Where is it and what does the French community do in the Algarve? Most Of the French living in Portugal are in Lisbon and the North, but the Algarve is the third most chosen region. According to data shared by the French Embassy in Portugal, at the end of 2018, this is the seventh largest community of foreigners living in Portugal.
Although they are scattered throughout the region, the largest community lives in the city of Lagos. Still, the interior area, especially in the Monchique mountain range, is increasingly populated by French. They've been buying small properties by the sea.
French people living in Portugal have high education levels and more than a third are retired, according to the 2018 report by the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF).
The French community in the Algarve revolves mainly around the Union of French Abroad (UFE Algarve) - the largest association of French expatriates in the world - and which has approximately 1,500 members in Portugal, says Patrick.
They choose Portugal, mainly because it is "a welcoming, peaceful country, full of sun and with a very affordable cost of living".
The Union of French Abroad (UFE) is a public utility body that was born in 1927 and defends the interests of all French people based abroad — with 170 groups spread over more than 100 countries. UFE Algarve is the branch located in the south of Portugal.
UFE Algarve is open to all "French expatriates, French foreigners, Francophones, former expatriates and all who feel involved in the world of expatriation and international mobility". The goal is to share and give access to information, both in France and in Portugal or in any other country, that may be useful for citizens interested in moving to the Algarve. A website, country and region guides, reception brochures, information meetings and personal consultations are just some of the services provided by the association.
In addition, Patrick explains that ufe's role with the French community in the Algarve also involves "welcoming, self-help [and] user-friendliness", which makes the association "a network of relationships in Portugal".
In addition to being present in the Algarve, this worldwide association of French abroad has other branches in Portuguese. Centro Oeste and Lisboa were the other two places elected by the Francophone group.
Given the location and the good weather of the Algarve, there are several activities that the region provides to the French community in the Algarve. Aware of this, UFE shares daily via email information about meetings, dinners and activities promoted by the group. Within these, the president of the association gives as an example "walks, bowling, petanque, rallies, boating, motorcycle, parades, charts and reading groups".
In addition, we can add the promotion of groups dedicated to the various arts, such as the theater. For example, the French Theatre Festival is dedicated to producing nine shows between 2019 and 2020 and is one of the main projects for the Francophone community that resides in Portugal.