France, officially the French Republic, is a unitary semi presidential republic in Western Europe, with several overseas regions and territories. Metropolitan France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is one of three countries (Morocco, Spain) to have both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines. From its shape, it is often referred to in French as l’Hexagone (“The Hexagon”). It is a member of the European Union. France is the largest country in Western Europe and the third largest in Europe as a whole. It possesses the 2nd-largest exclusive economic zone in the world. France has been a major power with strong cultural, economic, military, and political influence in Europe and around the world. France has its main ideals expressed in the 18th-century Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, France built the second-largest colonial empire of the time, ruling large portions of first North America and India and then Northwest and Central Africa; Madagascar; Indochina and Kouang-Tchéou-Wan; and many Caribbean and Pacific Islands.
France is a developed country, possessing the world’s 9th-largest economy by purchasing power parity and Europe’s 4th largest. In terms of total household wealth, France is the wealthiest nation in Europe and 4th in the world. French citizens enjoy a high standard of living, high public education level, and one of the world’s longest life expectancies. France has been listed as the world’s “best overall health care” provider by the World Health Organization. It is the most-visited country in the world, receiving 83 million foreign tourists annually. France has the world’s 6th-largest military budget, the 3rd-largest deployable force in NATO, and the 29th-largest military in the world. France possesses the 3rd-largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world and the world’s 2nd-largest diplomatic corps behind the US. France is a founding member of the United Nations, one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, and a member of the Francophonie, the G8, G20, NATO, OECD, WTO, and the Latin Union. It is also a founding and leading member state of the European Union and the largest EU state by area. In 2013, France was listed 20th on the Human Development Index and, in 2012, 22nd on the Corruption Perceptions Index.
Flag National emblem
Metropolitan France is situated mostly between latitudes 41° and 51° N, and longitudes 6° W and 10° E, on the western edge of Europe, and thus lies within the northern temperate zone. From northeast to southwest, France shares borders with Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Monaco, Spain and Andorra. France also borders Suriname to its west and Brazil to its east and south, by way of the overseas region of French Guiana, which is considered an integral part of the Republic.
Alpine climate in Mercantour National Park
Corsica and the French mainland form Metropolitan France; Guadeloupe, Martinique, Réunion, and Mayotte form, with French Guiana, the overseas regions. These two integral groupings, along with several overseas collectivities and one territory comprise the French Republic. The European territory of France covers 547,030 square kilometers (211,209 sq mi), the largest among European Union members. France possesses a wide variety of landscapes, from coastal plains in the north and west to mountain ranges of the Alps in the southeast, the Massif Central in the south central and Pyrenees in the southwest.
The north and northwest have a temperate climate, while a combination of maritime influences; latitude and altitude produce a varied climate in the rest of Metropolitan France. In the southeast a Mediterranean climate prevails. In the west, the climate is predominantly oceanic with a high level of rainfall, mild winters and cool to warm summers. Inland the climate becomes more continental with hot, stormy summers, colder winters and less rain. The climate of the Alps and other mountainous regions is mainly alpine, with the number of days with temperatures below freezing over 150 per year and snow cover lasting for up to six months.
Alpine climate in the French Alps
France was one of the first countries to create an environment ministry, in 1971. Although France is one of the most industrialized countries, it is ranked only seventeenth by carbon dioxide emissions, behind less populous nations such as Canada or Australia. This situation results from the France’s decision to invest in nuclear power in 1974 after the 1973 oil crisis which now accounts for 75% of France’s electricity production and explains why France pollutes less than comparable countries. Like all European Union members, France agreed to cut carbon emissions by at least 20% of 1990 levels by the year 2020, in comparison the US agreed to a cut of 4% of its emissions. In 2009, French carbon dioxide emissions per capita were lower than the Chinese.
Semi-arid climate in Corsica
A member of the G8 group of leading industrialized countries, it is ranked as the world’s 9th largest and the EU’s 3rd largest economy by purchasing power parity; with 39 of the 500 biggest companies in the world in 2010, France ranks 4th in the Fortune Global 500, ahead of Germany and the UK. France joined 11 other EU members to launch the euro in 1999, with euro coins and banknotes completely replacing the French franc (₣) in 2002. France has a mixed economy, which combines extensive private enterprise with substantial state enterprise and government intervention. The government retains considerable influence over key segments of infrastructure sectors, with majority ownership of railway, electricity, aircraft, nuclear power and telecommunications. It has been relaxing its control over these sectors since the early 1990s. The government is slowly corporatizing the state sector and selling off holdings in France Télécom, Air France, as well as in the insurance, banking, and defense industries. France has an important aerospace industry led by the European consortium Airbus, and has its own national spaceport, the Centre Spatial Guyanais.
