This page provides you with some useful information on France & French Culture.

Factfile on France

Click on the link above to read up on a factfile on france, from The World Fact Book

Click here to print & colour a map of France.

Back to the top.

The French Flag
'Le Drapeau Tricolore'



The flag of France or "Le drapeau tricolore" (French Tricolor) has three equal vertical bands of blue (hoist side), white, and red. The origin of the flag dates to 1790 and the French Revolution(1789).

Click here to print & colour the french flag.

Back to the top.

The French National Anthem

La Marseillaise was composed one night during the French Revolution (April 24, 1792)by Claude-Joseph Rouget de Lisle in 1792 and was declared the French national anthem in 1795. Rouget de Lisle was a captain of the engineers and an amateur musician stationed in Strasbourg in 1792. It was played at a patriotic banquet at Marseilles, and printed copies were given to the revolutionary forces then marching on Paris. They entered Paris singing this song, and to it they marched to the Tuileries on August 10th.

Ironically, Rouget de Lisle was himself a royalist and refused to take the oath of allegiance to the new constitution. He was imprisoned and barely escaped the guillotine. Originally entitled Chant de guerre de l'armeé du Rhin (War Song of the Army of the Rhine), the anthem became called La Marseillaise because of its popularity with volunteer army units from Marseilles.

The Convention accepted it as the French national anthem in a decree passed July 14, 1795. La Marseillaise was banned by Napoleon during the Empire, and by Louis XVIII on the Second Restoration (1815), because of its revolutionary associations. Authorized after the July Revolution of 1830, it was again banned by Napoleon III and not reinstated until 1879.

Press play to listen to 'La Marseillaise'

 

FRENCH LYRICS

1. Allons enfants de la Patrie,
Le jour de gloire est arrivé !
Contre nous de la tyrannie,
L'étendard sanglant est levé !
L'étendard sanglant est levé !
Entendez-vous dans les campagnes
Mugir ces féroces soldats ?
Ils viennent jusque dans nos bras
Egorger nos fils et nos compagnes !

CHORUS:
Aux armes, citoyens !
Formez vos bataillons !
Marchons ! marchons !
Qu'un sang impur
Abreuve nos sillons !

2. Que veut cette horde d'esclaves,
De traîtres, de rois conjurés ?
Pour qui ces ignobles entraves,
Ces fers dès longtemps préparés ?
Ces fers dès longtemps préparés ?
Français, pour nous, ah! quel outrage !
Quels transports il doit exciter !
C'est nous qu'on ose méditer
De rendre à l'antique esclavage !

3. Quoi ! ces cohortes étrangères
Feraient la loi dans nos foyers !
Quoi ! ces phalanges mercenaires
Terrasseraient nos fiers guerriers !
Terrasseraient nos fiers guerriers !
Grand Dieu ! par des mains enchaînées
Nos fronts sous le joug se ploieraient !
De vils despotes deviendraient
Les maîtres de nos destinées !

4. Tremblez, tyrans et vous perfides,
L'opprobre de tous les partis,
Tremblez ! vos projets parricides
Vont enfin recevoir leurs prix !
Vont enfin recevoir leurs prix !
Tout est soldat pour vous combattre,
S'ils tombent, nos jeunes héros,
La terre en produit de nouveaux,
Contre vous tout prêts à se battre !

5. Français, en guerriers magnanimes,
Portez ou retenez vos coups !
Epargnez ces tristes victimes,
A regret s'armant contre nous.
A regret s'armant contre nous.
Mais ces despotes sanguinaires,
Mais ces complices de Bouillé,
Tous ces tigres qui, sans pitié,
Déchirent le sein de leur mère !

6. Amour sacré de la Patrie,
Conduis, soutiens nos bras vengeurs !
Liberté, Liberté chérie,
Combats avec tes défenseurs !
Combats avec tes défenseurs !
Sous nos drapeaux, que la victoire
Accoure à tes mâles accents !
Que tes ennemis expirants
Voient ton triomphe et notre gloire !

