Whether you're surfing the internet or speaking with someone, you must have heard many things about France, the French history, the French language, and the overall lifestyle of the natives. However, compared to what you have heard, there's still a lot to learn about this global culture.
In every country of the world, the French are represented no matter how little they may be. Also, several others exist who are not French but have gained interest in the language and are willing to learn it. Many people travel to French-speaking countries to relate with native speakers, while many others decide to self-learn or hire a tutor for home tuition.
Learning French comes with many opportunities for you in Canada. It will also make it possible for you to relate with other people when traveling to a French-speaking country.
To make the most of your French lessons or the decision to travel to France, Superprof has decided to provide you with a few things you may not have heard about the French people that may come in handy for you.
French Speaking Countries
Unless you have a country in mind, the decision to travel to a French-speaking country can sometimes be a difficult one to make as there are several options that you can choose from. In Africa alone, there are over twenty countries that speak French as their lingua franca.
Other than the African continent, there are also many other countries in Europe and other parts of the world that are French-speaking countries.
French Speaking Countries in Europe
When an average person thinks French in Europe, the first thought that comes to mind is France and its central city, Paris. Many people have, at several points, seen France to be synonymous with French. While this position is widely held, it is not in itself correct. Several other countries exist other than France, where French is predominantly spoken. These countries include Belgium, Monaco, Luxembourg, Vatican City, and Switzerland.
Belgium is believed to have a French-language similar to that spoken in France. Luxembourg has a small population and shares boundaries with Germany, France, and Switzerland. Everything about Belgium relates to French, from its restaurants to the average lifestyle of its citizens.
In Monaco, French is one of the official languages and has much of its population speaking it. Vatican City is a country of several languages. However, considering that this country engages in many diplomatic activities, French is a primary means of communication.
German, French, and Italian are the three official languages spoken in Switzerland. Many people in this country speak two languages, and French is always one of them.
French Speaking Countries in Africa
During its colonial period, France acquired several colonies in Africa, resulting in many having French as their official language. Some West African countries that speak French include:
- Burkina Faso
- Republic of Congo
- Ivory Coast
- Democratic Republic of Congo
- Republic of Central Africa
- Equatorial Guinea
During the colonial reign of France, West African countries were largely colonized. However, some countries in East Africa came under the colonization of France, and some of them include:
Other than these African and European countries, many others have native French speakers in them. For example, in Oceania, we have Vanuatu, while in India, we have Puducherry and Chantannagar. On the North America continent, we have Haiti, Canada, and some parts of Louisiana.
Facts about France
These days, not so many people take out time to research a country before they start packing their bags to relocate there. While you may know a lot about a country or its people, you must get your facts right as well. Knowing people's preferences helps you relate with them better and contributes to making your stay in that region a very memorable one.
For France, there are several facts that you might not have heard of before now. Some of these facts may be revealed to you as a surprise, but that further reiterates the stance that you don't know France as much as you think. Let's take a few of these facts and start with what appears to be the most surprising one.
France isn't a French word
Considering that France is primarily used as a synonym for French, it might be difficult believing this fact. However, that's what it is - France isn't a French word; it is German. In its truest form, France comes from the German word "Frank," and it means "free."
Throwing or burning leftovers is an offense in France
In some places in Canada and the United States, you are not allowed by law to give out leftovers to others, and it doesn't matter whether such leftovers are still in a good state.
France takes a different turn from this approach and mandates everyone to give out leftover foods to those in need instead of throwing or burning them. So, if you're planning to travel to France, then you should be extra careful about throwing or burning leftovers.
French people love to be greeted in French
As a person who doesn't know how to speak the French language, traveling to France might mean you have to take some extra lessons to learn the basics. Upon arrival in France, you will want to create an excellent first impression on everyone you come across, and one good way to do that is to greet them in French.
You will also need to learn other basic French languages like asking for directions, making a purchase in a store, or showing gratitude. These are vital to your stay, especially if you're a first-timer.
Trousers used to be illegal for women in Paris
For a very long time, it was an offense for a woman in France to wear trousers. This is because it was seen as women trying to dress like men. However, as civilization began to set in, things started changing on a national scale, and women started agitating for their rights to dress as they like.
Recently, the government considered the need to review the law requesting women to seek permission before wearing trousers. Finally, the law was updated, and today women in Paris - the capital city of France - can wear what they want without getting themselves on the wrong side of the law.
Cheese is the favorite food of the people of France
Every country has a type of food that is peculiar to it, and for the French, it is cheese. It is said that France has the highest variations of cheese in the world. There is virtually no household or restaurant in France where you won't find cheese. Discover more facts about France,
Walking through the streets of France, you will always find someone putting on a smiling face because they are enjoying their cheese. Traveling to France is a decision to fall in love with cheese because you'd find several variations there, one of which you'd love.
Facts about the French Empire
If there is a country whose history is worth studying, then it will be France. Home to some of the finest places in the world, this country has a very rich history. From its early expansion in Canada to its colonies in Africa and the rise and fall of Napoleon Bonaparte, there are things about the French empire you may not know.
First, much of early France was a kingdom that was ruled by kings until there was a firm resolve to return it to a republic. The decision to have France run as a republic produced its first France president - Louis Napoleon Bonaparte.
The 16th century was a very prominent period in France's history. At this time, some of its prominent colonies, like that of Nova Scotia and Quebec, both of which are part of today's Canada, were founded. In this same period, France gained entry to the South of the Equator by establishing a colony in St. Kitts in the West Indies.
Gradually, France started expanding its reach to the forays of Africa through Senegal. All of these expansions and attempts at colonization didn't go without resistance. However, the emergence of Napoleon Bonaparte changed a few things. He established more colonies and started new wars, which were referred to as the Napoleonic wars.
Despite the prevalence of these wars, Napoleon Bonaparte attempted a coup after his tenure was over. Unfortunately for him, it failed, and a new king Louis XVIII emerged. Upon the death of Louis XVIII in 1824, he was immediately succeeded by Charles X.
Traveling to France from Canada requires that you have a basic understanding of the French language. It will make it easy for you to go about the reason you traveled there. The best way to do this is to hire a French tutor from Superprof to teach you, French. Read more facts about the French empire.
We have tutors who are native French speakers all over Canada, and as such, finding a tutor near you won't be a challenge. Our French lessons can help you move from a beginner to a professional French speaker as it covers the history and basics of the language.