Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Culture of France
The culture of France is diverse, reflecting regional differences as well as the influence of recent immigration. France has played an important role for centuries as a cultural center, with Paris as a world center of high culture.
Main article: Visual Arts in France
Main article: Architecture of France
Main article: Literature of France
Main article: Cinema of France
Main article: Theatre of France
Main article: Dance of France
Main article: Music of France
Main article: Media in France
Television & Radio
List of French museums
Since the era of Jules Ferry, the prime minister and Minister of Education, all state-funded schools before university are free, obligatory and laique, meaning separate from the church.
At the beginning of the 20th century, France was a largely rural country with somewhat conservative Catholic mores. However, in the course of the century, major changes have occurred: the countryside has become largely depopulated, and the population has largely become de-christianized. This has led to important changes in social mores.
In the past, unmarried heterosexual couples and cohabitation, while legal, were socially shunned. However, the social outlook on unmarried couples changed considerably since the 1960s, whereby cohabitation, or concubinage, is now considered an accepted way of life, especially for young couples without children. Except in the minority of the population with strong religious feelings, marriage is usually postponed until children are born, or there is a clear advantage to marriage (for tax or work purposes, for instance). Some of the benefits of marriage were extended in the 1980s to couples living in concubinage notoire (notable cohabitation).
The situation of homosexual couples has evolved more slowly. While France decriminalized homosexual sex per se in 1789, homosexuality later was not generally considered acceptable. Homosexuals acting in public, or with minors, were prosecuted. In the 1960s, a law declared homosexuality a social scourge. However, in 1982, the newly elected left-wing government removed the last legal differences between homosexual and heterosexual relationships (the age of consent for homosexual sex was lowered to that of heterosexual sex, and homosexual action was no longer an aggravating circumstance to public indecency). However, homosexual couples were still generally denied the benefits of concubinage. In 2001, the then left-wing government modified legislation, stating that concubinage applied regardless of sex, and introduced the PACS, a civil union contract with some of the benefits of marriage, available regardless of sex. Marriage, as of 2004, is still legally considered as being between a man and a woman; attempts at celebrating homosexual marriages were ruled illegal.
Marriage, traditionally since the French Revolution, was performed as a two-stage process: first, a civil marriage performed at city hall, then a religious marriage. With the loss of the religion feeling, religious marriage is now often omitted, or is sometimes performed just out of tradition and social convention, especially with respect to families.
|Couples without children||27.9|
|Couples with children||32.4|
|Compound households (several couples, etc.)||3.3|
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