Culture Week: La France Watch

Paracosm
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TSR Culture Week 2017
La FRANCE
(or la République Française… as they're known officially)

What do you think of when you think about France? Nine times out of ten, it'll be stereotypical imagery - berets, baguettes, wine and stripy t-shirts. Don't forget the mimes! But in reality, France could be described as one of the most culturally rich places in Europe! If you're interested about the Hexagon (aka France/l'Hexagone) and some cool cultural facts, stick around! If not… adieu ? :dontknow:






Interesting French facts — France is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world with over 83 million people per year visiting. This begs the question… why?
  • French cuisine was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 2010! :yum:
  • France produces about a billion (yes, a billion) tonnes of cheese a year - about 1,000 varieties too!
  • There are over 40,000 castles in France! You can stay in one too.
  • The French drink about 11 billion glasses of wine a year! :headfire:
  • Almost every climate exists in France, a lot of French people choose to simply holiday within France than go abroad! Whether it's camping, a holiday by the sea, skiing, mountaineering — France has it all!


Things you might not know — France has a population of 66m+, there are a lot of things you may not have known about the country and its many people… here's some of them:
  • You can marry a dead person in France. Yes, really.
  • The French are responsible for the invention of the metric system.
  • There's a counterfeit museum in Paris. It displays some of the best counterfeit goods in the world (Musée de la Contrefaçon).
  • The French government awards medals to families that have raised several children with dignity (Médaille de la famille/Wikipedia (English)).
  • Children are given a lot more freedom in France. Yep. It's not weird to see a young child out alone in France (mainly more rural areas, but also in cities). Children are taught from the start the value of independence. It's a cultural thing. :dontknow:


Dos and don'ts when in France — There are a lot of hidden societal rules in French culture. To ensure you get the most out of your trip, have a look at this short list of things you should and shouldn't do whilst in France.
  • DO say "bonjour !" FIRST to anyone you speak to. It's a sign of respect and it's really important. Say "merci !" if someone helped you and "au revoir !" when you're leaving a place.
  • Learn some basic French. It might sound like an obvious suggestion, but you'd be surprised by just how many people that don't do this. Learning how to say hello and goodbye, perhaps with some small phrases like… "Pardon, je ne parle pas français" (sorry, I don't speak French), "pardon/excusez-moi" (sorry/excuse me), "l'addition s'il vous plaît" (the bill please) and other similar phrases really go a long way to making a good impression.
  • DON'T address anyone you don't know as "tu". This is the equivalent of going up to someone you don't know and saying "alright mate, how's your mum doing?" or something like that. It's way too personal. If you're going to speak French (which you should!), stick with vous unless you know them. If in doubt, use vous - so much easier!
  • Don't rush your meal. The French traditionally take about two hours to enjoy their meals, rushing is often seen as rude and impatient. Go with the flow! Make time for your meals! The staff will appreciate you showing your enjoyment of the food.
  • Being a bit late is fine. We all know the feeling… you've been invited to a party or a meal and you're running a bit late. Don't panic! In France, it's almost traditional to be a little bit late to a meal with friends, or a night out. Do take your time, do be fashionably late!
  • Don't discuss politics or current affairs. In a social setting, it can even be seen to be in bad taste to talk about current affairs, especially if you're not up-to-date. It's best to avoid this topic.
  • Don't assume everyone speaks English. They most definitely don't! It's important to make an effort, try to speak French before switching to English!


France isn't just Paris! — Admit it. When you think of France, you think of Paris. Whilst the French capital has incredible experiences to offer, the rest of the country (all 643,801km2 of it!) has plenty to offer. If you're thinking about visiting France… perhaps visit some of these places…
  • Lyon, often regarded as the gastronomic capital of the world.
  • Cannes! It's glamorous, there's loads of shops and great beaches.
  • Normandy, it's beautiful. So much amazing architecture and home to some amazing food.
  • Avignon, an ancient town filled with gothic architecture. The Palais des Papes is really a sight you can't miss!
  • Do you like wine? Bordeaux is the place for you. Enough said really.
  • Sitting on the German border, there's Alsace - a bizarre but very interesting mix between French and German culture!


