Vous voulez voir cette page en français ? Cliquez ici.


or
Sign in to turn on 1-Click ordering.
or
Amazon Prime Free Trial required. Sign up when you check out. Learn More
More Buying Choices
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Tell the Publisher!
I'd like to read this book on Kindle

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

Speak the Culture: France :Be Fluent in French Life and Culture [Paperback]

Andrew Whittaker

Price: CDN$ 29.50 & FREE Shipping. Details
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
Only 1 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.ca. Gift-wrap available.
Want it delivered Wednesday, August 6? Choose One-Day Shipping at checkout.

Book Description

Jan. 1 2008 Speak the Culture
A guidebook can show you where to go, a phrase-book what to say when you get there. Only Speak the Culture: France will lead you to the nation's soul. This easy-to-use cultural companion reflects what it means to have grown up with Camus, Cézanne, De Gaulle and Bardot; it captures the spirit of France and delves deep into the Gallic psyche.

Through exploring the people, the movements and the lifestyles that have shaped the French experience, you will come to an intimate understanding of France and the French.

There are many travel guides and manuals on living in France. Speak the Culture: France is different: a superbly designed, informed and entertaining insight into French life and culture and who the French really are.

Recommended by the Institut français du Royaume-Uni, the Official French Government Centre of Language and Culture in the UK

For new residents, business travellers, holidaymakers, students and lovers of France everywhere, Speak the Culture: France is an engaging companion and guide to an enviably rich civilization at the heart of Europe.

Excerpt
"It would be wrong to imagine that your average Frenchwoman just pops into Chanel on the Rue du Faubourg-St-Honoré whenever she needs a new bag, cardy or fragrance. While a significant minority do indulge in ready-to-wear lines produced by designer labels, most are happy with less brand-conscious garments. Small boutiques and historic department stores like Le Bon Marché and Les Galeries Lafayette sell the big brands, but many French are happy to buy anonymous clothes at knockdown prices in chain stores like Tati, or even in the hypermarket."


Product Details


Product Description

Review

This is a comprehensive and erudite cultural guide to France and the French. Beginning with a survey of the geography and major historical events that have shaped France, what follows is a highly informative and entertaining look at all aspects of French life and culture. Areas examined include literature and philosophy, art, architecture and design, the performing arts, cinema, photography and fashion, media and communications, food and drink and the state of the nation. A veritable cultural kaleidoscope of famous, influential and significant activities, events, places and people that add up to France. With a format and written style that allows for easy digestion of facts and information, this is a book that all Francophiles will find hard to put down.French Property NewsSpeak the culture, France is an absolutely indispensable guide to every aspect of French culture, from the country's great musicians and artists, to the television viewing habits of its population. Everything you could possibly hope to know about French lifestyle - from what the newspapers and magazines on French newsstands are about, to the historic French architecture - is explained in clear detail.Complicated subject matter such as France's artistic and philosophical movements is clearly summarised and simple to understand. Practical information about French law, wine, food and politics is also given in the book, to give a complete picture of la vie francaise.Speak the Culture, France answers any questions you may have had about why there is no Big Brother on French television, or what exactly is in a glass of kir. The book will also help you evade embarrassing faux pas by clarifying social dilemmas such as who should pay if you invite someone out to dinner and how to avoid pouring an impolite amount if wine into somebody's glass.The book begins with a historical explanation as to how France gained its cultural identity the details France's heroes and villains, explains how language evolved in France and looks at who the French language is protected today. For anybody living in France, visiting the country on holiday or simply interested in French life, Speak the Culture, France is essential reading, giving its readers access to information normally gained through years of cultural observation.Living FranceEven as Eurostar relocates to a gloriously refurbished St Pancras station and the journey time between London and Paris is shaved even closer, more and more people on both sides of the Channel are taking advantage of the extra opportunities this highly cherishable link offers us. And for those already in love with France (not to mention the ever-increasing legions of converts), Speak the Culture: France will be an invaluable aid and companion. Actually, no publisher has attempted anything quite like this, and the publishers Thorogood are to be much applauded for their ingenuity and achievement. The subtitle is Be fluent in French Life and Culture, and that facility is just what this remarkable volume offers, cramming an amazing mass of information into its well-designed pages. Everything is here, from French art and literature, architecture, media, sport, fashion and (of course) food and drink. But while not being in the slightest dumbed down, the information here (while often dealing with such weighty subjects as Proust and French existential philosophers) is delivered in a concise and highly accessible style (and aided considerably by the clever graphics which have a nicely self-mocking subtext -- when was that last seen in a book on a foreign country?). So, you're sitting on Eurostar, and a fresh espresso is to hand. Don't reach for the glossy magazine the train company provides -- crack open Speak the Culture: France and you'll be thoroughly tooled up for your visit to the City of Light. -Barry ForshawIt is an engaging Foible of the French to believe that they are the most cultured race on God's earth. The authors of this mainly excellent handbook seem happy to indulge in them. On page 77, they write "...nearly every strataa of (French) society, from farm labourers to government minisers, enjoys its capacity for abstract thought". I am not sure that "strata" should be 'stratum", but the words that really catch the attention here are "farm labourers". By stroke of luck, I know lots of French farm labourers, and splendid chaps they are, too. But structuralism and the naturalistic fallacy are rarely the mainstraysof our conversation.Then again - and here is the point - if such subjects were raised, I would bet that my farming friends would be interested. For the truth is the French are not more cultured than the rest of us, but are infinitely more respectful of culture and learning, There is no French equivalent of the idiot phrase "too clever by half".The two results of this are (a) an insane admiration for writers, artists and, Gold help us, journalists and (b) an awful lot of bluffing. Middle-class people, especially, cannot admit to ignorance of post-Impressionism or the works of Erik Satie. Which is where this book comes in. If the French are bluffing, then the outsider must bluff along with them - and this is a terrific bluffer's guide to French Culture.In intelligent tabloid style, it gallops through history (from Cro- Magnon to Sarkozy in 14 pages:brilliant), art, literature, music, food, and more besides. Overlooking hardly anything of importance, it's a miracle of compression spiced with good trivia. I didn't know that Verlaine and Rimbaud were lovers or that Charles Worth, who apparently invented Parisian haute couture, was English.The few lapses are, therefore, all the more surprising. Auguste Comte "pedalled (sic) positivism" only if that is what he called his bike. And the generic French term for scandal showbiz magazines is "la presse people" not "la presse public".There is also a certain imbalance: nine (good) pages on opera and ballet, but only two on French television. Perhaps the authors simply couldn;t bring themselves to contemplate a television service so dire. But these are quibbles. Read the book carefully and you will have the skeleton of French culture. It will then be up to you to put the flesh on the bones and really dominate those conversations.Anthony Peregrine, Daily Telegraph"All facinating stuff. If you take only one book to france with you in the summer, take this one."Dominique's France Magazine

