France, the second largest country in Europe, is known for its rich and varied culture. It has the English Channel to its north and the Mediterranean Sea and the Bay of Biscay to its south. The country is hexagonal in shape and is surrounded by Italy, Spain, Belgium, Andorra, and Switzerland.
The culture of France has evolved through the centuries, and what we see today, is the amalgamation of the cultures of various ancient civilizations. These include the Greeks, Celtics, Romans, etc. The culture of this country is influenced by the neighboring countries, and also by the various historical events that took place. France has in turn contributed in the development of other nations in the areas of fashion, modern art, and cinema.
French is the official and most widely spoken language of the country. People of France consider French as the most important part of their cultural identity. This is also a popular language in other parts of the world. It also possesses 75 different regional languages like Flemish, Italian, Basque, Breton, Catalan, Occitan dialects, etc. Among these, the Catalan dialect is a largely spoken regional language, and is found in the French Pyrenees. The Constitution of France recognizes all these regional languages and they are even taught in schools as a second language, in the areas where they are spoken.
Christianity (catholicism), is the religion followed by majority of the people. However, it is not the only religion, and France is tolerant towards people from different religious and ethnic backgrounds. This secular country has people following religions like Islam, Buddhism, and Judaism. Protestantism is also followed by some of them.
Arts and Literature
France is considered as the hub of arts and literature. The artistic side of the French can be seen in paintings of the ancient as well as modern times. Every century has gifted the country with invaluable painters and artists who have contributed tremendously to the artistic culture of France. It is said to be the home of many renowned artists like Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste, etc. The artistic richness is exhibited in various museums like the Louvre, Picasso, and Orsay Museum.
France has also contributed incredibly to world literature. Famous French authors and poets who have made their mark in the field of literature are Victor Hugo, Jean Paul Sartre, Moliere, etc.
France is renowned for its beautiful and extraordinary monuments. Every age has contributed to the development of exquisite churches and palaces that are a pride of this country. France has monuments influenced by Roman, Gothic, and Italian architecture. Some of the monuments that are the main attraction, for tourists, are the Eiffel Tower, Palace of Versailles, etc.
The people of France are known for their love for food. French cheese and wines are popular all over the world. The dishes and style of cooking are different in different parts of the country. The French love good food, and are very particular about preparation and also about the dining etiquette. French cooking style and food has been adopted by many Western countries, in recent times.
The French are quite liberal, but attach great importance to family values and culture. The extended family system has evolved into smaller, nuclear families. They are polite by nature and truly value friendships and relationships.
People of France are quite stylish and fashionable. It is the center of fashion industry, and Paris, the capital of France, is said to be the fashion capital of the world. The French are said to be wealthy, and love to lead a luxurious lifestyle.
People in France share a strong cultural identity, in spite of the fact that many come from different ethnic and religious background. Though, westernization has affected the country, the people are proud of their culture and strive towards preserving it.