French culture has played an important role
in European civilization. Not least during the 17th and
18th century enlightenment, French culture held a
significant position, and the country has also retained
a strong influence thereafter. France is, among other
things, the country that has been awarded the most Nobel
Prize in literature.
Already in the Middle Ages, France, with its Gothic
cathedral building art and science, played an important
role in European civilization. In the late 1800s and
early 1900s, through Impressionism, Expressionism and
Cubism, France had an almost total dominance in the
field of visual art. Names such as Paul Cézanne, Claude
Monet, Paul Gauguin and Henri Matisse are central to a
revolutionary era in art history.
Latest population statistics of France, including religious profiles and major languages spoken as well as population growth rates in next three decades.
French film has always had a great international
influence. The Lumière brothers were among the film's
pioneers. During the 1930s, director Jean Renoir was a
prominent name. In the late 1950s and early 1960s,
directors such as Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut
introduced new thinking in film art with the so-called
French literature experienced a new golden age during
the 20th century. Significant writers include Marcel
Proust, Louis-Ferdinand Céline, André Gide (Nobel
Laureate 1947) and André Malraux. Among the foremost
writers after the Second World War are Albert Camus
(Nobel Laureate 1957), Jean-Paul Sartre (Nobel Laureate
1964, but he refused to receive the award) and his
longtime life companion Simone de Beauvoir, one of the
women's movement's pioneers. Among other notable authors
are Claude Simon (Nobel Laureate 1985), Marguerite
Yourcenar, Marguerite Duras and Michel Tournier. In
2008, Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio was awarded the 13th
Nobel Prize in literature in France and in 2014 the
author Patrick Modiano received the award.
Songaah: List and lyrics of songs related to the country name of France. Artists and albums are also included.
Among classic French composers are Georges Bizet,
Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy. In the 20th century, a
style of music called chanson (song in French)
was developed, which is considered to be based more on
the rhythm of the French language than other, more
English-influenced popular music. Some names in the
genre are Édith Piaf, Charles Aznavour and Joe Dassin.
Another aspect of French cultural life is played out
at the shows of the big fashion houses. During the 20th
century, the leading fashion designers in Paris have
decided how the world's women and men should dress.
French fashion has recently lost ground, but Paris is
still the capital of the entire fashion industry. Names
like Coco Chanel, Charles Dior and Yves Saint-Laurent
are forever associated with the history of fashion. They
now have followers like Christian Lacroix or Jean-Paul
Fines for Jean-Marie Le Pen
National Front's founder and father of current leader Marine Le Pen is
sentenced to € 5,000 in fines for public insult due to ethnicity. Jean-Marie Le
Pen had said at a meeting that Roma steal "naturally". The now 85-year-old Le
Pen has previously been convicted of racist statements and of denial of denial.
Low support for Hollande
The country's economic problems are having repercussions for President
Hollande, who is losing much confidence in the French. In a poll, he is
supported by only 15 percent of voters. Only 3 percent of respondents are very
satisfied with the president's job, and a full 76 percent are dissatisfied.
Investigation against Sarkozy is closed
The president's prospect of a return to politics increases as the judiciary
files a lengthy investigation into him for illegal campaign finance.
Strong support for Le Pen
National Front leader Marine Le Pen is supported by 33 percent of French in a
poll on the popularity of politicians. Le Pen comes in third place after
Interior Minister Manuel Valls and former President Nicolas Sarkozy.
According to a report by Amnesty International, more than 10,000 Roma were
evicted from their places of residence in France during the first six months of
the year. Interior Minister Manuel Valls defends the policy, explaining that
Roma from Bulgaria and Romania will never be able to integrate into France.
Le Pen's legal immunity is revoked
The European Parliament votes to lift National Front leader Marine Le Pen's
legal immunity. This means that it will be possible to prosecute her for
comparing Muslim prayer calls in French cities with the Nazi occupation during
the Second World War. A court in Lyon has wanted to bring charges against her
for incitement to people.
The Constitutional Council approves the law on same-sex marriage
The new law is signed by President Hollande and comes into force. (see
Law on same-sex marriage
Parliament approves the Socialist Government's much-debated bill on same-sex
marriage and the right of homosexuals to adopt children (see November 2012).
Minister acknowledges tax evasion
Retired Budget Minister Jérôme Cahuzac (see March) admits to lying that he
had an account for tax evasion in Switzerland. The opposition is accusing
President Hollande of naivety or lying about Cahuzac's business, and the
National Front calls for new elections.
Budget Minister Jérôme Cahuzac leaves his post after charges of tax evasion,
but he denies the charges being brought against him. (see January 2013)
Troop to Mali
France sends over 3,000 soldiers to the former Colony of Mali in West Africa
to help the government fight Islamist rebels.
Mass protests in cities
Hundreds of thousands of public servants protested in several cities against
the government's plans for budgetary tightening and demanded increased salaries
Minister is investigated for tax evasion
Prosecutors are launching a preliminary investigation into tax evasion
against Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac, who is responsible for fighting that
particular crime. Cahuzac is accused of having a secret bank account in
Basque separatist party dissolved
Batasuna announces its dissolution and closure of its operations in France.
Previously, Batasuna was banned in Spain for its suspected ties to the
terrorist-stamped separatist movement ETA.