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And indeed, since the arrival of Emmanuel Macron — a fluent English speaker — on the political scene in , English has assumed a new de rigueur in France. During his electoral campaign, Macron was slammed by the far-right opponents for addressing a conference in Brussels in English rather than French. Yet since assuming the French presidency, Macron's silver-tongued ability to speak at ease in both English and French has won over the world.

French broadcasting laws restrict the amount of airtime radio and TV stations can devote to non-French music, but nothing can be done to restrict who airs what on the internet. With English words like 'weekend', 'jogging', 'stop' and 'OK' firmly entrenched in daily French usage, language purists might just have lost the battle. Nothing reflects this dichotomy better than the law, in place since , banning the Islamic headscarf, Jewish skullcap, crucifix and other religious symbols in French schools, or the more recent burkini ban on beaches in southern France.

Most are illegal immigrants living in poverty-stricken bidonvilles shanty towns around Paris, Lyon, Marseille and other metropolitan centres. Most French wouldn't be seen dead walking down the street in trainers and tracksuits. But contrary to appearances, they love sport.

Shaved-leg cyclists toil up Mont Ventoux, football fans fill stadiums and anyone who can flits off for the weekend to ski or snowboard. Les 24 Heures du Mans and the F1 Grand Prix in Monaco are the world's raciest dates in motor sports; the French Open, aka Roland Garros, in Paris in late May to early June is the second of the year's four grand-slam tennis tournaments; and the Tour de France is — indisputably — the world's most prestigious bicycle race.

A New Map of France: Régions

The route in between changes each year but wherever it goes, the French systematically turn out in droves — armed with tables, chairs and picnic hampers — to make a day of it. The serpentine publicity caravan preceding the cyclists showers roadside spectators with coffee samples, logo-emblazoned balloons, pens and other free junk-advertising gifts and is easily as much fun as watching the cyclists themselves speed through — in 10 seconds flat. France's greatest moment in football history came at the World Cup, which the country hosted and won.

The son of Algerian immigrants, Marseille-born midfielder Zinedine Zidane b wooed the nation with a sparkling career of goal-scoring headers and extraordinary footwork that unfortunately ended with him head-butting an Italian player during the World Cup final. But such was the power of his humble Marseillais grin since used to advertise Adidas sports gear, Volvic mineral water and Christian Dior fashion that the French nation instantly forgave this 'golden boy' of French football.

France's second-greatest moment in football history came at the World Cup which Les Bleues won - almost 20 years to the day since their first World Cup win. The team's coach Didier Deschamps made history by becoming just the third person in the world to first captain a World Cup winning team and then, 20 years later, win it again as trainer of the national side.

French Bred: Growing Up Provincial in a Bygone France - Paul Bruthiaux - Google книги

French football is clearly back in the spotlight. In the finest of traditions, tales of the rivalry between rosbifs 'literally 'the roast beefs', aka the English and frogs the French sell like hotcakes. Our favourites:. Kissing French-style is not straightforward, with 'how many' and 'which side first' being potentially problematic. In Paris it is two: unless parties are related, very close friends or haven't seen each other in an age, anything more is deemed affected.

That said, in hipster something circles, friends swap three or four cheek-skimming kisses. Travel south and les bises kisses , or les bisous as the French colloquially say, multiply; three or four is the norm in Provence. The bits of France neighbouring Switzerland around Lake Geneva tend to be three-kiss country in keeping with Swiss habits ; and in the Loire Valley it is four.

Corsicans, bizarrely, stick to two but kiss left cheek first — which can lead to locked lips given that everyone else in France starts with the right cheek. Indeed, it is only since that French women no longer have to tick one of two boxes when filling out official forms and documents — 'Madame' meaning 'Mrs' or 'married' and 'Mademoiselle' meaning 'Miss' or 'young and not married'.

Later merged with ' ma' to denote an unmarried woman, the term was tantamount to 'sad old spinster who can't find a husband' in the 17th and 18th centuries. In the 19th century, novelist Adolphe Belot borrowed the term to depict a frigid wife in Mademoiselle Giraud, ma Femme. These days, for a woman over 35, being addressed as 'mademoiselle' is a subtle way of being told 'you're young! No films better illustrate what southerners think of those from 'the sticks' in the far north than Dany Boon's original Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis Welcome to the Sticks; and recent sequel a decade later, La Ch'tite Famille The two are a classic commentary on France's north—south divide.

