From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
The French Protestants (Huguenots), who were forced to leave France, following the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, settled in bordering countries, which they sought to use as a base for counterrevolution.
After the Storming of the Bastille, King Louis XVI of France directed several of the most conservative members of his court to leave the country for fear that they might be assassinated. Among this first group of émigrés were the king’s youngest brother, the Comte d'Artois, and Queen Marie Antoinette's best friend, the Duchesse de Polignac. Later, in coordination with the king's failed attempt to escape Paris, the king's other brother, the Comte de Provence, also emigrated.
Marx and Engels, in setting out the strategy for future revolutions in The Communist Manifesto, included the provision that the property of émigrés should be confiscated and used to finance the revolution — a recommendation followed by the Bolsheviks seventy years later.
Unlike émigré, the term exile remains politically neutral and includes people from whatever side of the political spectrum who had to leave their homeland, often for political reasons, and who wish to return.