According to the World Trade Organization (WTO), in 2009 France was the world’s 6th-largest exporter and the 4th-largest importer of manufactured goods. In 2008, France was the 3rd-largest recipient of foreign direct investment among OECD countries at $118 billion, ranking behind Luxembourg (where foreign direct investment was essentially monetary transfers to banks located there) and the US ($316 billion), but above the UK ($96.9 billion), Germany ($25 billion), or Japan ($24 billion). In the same year, French companies invested $220 billion outside France, ranking France as the 2nd largest outward direct investor in the OECD, behind the US ($311 billion), and ahead of the UK ($111 billion), Japan ($128 billion) and Germany ($157 billion). Financial services, banking and the insurance sector are an important part of the economy. The Paris stock exchange (French: La Bourse de Paris) is an old institution, created by Louis XV in 1724. In 2000, the stock exchanges of Paris, Amsterdam and Bruxelles merged into Euronext. In 2007, Euronext merged with the New York stock exchange to form NYSE Euronext, the world’s largest stock exchange. Euronext Paris, the French branch of the NYSE Euronext group is Europe’s 2nd largest stock exchange market, behind the London Stock Exchange.
Vineyards near Carcassonne
France has historically been a large producer of agricultural products. Large tracts of fertile land, the application of modern technology, and EU subsidies have combined to make France the leading agricultural producer and exporter in Europe (representing 20% of the EU’s agricultural production) and the world’s third biggest exporter of agricultural products. Wheat, poultry, dairy, beef, and pork, as well as internationally recognized processed foods are the primary French agricultural exports. Rosé wines are primarily consumed within the country, but champagne and Bordeaux wines are major exports, being known worldwide. EU agriculture subsidies to France have decreased for the last years, but still amounted to $8 billion in 2007. This same year, France sold 33.4 billion Euros of transformed agricultural products. Agriculture is thus an important sector of France’s economy: 3.8% of the active population is employed in agriculture, whereas the total agro-food industry made up 4.2% of French GDP in 2005.
The Palace of Versailles is one of the most popular tourist destinations in France
With 83 million foreign tourists in 2012, France is ranked as the first tourist destination in the world, ahead of the US (67 million) and China (58 million). This 83 million figure excludes people staying less than 24 hours, such as North Europeans crossing France on their way to Spain or Italy. It is third in income from tourism due to shorter duration of visits. France has 37 sites inscribed in UNESCO’s World Heritage List and features cities of high cultural interest, beaches and seaside resorts, ski resorts, and rural regions that many enjoy for their beauty and tranquility (green tourism). Small and picturesque French villages are promoted through the association Les Plus Beaux Villages de France (litt. “The Most Beautiful Villages of France”)
A TGV Duplex, which can reach a maximum speed of 320 km/h (198.84 mph).
The railway network of France, which as of 2008[update] stretches 29,473 kilometers is the second most extensive in Western Europe after the German one. It is operated by the SNCF, and high-speed trains include the Thalys, the Eurostar and TGV, which travels at 320 km/h (199 mph) in commercial use. The Eurostar, along with the Eurotunnel Shuttle, connects with the United Kingdom through the Channel Tunnel. Rail connections exist to all other neighboring countries in Europe, except Andorra. Intra-urban connections are also well developed with both underground services and tramway services complementing bus services.
There are approximately 1,027,183 kilometers of serviceable roadway in France, ranking it the most extensive network of the European continent. The Paris region is enveloped with the densest network of roads and highways that connect it with virtually all parts of the country. French roads also handle substantial international traffic, connecting with cities in neighboring Belgium, Spain, Andorra, Monaco, Switzerland, Germany and Italy. There is no annual registration fee or road tax; however, motorway usage is through tolls except in the vicinity of large communes.