About the Author

Andrew Whittaker has travelled widely and written extensively on France and the Mediterranean countries.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

Sell a Digital Version of This Book in the Kindle Store

If you are a publisher or author and hold the digital rights to a book, you can sell a digital version of it in our Kindle Store. Learn more

Customer Reviews

There are no customer reviews yet on Amazon.ca
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great reference book on French civilisation May 5 2010
By I.M.A. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book is a great reference on many aspects of the French civilisation in its current state as well as its history. Luckily it lacks that unavoidable "I Love France but Not the French" Anglo-Saxon attitude (or at least it is not that pronounced as elsewhere due the the format of the book) which is a very rare thing in itself for a book about France written in English.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A pleasure to read. Dec 2 2013
By Gwendolyn K. Crawford - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This volume is a treasure trove of information that will help American visitors recognize some of the cultural pitfalls that await them in France.
7 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Cover says it all Aug. 17 2010
By faith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Looking at the cover of this book, I found myself thinking, "Oh...F. Couldn't the author sit still long enough to put some other letters in there....an R, A, N, C...E, maybe? Then people would know what the book is about."
And as I read through it, I found myself thinking, "Oh...couldn't the writer sit still long enough to write more than 5 sentences on each subject...? Then people would know what the book is about."

Well, not that I didn't generally know - it was about "F".

The basic lack of structure, analysis, organization, and in-depth coverage of topics made this book a very hard read. First, it is split into various chapters on the different aspects of life and culture in France. Those chapters - while following a basic theme - are riddled with side notes, footnotes, and, in the case of some pages, with only notes.

There wasn't enough information provided on any one topic to make me feel like I'd actually learned anything. And, faced with so many loosely connected facts at a time, I wasn't able to retain any of them. When something caught my attention I had to google it to actually understand it.

I'm sure some would think it an interesting read; maybe people already highly knowledgeable about France would find the odd fact here and there to talk about over hors d'oeuvres at a chic party overlooking the Seine...but for people looking to gain beginning insight into the country and the culture, a fairly comprehensive picture, I would suggest a different read.

Look for similar items by category


Feedback