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France is among the globe’s oldest nations, the product of an alliance of duchies and principalities under a single ruler in the Middle Ages. Today, as in that era, central authority is invested in the state, even though a measure of autonomy has been granted to the country’s 22 régions in recent decades. The French people look to the state as the primary guardian of liberty, and the state in turn provides a generous program of amenities for its citizens, from free education to health care and pension plans. Even so, this centralist tendency is often at odds with another long-standing theme of the French nation: the insistence on the supremacy of the individual. On this matter historian Jules Michelet remarked, “England is an empire, Germany is a nation, a race, France is a person.” Statesman Charles de Gaulle, too, famously complained, “Only peril can bring the French together. One can’t impose unity out of the blue on a country that has 265 kinds of cheese.

This tendency toward individualism joins with a pluralist outlook and a great interest in the larger world. Even though its imperialist stage was driven by the impulse to civilize that world according to French standards (la mission civilisatrice), the French still note approvingly the words of writer Gustave Flaubert: „I am no more modern than I am ancient, no more French than Chinese; and the idea of la patrie, the fatherland—that is, the obligation to live on a bit of earth coloured red or blue on a map, and to detest the other bits coloured green or black—has always seemed to me narrow, restricted, and ferociously stupid.”

At once universal and particular, French culture has spread far and greatly influenced the development of art and science, particularly anthropology, philosophy, and sociology. This is why french culture is interesting, like every culture in the world.

We have chosen France for our project because we found interesting the french culture, the customs of the people living in this country. In this project we tried to present the culture and identity of this county by presenting general things about France, like languages spoken, religion, population structure, about cultural and daily life or social custom.

We have also present the french etiquette regarding meetings, giving gifts or dining. We have found some interesting information about business etiquette and business practices in France.

One important chapter in our paper is about the Hofstede`s analysis on France, in which we presented the dimensions of a culture, measured with the 4D model, based some indicators detailed in our project.


France is a country of northwestern Europe. Historically and culturally among the most important nations in the Western world, France has also played a highly significant role in international affairs, with former colonies in every corner of the globe. Bounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, the Alps and the Pyrenees, France has long provided a geographic, economic, and linguistic bridge joining northern and southern Europe. It is Europe’s most important agricultural producer and one of the world’s leading industrial powers.

1.1.Facts and Statistics

Official name: République Française (French Republic)

Location: Western Europe, bordering Andorra 56.6 km, Belgium 620 km, Germany 451 km,

Italy 488 km, Luxembourg 73 km, Monaco 4.4 km, Spain 623 km, Switzerland 573 km

Capital: Paris

Climate: generally cool winters and mild summers, but mild winters and hot summers along

the Mediterranean; occasional strong, cold, dry, north-to-northwesterly wind known as mistral

Population: 60,424,213 (July 2004 est.)

Ethnic Make-up: Celtic and Latin with Teutonic, Slavic, North African, Indochinese, Basque minorities

Religions: Roman Catholic 83%-88%, Protestant 2%, Jewish 1%, Muslim 5%-10%, unaffiliated 4%.

Government: republic

Chief of state: President

Head of government: Prime Minister

Official language: French

Monetary unit: euro (€)

Population estimate (2008): 62,028,000

1.2.Ethnic groups

The French are, paradoxically, strongly conscious of belonging to a single nation, but they hardly constitute a unified ethnic group by any scientific gauge. Before the official discovery of the Americas at the end of the 15th century, France, located on the western extremity of the Old World, was regarded for centuries by Europeans as being near the edge of the known world. Generations of different migrants traveling by way of the Mediterranean from the Middle East and Africa and through Europe from Central Asia and the Nordic lands settled permanently in France, forming a variegated grouping, almost like a series of geologic strata, since they were unable to migrate any farther. Perhaps the oldest reflection of these migrations is furnished by the Basque people, who live in an isolated area west of the Pyrenees in both Spain and France, who speak a language unrelated to other European languages, and whose origin remains unclear. The Celtic tribes, known to the Romans as Gauls, spread from central Europe in the period 500 bc–ad 500 to provide France with a major component of its population, especially in the centre and west. At the fall of the Roman Empire, there was a powerful penetration of Germanic (Teutonic) peoples, especially in northern and eastern France. The incursion of the Norsemen (Vikings) brought further Germanic influence. In addition to these many migrations, France was, over the centuries, the field of numerous battles and of prolonged occupations before becoming, in the 19th and especially in the 20th century, the prime recipient of foreign immigration into Europe, adding still other mixtures to the ethnic melting pot.

1.3.Languages in France

French, the official language, is the first language of 88% of the population. Most of those who speak minority languages also speak French, as the minority languages are given no legal recognition. 3% of the population speak German dialects, predominantly in the eastern provinces of Alsace-Lorraine and Moselle. Flemish is spoken by around 90,000 people in the northeast, which is 0.2% of the French population. Around 1m people near the Italian border, roughly 1.7% of the population, speaks Italian. Basque is spoken by 0.1% and mainly along the French-Spanish border.

Catalan dialects are spoken in the French Pyrenees by around 260,000 people or 0.4% of the French population.The Celtic language, Breton, is spoken by 1.2% and mainly in the north west of France. These three languages have no official status within France.

In the South of France, over 7m speak Occitan dialects, representing 12% of the population of France, but these dialects have no official status. Nor too does Corsu, the dialect of the island of Corsica that is closely related to Tuscan and is spoken by 0.3%.

Arabic, the third largest minority language, is spoken by around 1.7% of the population throughout the country. Other immigrant languages from the former French colonies include Kabyle and Antillean Creole.


About three-fourths of the French people belong to the Roman Catholic church. Only a minority, however, regularly participate in religious worship; practice is greatest among the middle classes. The northwest (Brittany-Vendée), the east (Lorraine, Vosges, Alsace, Jura, Lyonnais, and the northern Alps), the north (Flanders), the Basque Country, and the region south of the Massif Central have a higher percentage of practicing Roman Catholics than the rest of the country. Recruitment of priests has become more difficult, even though the church, historically autonomous, is very progressive and ecumenical.

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