Perhaps when one thinks about French culture, things like couture clothing, the Eiffel tower and the Mona Lisa come to mind. Whilst it wouldn't be a false representation of France - the vast diversity of culture France possesses is dispersed throughout the country. Having been shaped by profound historical events throughout history, France, and Paris in particular, has shaped culinary, fashion, and art all across the globe for centuries. After all, it is the largest country in Western Europe and is celebrated around the world for its unique culture, prominent throughout all aspects of life. Wherever you may be in the world, French culture is truly distinct, whether it be French fashion, French food, French art and obviously the language.
Cheese, wine and baguettes are just a few of the things that come to mind when thinking of French food although it is so much more than that! French cooking has always been one of the most respected cuisines around the world. Getting its influences early on by Italian cuisine, in the 17th century it slowly migrated into its own new style we know today. Of course cheese and wine are a huge part of French cuisine with France having a plethora of wine regions sprawled across the country. Some of the most prominent regions include Champagne, Loire Valley, Bordeoux, Aquitaine, Alsace, etc. French cooking has highly influenced western cuisines and its criteria are widely used in culinary institutes around the globe.
Whilst very evident walking through the streets of Paris and visiting famous religious landmarks such as the Notre-Dame, that the faith followed, in the past and still to this day is Catholicism. In past surveys, it was found that around eighty percent of the population of France was Catholic, with Islam being the second largest minority religion with around ten percent of the population, two percent protestants and only one percent Judaism. The rest of the population were unaffiliated with any religion.
The Catholicism traditions are still highly prominent in the country, with all the cathedrals and religious monuments. The country itself was evidently built around the religion. Which leads to the probable cause of the religion still being so popular among the French today, in a century where religious views are no longer so popular. After all the history of the religion itself is embedded in the structure of France.
The French language is well known as the language of love and is not mistaken at all. If you have ever heard a French national speak, the reasoning would be made evident to you in no time at all. The language is extremely passionate and expressive when spoken, and even more expressively romantic when translated as the French use the most descriptive ways of saying things, a fashion of speaking English has appeared to have misplaced. It is related directly to the Latin language family and today is the second most spoken foreign language on the planet!
It is only natural to assume of course that the native language of France is French, sixty-six million of the French population speaking it as their native tongue. However it is not uncommon to hear bits of German, Italian, Flemish or Arabic, it is all just dependent on where you are in the country. For example, if you were in Nice, which is close to the Italian border, it would be quite normal to hear people speaking Italian rather than French.
The French are famous for the patriotism they share for their country and is often the weak point in their chain-mail if anyone insults their country they take it personally. Obviously planted during the French revolution, the French are strongly opinionated and do not take anything lying down. The French are known to lead very down-to-earth lifestyles, extremely ‘laissez-faire' the French equivalent of ‘laid back', contrasting immensely with their temperament. It is believed that within a marriage or relationship the French are very open, sexually, without any qualms. Though this may seem bizarre when France is considered to still breed chauvinism, it is a lifestyle it seems that neither party complains about. Due to this feature of their lifestyle, there are more children coming from homes where the parents are not married. The French motto “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité” founded during the French revolution is still today followed by the majority of the population of France. Though may not seem to be a ‘'psychological” value it is important to note that the French are very natural people, viewing health as an important value! Which is only logical, the belief of healthy nutrition and stress releasing hobbies are simple values that sadly today still set them apart from the world.
Throughout history France, especially Paris, was known very well for its clothing industry, dating all the way back to the 1500s! Today, there are elite lines of fashion originating from France's very own designers such as Pierre Cardin, Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint-Laurent and Daniel Hechter just to name a few. These designers like Louis Vuitton who lived in the 1800s are now the names of multi-billion dollar fashion companies that are situated around the world!
France introduced “Haute-Couture”, which directly translated into English means, ‘high-sewing' or ‘high-fashion', to the world as early the mid-19th century. It refers to a genre of very elite fashion that screams quality and detail! Using only the best quality fabrics, the outfits of your choice are tailor made, with exquisite attention to detail.
French art is one of the countries most famed attributes, as the country produced some the most renowned artists the world had ever seen. Artists like Claude Monet, Pierre-August Renoir, Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Cèzanne, Eugène Delacroix, Henri Matisse and many more. Yet not only are the French famous for their art such as paintings and sculptures, but also for the buildings that are scattered around France, built in a time when architecture itself was an art, featuring the most incomprehensible details!
All around the country, especially in Paris, there are beautiful museums that can be accessed at a small fee, such as the Louvre and the Musée d'Orsay, where the country holds most of its wonderful pieces from throughout history.
CELEBRATIONS AND HOLIDAYS
Naturally, France celebrates the Christian Holidays such Easter and Christmas, but it does have its own unique public holidays too. Such as Bastille Day on the 14th of July commemorates the day when the French public stormed Bastille, which resulted in the French Revolution. It is celebrated with a military parade down the Champs-Élysees. France also celebrates its labor day on the first of May and Europe Day on the eighth.