you hit the turn for Liverpool Street on the right, keep going striaght through a pedestrian only zone which will eventually become Sun Street Passage. Turn left as it meets Pindar Street and then right onto Appold Street.
Run along Appold Street - as it becomes Worship Street just after La Scatola Gallery, take the footpath on the left. At the end of it (it's short) turn right onto Curtain Road and follow it for 5 minutes or so.
Turn right onto Bateman's Row and then left onto French Place.
What's it got to do with France?
If you spend much time around the Spitalfields area, you might have noticed that there are a number of French names about: Fournier Street, Fleur de Lys Street, French Place to name but a few.
Why? The French Huguenots were the first immigrants in Britain arriving by the thousands in the mid eighteenth century.
Facing religious persecution in France, the Huguenots jumped on ships to England whenever they could and many of them ended up around Spitalfields. Many churches were set up or became specialised centres to look after the refugees where they arrived. Spitalfields was the only place in those days that you could expect to hear French spoken in the street.
It is estimated that about 25,000 Huguenots settled in Spitalfields at the time, meaning that a huge majority of families from that area have French Huguenot (immigrant blood). Maybe you do!
France and the EU
France is the biggest country in the EU, with its population accounting for 13.1% of the EU population. It was a founding member in 1958. The EU backs a number of structure and investment projects in France (one every 3 minutes apparently!)