Look What Came From ...
By Catherine C.
Look What Came From ...
Holidays and Festivals
Look What Didn't Come From France
France. When most people think of France, the first thing that pops into their mind is probably the Eiffel Tower, Paris, or decorative restaurants. Although these are all key parts of France, there is so much more to this fascinating country. Did you know that 50% of France is dominated by countryside or farmland, making France the agricultural center of Europe? How about the fact that Europe’s tallest peak, towering at 15,718 feet, is located in France? France is filled with amazing wonders; to learn more about its significant cuisine, architecture, fashion and more, read on!
The National Flower of France is the Iris
The flag of France
The French celebrate a variety of different holidays. The national holiday of France is Bastille Day. It is celebrated on July 14th and commemorates the Storming of the Bastille in which the French attacked the Bastille prison to free the prisoners who were taken captive by their king, Louis XVI. This was a significant event in the French Revolution. Today, military troops march through the Champs-Elysees like a row of hardworking ants and French flags are hung in the streets, as well. Similar to the spirit of Independence Day in the United States, Bastille Day is also acknowledged with radiant and explosive fireworks. Finally, people finish celebrating this important day by dancing on the streets throughout the night.
Holidays and Festivals
Bastille Day parade
Bastille Day fireworks
Another holiday celebrated by the French is Mardi Gras, or "Carnival", which takes place on the last day before the Roman Catholic observance of Lent, sometime between February 15th and March 6th. Like its name suggests, this festival ignites a carnival-like atmosphere. People dress up in silly outfits and masks, and parades with flower-covered floats embellish the streets. Partying sometimes spans several weeks!
The French also celebrate Christmas. The main meal of a Christmas dinner in France varies from family to family, but most opt to serve some kind of meat as the primary dish. On Christmas Eve, children leave their shoes outside the door; if the children were "nice" and obliging to their parents and teachers over the course of the year, Le Pere Noel (Father Christmas) fills their shoes with toys. If they were naughty, however, Le Pere Fouettard (Father Spanker) delivers a whip instead! This custom is similar to how the United States' version of Santa Claus delivers toys to respectful children, and coal to disobedient children. The Christmas tree first appeared in France in the region of Alsace in 1521. They are decorated with decorative ornaments, glistening tinsel, and lights. Since the 16th century, Christmas trees have become an iconic figure of Christmas in France.
Mardi Gras parades and costumes
A Christmas dinner in France
The French are fashionable and dress elegantly. A commonly known hat around the world is the beret. Berets are soft and round-headed hats. The beret became popular in France and Spain in the 19th century. Berets are sometimes worn as part of the military uniform, in several different countries including the United States. In fact, the beret was first worn as sports wear and later became a fashion trend. Berets are not commonly worn on a normal basis in France, but they are more often worn in the military.
The French are known for their very stylish way of dressing. Home to many of the greatest fashion industries, such as Chanel, Dior, and Louis Vuitton, it is not a surprise that France is home to the fashion capital of the world, Paris. In fact, France even organizes the Paris Fashion Week, where series of fashionable clothing made by the most famous designers in Paris are exhibited. These events take place semi annually. The French enjoy dressing up and normally wear well-fitted, graceful clothing. The only time the French wear sweatpants or any loose clothing is when they are relaxing in their home. Sometimes, tourists visiting France feel under dressed compared to the high-quality clothing the French are seen wearing around them.
Traditional clothing are worn at festivals and ceremonies. Women wear lace trimmed blouses, an apron, and skirts with velvet ribbons. They are sometimes seen wearing coiffes. A coiffe is an elaborate lace headgear. Coiffes are commonly worn at ceremonies. Men wear vests, jackets, and hats.
A woman wearing a coiffe
France is full of many prominent architecture that take us back in history. The most well-known one is probably the Eiffel Tower, located in Paris, France. The Eiffel Tower is 984 feet tall, and is shaped in a triangular form. It one of the most visited tourist attractions in the world, getting 7 million visitors each year. The Eiffel Tower is considered a celebrity in the architectural world. At night lights on the Eiffel Tower turn on, making it a exquisite scene. The Eiffel Tower was built during the Exposition Universelle, a world fair held in Paris, France in 1889. At first, the Eiffel Tower was supposed to be temporary, but because of its distinctive shape, it became popular and stayed. To build the Eiffel Tower, it took 2 years, 2 months, and 5 days. Although this may seem to be a long period of time, back then it was actually a very short amount of time. The Eiffel Tower was named after Gustave Eiffel, whose company helped scheme and build the tower.
The Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower lights up at night
The Arc de Triomphe is another monument in Paris, France. At 164 feet high and 148 feet wide, it is the 2nd largest arch in the world, following the Gateway Arch in Missouri. Its structure is a simple arch, with a passage way through the middle. Inside the arch, engraved, are the names of about 600 soldiers who have served in the First French Empire, from 1804-1814. The construction of the Arc de Triomphe started in 1806 and ended 30 years later in 1836. It was ordered by Napoleon, a military leader, just after his victory in Austerlitz. Its purpose was to honor the French soldiers who fought for France in the French Revolution and the Napoleon Wars. The French army was called the Grande Armee. Although Napoleon was the one who had commissioned to build the arch, he had never actually been able to see it because of his death in 1821.
The gardens in the Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles, or sometimes known as just Versailles, is a royal mansion. It is in the Île-de-France region of France. Currently, it is a museum about French history and is a popular tourist attraction. It is 2,014 acres large, and is the world's largest royal domain. 230 acres of the palace is dominated by their beautiful gardens. The gardens consist of fountains, flower beds, open grassy areas, walkways, shaped trees, and plants. Before becoming a museum, the mansion was the seat of power. It was home to Louis XVI, who was ruling at the time. However, in 1789 during the French Revolution, he was forced to move to Paris from Versailles. In the 19th century it became the Museum of the History of France, ordered by King Louis-Philippe. He became ruler in 1830. The rooms of the palace were filled with paintings and sculptures that represented the important events and figures in the French history.
The Arc de Triomphe
France consists of several cities, that attract tourists from around the world. Paris is the capital of France. Because of Paris's notable building structures, art, and gastronomy, it has become one of the most visited tourist attractions in the world. Paris was originally nicknamed the "City of Lights" because Paris was an expansive and vast center for education and ideas during the Age of Enlightenment. Paris was also the one of the first European cities to achieve gas street lighting. Paris was founded at the end of the 3rd century by the Guals, who were called Parisii. However, before that, Paris was a Roman city called Lutetia that was developed by Julius Caesar. Paris has a population of approximately 40 million people, making Paris the most populated city in France, and has an area of 40.7 square miles.
Architecture in Paris
Artwork from the Louvre Museum in Paris
Nice is the capital of the Côte d’Azur region, which is located on the French Riviera, the Mediterranean coast of southeastern France. With a population of about 345,000 Nice is the 5th most populated city in France, and the most populated city in the Côte d’Azur. Nice has an area of 27.77 square miles and is located on the pebbly shores of the Baie des Anges. There are many stunning beaches here. Because of Nice's moderate tempatures, fruits and vegetables, such as fresh oranges, apples,and tomatoes, are commonly grown here. In Nice, July is the hottest month with an average tempature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit and January is the coldest with a mean temperature of 48 degrees Fahrenheit. October is the month with most rainfall with around 140 millimeters of rain. Nice was founded around 350 BC by the Greeks of Massalia, present day Marseille. It was given the name Nikaia in honor of a victory over the bordering people called Ligurians because Nike is the goddess of victory.
Marseille is a city in Southern France. It is a crossroad of trade and immigration because of its convenient location just off the course of a natural body of water. Since Marseille's formation by the Greek circa 600 BC to present day 2018, Marseille has changed a substantial amount. When Marseille was originally founded, it was a Greek colony called Massalia. Its population was mainly dominated by settlers from the area of Phocaea, current day Foca, Turkey. Today, Marseille is a busy, port city. One of its famous ports is the Vieux Port. Ships have docked here for more than 26 centuries. With a population of about 1 million people and an area of 92.9 square miles, Marseille is the 2nd largest city in France by population and the largest city in France by area.
