Wearing black, smoking a cigarette (even if it’s not recommended) on the terrace of a café or going to buy a baguette or a croissant : this is France, but you have so much more to see !
The French culture
To go to France is to immerse oneself in a culture that is unique in the world, which can only be found in France, at the crossroads of Europe. Does France make you dream? Be well prepared because the trip can be very “exotic” depending on where you come from.
Wearing black, smoking a cigarette (even if it’s not recommended) on the terrace of a café or going to buy a baguette while walking are real cultural elements in the country. Paris is known as the home to many high-end fashion houses, such as Dior, Hermes, Louis Vuitton and Chanel. Many French people dress in a sophisticated, professional and fashionable style, but it is not overly fussy. Typical outfits include nice dresses, suits, long coats, scarves and berets. The term haute couture is associated with French fashion and the term is protected by law and is defined by the Paris Chamber of Commerce.
Abroad, some say that the French are less open or less jovial than others. This is not really the case, it should only be noted that there is a real French humour and very customary habits at home. The French are therefore not among the most extravagant or noisy, we can note a certain “French class” that can be found in the capital or in the big cities of the country. The elegance that we find in some old movies as « La piscine », directed by Jacques Deray in 1969, symbolise the French attitude that you may see visiting the country, even if it does not represent every French people of course. It is a cliché.
The French culture is also made of art : indeed, art is everywhere in France, particularly in Paris and other major cities — and Gothic, Romanesque Rococo and Neoclassic influences can be seen in many churches and other public buildings. The Louvre Museum in Paris is among the world’s largest museums and is home to many famous works of art, including the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo.
The gastronomy is also something really important in the country so we decided to write a whole paragraph about it.
The French Gastronomy
As you may know, French people love food. The French Gastronomy, in 2010, inscribed for the first time in the list of the intangible heritage of Humanity a patrimony related to the gastronomy. From Normandy to Provence, from Bretagne to Alsace, passing through South West or Corsica. Through its gastronomy one can know all the diversity and wealth of the French territory. But some elements of the gastronomy are famous in the whole country :
Wine and cheese are central elements in the French cuisine. Historical point: Viticulture in France has its roots in the time of the Greek colonisation. And it was the monasteries that began the delicious tradition that is French cheese. Free to enter any restaurant, you will always find wine and cheese. You can also visit the most beautiful vineyards in the country, as well as the cheese dairies. These two specialities are available in hundreds of excellent categories. French cheeses include Reblochon, Cantal, Bleu d’Auvergne, Brie, Camembert de Normandie and Roquefort.
La baguette : La baguette is a variety of bread that is characterized by its elongated shape. Note: proof of the French craze for this bread, the city of Paris has been organizing the competition for the best baguette in the capital since 1994. The members of the jury rate the baguettes according to very precise criteria: appearance, baking, crumb, smell and taste! Millions of French people go to the bakery every day or almost every day to buy their traditional baguette. It accompanies meals and breakfasts, and it is often the food that French expatriates miss the most, because the French baguette would be inimitable … The only thing you have to do is to come in France and to taste a real baguette.
Croissant and Pain au chocolat : A croissant is a Viennese pastry based on a specific puff pastry, the croissant dough, which contains yeast and a high proportion of butter. Since the 1950s, the croissant has been a traditional part of breakfast in France and has become part of the country’s culture. Just like the famous baguette, eating a delicious croissant with a hot drink on the terrace of a Parisian café is a real cliché that can be found a lot in the whole country. The croissant is often revisited abroad, but the classic and “natural” French croissant remains untouchable and very rarely is one found as good as in French bakeries. The Pain au chocolat (or chocolate bread) is a Viennese pastry made of a puff pastry, identical to that of the croissant, rectangular and rolled on one or more bars of chocolate. This one is also delicious and you should taste them both to make up your own mind about French pastries.
The blog post would be too long with a list of French specialities, so we’ll stop here. But these few dishes in no way represent the diversity of the rich and elaborate French gastronomy. Going to France could make your taste buds discover savoury meals or desserts that are new to you.
