France Culture and Traditions


French Culture: Customs and Traditions

Since the 17th century, France has been regarded as a “center of high culture.” As such, French culture has played very important and a vital role in shaping the whole world arts, customs, cultures, sciences and traditions. In particular, France is internationally recognized for its fashion, art, cuisine, and cinema.

Understanding the French customs, cultures and traditions can help you better understand your family heritage if you have French ancestors. With the help of Family Search Discoveries, discover where you’re from and more about your ancestors.

Mostly people associate the French culture with the Paris, which is considered as a center of fashion, art, cuisine and architecture, but life totally different and varies by region outside of the City of Lights.

France doesn't just have culture; the word "culture" actually comes from the France. "'Culture' derives from the same French term, which in turn derives from the Latin colere, meaning to tend to the earth and to grow, cultivation and nurture," Cristina De Rossi, an anthropologist at Barnet and Southgate College in London, told Live Science.

Historically, French culture was influenced by the Gallo-Roman and Celtic Cultures as well as the Franks, a Germanic tribe. France was initially defined as the western area of Germany known as Rhineland but it later came to refer to a territory that was known as the Gaul during the Iron Age and Roman era.

Languages of France

What languages are spoken in France?

France official Language ?

French is the official language of France Country and the first language of 88 percent of the population in short French is the most spoken language in France, according to the BBC report. French is the dominant language of the country's 70 million residents, but there are a number of variants based on the region. After the English language French is the second most widely learned foreign language in the whole world, according to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, with almost there are 120 million students are learning French all over the world.

About 3% of the population speaks German dialects, and there is a small group of people who speaks Flemish in the northeast, according to the BBC report. Arabic is the third-largest minority language.

Those who are living near to the Italy border may speak Italian as a second language, and Basque language is spoken by people who are living along the French-Spanish border.

Other dialects and languages include Breton, (the Celtic language) Catalan, Occitan dialects, and languages from the former French colonies, including Antillean Creole and Kabyle.

Religion in France

What religions are there in France?

Catholicism is the religion that is the predominant religion of the France country. In a survey by the French Institute of Public Opinion (IFOP), 64% of the population (about 41.6 million people) identified themselves as the Roman Catholic. The other religions in the country of France include the religion of Islam, Buddhism and the Judaism. According to CIA, From 23 to 28% of people in France do not subscribe to a religion.


Values of France

The French people take the immense great pride in their government and nation and are typically offended by any negative comments about their country. Visitors, particularly Americans, often interpret their attitude toward foreigners as rude.

"From around the 16th century, in Europe, culture became a term for the cultivation of the mind, the intellect, learning, knowledge, creative faculties and acceptable ways of behaving," said De Rossi. The French embrace style and sophistication and take pride in the fact that even their public spaces strike a regal tone.

The French believe in égalité, which means equality, and is part of the country's motto: "Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité." Many say they place a higher importance on equality than liberty and fraternity, the other two words in the motto.

The French embody romance and passion, and there is an open attitude toward sex outside of marriage, according to a study by France's National Research Agency on AIDS. Even the country's top politicians have been known to carry out extramarital affairs without making an effort to conceal them. As a reflection of the country's secular nature, it is not uncommon for children are born to unmarried couples.

In addition to traditional marriage, French couples also have the choice of getting a pacte civil de solidarité (PACS). This is a union that has many of the same benefits of marriage, like tax breaks, but can be dissolved with a notice or by marrying someone else or instead of a divorce. Two-thirds as many French couples are in a PACS as are married, according to The Economist


French cuisine

In France at all socioeconomic levels Food and wine are central to life, and much socializing is done around the lengthy dinners.

While cooking styles have changed to emphasize lighter fare, many still associate French cooking with heavy sauces and complicated preparation. Some classic French dishes include boeuf bourguignon — a stew made of beef braised in red wine, beef broth and seasoned with garlic, mushrooms and onions— and coq au vin, a dish that is made with chicken, Burgundy wine, lardons (small strips or cubes of pork fat), button mushrooms, onions and optional garlic. 

French fries, interestingly enough, may not be French. According to National Geographic, they may actually be from Belgium or Spain. The reason why Americans call fried potatoes French fries is because Thomas Jefferson discovered the treat while in France while serving there as American Minister from 1784 to 1789. He brought the idea back to the States.


French Clothing

Paris is known as the home to many high-end fashion houses, such as Dior, Louis Vuitton, Hermes and Chanel. Many French people dress in a professional, sophisticated and fashionable style, but it is not overly fussy. Typical outfits include nice dresses, long coats, suits, scarves and berets.

The term haute couture is associated with the French fashion and loosely means fancier garments that are made to order or handmade. In France, the term is protected by law and is defined by the Paris Chamber of Commerce, according to Eva Domjian, a London-based fashion writer and editor. Domjian writes on her blog:

"To earn the right to call itself a couture house and to use the term haute couture in its advertising and any other way, a fashion house must follow these rules:


1.    Desig made-to-order for private clients, with one or more fittings.

2.    Have a workshop (atelier) in Paris that employs at least 15 people full-time.

3.    Each season (i.e. twice a year) present a collection to the Paris press, comprising at least 35 runs/exits with outfits for both daytime wear and evening wear.”


French art & Museum

Art is everywhere in the France — particularly in the Paris and the other major cities of France — and Gothic, Neoclassic and Romanesque Rococo influences can be seen in many churches and other public buildings.

Many of the history's most renowned and famous artists, including Edgar Degas, Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro, sought inspiration in Paris, and they gave rise to the Impressionism movement.

The Louvre Museum that is the very famous Museum of the France that is situated in Paris and that Museum is among the world's largest museums and is home to many famous works of art, including the Venus de Milo and Mona Lisa.


Holidays and celebrations

What holidays does France Celebrate?

The French people celebrate the traditional Christian holidays of Christmas and Easter. Victory in Europe Day on May 8 commemorates end of the hostilities in Europe in World War II. On July 14th Bastille Day is celebrated. This is the day the Bastille fortress in Paris was stormed by revolutionaries to start the French Revolution. They mark May Day, also known as the Labor Day, on May 1.

if you want to know more about how many langauges are spoken in France or France Official langauge do visit the link What languages are spoken in France?

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