There are 475 airports in France. Charles de Gaulle Airport located in the vicinity of Paris is the largest and busiest airport in the country, handling the vast majority of popular and commercial traffic and connecting Paris with virtually all major cities across the world. Air France is the national carrier airline, although numerous private airline companies provide domestic and international travel services. There are ten major ports in France, the largest of which is in Marseille, which also is the largest bordering the Mediterranean Sea. 12,261 kilometers of waterways traverse France including the Canal du Midi, which connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean through the Garonne River.
France’s legacy: a map of the Francophone world
Secondary or non-official language
According to Article 2 of the Constitution, the official language of France is French, a Romance language derived from Latin. Since 1635, the Académie française has been France’s official authority on the French language, although its recommendations carry no legal power. The French government does not regulate the choice of language in publications by individuals but the use of French is required by law in commercial and workplace communications. In addition to mandating the use of French in the territory of the Republic, the French government tries to promote French in the European Union and globally through institutions such as La Francophonie. The perceived threat from Anglicization has prompted efforts to safeguard the position of the French language in France. Besides French, there exist 77 vernacular minority languages of France, eight spoken in French metropolitan territory and 69 in the French overseas territories.
France is a secular country, and freedom of religion is a constitutional right. French religious policy is based on the concept of laïcité, a strict separation of church and state under which public life is kept completely secular. Catholicism has been the predominant religion in France for more than a millennium, though it is not as actively practiced today as it was. Whilst in 1965, 81% of the French declared themselves to be Catholics; in 2009 this proportion was 64%. Moreover, whilst 27% of the French went to Mass once a week or more in 1952, only 5% did so in 2006. The same survey found that Protestants accounted for 3% of the population; an increase from previous surveys, and 5% adhered to other religions, with the remaining 28% stating they had no religion. Evangelical Christianity may be the fastest growing religion in France.
The French Revolution saw a radical shift in the status of the Catholic Church with the launch of a brutal de-Christianization campaign. After the back and forth of Catholic royal and secular republican governments over the 19th century, laïcité was established with the 1905 law on the Separation of the Churches and the State. According to a January 2007 poll, only 5% of the French population attended church regularly (or 10% attend church services regularly among the respondents who did identify themselves as Catholics). The poll showed 51% identified as being Catholics, 31% identified as being agnostics or atheists (another poll sets the proportion of atheists equal to 27%), 10% identified as being from other religions or being without opinion, 4% identified as Muslim, 3% identified as Protestant, 1% identified as Buddhist, 1% identified as Jewish. Meanwhile, an independent estimate by the politologist Pierre Bréchon in 2009 concluded that the proportion of Catholics had fallen to 42% while the number of atheists and agnostics had risen to 50%.
Estimates of the number of Muslims in France vary widely. In 2003, the French Ministry of the Interior estimated the total number of people of Muslim background to be between 5-6 million (8–10%). According to the Pew forum “In France, proponents of a 2004 law banning the wearing of religious symbols in schools say it protects Muslim girls from being forced to wear a headscarf, but the law also restricts those who want to wear headscarves – or any other “conspicuous” religious symbol, including large Christian crosses and Sikh turbans – as an expression of their faith”. The current Jewish community in France numbers around 600,000 according to the World Jewish Congress and is the largest in Europe.
The French healthcare system was ranked first worldwide by the World Health Organization in 1997 and then again in 2000. Care is generally free for people affected by chronic diseases (affections de longues durées) such as cancer, AIDS or Cystic Fibrosis. Average life expectancy at birth is 78 years for men and 85 years for women, one of the highest of the European Union. There are 3.22 physicians for every 1000 inhabitants in France, and average health care spending per capita was US$4,719 in 2008. As of 2007, approximately 140,000 inhabitants (0.4%) of France are living with HIV/AIDS.
Even if the French have the reputation of being one of the thinnest peoples in developed countries, France—like other rich countries—faces an increasing and recent epidemic of obesity, due mostly to the replacement of traditional healthy French cuisine by junk food in French eating habits. Nevertheless, the French obesity rate is far below that of the USA (for instance, obesity rate in France is the same that the American once was in the 1970s), and is still the lowest of Europe, but it is now regarded by the authorities as one of the main public health issues and is fiercely fought; rates of childhood obesity are slowing in France, while continuing to grow in other countries.