A sunset in Nice
France, like many other countries, are interested in sports. One of the most popular games in France is Boules, sometimes known as Pétanque. Boules consists of a wide range of games, but the main objective of all the games is to roll heavy balls as close as possible to a smaller ball, called the jack. If necessary, a player may knock their opponent's ball away from the jack. The player must stay inside a specific circle when they are rolling their ball. This game can be played in teams or one-against-one. Boules is traditionally played in open and large areas, such as town squares and parks. It is estimated that Boules was created in 1910, based on the old game in France called jeu Provençal. Boules is similar to bowling in United States, where the objective of the game is to use a heavy ball to knock down several pins.
Another popular sport in France is cycling. The French commonly cycle for fun during their free time. France offers a variety of wide and empty roads where the French enjoy cycling because of the stunning landscapes. Some of the most popular regions to go cycling is Burgundy, Alsace, and the Loire Valley. A popular cycling event that takes place in France is the Tour de France. The Tour de France is a cycling race around France that takes place over a period of 21 days and is 3,500 kilometers long. The first Tour de France took place in 1903, but the history of the bicycle takes us back to the 1800's. Although the first functioning two wheeler is thought to be invented in Germany, it was the French who popularized and marketed the device in the 1860's. The French also gave it the name "bicycle".
Cycling in Burgundy, France
Cyclers in the Tour de France
Boules is an exciting game played in France
These are balls that are used in Boules
The French's school routine is different from school in the United States. Most French schools start at 8:30 AM and end at 5:30 PM, which is unusual and much later than when the schools end in the United States. They get to school by bicycle, train or Metro, bus, scooter, or by foot. Similar to New York City, more people are seen walking, than in cars. Uniforms are not enforced in most schools in France, but there are a few exceptions. French schools have a long lunch period, long enough that if they want students can even go home. French students skip afternoon school on Wednesdays, but have lessons on Saturday morning. French schools have shorter out of school breaks. Their summer break is 10 weeks long and their holiday break is only a few days. The subjects that are required to take in general French schools are mathematics, history, social studies, science, a foreign language, artistic subjects, and physical education. It is essential for all children of ages 6-17 to go to school. Children ages 3-5 will go to nursery school, children 6-10 will go to elementary school, children 11-14 will go to middle school, and finally, students 15-17 go to high school. At age 18, students are required to take a difficult exam called the Baccalaureat general in order to go to college. The Baccalaureat general was introduced into France by Napoleon in 1808.
Students taking the Baccalaureat general test
The transportation systems that the French predominantly used are similar to the ones that we use in the United States. A common transportation device in France are Metros. An example of a frequently used metro system in France is the Paris Metro. With over 300 stations all within the Paris Metropolitan Area, the Paris Metro is one of the most efficient metro systems in the world. The Paris Metro transports more than 1.5 billion people each year! The first line opened in 1900 at the conclusion of the Exposition Universelle. Along with Metro systems, another secure way to get around France is to take a train. The French may also take a bus, ride a taxi, or walk.
Taxis in France
Paris Metro is a large subway system, that is often used by the French
France is known for its romantic classical composers and chansons.
Some of the most well-known composers are Claude Debussy, Gabriel Faure, and Camille Saint-Saëns. They are famous for Claire de Lune by Debussy, Pavane by Faure, and Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saëns. As a matter of fact, songs from the Carnival of the Animals have appeared in movies such as Fantasia.
Chanson is a style of popular French music. They became popular in the first half of the 20th century, but are still popular around the world today. Some of the well known chanson singers are Edith Piaf, Juliette Greco, and Jacques Brel.In fact Edith Piaf's songs Non, Je Ne Regrett Rien and La vie en rose are so popular, even children on shows such as the Voice Kids and France's Got Talent have sung these songs.
There are several products that were surprisingly invented from France, such as the sewing machine and the hot air balloon.
The first practical sewing machine was made by Barthelemy Thimonnier. He was a tailor and he successfully applied the sewing machine to his work. However, Thimonnier never saw the success of his invention and it was Isaac Merrit Singer who popularized the sewing machine.
Thimonnier's sewing machine
Hot air balloon:
The first hot air balloon was made by two french brothers, Joseph and Jacques Montgolfier. The hot air balloon launched in December, 1782, 300 meters into the sky. It was made of paper and heated the air by burning wool and straw.
