You have probably heard of this famous wine, Champaign, the one that people would say, “If it’s not from France, it’s not Champagne!” The wines that were produced in France are mostly reckoned as superior, as if people still think that France is the country of elegance monarchs.
France is the largest country in the Western Europe, with the fifth largest population in Europe, located at 42’N/2’E. France is bordering the Bay of Biscay and English Channel, between Belgium and Spain, southeast of UK. France has a total area of 547,030 sq. km, land area of 545,630 sq. km, and water area of 1400 sq. km. The size of France is slightly less than twice the size of Colorado. Geography affects culture in many ways. Overall, French culture is mostly affected these three themes of Geography: Movement, place, and interaction.
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Like any other European nations, the history of France has started with movements of people, goods, and ideas. Since its prehistoric times, France has been a crossroads of travel, trade and invasion. Because of is temperate climate and endless prairies, ancient people often settled in France while migrating to somewhere else. Early days, tribes of Celts and other people lived in what is now France. Later Julius Caesar conquered the entire region between 58 and 51 B.C. Three basic European ethnic stocks, Celtic, Latin, and Teutonic, have blended over the centuries to make up its present population. France is one of the worldwide leading trading nations.
Historically, agriculture was one of France’s major industries because of its flat terrain and warm temperature. In the other hand, France is a leading producer of wines as well as chemical products, energy products, steel, cement, luxury goods, etc. The culture of France has deeply influenced that of the entire Western Europe, particularly in the areas of art and letters, and Paris has been regarded as the fountainhead of French culture. France first attained cultural preeminence in Europe during the Middle Ages. During 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, monarchs assembled Europe’s most talented artists and artisans. Wealth also created a leisure class, which had both the time and the means for developing elegance in dress, manners, furnishings, and architecture. However, French culture is derived from an ancient civilization of a complex mix of Celtic, Greco-Roman, and Germanic elements. The time period when ancient people first faced a civilized culture is the period of Roman occupation. Romans left numerous numbers of exquisite monuments and sculptures that people adapted most of Roman culture. Again, the movement of people, goods, and ideas plays a significant role in French culture.
The theme of place also influenced French culture as well as the movement. France has a predominantly temperate climate, and because of that, France is famous for its foods. France is located mid-way between the equator and the North Pole, thus this gives France a temperate climate. France’s terrain is mostly flat plains or gently rolling hills in north and west, and because of this France became the largest agricultural producer. About two-thirds of French farm income comes from meat and dairy animals. On the grasslands farmers generally raise cattle, and they always raise some chickens and hogs. France’s major natural resources like bauxite and iron ore are also very popular in the world, however, France’s most important natural resources are fertile soils that take up over 90 percent of France’s land area. The richest farmlands lie in the north, where wheat and sugar beets are chief crops. The rainier northwest region consists mainly of grasslands, used for grazing cattle, and orchards. France is bordered by four big seas – North Sea, English Channel, Atlantic Ocean, and Mediterranean Sea, and this also gives a reason why French people enjoy various kinds of food with red or white wines. Many fleets operate from Brittany and Normandy, and seafood taken includes cod, crabs, lobsters, monkfish, mussels, oysters, Pollock, sardines, scallops, tuna, and whiting. Also, The Mediterranean coast includes the popular tourist area, the French Riviera. Its hot, dry summers and mild winters make it a popular beach area. It is a good way to understand how the theme of place affects French culture in more ways that are not mentioned in this research.
Even in ancient time, people in France already knew how to deal with this gifted environment, and centuries of years later French people became eager to alter the environment to be more convenient. In the early years, people depended on the environment by living in an agricultural society. France has 33 percent of the arable land with 20 percent of permanent pastures. People adjusted to the environment by constructing buildings and transportation systems. The French railroad system, owned by the government, provides both passenger and freight service. France’s TGV’s are among the world’s fastest passenger trains. The development of transportation system also helps the movement of people and goods.
Finally, people modify the environment in many ways such as mining. For example, Iron ore is France’s most important mineral deposits that, and people can export it or trade it within the country. As people depended on, adapted to, interacted with their environment, people learned more about where they live, and they gradually changed their environment so it would fit them.
The theme of movement, place, and interaction they all affected French culture in many different ways. By migrating to France, trading things between countries, and sharing ideas, France has developed its own characteristics. The temperate climate and vast flat lands in France are also parts of the important geographic factors that could change the culture. Finally people in France depended on, adapted to, or modified the environment they have in order to live better lives. Geography affects culture in many ways that even almost every single part of the culture of a country was affected by its geography, and we all should keep that in mind for a better understanding of a culture of any country.
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