French people in Korea

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French people in Korea
Total population
5,343 (2015)[1]
Regions with significant populations
French, Korean
Related ethnic groups
French people

There is a small community of French people in Korea.


French people began coming to Korea as early as the seventeenth century, when French Catholic missionaries first came to the country.[2] However, most missionaries came after the 1886 establishment of relations between France and the Joseon dynasty; the treaty signed between the two countries gave French missionaries the right to evangelise in Korea.[3][4]


There were an estimated 5,343 French nationals in South Korea as of 2016.[5] Most are employed by French multinationals operating in the country. The largest concentration can be found in the Seorae Village in Seoul's Seocho-gu district, which because of its location on a hill is often compared to Montmartre in Paris. Korea's only school using French as the medium of instruction moved there in 1984.[6] Most French children only attend elementary or middle school in Seoul, but then return to France afterwards.[7]

In September 2009, the Seoul metropolitan government announced a five billion-won plan to renovate the area and make it more attractive to foreign residents by widening pedestrian walkways and putting up more signs in French.[7] One portion of the pavement, starting from the entrance to Bangbae Middle School, is painted in red, white and blue, the colours of the flag of France.[8]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 2009년도 출입국통계연보, South Korea: Ministry of Justice, 2009, retrieved 2011-03-21
  2. ^ The Gospel in All Lands, Methodist Episcopal Church Missionary Society, 1890, pp. 413–414
  3. ^ Choe, Jong-go (December 2006), "구한말의 주한 프랑스인 사회 - 《뮈텔주교일기》를 중심으로/French Society in the Late Chosŏn Era - based Bishop Mutel's Diary", Journal of the Research Foundation of Korean Church History, 27: 79–117, retrieved 2007-05-31
  4. ^ Yi, Jin-gu (December 2006), "조불조약이 초기 개신교의 선교활동에 미친 영향/The Impact of the Korean-French Treaty on Protestantism in the Late 19th Century", Journal of the Research Foundation of Korean Church History, 27, retrieved 2007-05-31
  5. ^ "No melting pot, but Seoul still flavored with several dashes of migrant communities",, 2006-12-19, retrieved 2007-05-31
  6. ^ Lee, Kyung-Taek (2006), "French Village in Banpo-dong", Korean Broadcasting System, retrieved 2007-05-31
  7. ^ a b Min, Ines (2009-09-02), "Costly Changes Impress Few Seorae Residents", The Korea Times, retrieved 2009-09-03
  8. ^ Lee, Annabelle (2009-12-11), "The world within Seoul", Korea Herald, retrieved 2009-12-11

External links[edit]