Living in South Kensington: London’s French quarter is family friendly and full of culture

·3-min read
Cécile Ganansia and Louise Chignac of Canopy Collections (Ollie Hammick)
Cécile Ganansia and Louise Chignac of Canopy Collections (Ollie Hammick)

Louise and I are both originally from Paris but we met in London seven years ago. South Kensington has a rich cultural life, it’s really family friendly and, of course, it has a strong French connection.

Where to eat in South Kensington

Hjem Kensington serves delicious Danish pastries and the best matcha coffee in the area. They also have a few art pieces from Canopy Collections on their walls. We love Margaux for its French menu that makes us feel like we’re back at home, and Blake’s for excellent cocktails to enjoy in their secluded garden.

Where to work out in South Kensington

The South Kensington Club has a great atmosphere — try the Pilates class with Will or Jenny and their divine Russian Banya treatments.

To commune with nature

Hyde Park is on the doorstep and so beautiful. It’s the best place to exercise at this time of the year and it’s a real treat to cycle through to get to Mayfair and Notting Hill (as long as it’s not raining).

The V&A (PA)
The V&A (PA)

For a culture fix

The area is blessed with cultural landmarks: the V&A, the Natural History Museum, the Serpentine Galleries, the Royal Albert Hall…

Maybe not so well known, the Leighton House Museum near Holland Park is one of our favourite places in London. And of course, the French Institute for its library and cinema which offers a great programme of international films.

Grocery shopping

French people can’t live without bread and ORÉE on Fulham Road is probably one of the best French bakeries in London. Bute Street is ideal for local grocery shopping: Moxon’s for the finest British fish and seafood, Oddono’s for their award-winning gelato and Chanteroy for their wide range of excellent French products. And don’t miss the farmers’ market if you’re after the tastiest berries and free-range eggs.

Getting around

South Ken is like a little village so it feels natural to walk everywhere and our office in Chelsea is within easy walking distance too. It’s a real pleasure to stroll along those streets of tall, white, Victorian buildings.

 (Daniel Lynch)
(Daniel Lynch)

Dream street

Launceston Place for its unique architecture and lovely houses. Kynance Mews nearby almost makes you forget you’re in London — and the wisteria display is magnificent. Otherwise, anywhere around a communal garden would be very charming.

Something you only see in South Ken

The streets are buzzing with international youngsters, from nursery and primary school children to secondary school pupils and university students. And what a wonderful display of school uniforms, which even after 10 years in London, still feels exotic to us.

What’s the catch?

South Ken is an expensive area to live in, because it is so central and popular.

Describe South Kensington in three words

Cultural, green, family-friendly

What it costs to live in South Kensington

Buying

Average house: £4,833,942

Average flat: £1,698,761

Renting

Average house: £8,732

Average flat: £4,020

Schools in South Kensington

It’s little surprise that such a well-heeled area is heavily populated with private schools, while the French population is served by the Lycee Francais Charles de Gaulle.

There are some outstanding state schools in the area, however, among them Servite RC Primary, St Barnabas and St Philip’s C of E Primary, Bousfield Primary and Our Lady of Victories RC Primary.

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