French culture is rooted in the Frankish, Gallo-Roman and Celtic traditions. Although France is the largest Western European nation, the country has a relatively low population. The capitol and center of French culture is Paris.Continue Reading
While French is the dominant language, regional dialects like Catalan, Flemish, Corsican and Basque are prevalent and are sometimes taught in local schools. Throughout their history, the French have taken legislative measurements to ensure that the French language remains pure and does not include English words and phrases.
The tricoleur, as the French call their flag, is white, blue and red. The French national anthem is "La Marseillaise." A woman symbolic of the French ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity, Liberty or Marianne is often depicted wearing a helmet or a crown of wheat. These symbols emerged during the French Revolution in the late 1700s and continue to be important to French culture and identity.
Food is essential to French culture, especially wine and cheese. French people eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, with breakfast as the lightest meal and dinner as the heaviest. Families often sit down together for leisurely meals lasting several courses. Wine is usually served, and young teenagers are allowed to drink a watered down version. Some of the most elaborate meals are served on Christmas Eve before midnight mass and during the Feast of the Virgin, which is celebrated on February 2 with a meal of crepes.Learn more about Cultures & Traditions