France

Aditi Govil

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Culture/Religion

Roman Catholicism is the main religion in France. About 1,500 years ago France started adopting Catholicism. Because of its strong ties to Catholicism, France is known as the "eldest daughter" of Catholic Church. The French government maintains that French people are aloud to believe in any religion. About 4 out 5 people are Roman Catholics. Several Catholic holidays are also national holidays like Christmas, Easter Monday and All Saints Day. Catholics practice there religion in church. They go to church on special occasions like weddings and funerals. On Christmas Eve, many people go to midnight mass at church. On All Saints Day, Christians visit the burial sites of there friends and family that have passed away and decorate them with colorful flowers. Some other religions are Protestants, Jews and Muslims. France has the largest population of Jews in Europe and the largest population of Muslims in Western Europe.

Art, Music and Dance


DANCE-

In France, King Louis 14th's adoration for dances led to the establishment from the Academie Royale de Danse, which contributed significantly to growth and development of new dance styles and techniques. Ballroom and square dances also got more popular in France. France includes a varied dance tradition and nearly every region in France has its own type of music and dance. Traditional folk dances are within the south of France. Some of the basic dance forms in France are Waltz, Polka, Mazurka, Marche, Scottish, Rondeau and the Bourree.


ART-

For many visitors in France, their trip would not be complete without spending time in one of France's art museums. The Musee Rodin is considered the greatest sculptures of all time. But the most spectacular art museum in Paris is the Louvre. In the Louvre's galleries are some of the greatest treasures of ancient times, including pictures made by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. Among it is the most famous work of the Venus de Milo, the greek goddess of love. The Louvre also has an incredible collection of paintings including many masterpieces by Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Flemish, and American artists. The most popular painting is the Mona Lisa, a portrait created by Italian artist Leonardo Da Vinci.


MUSIC-

France's musical heritage is equally impressive. Most French cities have their own symphony orchestra and opera houses. Notable French composers include Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, and Georges Bizet. In drama, 17th century playwright Moliere is still considered one of the greatest crafters of comedy.

French Dancers (Ballet)

Celebrations

May Day - a common tradition in France is to present loved ones with lilies, which are symbols of Spring. It is also a day to celebrate the rights of workers. Bastille Day is the national day of France, which also recalls the country's road to independence. Tour De France is a popular competition where teams of ten cyclists race daily for three weeks.
National Anthem of France - "La Marsellaise"

Language

French It is spoken as a first language by more than 70 million people, chiefly in France (55 million speakers), Belgium (3 million), Switzerland (1.5 million), former French and Belgian colonies in Africa (5 million), and Canada (6.5 million). French probably ranks next after English as a second tongue. Having served as an international language in diplomacy and commerce as well as among educated people during the last few centuries, it still enjoys great prestige culturally and is one of the languages used officially by the United Nations.


Phonetically distinctive French sounds are the nasal vowels and the uvular r. Three accents over vowels are employed: the acute (´) over e, the grave (ˋ) over a and e, and the circumflex (ˆ) over a, e, i, o, and u. An accent may serve to indicate the pronunciation of a vowel, distinguish homonyms, or mark the discarding of the letter s from a word. A cedilla placed below the letter c (ç) signals that the c is to be pronounced as s. Ordinarily, c is pronounced as k before a, o, u,or a consonant and as s before e and i.


Climate/Geography

France's Geographic Features: Area 212,935 square miles, Highest Elevation, Mont Blanc 15,771 feet, Lowest Elevation, Rhone River delta 2 m. below sea level, Longest River, Loire Rive 634 miles, Largest Lake, Lake Bourget 17 square miles, Hottest Month, July average temperature in Paris 75 f, Coldest Month, average temperature in Paris 34 f, Longest Border, with Spain 387 miles, Shortest Border, with Monaco 2.7 miles.


France also has a wide variety of climates. Western France, along the Atlantic coast, has the highest rainfall of any place in metropolitan France. Because the westerly winds blowing in from the ocean, the area experiences frequent light rain showers throughout the year. Sunny skies give way to rain clouds with little notice. This region also has fairly cool summers and mild winters. Farther inland, summers are hotter and winters are colder, but the area receives less rainfall than the coastal region. The coldest places in France are in the mountainous regions. The peaks of the Alps, for instance are covered in snow year-round. On Corsica, the winters are warm and the summers are dry and hot.

Food

For the people of France, food is one of life's greatest pleasures. One market, is the boulangerie, which sells freshly baked breads such as croissants, pain au chocolat and baguettes. The French people love these long, skinny loafs called baguettes. They eat about 9 billion loaves each year!!!! Meg Cutts describes the perfect baguette "A real baguette is soft and chewy in the inside and crunchy on the

outside."


The French Mystery:French people are thinner and healthier than people in other countries. This is true even though they eat multiple courses. Also, the French have some of the lowest cholesterol and heart disease in the world. How could this be? One reason is that food portions are smaller in France. A five-course French meal often has fewer calories than the average American meal and unlike many people throughout the world, French people do not snack. If they get hungry in the middle of the day, they might have a cup of hot chocolate or a piece of fresh fruit. Junk food has no place in most French households.

Famous People

Napoleon Bonaparte was a famous french ruler from 1799 to 1814. He was born in 1769 a french island of Corsica. He took over a huge part of Europe. Napoleon wanted a democratic country where people would elect their leaders. He was the first person in France that created laws, the civil code which remains the basis of France legal system. He fought a lot of other countries in Europe. The second time he fought Russia he made a big mistake. He had about 600,000 troops but he returned with less than 40,000 troops. His last battle was in Waterloo, Belgium. He was forced to surrender and was sent to St.Helena where he died in 1821. His skeleton was preserved in a museum.

Other Interesting Info


  • France is the most visited country in the world: 83 million tourists in 2012
  • France once controlled more than 8% of the worlds's land
  • Paris was originally a roman city called "Lutetia"
  • There is only one stop sign in the entire city of Paris
  • There is a small village in France called "Pussy"
  • French Toast Isn't French. Joseph French advertised the modern toast but forgot to add the apostrophe.
  • When Hitler visited Paris, the French cut the lift cables on the Eiffel Tower so that Hitler would have to climb the steps if he wanted to reach the top.
  • Louis XIX was King of France for just 20 minutes.
  • There's a Coffee Shop in France where not saying "hello" and "please" makes your coffee more expensive.
  • In France, it's illegal to name a pig "Napoleon".
  • Potatoes were illegal in France between 1748 and 1772.

Sources

Countries Around the World France by: Mary Colson

France in Pictures by: Alison Behnke

A Taste of Culture Foods of France by: Peggy J. Parks

France Entertainment of the World by: Liz Sonneborn

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