France has been a center of Western cultural development for centuries. Many French artists have been among the most renowned of their time, and France is still recognized in the world for its rich cultural tradition.
The successive political regimes have always promoted artistic creation, and the creation of the Ministry of Culture in 1959 helped preserve the cultural heritage of the country and make it available to the public. The Ministry of Culture has been very active since its creation, granting subsidies to artists, promoting French culture in the world, supporting festivals and cultural events, protecting historical monuments. The French government also succeeded in maintaining a cultural exception to defend audiovisual products made in the country.
France receives the highest number of tourists per year, largely thanks to the numerous cultural establishments and historical buildings implanted all over the territory. It counts 1,200 museums welcoming more than 50 million people annually. The most important cultural sites are run by the government, for instance through the public agency Centre des monuments nationaux, which is responsible for approximately 85 national historical monuments. The 43,180 buildings protected as historical monuments include mainly residences (many castles, or châteaux in French) and religious buildings (cathedrals, basilicas, churches, etc.), but also statutes, memorials and gardens. The UNESCO inscribed 38 sites in France on the World Heritage List.
The origins of French art were very much influenced by Flemish art and by Italian art at the time of the Renaissance. Jean Fouquet, the most famous medieval French painter, is said to have been the first to travel to Italy and experience the Early Renaissance at first hand. The Renaissance painting School of Fontainebleau was directly inspired by Italian painters such as Primaticcio and Rosso Fiorentino, who both worked in France. Two of the most famous French artists of the time of Baroque era, Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain, lived in Italy. The 17th century was the period when French painting became prominent and individualized itself through classicism. Louis XIV’s prime minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert founded in 1648 the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture to protect these artists, and in 1666 he created the still-active French Academy in Rome to have direct relations with Italian artists.
French artists developed the rococo style in the 18th century, as a more intimate imitation of old baroque style, the works of court-endorsed artists Antoine Watteau, François Boucher and Jean-Honoré Fragonard being the most representative in the country. The French Revolution brought great changes, as Napoleon favored artists of neoclassic style as Jacques-Louis David and the highly influential Académie des Beaux-Arts defined the style known as Academism. At this time France had become a center of artistic creation, the first half of the 19th century being dominated by two successive movements, at first Romanticism with Théodore Géricault and Eugène Delacroix, and Realism with Camille Corot, Gustave Courbet and Jean-François Millet, a style that eventually evolved into Naturalism.
Saint Louis’ Sainte Chapelle represents the French impact on religious architecture.
The world’s most visited paid monument, the Eiffel Tower is an icon of both Paris and France.
During the middle Ages, many fortified castles were built by feudal nobles to mark their powers. Some French castles that survived are Chinon, Château d’Angers, the massive Château de Vincennes and the so-called Cathar castles. During this era, France had been using Romanesque architecture like most of Western Europe. Some of the greatest examples of Romanesque churches in France are the Saint Sernin Basilica in Toulouse, the largest Romanesque church in Europe, and the remains of the Cluniac Abbey.
Molière is the most played author in the Comédie-Française; Victor Hugo is one of the most important French novelists and poets, and is sometimes seen as the greatest French writer of all time. The earliest French literature dates from the middle Ages, when what is now known as modern France did not have a single, uniform language. There were several languages and dialects and writers used their own spelling and grammar. Some authors of French mediaeval texts are unknown, such as Tristan and Iseult and Lancelot-Grail. Other authors are known, for example Chrétien de Troyes and Duke William IX of Aquitaine, who wrote in Occitan.
Much mediaeval French poetry and literature were inspired by the legends of the Matter of France, such as The Song of Roland and the various chansons de geste. The Roman de Renart, written in 1175 by Perrout de Saint Cloude, tells the story of the mediaeval character Reynard (‘the Fox’) and is another example of early French writing. An important 16th-century writer was François Rabelais, who’s novel Gargantua and Pantagruel has remained famous and appreciated until now. Michel de Montaigne was the other major figure of the French literature during that century. His most famous work, Essais, created the literary genre of the essay. French poetry during that century was embodied by Pierre de Ronsard and Joachim du Bellay. Both writers founded the La Pléiade literary movement.
