French art and culture
- the connoisseur's guide to France
also: A short history of
art in France
and culture: France's great
The French are proud of
culture and their cultural heritage;
and rightly so. Since
the foundations of modern-day Europe were laid down in the times of
Charlemagne - king of the Franks and Holy Roman Emperor who died in 814
- France has been a major player, and at times the
on the European stage.
In the Middle Ages, in art, architecture, music
and literature, the courts and monasteries of France played a pivotal
role in the development and refining of what is more generally defined
as "western culture". From the Renaissance onwards, national cultures
in Europe developed more independently as national languages
progressively replaced Latin as vehicles for the expression of ideas
France culture blossomed, producing
specifically French traditions in literature and music,
and French schools in art and architecture. It was not until
the late twentieth century and the unstoppable globalisation of
culture, that French art and culture began to lose their identity; and
even so, there are many in France today who are determined to fight
against the internationalisation of culture, and defend "French"
culture against what is perceived by many as "Anglo-Saxon" or
American cultural imperialism.
Whatever the situation today, France
has contributed massively to the common cultural heritage of
In theatre and literature, poetry and philosophy,
and sculpture, architecture and music, some of the greatest names in
history - names such as Molière or Zola, Hugo and Voltaire,
Rodin or Chopin - have been French, and their heritage remains
an integral part of European culture to this day.
Not surprisingly, France is thus an
incredibly rich destination when it comes to cultural tourism. Its
churches and palaces, châteaux and fortresses, museums and
are a treasure trove waiting to be discovered.
This page is a hub. Use the links below
to explore different
the French cultural tradition, and France's amazing historic and
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or French life and institutions.