A bit of the French culture - culture française
For the serious student of all things French a world of cultural experience awaits. Here are some of the highlights of French culture which we think may be useful for you. Some examples of the French culture include:
France was the birthplace of cinema and was responsible for many of its early significant contributions. Several important cinematic movements, including the Nouvelle Vague, began in the country. In 2009, nearly 80 million foreign filmgoers watched French films. The Cannes Film Festival, begun in 1946, is the most respected such event worldwide, and the Palme d'Or award at Cannes is one of the most sought-after achievements in cinema.
Fashion has been an important industry and cultural export of France since the seventeenth century, and modern "haute couture" originated in Paris in the 1860s. Today, Paris, along with Tokyo, London, Milan, and New York City, is considered one of the world's fashion capitals, and the city is home or headquarters to many of the premier fashion houses. Historically, many of the world's top designers and fashion houses have been French, including Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Lanvin, Chloé, Hermès, Guy Laroche, Yves Saint Laurent, and shoe designer Christian Louboutin.
Food is one of the great passions of the French people and their reverence for time spent eating is evident in any culinary establishment nationwide. French cooking is highly refined and involves careful preparation, attention to detail, and the use of fresh ingredients. It varies by region and is heavily influenced by what is grown locally.
Some well-known French delicacies include:
- foie gras
- coquilles St Jacques
- poulet de Bresse
- Selle d'agneau
- Ris de veau and rognons de veau
- cuisses de grenouille
- and of course.cheese (250 varieties!)
Doing business in France
In France, business etiquette is rooted in the cultural values of rules, manners and decorum.
- Avoid overly friendly behavior, as the French make a clear distinction between their personal and business relationships
- Before sitting at a meeting, wait for seating instructions
- Dress conservatively
- If you do not speak French, or speak only rudimentary French, apologize to your colleagues for the language barrier
- Maintain eye contact during conversations.
- Do not be afraid to debate. French business people often value partners who argue logically and understand all perspectives of a subject.
- Immediately after initial introductions, exchange business cards. Although the French do not have a set formality to exchange business cards, it is considered appropriate to exchange business cards directly after an initial meeting.
- Try to avoid exaggeration, which French business people may interpret as offensive, boasting or rude.
- Use a formal, professional tone when writing notes, agendas or material to be distributed at the meeting.
- Dressing in a formal full suit and scheduling appointments are cornerstones of doing business in French speaking countries.
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