Chanel’s headquarters on the Place Vendôme, Paris
Fashion has been an important industry and cultural export of France since the 17th century, and modern “haute couture” originated in Paris in the 1860s. Today, Paris, along with London, Milan, and New York City, is considered one of the world’s fashion capitals, and the city is home or headquarters to many of the premier fashion houses. The expression Haute couture is, in France, a legally protected name, guaranteeing certain quality standards.
The association of France with fashion and style (French: la mode) dates largely to the reign of Louis XIV when the luxury goods industries in France came increasingly under royal control and the French royal court became, arguably, the arbiter of taste and style in Europe. But France renewed its dominance of the high fashion (French: couture or haute couture) industry in the years 1860–1960 through the establishing of the great couturier houses such as Chanel, Dior, and Givenchy.
In the 1960s, the elitist “Haute couture” came under criticism from France’s youth culture. In 1966, the designer Yves Saint Laurent broke with established Haute Couture norms by launching a prêt-à-porter (“ready to wear”) line and expanding French fashion into mass manufacturing. With a greater focus on marketing and manufacturing, new trends were established by Sonia Rykiel, Thierry Mugler, Claude Montana, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Christian Lacroix in the 1970s and 1980s. The 1990s saw a conglomeration of many French couture houses under luxury giants and multinationals such as LVMH.
The Tour de France is the oldest and most prestigious of Grands Tours, and the world’s most famous cycling race.
Popular sports played in France include football, judo, tennis and basketball. France has hosted events such as the 1938 and 1998 FIFA World Cups, and the 2007 Rugby World Cup. Stade de France in Saint-Denis is France’s largest stadium and was the venue for the 1998 FIFA World Cup and 2007 Rugby World Cup finals. France hosts the annual Tour de France, the most famous road bicycle race in the world. France is famous for its 24 Hours of Le Mans sports car endurance race. Several major tennis tournaments take place in France, including the Paris Masters and the French Open, one of the four Grand Slam tournaments. French martial arts include Savate and Fencing.
The French educational system is highly centralized and organized. It is divided into three stages:
- Primary education (enseignement primaire);
- Secondary education (enseignement secondaire);
- Higher education (enseignement supérieur).
Schooling in France is mandatory as of age 6, the first year of primary school. Many parents start sending their children earlier though, around age 3 as nursery classes (maternelle) are usually affiliated to a borough’s primary school. Some even start earlier at age 2 in pré-maternelle or très petite section classes, which are essentially daycare centers. The last year of maternelle, grande section is an important step in the educational process as it is the year in which pupils are introduced to reading.
After nursery, the young students move on to primary school. It is in the first year (cours préparatoire) that they will learn to write and develop their reading skills. Much akin to other educational systems, French primary school students usually have a single teacher (or perhaps two) who teaches the complete curriculum, such as French, mathematics, science and humanities to name a few. Note that the French word for a teacher at the primary school level is maître or its feminine form maîtresse (previously called instituteur or its feminine form institutrice).
Old town Strasbourg
French secondary education is divided into two schools:
- The collège for the first four years directly following primary school;
- The lycée for the next three years.
The completion of secondary studies leads to the baccalauréat.
Brevet des collèges
The Brevet des collèges (or brevet) is the first official diploma a pupil has to sit. It is not required in order to enter lycée. Until 2006 the school marks for the whole of the third (4ème) and final year (3ème) were taken into account for a percentage of the mark. The rest of the marks consisted of the final exam, the Brevet. Pupils were only tested on French, Mathematics, History / Geography / Citizenship for the exam.
Starting in 2007, only the marks from the final year (3ème) were taken into consideration. Since 2011, pupils are tested on History of the Arts, an oral test.
Hotel de Ville decorated to celebrate its inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List, Le Havre, Normandy, Northern France
The baccalauréat (also known as bac) is the end-of-lycée diploma students sit in order to enter university, a classe préparatoire, or professional life. It is generally taken at age 18 if the pupil has not repeated a class during secondary school. The term baccalauréat refers to the diploma and the examinations themselves. It is comparable to English, Northern Irish, & Welsh A-Levels, the Irish Leaving Certificate, Scottish (Higher and Advanced Higher), New South Wales’s Higher School Certificate and the German Abitur.
