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What is French culture?

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France's culture is becoming less specific and more European or global, and lost its edge in many areas, but there is still a rich artistic and culinary culture.
  • French "cinéma" has some of the best classical movies in the world, less so now for modern movies.
  • French music has lost its great stars like Barbara, Édith Piaf, Jacques Brel, Georges Brassens, Charles Trénet or even Serge Gainsbourg decades ago, and there are no replacement in sight, although there are still many great singers. Classical music and opera are still very much present. But having lived in 3 different countries and 2 continents, and owning several thousands albums, I can say competition from other countries is winning over.
  • French literature is also healthy, with several different "prices".
  • French fashion is also still very important in French economy, but like Italian's, a lot of competition from Japan, America, United Kingdom and other countries have joined the fray.
  • French cuisine is still one of the three best in the world, with China and the country you live in, even if the current tendency is to follow America in the convenience of ready-made junk food and cooking less. Obesity is on the rise, even though it is at a much slower pace than in the UK.
  • French education is quite good. Regarding foreign languages we French tend to have an horrible accent, but there are more than twice as many French speaking a second language, than Brits.
  • The "grève" (strikes) is a common occurence in social conflicts.
  • France has had 2 socialist presidents since the early 1980s, which introduced a culture of political "alternance" giving everybody their chance. And American "Democrats" are considered as right wing, not left, by French people.
  • France is home to many naturalized Northern African people, from our ex colonies, it all adds to the rich cosmopolitan culture, although some extreme right racist politicians play on this fear of the foreigner to get more votes. France has the greatest proportion of interracial marriages in the world.
  • Many French people still think France is the "nombril" (navel) of the world.
  • Religion is mostly Roman catholic, but less and less so: only about 50% of French people describe themselves as Catholics, but only 4.5% go to mass every week. There are about 7% Muslims, mostly immigrants from Northern Africa, but more and more people (over 30%) are just atheist or without religious affiliation. Laicism is one of the basic principles of the French Revolution's new constitution.


There are many other traits to French culture, and I encourage others to edit this answer, but I hope this gives a fair idea of the main points.
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