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Culture France

By Dmitry Petrounin Dmitry Petrounin Section editor Profile

France

Literature

Jean Paul Sartre, Honoré de Balzac, Albert Camus, Victor Hugo, Gustave Flaubert, Molière, Charles Baudelaire, Emile Zola, Marcel Proust, Voltaire.

Films

Delicatessen, Léon, La Haine, Le dîner des cons, Amélie, La Vie en rose, Hiroshima mon amour, Hidden, Jean de Florette, The 400 Blows, Cyrano de Bergerac, A Bout De Souffle, Nikita, Les Visiteurs, La Haine.

Music

In terms of music, France is a lot more eclectic than one might think on first impression. The great classics include George Brassens, Léo Ferré and Serge Gainsbourg among others like Renaud and Rita Mitsouko. France also welcomed a surge of hip hop music in the 90s including some of the most respected groups like NTM, I am and La Rumeur. If you can get your head around the lyrics and the social significance of the afore-mentioned groups, your understanding of France's complex politics and social classes will undoubtedly be a lot clearer. The late 90s also saw the surge of the electro house scene, which was often influenced by the 1970s Euro disco music. Daft Punk, Justice, Stardust and Cassius are bastions of this genre.

France : Discover the country's history

historyDates

The first people to conquer France: the Gauls, with the Ligurians and the Iberians. France was once called Gaul.

In the 1st century BC France was conquered by the Romans.

5th century : Invasion of the Barbarians

from 768 to 814: The Reign of Charlemagne

14th and 15th centuries : Hundred Years' War

Absolutism

:

1610-1645 : Reign of Louis XIII

1645-1715 : Reign of Louis XIV

1715-1774 : Reign of Louis XV

1774-1792 : Reign of Louis XVI

1789 : The French Revolution

1814-1824 : Reign of Louis XVIII

,

The Restoration

1824-1830 : Reign of Charles X

1830 : The Liberal Revolution breaks out and Philippe d'Orleans is named king.

1848 : revolution that establishes the Republic.

1852 : Louis-Napoléon's coup d'etat, who proclaims himself emperor under the name Napoleon III.

1870-1871: Franco-Prussian War: the emperor is deposed and the Third Republic is proclaimed.

1914: World War I breaks out and France's allies urge it to enter into combat.

1939-1945: World War II Forced by an alliance, France joins England and declares war on Germany. France is defeated by the Germans in 1940.

At the head of the government, Paul Reynaud resigns and the power passes to Marshal Pétain. The abolition of the Third Republic is voted on and replaced by a totalitarian state. Power is given to Marshal Petain, who becomes the Head of State.

1944: the nation is liberated by the English and the Americans after the Normandy landings on 6th June. A provisional government is created under the command of General de Gaulle.

January 1947: The Fourth Republic is created, with Vincent Auriol acting as president. This also marked the beginning of the collapse of French colonial domination. France withdraws from Indochina, grants Tunisia and Morocco independence, and confronts a rebellion in Algeria.

1958: De Gaulle returns to power (until 1969). A new constitution is established and the 5th Republic is proclaimed. Guinean Independence.

1962: after a bloody war, Algeria wins its independence.

French May or May 68: a student uprising (against the Vietnam War and imperialism) and workers' movement (marked the biggest general strike in the history of France).

Beginning of the 1980s: implementation of the socialist government of François Mitterrand, lasting until the mid-90s before being replaced by Jacques Chirac.

6th May 2007: Nicolas Sarkozy was elected president of the Republic.

6th May 2012: François Hollande is elected 24th President of the French Republic.

Key dates


1st January: New Year's Day.
Easter Monday.
1st May: Labour Day.
8th May: VE Day (Victory in Europe).
20th May: Ascension.
31st May: Whit Monday.
24th June: The feast day of Saint John the Baptist: bonfires, fireworks, and other festivities are organised.
14th July: French , also known as 'Bastille Day', commemorating the storming of Bastille in 1789. At this time, the French people had had enough of inequality and hunger, especially as royalty, with Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette as monarchs, were living in ostentatious luxury. This was the event that marked the beginning of the French Revolution. On this day, all of the emblematic sites in Paris are lit up, parades and fireworks are organised, and everybody celebrates well into the night.
15th August: Assumption.
1st November: All Saints' Day.
11th November: Armistice Day.
25th December: Christmas.