Armenians have settled in France since the early Middle Ages. Armenian inscriptions said to date back to the Middle Ages have been found in both the cathedral of Bourges and the church of Tarascon.
In the 17th century, an Armenian merchant opened the first café in Paris. A century later, another brought over to France a plant called madder, used to dye clothing. By the dawn of the twentieth century, there were a few thousand merchants, entrepreneurs, and Armenian students residing in France.
The community became larger in 1915 as a result of the Armenian Genocide when some 60,000 survivors found refuge in France. During the twentieth century, tens of thousands more Armenians chose to move to France, coming from Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Iran, and Armenia. Currently, an estimated 650,000 Armenians live here.
Armenians are mostly concentrated in Paris, Lyon, Marseille, and surrounding towns.
Thousands of Armenians have recently settled in northeastern France, most of them from Armenia.
There are about 500 community-based organizations and branches within the country, some of which are part of the Coordination Council of Armenian Organizations of France (CCAF) established in 2001. In 2016, the Hayassa Federation was founded in Paris by Armenians who emigrated to France, which includes about 3 dozen organizations and has branches in Lyon and Marseille.
There are about 70 Armenian schools in France, 7 of which are day schools, as well as dozens of Armenian churches, cultural houses, media, libraries, and more.
French-Armenians are involved in almost all areas. World-famous singer Charles Aznavour, poet and political activist Missak Manouchian, painter Jean Jansem (Hovhannes "Jean" Semerdjian), the great composer Michel Legrand and many others are among celebrated Armenians in France. In several cities, the streets are named after geographical regions of Armenia and famous Armenians.
French-Armenians are actively represented in the municipal and state authorities. Currently, there are three Armenian deputies in the French National Assembly.
There are a large number of monuments in the country, dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide.
The Senate of the French Republic passed a law recognizing the Armenian Genocide on January 29, 2001.
French President Emanuel Macron in 2019 signed a decree recognizing April 24 as the National Day of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide.
The Armenian Apostolic, Catholic, Evangelical Churches operate in the country.
The French Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church unites more than two dozen religious institutions in different cities of France, whose pastors are actively involved in community building and preservation of the Armenian identity.
There is a parish council attached to the Armenian Apostolic Church, which includes many community figures. Built in 1902, the Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church in France is located in St. Hovhannes-Baptist Cathedral, thanks to the generosity of philanthropist Alexander Mantashyants.
The Armenian Catholic Church is a part of the Roman Catholic Church and is part of the Eastern Catholic Church with French-Armenian cultural and educational groups operating next to it. The Armenian Evangelical Church unites about a dozen churches in different regions of France and is active in the country.