A small country with landscapes as magnificent as they are varied
Let’s have a look at the diversity of the country. The capital, Paris, is of course the place to see. But the country is so beautiful and so diverse, even if it’s not very large. From the Mediterranean Sea to the mountains of the Alps via the capital, let’s discover France!
- Artistic, romantic and beautiful… Paris
Formerly called Lutetia, Paris is the capital of the country. It is the most populated city in France, but also the capital of fashion since it exerts a major influence on the world in terms of fashion, along with London, Milan and New York. The interest of the city also lies in the beauty of its Hausmanian architecture and its cultural richness. Indeed, the city abounds in incredible ancient monuments, world-famous museums and places of history. Art and culture have their place in this magnificent city, crossed by the river Seine. This is the city of love and you can feel it in the atmosphere. All the clichés of France can be found in Paris: the traditional cafés (which can be found all over France), the style of dress of Parisian women, the excellent pastries?
Main monuments of Paris : Notre-Dame de Paris, Tour Eiffel, Arc de Triomphe, Sacré-Cœur in Montmartre, Avenue des Champs Elysées…
Main museums of Paris : Musée du Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Palais Garnier, Catacombes, Panthéon…
Many tourists visit France but only see Paris, which can be visited in several days because there are so many things to do there. But there is also a lot to see elsewhere, in another register!
- Sea, sun and French Riviera
In a completely different register, the Côte d’Azur also represents France rather well, it is the eastern part of the French Mediterranean coast. While the name “Côte d’Azur” refers to a geographical area, today it covers specific activities that are internationally renowned and that contribute to the general atmosphere that reigns in this privileged region by contributing to its reputation: luxury hotels, gastronomy, the film industry, casinos, Tropezian parties, yachting, the Cannes festival, fashion, various exhibitions and emblematic sites. You can therefore go to France without passing through the capital and relax on the luxurious beaches of Saint Tropez, walk along the Promenade des Anglais in Nice or visit the colourful old village of Menton. Sunshine, turquoise water, creeks, fields of lemon trees and cicadas: the atmosphere is most pleasant and tourists from all over the world are attracted to this summer destination.
Cultural point : French literature has often highlighted the Côte d’Azur, as Françoise Sagan did for example in Bonjour Tristesse. Filmmakers and actors have also been imbued with this mythical place, Alain Delon and Romy Schneider for example.
- Bretagne and Normandie, a North that’s worth it
If the South of France is beautiful, the North is no less so. In a different register, the landscapes of Brittany or Normandy will know how to amaze you. Vegetation is abundant in these two relatively rainy regions of France. But the sun is present quite regularly and it highlights the magnificent green of the meadows, the height of the cliffs and the sand of the landing beaches. The flowers, the herds crossing the roads and the Normandy buildings give an atypical and pleasant atmosphere to these two beautiful regions which are both similar and very different.
You can’t miss : The Abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel is a former Benedictine abbey, located in the department of Manche in the Normandy region. This magnificent monument halfway between Brittany and Normandy is very impressive, and a bridge leads to the islet because the high tide prevents access through the sand. To see the low tide and the water retreating is incredible.
- Feel like skiing? There’s no lack of mountains
Today, France has no less than 16 fully connected ski areas spread between the Northern Alps, the Southern Alps and the Pyrenees, making it the ideal destination for skiers with an appetite for wide open spaces. Jean Ferrat’s song “Que la montagne est belle” is part of French culture today. It highlights the beauty of the French mountains, forests and plains, streams and torrents, flowers and animals that live there. Of course, the “Mont Blanc” is located in France and it is the highest mountain in Western Europe. So whether you want to ski or walk in the mountains, hikers, skiers and families have plenty to do!
We cannot describe France in a single article, like all our internship destinations. Because visiting France is also visiting the villages of Provence and the fields of Lavender. It also means taking a surfing lesson in Biarritz, in the South West, or visiting the Christmas market in Strasbourg, in the North East. The volcanoes of Auvergne, the marshes of Camargue, the cities of Lyon, Bordeaux or Marseille also have something to amaze you!
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