A hot air balloon in France
The French enjoy cooking and have produced series of different foods that are unique. A distinctive meal in France is Escargot. Escargot is French for "snail" and is a simply just cooked land snail. These snails are generally from the region in France called Burgundy. Escargot is usually dished as a starter. They are commonly prepared with garlic and parsley butter and are served in their shell. Escargot taste similar to mussels or clams, but they are have more of a chewy texture. They are considered a refined French product.
This crepe has blueberries and strawberries. It is sprinkled with powdered sugar.
Another delicious food that came from France are crepe. A crepe consists of a very thin pastry, similar to a pancake. The pastry is wrapped around a variety of foods but the most common ones are different types of fruit, such as strawberries and bananas. Sometimes, nutella is spread across the pastry as well. Chocolate syrup, powdered sugar, or whipped cream may be scattered on top. The crepe originated from Brittany, the northwest region of France.
Ratatouille is a mix of seasonal vegetables, garlic, and olive oil. The most common vegetables that are incorporated in this dish are onions, garlic, eggplant, zucchinis, tomatoes, and bell peppers. It is served hot or cold as an appetizer or side dish. Ratatouille is originated in the French city known as Nice, located in the Provence region of France. It was initially a dish created by peasants and poor farmers during the summer when the freshest vegetables were present.
A desert that is favored in France is the macaron. A macaron is a small, round biscuit. They have a chewy cover and a jelly or creamy filling. The macaron is popular for its wide variety of flavors, and combinations. It was introduced into France in the 16th century.
There are different ways that people may serve ratatouille, beside as a stew. This is a roasted ratatouille casserole.
Macarons have variations of flavors, such as chocolate, raspberry, hazelnut, and pistachio.
Creme Brulee is a delicous desert that consists of a creamy custard topped with a layer of crispy, hardened caramel.
1. Pot or Kettle 7. Measuring cup
2. Roasting pan 8. Baking dishes
3. Saucepan 9. Tong
4. Mixing Bowl 10. Torch
This recipe makes 8 servings.
Ingredients for the custard:
4 cups of heavy cream
3/4 cup of sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
7 large egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
Ingredients for topping:
3/4 cups of sugar
A Recipe From France
1. Prepare the oven and baking dishes: Heat the oven to 300 degrees, and bring a pot or kettle of water to a boil. Place eight 5-ounce baking dishes in a large roasting pan.
2. Gently heat the cream: In a medium saucepan, combine cream and half the sugar (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons). Scrape vanilla bean seeds into pan, then add pod. Heat over medium just until mixture starts to bubble around the edge of the pan, 7 to 8 minutes (do not let boil).
3. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks: In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks with remaining sugar and the salt.
4. Temper eggs: Use ladle to pour a small amount of the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture, then whisk to combine. (This is called tempering and prevents the eggs from curdling.) Add two more ladles of cream mixture, one at a time, whisking to combine after each addition. Gradually whisk in remaining cream mixture. Strain through a fine sieve into a large liquid measuring cup (to remove the vanilla pod and any cooked bits of egg).
5. Bake: Divide custard evenly among baking dishes. Place pan in oven. Add enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the dishes. Bake until custards are just set (they should tremble slightly in center when shaken), 30 to 40 minutes.
6. Chill: Remove pan from oven. Use tongs to carefully remove dishes from hot-water bath and place on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Then, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours (or up to 3 days) before serving. The custard will finish setting in the refrigerator. If you like, transfer the custards to the freezer 15 minutes before serving to ensure they stay cold after being bruleed (this is especially important if using the broiler).
7. Caramelize tops and serve: Sprinkle about 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar over each custard. Working with one at a time, pass the flame of the torch in a circular motion 1 to 2 inches above the surface of each custard until the sugar bubbles, turns amber, and forms a smooth surface. Serve immediately.
Cultures of the World: France
A World of Recipes - France
Nations of the World - France
Most people would commonly infer that poodles are from Paris because of commonly seen social images and clip arts. However, that is not the case. Poodles were first bred in Germany as a water dog.
Look What Didn't Come From France!
France is an fascinating country, with so much to learn about! France's leading architecture, food, and fashion make it one of the most absorbing countries around the globe.