PRONUNCIATION: frEHNch
LOCATION: France
POPULATION: About 57 million
LANGUAGE: French; also Breton, Flemish, Spanish, Catalan, Basque, Provençal, and English
RELIGION: Roman Catholicism; Protestantism; Islam; Judaism

1. INTRODUCTION
France, that has existed in its gift kind since the fifteenth century, is Europe’s oldest and largest nation. it’s a pacesetter in intellectual trends, the fine arts, fashion, and culinary art. France is additionally the world’s fourth-richest country, and Europe’s leading agricultural producer.

Originally a part of the Celtic region referred to as Gaul, France became a part of the empire till its was overrun by the Franks within the fifth century AD . At the top of the tenth century, Capet (c.938–96) supported the sept that was to rule over the French for ensuing 800 years.

The French Revolution in 1789 was followed by the increase of Emperor (1769–1821), WHO conquered a lot of of Europe before his downfall in 1814. within the twentieth century, France has weather-beaten 2 world wars and a worldwide economic depression, additionally to its own political and social upheavals and also the loss of an outsized colonial empire. However, it’s survived to become a serious political and economic body politic.

2. LOCATION
France is that the largest country in Europe and is found on the acute geographic region of the continent. Lowlands conjure concerning 1/2 France’s tract. the opposite 0.5 consists of hills or mountains. English Channel lies to the north and northwest. The Mediterranean lies to the south and southeast. Belgium, Luxembourg, and Federal Republic of Germany square measure neighbors on the north and northeast. Swiss Confederation and Italian Republic square measure set to the east. European country is to the south.

3. LANGUAGE
French, a Latin with Latin roots, is that the national language not solely of France’s individuals however conjointly of some three hundred million people throughout the planet. among France itself, alternative spoken languages embrace Breton, Flemish, Spanish, Catalan, Basque, and Provençal

4. FOLKLORE
Native lore varies from region to region. Ancient Celtic spiritual sites will still be found within the north, beside remnants of ancient beliefs.

When an individual dies, the doors and windows of the house square measure historically left open in order that the soul will depart, and mirrors square measure turned to face the wall.

A story tells the story of a liliaceous plant of the depression, a odoriferous spring flower. consistent with legend, fairies of the forest command a dance. every fairy used a little cup to assemble dewdrops for the fairy queen’s breakfast. The fairies adorned their cups on blades of grass. On the day of a specific dance, the fairies were having most fun that the sun rose before they knew it. (One of the laws of the fairy kingdom is that they need to ne’er be seen once the sun rises.) The sun turned the dewdrops to sparkling diamonds and dried all of them away. once the fairies detected the sunshine, they ran to assemble their small cups. To their dismay, they found they were stuck to the blades of grass. The fairies began weeping, fearing that the queen would be angry. Just then, the fairy godparent appeared, waved her magic wand, and turned the blades of grass into stems and leaves to cover the cups from the angry queen. These stems and leaves became lilies of the depression.

5. RELIGION
About eighty p.c of the French population is Roman Catholic. However, fewer than simple fraction of Catholics attend church frequently. Protestants account for roughly a pair of p.c, principally Calvinist or Lutheran. France conjointly has one.9 million Muslims (followers of Islam), principally immigrants from northern Africa. The Judaic population in France is one in all the biggest within the world, calculable at 530,000 people.

6. MAJOR HOLIDAYS
New Year’s Eve is widely known with a festal dinner. in the dark, family and friends would like one another an honest year by arousal below mistletoe. For Epiphany on Three Kings’ Day, an outsized spherical pastry is baked with a bean hidden in it. The one who finds the bean becomes “ruler” for the evening. Mardi Gras, on Christian holy day (the Day of Judgment before Lent) in Gregorian calendar month, is marked by parades that includes flowers, floats, and large cardboard figures. legal holiday on May Day is widely known by workers’ parades.

May eight marks the top of war II (1939–45). France’s legal holiday (the equivalent of July 4, July 4, within the United States) is July|legal holiday|national holiday} on July fourteen, that commemorates the storming of the clink in 1789. it’s among parades, fireworks, and recreation within the streets. The French observe Christmas by attending a hour Mass.

7. RIGHTS OF PASSAGE
Many of the rights of passage that youth bear square measure spiritual rituals, like sacrament, 1st communion, confirmation, and wedding. additionally, several families mark a student’s progress through the education system with graduation parties.

8. RELATIONSHIPS
The French have a formality and reserve that’s usually taken as rudeness by outsiders. cash is usually thought of one thing of a tabu topic. it’s thought of particularly rude to raise the scale of someone’s pay. once invited to a different person’s home, a European can continually bring on a present of wine or flowers. each men and girls usually greet one another by arousal on the cheek.

9. LIVING CONDITIONS
Long, white-walled, red-tiled farmhouses square measure a typical sight within the French rural area. Most town dwellers board rented residences, usually a brief distance from wherever they work. it’s turning into progressively fashionable for town dwellers to take care of a second range in the country, wherever they’ll prolong weekends. Immigrants from northern Africa usually board giant residential area housing developments known as cités , that square measure usually run-down and overcrowded.

10. FAMILY LIFE
Traditionally, French households were created from extended families—grandparents, parents, and youngsters. As of the late Nineties, however, a modest-sized relatives with 2 or 3 youngsters is that the norm. even so, family ties stay robust. College-age youngsters typically attend faculty in city, and families get along on birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. However, France’s divorce rate has doubled since the Nineteen Sixties. Today, one in 3 marriages ends in divorce…

French ladies WHO work outside the house earn concerning tierce but men. the proportion of girls WHO participate within the labor pool has been unchanged—39 percent—since the first decennium.