Many students sit for the theory-oriented baccalauréat général, which is divided into three streams of study, called séries. The série scientifique (S) is concerned with the natural sciences, physical sciences and mathematics, the série économique et sociale (ES) with economics, social sciences, history-geography and mathematics, and the série littéraire (L) focuses on French, foreign languages, philosophy and the arts (as an option). However, these séries are not exactly specialisations and every bac-possessor has the right to enroll at any public university in the catchment area if this applies to the subject they wish to apply for. Students having followed the L series does not have enough scientific knowledge from their secondary education alone to succeed in science university courses, therefore some combinations of baccalauréats and university courses are very rare. In the same way, students having followed the S series do not have enough literary knowledge to succeed in language or literature courses in university.
Heathland in Pointe du Van, Western Brittany
There is also the baccalauréat technologique and baccalauréat professionnel. The former mixes theoretical and vocational training and prepares students for professional higher studies, whereas the latter focuses on vocational training and prepares students for a direct entry into the marketplace. Nowadays, most pupils are following these ones because they do not imply long studies and not many pupils from this kind of “baccalauréat” are going to university. That’s why “baccalauréat général” is seen as more prestigious, and its pupils are formed to be the elite of tomorrow.
Higher education in France is organized in three levels or grades, which correspond to those of other European countries, facilitating international mobility:
- Licence and Licence Professionnelle (Bachelor)
- Master (Master)
- Doctorat (Doctorate)
In addition, the Licence and the Master are organized in semesters: 6 for the Licence and 4 for the Master. These levels of study include various “parcours” or paths based on UE (Unités d’Enseignement or Modules), each worth a defined number of European credits (ECTS). A student accumulates these credits, which are generally transferable between paths. A Licence is awarded once 180 ECTS have been obtained. A Master is awarded once 120 additional credits have been obtained.
Mediterranean vegetation (lavender) in Provence
Licence and Master Degrees are offered within specific DOMAINES and carry a specific MENTION, SPECIALITES which are either research-oriented or professionally oriented during the second year of the Master. There are also Professional Licences whose objective is immediate job integration. It is possible to later return to school through continuing education or to validate professional experience (through VAE, Validation des Acquis de l’Expérience). Higher education in France is divided between grandes écoles and public universities. Grandes écoles admit the graduates of the level Baccalauréat + 2 years of validated study (or sometimes directly after the Baccalauréat) whereas universities admit all graduates of the Baccalauréat.
A striking trait of French higher education, compared with other countries, is the small size and multiplicity of establishments, each specialized in a more or less broad spectrum of areas. A middle-sized French city, such as Grenoble or Nancy, may have 2 or 3 universities (focused on science or sociological studies), and also a number of engineering and other specialized higher education establishments. In Paris and its suburbs there are 13 universities, none of which is specialized in one area or another and a large number of smaller institutions, which are highly specialized. It is not uncommon for graduate teaching programmes (master’s degrees, the course part of PhD programmes etc.) to be operated in common by several institutions, allowing the institutions to present a larger variety of courses.
In engineering schools and the professional degrees of universities, a large share of the teaching staff is often made up of non-permanent professors; instead, part-time professors are hired to teach one only specific subject. These part-time professors are generally hired from neighboring universities, research institutes, or industries. Another original feature of the French higher education system is that a large share of the scientific research is carried out by research establishments such as CNRS or INSERM, which are not formally part of the universities. However, in most cases, the research units of those establishments are located inside universities (or other higher education establishments), and jointly operated by the research establishment and the university.
Universities in France
The public universities in France are named after the big cities near which they are located, followed by a numeral if there are several. Paris, for example, has thirteen universities, labeled Paris I to XIII. Some of these are not in Paris itself, but in the suburbs. In addition, most of the universities have taken a more informal name, which is usually that of a famous person or a particular place. Sometimes, it is also a way to honor a famous alumnus, for example the science university in Strasbourg is known as “Université Louis Pasteur” while its official name is “Université Strasbourg I”.
The French system has undergone a reform, the Bologna process, which aims at creating European standards for university studies, most notably a similar time-frame everywhere, with three years devoted to the Bachelor’s degree (“licence” in French), two for the Master’s, and three for the doctorate. French universities have also adopted the ECTS credit system (for example, a licence is worth 180 credits). The traditional curriculum based on end of semester examinations still remains in place in most universities. This double standard has added complexity to a system, which also remains quite rigid. It is difficult to change a major during undergraduate studies without losing a semester or even a whole year. Students usually also have few course selection options once they enroll in a particular diploma.
