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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.

  • Countryaah: 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 new wave.

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.

Culture of FranceAmong 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 Gaultier.



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.


Romans evicted

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 April).


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.


Minister resigns

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 instead.

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 Switzerland.

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.


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