French Culture - Culture française
French First Names
There are hundreds of common French first names. Some of them look just like their English counterparts, others are fairly similar, and still others seem completely unique. Here are more than 200 of the most popular French names, along with their pronunciation and English equivalents.
The "Rude French"
An article on why the French are often called rude and whether this is really the case.
Are you a Francophile?
Take this little quiz to find out how much or little of a Francophile you are.
Faire la bise ~ French Cheek Kissing
La bise or le bisou means kiss: French family, friends, and some colleagues exchange kisses on both cheeks upon meeting and leaving, as well as to congratulate or thank someone. This most French of gestures may also be made by two people, especially kids and young adults, introduced by a mutual friend.
One of the best ways to meet people in France is to join an association loi de 1901.
A short article about the French giving compliments.
Customer service in France
Introductory, bilingual article about customer service in France, particularly at the post office.
French drivers license
Some basic information to obtaining a drivers license in France.
Faire les courses
The French used to do their shopping in a whole series of specialized shops, but times - and store sizes - are changing.
People are always warning me that it's almost impossible to make French friends, and that they'll never invite you to their homes. That hasn't been my experience.
Hugging in France
Depending on where you're from, a hug between friends can be the most natural thing in the world - or an invasion of your personal space. Do you know how to say "hug" in French? If the answer is no, don't feel bad, because the French don't really hug.
There are a lot of holidays in France, but only 11 are public holidays (bank holidays), called jours fériés in French. On jours fériés, public servants and many public sector employees have the day off from work.
Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité
Learn about the French motto liberté, égalité, fraternité.
Sales Tax: TTC, HT, TVA
Learn the meaning of three French acronyms related to sales tax.
Soldes - Sales
Legally, French stores can only have big sales during the official summer and winter "soldes" each year.
French Toll Numbers
Most French businesses, including banks, have pay-per-minute phone numbers.
Some information about the 5 periods of school vacation in France.
Vegetarianism in France
Can vegetarians hope to survive in France?
Who leaves first?
Some observations about what happens at the end of a dinner party or business meeting.
French Beauty Secrets
A few French beauty secrets, written in French and English.
There are six different kinds of elections in France. Learn about the candidates, platforms, and results.
French maid costume
Learn the secrets to making a French maid costume with Rain Blanken, About.com's Guide to DIY Fashion.
There's a classic image of Frenchmen wearing striped shirts and berets, with strings of onions draped over their bikes - but is there any truth to it?
Dog Trots Globe: To Paris and Provence, by Sheron Long
Dog Trots Globe: To Paris and Provence is the tale of a dog traveling in France, enhanced by color photographs and line drawings.
French or Foe?
My review of Polly Platt's wonderful book about French culture.
French Women Don't Sleep Alone, by Jamie Cat Callan
French women are so chic! Trying to pin down and explain their je ne sais quoi is Jamie Cat Callan's goal in her book "French Women Don't Sleep Alone."
Keys to France, by Pam Bourgeois
Smartphones and tablets are great tools, but when you're traveling, nothing is quite so reassuring as a book that never needs to be recharged, nor hidden from potential thieves. The Keys to France pocket guide offers nearly 100 pages of travel tips, cultural insights, and essential phrases to help you make the most of your trip.
Meeting the French, by Pam Bourgeois
Any visit to France can be enhanced by the people you meet there, but some of their customs and habits may be surprising or difficult to understand. Reading up on French culture before you go can help you make the most of your trip. The French audiobook called Meeting the French is a good place to start.
Le Petit Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Le Petit Prince is the wonderfully touching and creative story of a man who meets an extraordinary boy and relearns what it means to be a child. It is a French classic in children’s literature, as well as an excellent book for beginning-to-intermediate French students and for anyone who is tired of acting like « une grande personne ».
Une Semaine à Paris bilingual audio book
Une Semaine à Paris is a bilingual audio book and travel guide to Paris. Each chapter includes a French dialogue, English translation, and related travel tips, and the entire dialogue is pronounced in French on three audio CDs. Read my review of this combination travel guide and bilingual audio book.
Sur le vif French Audio Books
The publisher of the online audio magazine La Guinguette offers three intermediate/advanced French audiobooks about contemporary France called Sur le vif (Real Life).
Vol de nuit, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Vol de nuit, one of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's most famous novels, is now available as an audiobook so that you can work on your French listening comprehension while enjoying a classic French novel.
Books on French Culture
There's more to language learning than vocabulary lists and grammar rules - culture is an essential element. Since language reflects culture and vice versa, fluency implies an understanding of both. If you don't know anything about wine, the Tour de France, or the French Revolution, your French is missing some context. Fill in the gaps with these books about the rich French culture.
Architecture Atlas: France
Over the centuries, France has been at the forefront of architectural innovation. Jackie Craven, About's guide to Architecture, has the scoop, including articles on the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and other great monuments.
French and France
A place for Francophiles, on Facebook. Lovers of French language, culture, food, and travel unite!
Anglophone's Guide to Paris
A terrific site with just about everything you need to know in Paris: employment, housing, other Anglophones....
The official website for the Cannes International Film Festival; current year and archives. You can choose to view it French or English.
Château de Versailles
Take the tour and/or help to replace the trees knocked out by December's storm.
Chronic'art : le webmag culturel
A webzine about French culture - French only.
Don't miss this site - many different exercises on everything from family to transportation.
Creating French Culture
How the French got to be the French, from the Bibliothèque nationale de France.
Online guide to European culture - including art, dance, music, and cuisine - with articles in English, French, and (sometimes) German.
La France pittoresque
Huge site packed with information about French culture, history, traditions, and much more. In French.
You can visit the virtual gallery of French painter Martine Carles or learn about French wines and cheeses. However, do watch out for the typos.
Very extensive site about French movies and related news. Updated daily, in French.
If you can't go to France, this might be the next best thing: the official website of the Louvre museum. Available in four languages.
Naissance de la culture française
Learn the history of what makes the French tick.
Profile of France
Introduction to French customs, politics, and modern life.
Information about French theatre and playwrights, with links to bibliographies, theatres, and more.
Théâtre du Rêve
Atlanta-based theater company that performs exclusively in French.
La Tour Eiffel
Quelle chance ! You can virtually visit the symbol of France in English or French.
20 lessons on French culture and society.
Voir, lire et dire le musée
Visit the famous Musée d'Orsay in Paris.
Easter in France - Pâques
Pâques (Easter) is a holiday celebrated even by many non-practicing French Christians. It features flying bells, blessed branches, and chocolate eggs.