French people address each other with formality, calling each other Madame, Mademoiselle or Monsieur in a way which may seem formulaic to outsiders, but signifies a respect for the individual which permeates the French way of life. The French value family life, the art of cooking good food and enjoyment of theatrical and musical arts.
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2 French language
4 Social reform
6 See also
7 External links
The TGV high speed rail network, train à grande vitesse is a fast rail transport which serves several areas of the country and is self financing. There are plans to reach most parts of France and many other destinations in Europe in coming years. Rail services are punctual, frequent and user friendly, in contrast to some other European networks.
French culture is profoundly allied with French language, expressing a national psychology of high emotion, playfulness, and "joie de vivre". The artful use of the mother tongue, and its defense against perceived decline or corruption by foreign terms, is a major preoccupation. The French Minister of Culture works to promote French cinema, and the Académie française sets an official standard of language purity.
The real importance of local languages is disputed.
Little known outside France are the many regional languages, very unrelated to standard French except that they are from the same language group (Indo-European), such as Breton and Alsatian, and some regional languages which are Romance, like French, such as Provençal, which have enthusiastic proponents among the people. There is also a language completely unrelated to French, Basque. In April 2001, the Minister of Education, Jack Lang, admitted formally that for more than two centuries, the political powers of the French government had repressed regional languages, and announced that bilingual education would, for the first time, be recognized, and bilingual teachers recruited in French public schools.
The Bohemian history of Paris deserves an article in itself. Many culture icons spent some years in Paris, including Hemingway, Picasso, Toulouse Lautrec, Gertrude Stein, Samuel Beckett and many others.
The revolutionary ideal is a powerful totem in the French psyche. Some ideas of Situationism were realised in Disneyland Paris, although doubtless this would be denied by its builders. The French Revolution was itself an extreme form of social change, and its reverberations are everywhere apparent in day to day life there. Consider the 1848 Paris Commune, and the 1968 student riots. Parallel to these events, it is possible to discern deeply conservative trends in French life.
A mass market cultural export from France that many people (at least some of those who grew up in Canada) fondly rember is a television series called Thierry La Fronde, about a Robin Hood like heroic figure who lived in the period of conflict between England and France in the 14th century known as the Hundred Years' War.