France is a Western Europe country with a population of approximately 60. 4 million people as by July 2004. France has a diversity of religions but the dominant religion is Roman Catholic with Jewish religion having the least followers (Kwintessential, 2010). These preliminary diversities in ethnicity and religion signal a diverse French culture. This paper discusses French culture by looking into different beliefs and attitudes common to French people. Language is also a central part of French culture as well as other important values. A diverse French culture Every people have their identity which is mainly entrenched in their culture.
The French are not exceptional for the French culture is rich in almost all dimensions. The culture is usually best felt when you explore philosophy or by looking at the unique literary and art work. The input of French people in philosophy is outstanding with prominent philosophers like Rene Descartes (1600s) prided as the pioneers of modern philosophy. Montaigne is also a renowned sixteenth century philosopher who is celebrated for his ability to institute as part of art. Other French philosophers include Voltaire, Pascal and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (LERC, 2010).
Having such renowned philosophers indicate that the French culture has been very influential not only in European countries but also in the Western nations and practically the whole world. A people’s art is a mirror of the people and what their values are all about. French art is in the form of literature, theatre as well as other forms of art. Some of the art works are very old thus portraying a rich history of the French culture. Some of the French artists who are known worldwide include Claude Monet who is known for his contribution to impressionist art which is an impression of ones view about nature (Cauderlier, 2009).
Other artists include Edouard Manet, Auguste Renoir and Armand Guillaumin. The cathedrals of France such as the Notre Dame and Chartres cathedral are popular structures that showcase French artistry. In particular, the Notre Dame cathedral has its walls decorated with statues as well as gargoyles. On the other hand, Chartres cathedral has its windows made of about 3,000 m2 of stained glass (LERC, 2010). All these are magnificent features of the French art work. Writing, poetry and theatre make up a beautiful French literature. France prides of the Academie francaise which is made of prominent writers.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame was for instance the work of novelist Victor Hugo in the 1800s. Among other French writes whose works have been influential in development of culture include Alexandre Dumas and Charles Baudelaire (LERC, 2010). In poetry, the works of Ronsard and Lamartine regarding nature and love are still influential (French Language, 2010). French theatre is also a unique symbol of French culture. For instance, Moliere has several comedies which portray the vanities of human nature as a satire. Other playwrights include Racine and Corneille.
These pieces of literature unique to French people are a source of pride and identity to the French people thereby displaying one aspect of their culture. Language is an important aspect in the French culture. French is the predominant language with about 88 percent of the communicating through French with even most of the rest speaking French and another language. Other spoken languages which are spoken by a small percentage of people include German dialects, Flemish, Italian, Catalan dialects, Breton and Basque. Immigrants have such dialects as the Corsu, Kabyle as well as Antillean Creole (Kwintessential, 2010).
French people not only utilize verbal communication but they also regularly use non-verbal communication mainly in form of gestures. For instance, an eye contact is mainly used to signify equality or to act as a cue for friendship request. Shaking hands among acquaintances is also highly regarded by French people. Specific gestures are used for counting (using fingers starting from the thumb) whereas covering ones mouth with the hands indicates making an apology or an acknowledgement that one has made a mistake (LERC, 2010).
French people also have their food which is unique and defines them. French cuisine varies mainly according to regions in France as regions influence availability of food. The most common traditional meal is the baguette and cheese accompanied by wine. Other meals have several courses with an air of sophistication. Since each region has different ingredients, each region seems to specialize in such ingredients but the foods have commonalities such as use of olive oil and tomatoes.
In addition to the influence of local availability, French foods also vary depending on the influence of bordering countries and immigrants (sauerkraut common Alsace which borders Germany) Lunch break usually takes about two hours for most people (FPSi, 2010) The French society also has unique family and societal values, customs and etiquettes which are an important feature of the French culture. The family is highly valued and they are families are composed of few children. The roles of each family member are clearly defined with the parents being guardians and providers. The extended family offers support either financially or emotionally.
French people usually develop open and polite dealings with family members and friends. Exchange of gifts bears some given etiquettes. For instance, one is not supposed to give an even number of flowers. Nevertheless, number thirteen is said to be unlucky and therefore such a number of flowers should not be given. It is also a requirement to open gifts immediately they are received (Kwintessential, 2010). French people are time conscious and they value keeping time. For instance, one is not supposed to be late for dinner for an invited dinner for more than ten minutes without prior explanation for being late.
There are unique table manners such as being a requirement to finish food in ones plate. Business is usually conducted formally and courtesy is among the most important etiquettes. For a person who cannot speak French, it is always preferable for them to apologise if they are to establish a meaningful relationship. Dark-coloured suits are recommended for as business wear for men while women can do with either business suits or if it has to be a dress, then it must be elegant and having soft colours (Kwintessential, 2010). This is an exemplary culture as it has been adopted in the business environment virtually all over the world. Conclusion
French culture is interesting, unique in many ways and has influenced other cultures in the world. The philosophy, art and literature are renowned worldwide and are an identity for the French people. French culture is also clearly defined in language, foods, general etiquettes in the society as well as unique business etiquettes. The French culture is undoubtedly interesting and influential especially if one considers every minor detail of the culture. As French, one finds reason to be proud of their culture which is outstanding even in the modern world. Bibliography Cauderlier, A. (2009). Monet. Retrieved 12, May 2010 from http://giverny.
org/monet/welcome. htm FPSi. (2010). French food culture. Retrieved 12, May 2010 from http://www. france-property-and-information. com/french_food. htm French Language. (2010). French culture. Retrieved 12, May 2010 from http://www. frenchlanguageguide. com/french/culture/ Kwintessential. (2010). France-French culture, customs and etiquette. Retrieved 12, May 2010 from http://www. kwintessential. co. uk/resources/global-etiquette/france-country-profile. html LERC. (2010). French culture, communication and gestures. Retrieved 12, May 2010 from http://lerc. educ. ubc. ca/LERC/courses/489/worldlang/french/frenchcultandcomm. html