11. CLOTHING
For their daily activities, the French, each within the rural area and also the cities, wear fashionable Western-style covering. maybe the foremost typical item of covering related to the French is that the black cap. it’s still worn by some men, significantly in rural areas. The French square measure illustrious for fashion style. coconut Chanel, Yves Saint-Laurent, Dior, and Jean-Paul Gautier square measure all French fashion style homes whose creations square measure worn by individuals round the world.

Traditional regional costumes square measure still worn at festivals and celebrations. In Alsace, ladies is also seen in white, lace-trimmed blouses and aprons embellished with colourful flowers. Women’s costumes in Normandy embrace white, flaring bonnets and dresses with wide, elbow-length sleeves.

12. FOOD
The French square measure noted for his or her elaborate, well-prepared culinary art. every region of the country has its own specialties. Central France is legendary for meat sauce, beef in wine sauce. Southern France includes a typical Mediterranean culinary art that depends heavily on garlic, vegetables, and herbs. one in all its typical dishes could be a vegetable stew known as ratatouille.

A instruction for the classic French sweet, Crêpes Suzette, follows. to create the crêpes (very skinny pancakes), French cooks use a special crêpe pan. Any little pan can work, however one with sloping sides is best

The French usually eat a modest petit déjeuner (pe-TEE day-jhe-NAY), or breakfast, of café au lait (ka-FAY oh-LAY), that is occasional with milk, and croissants or bread and butter. Déjeuner (day-jhe-NAY), or lunch, could be a three- or four-course meal consisting of a main dish and appetiser, salad, and sweet. Díner (dee-NAY), or dinner, could be a lighter meal. The French square measure noted for his or her wines, that square measure ordinarily served at each lunch and dinner.

13. EDUCATION
Education is needed between the ages of six and sixteen. Public education is free. once 5 years of grade school, students pay four years at a lycee known as a collège (koh-LEJ). ensuing 3 years square measure spent either at a general lycée (lee-SAY) for those progressing to prolong to varsity, or at a line lycée. once receiving their baccalauréat (back-ah-lahr-RAY-ah) degrees, students could prolong to a university or to a grand école (grah eh-COAL), that offers preparation for careers in business or government service.

14. CULTURAL HERITAGE
France has created important contributions altogether of the fine arts. within the nineteenth century, France was noted for its Impressionist painters, as well as Pierre-Auguste old master (1841–1919), Claude Monet (1840–1926), and Manet (1832–83). the foremost noted French sculptor was Francois Auguste Rene Rodin (1840–1917). Post-impressionists Paul Cézanne (1839–1906), Gauguin (1848–1903), and painter (1869–1954) had a good influence on twentieth-century painting.

France’s nice musicians embrace the nineteenth-century composers Louis-Hector Berlioz (1803–69), Claude composer (1862–1918), and composer (1875–1937). Pierre Boulez (1925–) is well-known worldwide as a musician and conductor. France is additionally a world center for ballet.

Nineteenth-century novelists Victor Hugo (1802–85), Honoré DE Honore Balzac (1799–1859), and novelist (1840–1902) wrote concerning the social problems with their time. Marcel Proust (1871–1922) is taken into account France’s greatest twentieth-century author.

15. EMPLOYMENT
About common fraction (65 percent) of the French labor pool is used in service-related jobs, on the point of a 3rd (30 percent) in trade, and solely five p.c in agriculture. The work week averages ixl hours, and also the work day will begin as early as 6:00 or 7:00 AM . there’s a two- to three-hour break for lunch, the most meal of the day, and also the work day typically ends at concerning 7:00 PM . Most French staff get 5 weeks of vacation annually. most of the people take the month of August for vacation.

16. SPORTS
The French square measure avid association football fans. alternative spectator sports embrace rugby football, racing, and car racing. France’s most noted annual sporting event is that the Tour DE France race, 1st command in 1903. fashionable participation sports embrace fishing, shooting, swimming, skiing, and mountaineering.

17. RECREATION
Activities like agriculture, home improvement, and cookery square measure fashionable leisure-time pursuits. tv is additionally fashionable, and France has the world’s fourth-highest rate of film attending. Vacation trips—especially to the beach in August—are favorite activities among the French.

Marble Game
French youngsters relish taking part in an easy marble game. the sport will be vie close to any wall with concerning 3 to 6 feet (one to 2 meters) of swish surface before of it. A line is drawn 3 feet (one meter) from the wall and parallel to that. Taking turns, every player rolls a marble toward the wall. The marble returning nighest to the wall while not touching is that the winner. additional rounds of the sport will be vie by drawing the road any aloof from the wall.

Adapted from Hamilton, Leslie. Child’s play the planet. New York: Berkeley publication, 1996.

18. CRAFTS AND HOBBIES
Folk arts square measure unbroken alive throughout France’s distinctive regions. In Burgundy, artisans manufacture sabots (wooden shoes), vielles (stringed musical instruments), and alternative craft things. several elements of France have made ethnic music traditions. ancient Basque folks poets, known as bertsolariak, improvise and sing rhymes on any subject. social dancing is additionally extraordinarily fashionable among the Basques.

19. SOCIAL Issues
France is plagued by several of the key issues facing alternative European nations, like high state, pollution, and inadequate housing. There square measure still sharp category divisions and nice contrasts between the financial gain of the made and also the poor. additionally, services square measure lacking for immigrants and also the old, whose numbers square measure increasing.

20. BIOGRAPHY
American Heart Association, round the World book of facts. New York: Times Books, 1996.
Buckland, Simon. Guide to France. New York: coraciiform bird Books, 1994.
Hamilton, Leslie. Child’s play the planet. New York: Berkeley publication, 1996.
Norbrook, Dominique. Passport to France. New York: Franklin Watts, 1994.
Sookram, Brian. France , Major World Nations. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 1997.