So there you have it! France is a beautiful country with a really incredible culture. This thread only covers such a tiny amount of what you can experience by going to France and immersing yourself in the French way of life, the only way to truly find out is to experience it yourself! Perhaps a trip across the channel isn't such a bad idea after all?

What did you find most surprising about these facts? Is there anything similar in your culture? I want to know! Let me know down below, let's get talking! :france:
Disclaimer
There shouldn't be any real inaccuracies here, but if you're French and you know of a mistake I've made - please let me know!
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MdE77
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Great thread Paracosm. I lived and taught (was the English Assistant teacher at the collège) in Neufchâtel-en-Bray, Normandy for a year as part of my degree
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neufch%C3%A2tel-en-Bray
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Paracosm
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(Original post by MdE77)
Great thread Paracosm. I lived and taught (was the English Assistant teacher at the collège) in Neufchâtel-en-Bray, Normandy for a year as part of my degree
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neufch%C3%A2tel-en-Bray
Thank you! That's really cool! I'm hoping to study full-time in Paris at ULIP. Really exciting to have opportunities like that. Thanks so much for sharing.
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Paracosm
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the bear, as-tu any interesting facts for this thread? You seem to be quite clued up. :pierre: (I don't want it to die out, you see...)
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Protostar
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Loving this! Makes me want to go to France :france:
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JustJ
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awesome collection of facts, merci beaucoup! really like to go there some day
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Paracosm
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(Original post by JustJ)
awesome collection of facts, merci beaucoup! really like to go there some day
De rien ! You should! It's really nice :daydreaming: and you learn so much!
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serah.exe
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One of the best French singer ever :ahee:
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the bear
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the bear
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(Original post by Paracosm)
Thank you! That's really cool! I'm hoping to study full-time in Paris at ULIP. Really exciting to have opportunities like that. Thanks so much for sharing.
i am sure you will have a wonderful time there ! i worked in Gay Paree for a year before going to yoony.
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Snufkin
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(Original post by Paracosm)
  • Children are given a lot more freedom in France. Yep. It's not weird to see a young child out alone in France (mainly more rural areas, but also in cities). Children are taught from the start the value of independence. It's a cultural thing. :dontknow:

This is very true. My grandparents live in France and I spent every summer there growing up, it really was amazing and very liberating being allowed just to wander off into the village/vines alone as a young kid. Sometimes I'd disappear for hours without telling anybody and nobody batted an eyelid.

Do you like wine? Bordeaux is the place for you. Enough said really.
Burgundy!

Another faux pas to avoid: if you're invited to a dinner party in France, don't take a bottle of wine with you. Wine is selected to accompany particular foods, as a guest you won't know what is being served (and if you're British, you probably won't know which wine goes with which food anyway), so to avoid looking like a foreign plonker, bring flowers instead.
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Josb
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(Original post by serah.exe)
One of the best French singer ever :ahee:
He's Belgian.
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Paracosm
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(Original post by Snufkin)
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This is very true. My grandparents live in France and I spent every summer there growing up, it really was amazing and very liberating being allowed just to wander off into the village/vines alone as a young kid. Sometimes I'd disappear for hours without telling anybody and nobody batted an eyelid.



Burgundy!

Another faux pas to avoid: if you're invited to a dinner party in France, don't take a bottle of wine with you. Wine is selected to accompany particular foods, as a guest you won't know what is being served (and if you're British, you probably won't know which wine goes with which food anyway), so to avoid looking like a foreign plonker, bring flowers instead.
There's some pretty nice wine in Bordeaux too. But yes, how could I forget Burgundy?!

Ahhh yes I had heard about that - very useful tip, thank you!
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the bear
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Paracosm
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(Original post by the bear)
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looooooool
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Josb
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:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

:toofunny:
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A Mysterious Lord
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Vive la France.
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Paracosm
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what on earth happened there ^
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CatusStarbright
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All rise for the national anthem!

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MdE77
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MC Solaar - La Belle et Le Bad Boy
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