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Britons want to be French

Britions might be drinking increasingly more American than French wine, but it turns out that we’d still rather be French.

A survey published last week found just over half of Britons under 50 would retain their British passport, 32% would like to stay British, but live in France – and 22% would rather have been born there in the first place.

The survey by market researchers ICM asked more than 1,000 people under 50 years of age what they would do if they were given a choice of nationality.

Already, the British own £4.6bn of property in France, and half a million of us spend over six weeks a year in the country.

Of the 100,000 Britons who live permanently in France, the majority are in Paris, northwest France, the south coast and Aquitaine, where the Dordogne is still the most popular area.

Some regions are notorious. Eymet near Bergerac is known as ‘little England’: four out of 10 home owners are British, residents have their own community website, and the newsagent in the main square sells more English newspapers than he does French.

Meanwhile an informal survey in Bordeaux found that many young professionals would like to live in England – an estimated 300,000 are already doing so – but not give their passports up.

Severine Bonnie at Chateau Malartic Lagraviere said, ‘I think that we have a lot to learn from English people, from the dynamic there is in London, the capital of Europe.

‘Even for the wine business, the UK, and London especially, is really the place to be. But I prefer to stay French. Is there a better place to produce a Pessac Léognan that Léognan itself?’

Written by Jane Anson

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