French expats jubilantly celebrate country’s World Cup victory over Belgium

It seems that nothing could stop throngs of French Montrealers from turning out to watch their home country face off against Belgium in the World Cup semifinals.

Neither the sweltering heat nor the fact that it was the early afternoon on a workday could keep fans adorned in Red White and Blue face paint from packing into Bar L’Barouf on St. Denis Street in the Upper Plateau. The bar is a popular watering hole for French expats, and today was no exception: the crowd was packed tightly into the two-storey bar and spilled onto the sidewalk outside.

One woman named Julie moved to Montreal from France two years ago and said she hadn’t seen so many of her compatriots in one place since she’d moved to Canada.

Dressed in bleu-blanc-rouge from head to toe, she said the national camaraderie so far from home was exciting. “It’s really exciting to see how people are enjoying to support France!”

It wasn’t just the French that came to L’Barouf to watch the game, though. Vi is a Belgian expat, and wrapped in her country’s red, yellow and black flag, she stuck out in the crowd like a sore thumb. But she told CJAD 800 that she didn’t care.

She said she came with French friends of hers, but found at least two of her countrymen at the bar. “We’re all in red, the three of us”, she proudly said.

The party didn’t stop once the game did, either: once France’s victory over Belgium was confirmed, the crowd at L’Barouf erupted into cheers and song. Fans sang the French national anthem “La Marseillaise” as passing cars honked their horns.

With France’s 1-0 win today, the country will head to the finals for the first time in 12 years, giving them a chance to win the World Cup for the first time since 1998.