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For many foreigners the essence of the French is their commitment to their quality of life. To be French means knowing instinctively where work ends and pleasure begins, and never allowing the one to take over the other.

French students study philosophy as part of the school curriculum and are taught to think logically and debate. In discussions they will depart from a central statement and proceed logically to a conclusion. Part of the outcome of this academic approach is the proficiency of the French in theory and mathematical reasoning. Rene Descartes, the French philosopher and mathematician, codified the French system of logical thinking – Cartesian logic.

France is a full member of NATO, and was a founding member of the European Economic Community in 1956, an ideal promoted by the Frenchman Jean Monnet. The European Union came into being under the leadership of another Frenchman, Jacques Delors, and the European Parliament is based in the French city of Strasbourg. Politically, France, together with Germany, leads the Eurozone group and also exercises the greatest influence in European affairs.

Culture Smart! France is a concise guide to understanding the French people, with illuminating insights into their national identity. Familiarise yourself with their customs, traditions and culture and experience France authentically.


"Culture Smart has come to the rescue of hapless travellers." Sunday Times Travel

"... the perfect introduction to the weird, wonderful and downright odd quirks and customs of various countries." Global Travel

"...full of fascinating-as well as common-sense-tips to help you avoid embarrassing faux pas." Observer

"...as useful as they are entertaining." Easyjet Magazine

"...offer glimpses into the psyche of a faraway world." New York Times