For starters, the weather in the cold rainy north is revolting. The weather changes when he passes the 'Nord-Pas de Calais' sign — at which point it doesn't just rain but slashes down beyond windscreen-wiper control. Even the gendarme police officer on the autoroute, upon stopping him for driving too slowly, lets him off with a sympathetic smile and his deepest condolences when he hears where he's heading: Bergues, an ex-mining town of inhabitants, 9km from Dunkirk.

Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis is a kaleidoscope of comic scenes that slowly chip away at the deeply entrenched prejudices surrounding this northern land of redundant coal mines and its unemployed, impoverished, pale, unhealthy and 'uncultured' inhabitants who drink too much beer and speak like this — 'Ej t'ermerci inne banes' that means Merci beaucoup. Yes, their thick Ch'timi dialect old Picard peppered with Flemish is incomprehensible to outsiders. Yes, they skip the traditional French three-course lunch for an alfresco round of frites fricadelle, sauce picadilly chips 'n' meatballs — eaten with their fingers.

And yes, their very nickname les Ch'tis was borne out of prejudice during WWI when French soldiers mocked the thickly accented way their northern comrades spoke — ' ch'est ti, ch'est mi' c'est toi, c'est moi — it's you, it's me , hence 'Ch'ti'. The French Council of State declared the ruling illegal, but the body-covering beach wear still remains banned on some beaches in Cannes, Nice and elsewhere. A timeless bestseller addressing French culture is Pamela Druckerman's French Children Don't Throw Food , a witty and entertaining look at how French parents in Paris raise their kids by an American living in the city.

Both are played by men on a gravel pitch. Funny, sad, caustic and hugely insightful, it is a wonderful anthropological portrait of modern France. Dubbed the southern version of Dany Boon's Les Ch'tis, the comic film Marseille provides a rich and entertaining commentary on the regional characteristics of the Marseillais and the wealth of mixed cultures the port city embraces. Paolo, a born-and-bred Marseillais exiled to Quebec, returns after 25 years to nurse his ageing father.

France maintains a rigid distinction between church and state. The country is a secular republic, meaning there can be no mention of religion on national school syllabuses. Literature, music, painting, cinema: France's vast artistic heritage is the essence of French art de vivre. Contemporary French writers might struggle to be published abroad, but Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Marcel Proust and Simone de Beauvoir walk the hall of fame.

The French

Music is embedded in the French soul, with world-class rap, dance and electronica coming out of Paris. French painting, with its roots in prehistoric cave art, continues to break new ground with provocative street art, while French film is enjoying a marvellous renaissance. Troubadours' lyric poems of courtly love dominated medieval French literature, while the roman literally 'romance', now meaning 'novel' drew on old Celtic tales. French Renaissance literature was extensive and varied.

Michel de Montaigne —92 covered cannibals, war horses, drunkenness and the resemblance of children to their fathers, along with other themes. The philosophical Voltaire — dominated the 18th century. Verlaine shared a tempestuous homosexual relationship with poet Arthur Rimbaud —91 : enter French literature's first modern poems. The world's longest novel — a seven-volume 9,,character giant by Marcel Proust — — dominated the early 20th century.

Surrealism proved a vital force until WWII. In Paris the bohemian Colette — captivated and shocked with her titillating novels detailing the amorous exploits of heroines such as schoolgirl Claudine. He captured the hearts of millions with his magical yet philosophical tale for children about an aviator's adventures with a little blonde-haired Prince from Asteroid B The nouveau roman of the s saw experimental young writers seek new ways of organising narratives, with Nathalie Sarraute slashing identifiable characters and plot in Les Fruits d'Or The Golden Fruits.

Other Features

Histoire d'O Story of O , an erotic sadomasochistic novel written by Dominique Aury under a pseudonym in , sold more copies outside France than any other contemporary French novel. The subsequent fast-paced, hedonistic lifestyle pursued by the party-loving, bourgeois-born writer ensured she remained in the spotlight until her death in Marc Levy www. The film rights of his first novel were snapped up for the Stephen Spielberg box-office hit, Just Like Heaven , and his novels have since been translated into 49 languages. Comedian-dramatist Nelly Alard www. Christine Angot is widely known as la Reine de l'Autofiction the queen of autobiography , while Yasmina Khadra is actually a man — a former colonel in the Algerian army who adopted his wife's name as a nom de plume.

