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List of French-Armenians

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Title: List of French-Armenians  
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Subject: Armenia–France relations, List of Armenian Canadians, Armenia
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List of French-Armenians

Armenians in France
Total population
300.000,[1] 450.000,[2][3] 500.000,[4][5] 600.000[6]
Regions with significant populations
Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Alfortville, Issy-les-Moulineaux, Arnouville, Valence
French, Armenian
Predominantly Armenian Apostolic Church
Armenian Catholic Church, Armenian Evangelical Church

Armenians in France (French: Arméniens de France; Armenian: Ֆրանսահայեր Fransahayer) are ethnic Armenians living in France, the largest Armenian community in Western Europe. Like much of the Armenian diaspora, most Armenians immigrated to France after the Armenian Genocide of 1915–1923. Others came later, fleeing conflicts in the Middle Eastern countries (Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Iran). More recently there is an influx of immigrants from the Republic of Armenia. Today, their number is estimated to be up to half million.


The estimation of the number of Armenians in France varies. Most sources vary to approximately 300,000 to 500,000. According to there are 400,000 Armenians living in France.[7] Areas of Armenian concentration include Paris (100,000), Lyon (60,000), Marseille (80,000) and Valence (up to 10,000).[7]

Earlier times

Armenians in France have had a long history of settlement.[8] Leo V, the last Armenian king was buried in St. Denis.[8]

An Armenian-style church at Germigny-des-Prés south of Pithiviers on the River Loire is one of the examples of early contacts between the French and Armenian people dating back to between the 10th and 12th centuries, where Armenian architect Oton Matsaetsi, built the Church of Germigny des Pres in the early ninth century.[9]

20th-21st century

After the Armenian Genocide and the end of WWI, many survivors, including orphans, lived in the French-occupied part of the Ottoman Empire, Cilicia and the future French Mandate territories of Syria and Lebanon. When French troops, attacked by the Kemalist armies, retreated in 1921 behind the present-day Turkish-Syrian border, including the Sanjak of Alexandretta, after the Treaty of Ankara (October 1921), most Cilician Armenians fled alongside them and were resettled in refugee camps in Alexandretta, Aleppo, the Beqaa Valley (e.g. Anjar) and Beirut. From there, entire families took the opportunity to flee to France.

The Armenian refugees and orphans crammed into Turkey, Egypt and Lebanon, arrived by the boatloads to Marseilles and journeyed to the mines and factories around Marseilles, Valence, Grenoble, Lyons and Paris. There, a quarter of a million Armenians settled down into tight little communities of between 2,000 and 4,000 people. The foundations of the Armenian community in France had been set.

The Armenian immigrants who arrived between 1920-30 fought and died for France on the battlefields of World War II and in the Resistance during the occupation by Nazi Germany.

French-Armenian ties were preserved and consolidated over the years. Thousands of new immigrants who arrived after the troubles in Turkey (in 1956), Lebanon (in 1975) and Iran (in 1979) comprised the next wave of immigration. Today, many youngsters who are the product of this movement are completing their studies in France, setting up Armenian households and sending their children to Armenian language schools.

Today, Armenian classes are organized in many localities with full bilingual kindergartens and primary schools near Paris and Marseilles attended by several thousand children and youths. Armenian is currently a valid option counting toward the Baccalaureate, the French High School certificate.

In 1983, Armenian militant organization ASALA launched the bloody attack at the Paris Orly airport, as part of its campaign for the recognition of and reparations for the Armenian Genocide. The explosion killed eight people and injured 55.[10]

The campaign to pass the resolution condemning the Armenian Genocide at the European Council unleashed on June 19, 1987 at a Strasbourg demonstration.

The earthquake on December 7, 1988 in Armenia led to huge mobilization of the French Armenian community. Charles Aznavour had established a charitable foundation in France to help the victims of the 1988 Spitak earthquake.[11]


The majority of the Armenian French population is of the Armenian Apostolic (Orthodox) faith and belong to the See of Holy Echmiadzin of the Armenian Apostolic Church, with a minority belonging to the Armenian Catholic faith belonging to the Armenian Catholic Church. Fewer numbers are Armenian Evangelicals.

Each of the three Armenian Churches has its own organization in France, three bishoprics (Lyon, Marseille, Paris) depending from the Catholicos of All Armenians, the Eparchy of Sainte-Croix-de-Paris depending from the Armenian Catholic Church, and the Armenian Evangelical Churches Union of France, part of the Armenian Evangelical Church.


The Armenian General Benevolent Union, established in 1906, and its founder Boghos Nubar moved in 1921 to Paris, the diplomatic and political hub of the Armenian Question. AGBU chapters were set up in Paris, Lyon, Valence, Marseille and Nice.

The Armenian Social Aid Association, operating Armenian retirement homes, was founded before this period and is unique to France. National institutions, and first and foremost the Armenian Church of Paris founded in 1905, were very soon to co-exist in Paris, playing a fundamental role in defending and protecting the refugees.

In the municipalities with a high concentration of Armenians, there are a lot of associations in a vast array of fields ranging from the cultural (e.g. Maison de la culture arménienne de Décines in Décines, near Lyon or Radio AYP FM, in Paris), social (e.g. Maison des étudiants arméniens in Paris), sports (e.g. Union de la jeunesse arménienne d'Alfortville and Union Sportive de la Jeunesse d'Origine Arménienne de Valence (football clubs), or more specific like the Association nationale des anciens combattants et résistants arméniens or the Association des gays et lesbiennes arméniens de France.[12]

There are also umbrella organizations, the Forum des associations arméniennes de France, created in 1991,[13] and the Conseil de coordination des organisations arméniennes de France, new name since 2001 of the « Comité du 24 avril ».[14]

France and the Armenian Genocide

France is one of the countries that has recognized the Armenian Genocide.

The French Senate passed a bill in 2011 that criminalizes denial of acknowledged genocides, which includes both the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide. The bill was submitted by the parliament in 2012.[15] However, the bill was considered unconstitutional on 28 February 2012 by the French Constitutional Court: “The council rules that by punishing anyone contesting the existence of... crimes that lawmakers themselves recognised or qualified as such, lawmakers committed an unconstitutional attack on freedom of expression,”.[16]

Notable French-Armenians

Arts and entertainment

  • Léon Arthur Tutundjian (1905-1968), painter
  • Jean Carzou (1907-2000), painter
  • Jean Jansem (1920-2013), painter
  • Melik Ohanian (b. 1969), painter



  • Agop Terzan - astronomer
  • Vazken Andréassian - aeronautical engineer
other fields



  • Haratch (Armenian: Յառաջ) was an Armenian daily newspaper based in France. Haratch was founded in 1925 by Schavarch Missakian and stopped publication in May 2009.
  • Nor Haratch, a new independent publication started publishing on October 27, 2009 on the basis of 2 issues per week.
  • Nouvelles d'Arménie Magazine[17]
  • France-Arménie Magazine[18]


  • AYP FM[19] is a radio station operating in Paris and surrounding region (Ile-de-France).
  • Radio Arménie[20] is a radio station operating in Lyon and surrounding area.
  • Radio Gayané[21] is a radio station operating in France.

See also


External links

  • Co-ordination Council of Armenian Organisations of France (CCAF)
  • FRA Dachnaksoutioun - France
  • Nor Seround - Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) - France
  • Armenian Youth in France (JAF)
  • Armenian House of the Youth and the Culture - Marseille
  • Armenian National Committee of France (ANC)
  • The Armenian Heritage Center - Valence
  • Research Association of the Armenian Memory - Marseille
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