Hub of Education
France is one of the most sought after study-abroad destinations, inviting abundant number of students every year from all over the world. In addition to a good educational experience, studying in France leads to good career opportunities internationally after graduation. France is better known for its high level of technological development, culture and reputation in the education system, which attracts number of young aspirants here every academic year. For many years, France has held its prominent place in subjects like Mathematics, Astrophysics, Biology, Medicine (Medicine in France), Genetics, Physics and other science subjects. The past record of the country in relation to its contribution to science and research field, its achievement is tremendous. It is also well known for its Elite ” Grande Ecole ” with selective entry levels for the best students in areas such as Business, Engineering. Thus, many foreign students choose to pursue their higher studies in France due to its technological progress.
More than a fifth of respective students living in provincial towns will experience reasonable living costs, lower than most European capitals. The French government very often provides students as well as international students with some financial help for accommodation up to about one third for successful students. It is also easy for them to explore central Europe in their spare time due to France’s geographical division. Living in France can be relatively cheaper compared to the United Kingdom. As many advisories provide, the cost of living is dependent upon your lifestyle with the cost of going out an aspect that you need to consider, as it is easy to get lost in the sights and sounds of the French jet-set and haute couture lifestyle.
French is not essential
French Universities and Grande Ecoles are now increasingly using English as the medium of instruction especially in areas like management, engineering, political sciences etc for French and international students. For students lacking proficiency in French, it is usually taught as a subject in their curriculum during the course time.
Rich in Art and Culture
France is perhaps one of the most traditionally Rich countries in Europe with a Rich flavour of art and tradition. France holds different meanings for different people. France is the number 1 tourist destination in the world for many different reasons (architecture, sightseeing, and culture). While some connect it with romanticism, most adore it for its deep and vast art and culture. France is the home to many famous paintings like Monet. French architecture is unparalleled in the world with its unique style. Magnificent pieces of architecture still erected, have the influence of different periods in history from the Eiffel Tower, to the Ave de triumphe. This ranges from the most modern to the antique buildings.
Place du General de Gaulle, Lille, Nord-Pas de Calais, Northern France
Excellence in Science and Technology
In the Information Technology sector, France ranks second in Europe and fourth in the world. France is in the forefront of technological progress in several fields. France is responsible for the monitoring and technical management of the European space program Ariane, the operational launcher of several dozen communications and observation satellites.
|French system||Indian system|
|BEPC (Base d’Essais de la Petite Ceinture)||10th STD|
|Bachelors (License) / Undergraduate certificate diploma||Bachelors (License)/ Undergraduate certificate diploma|
|Masters / Postgraduate diploma||Masters / Postgraduate diploma|
There are several ranking are published by reputable newspaper and specialized press. The Grande Ecole always comes out of top. They are also highly accredited institutions.
- The UK financial Times has ranked the Best Business schools in Europe, X of them are French Grande Ecoles
- For example the best Grande Ecole Business Schools are accredited by EQUIS, AMBA, AACSB (international accreditations). The government also approves them. The best Grande Ecole
- The French Board of Engineering Degrees accredits Engineering Schools.
- Member of the CGE (French Conference of top management and engineering Schools) and the CDEFI (Conference of Directors of French Engineering Schools). Awarded the EURACE label.
- All the applicants must submit certified true copies of relevant documents along with the application form. They must bring originals to Asppen office also.
- The school, which you have applied, will decide on the recognition of your academic background and will decide at which level you can qualify to enter.
- If the application is successful you will receive a conditional/confirmation offer letter from them, which can be used for a long stay student resident visa.
- The applicant needs to take an appointment with the French embassy for a visa interview and to verify the financial documents along with the visa documents at the Embassy of France or the consulates in Mumbai.
- After considering the complete application Approval is given by the French Embassy.
- Confirmed admission letter from French University/school
- Final admission letter – unconditional
- Proof of Financial Resources
- Overseas Medical Insurance
- Academic Degree Certificates
- Valid Passport