His most recent work, Dieu n'habite pas la Havane, was published in Born and bred on a ghetto housing estate outside Paris, she stunned critics with her debut novel, Kiffe Kiffe Demain , sold in 27 countries and published in English as Just Like Tomorrow Only in the s could he return to Algeria. Her third novel, Les Gens du Balto , published in English as Bar Balto , is a series of colloquial, first-person monologues by various characters who live on a street in a Parisian suburb.

Delphine de Vigan b is another female Parisian writer to be widely translated in English. The bulk of his childhood was spent in Nigeria and he studied in Bristol, England, and Aix-en-Provence. In he won the Nobel Prize in Literature. The work of Paris-born Patrick Modiano b was only really discovered by an Anglophone audience after the novelist was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in His latest novel is Souvenirs dormants French Baroque music heavily influenced European musical output in the 17th and 18th centuries.

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Modern orchestration was founded by French Romantic Hector Berlioz — He demanded gargantuan forces: his ideal orchestra included stringed instruments, 30 grand pianos and 30 harps. Contemporary composer Olivier Messiaen —92 combined modern, almost mystical music with natural sounds such as birdsong. His student Pierre Boulez — worked with computer-generated sound to create some of France's most powerful electronic, instrumental music.

Post-WWII ushered in a much-appreciated bunch of musicians, mostly black Americans who opted to remain in Paris' bohemian Montmartre rather than return to the brutal racism and segregation of the USA: Sidney Bechet called Paris home from , jazz drummer Kenny 'Klook' Clarke followed in , pianist Bud Powell in , and saxophonist Dexter Gordon in the early s. Claude Luter and his Dixieland band were hot in the s. In the s irresistible crooners Jean-Pierre Lang and Pierre Bachelet revived the chanson tradition with classics such as 'Les Corons' , a passionate ode to northern France's miners.

Her subsequent third album, Paris is a musical ode to the French capital with 13 songs evoking Paris' irresistible charm and romance. Her first live album, Sur la Route , only confirms that Zaz is one of France's hottest contemporary female voices. Most big-name rappers are French twenty-somethings of Arabic or African origin whose prime preoccupations are the frustrations and fury of fed-up immigrants in the French banlieues suburbs. In he returned as rap artist Disiz La Peste, releasing a rash of albums culminating in with Pacifique, his 11th album.

France's other big rap band is Marseille's home-grown IAM www. A ninth album is expected in , followed by a world tour in to celebrate the band's 30th birthday. French rap continues to inspire fresh talent. One could be forgiven for thinking that French pop is becoming dynastic. Serge Gainsbourg's daughter with Jane Birkin, Charlotte Gainsbourg b , made her musical debut in with the single 'Lemon Incest' and — several albums later — released a cover version of the song 'Hey Joe' as soundtrack to the film Nymphomaniac in which she also starred as the leading lady.

Always worth a listen is Louise Attaque who, after a year break, released its new album, L'Anomalie, with huge success in Nosfell www. Travels abroad likewise provided the inspiration for the album Palermo Hollywood, by talented singer-songwriter Benjamin Biolay b Marseille-born Marina Kaye b won France's Got Talent TV show at the age of 13, as well as huge acclaim with her debut single 'Homeless'; she released her first album Fearless in Celebrity singer Nolwenn Leroy b performs in Breton, English and Irish as well as French, while Paris' very own Indila b woos France with her edgy pop and rai a style derived from Algerian folk music.

Then there's Louane b. France does dance music well: computer-enhanced Chicago blues and Detroit techno are often mixed with s lounge music and vintage tracks from the likes of Gainsbourg and Brassens to create a distinctly urban, highly portable sound. Internationally successful bands like Daft Punk and Justice head the scene.

Daft Punk www. Not you? Forgotten password? Forgotten password Use the form below to recover your username and password. New details will be emailed to you. Simply reserve online and pay at the counter when you collect. Available in shop from just two hours, subject to availability. Your order is now being processed and we have sent a confirmation email to you at. This item can be requested from the shops shown below. Author Paul Bruthiaux. Pages Publisher New Generation Publishing. Language English. ISBN Media Book.

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