7. Nous entrerons dans la carrière
Quand nos aînés n'y seront plus;
Nous y trouverons leur poussière
Et la trace de leurs vertus.
Et la trace de leurs vertus.
Bien moins jaloux de leur survivre
Que de partager leur cercueil,
Nous aurons le sublime orgueil
De les venger ou de les suivre !

ENGLISH TRANSLATION

1. Arise children of the fatherland
The day of glory has arrived
Against us tyranny's
Bloody standard is raised
Listen to the sound in the fields
The howling of these fearsome soldiers
They are coming into our midst
To cut the throats of your sons and consorts

CHORUS:

To arms citizens
Form you battalions
March, march
Let impure blood
Water our furrows

2. What do they want this horde of slaves
Of traitors and conspiratorial kings?
For whom these vile chains
These long-prepared irons?
Frenchmen, for us, ah! What outrage
What methods must be taken?
It is we they dare plan
To return to the old slavery!

3. What! These foreign cohorts!
They would make laws in our courts!
What! These mercenary phalanxes
Would cut down our warrior sons
Good Lord! By chained hands
Our brow would yield under the yoke
The vile despots would have themselves be
The masters of destiny

4. Tremble, tyrants and traitors
The shame of all good men
Tremble! Your parricidal schemes
Will receive their just reward
Against you we are all soldiers
If they fall, our young heros
France will bear new ones
Ready to join the fight against you

5. Frenchmen, as magnanimous warriors
Bear or hold back your blows
Spare these sad victims
Who with regret are taking up arms against us
But not these bloody despots
These accomplices of Bouillé
All these tigers who pitilessly
Are ripping open their mothers' breasts

6. Sacred Love for the Fatherland
Lead and support our avenging arms
Liberty, cherished liberty
Join the struggle with your defenders
Under our flags, let victory
hasten to you virile (or manly) force
So that in death your enemies
See your triumph and our glory!

7. We shall enter into the pit
When our elders will no longer be there
There we shall find their ashes
And the mark of their virtues
We are much less jealous of surviving them
Than of sharing their coffins
We shall have the sublime pride
Of avenging or joining them.


Back to the top.

History of France

Click on Emperor Charlemagne to access an excellent site hosted by the American Embassy of France. Here you will find out about the History of France.

Back to the top.

The School System in France

Click on the picture to find out more about school in France.

Back to the top.

The French Language.

French is one of the most spoken languages in the world. It is spoken by approximately 124 million people hailing from France (60 million), Québec, Switzerland, Belgium, Haïti, French Guiana, Africa, Southwest Asia, Monaco and French Polynesia. It is a latin language which means that it has the same roots as Italian, Spanish, Rumanian, Portuguese or Catalan. Closest languages seem to be Italian, Occitan and Catalan.

Back to the top.


Did you know you were speaking French?

The following English words have been taken from the french language.

petite - beef - toast - gentle - pastry - sauce - tournament - grace - encore
poetry - pork - mortgage - trespass - palace - Bon appetite - Bon Voyage

Back to the top.


Famous French People

Click on the links below to read about some famous French people

Napoléon Bonaparte (1769-1821)

Louis Pasteur (1822-95)

Louis Braille (1809-1852)

Joseph (1740-1810) and Jacques (1745-99) Montgolfier

Marie (1867-1934) and Pierre (1859-1906) Curie

Ferdinand de Lesseps (1805-94)

Gustave Eiffel (1832-1923)

Alexandre Dumas (1799-1850)

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900-1944)


Back to the top.

Les Fêtes

1st January - New Year's Day (Jour de l'an)
2nd February - Fête de la Chandeleur (Pancake Day)
1st May Labor Day (Fête du premier mai)
8th May WWII Victory Day (Fête de la Victoire 1945; Fête du huitième mai)
14th July Bastille Day (Fête nationale)
15th August Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Assomption)
1st November All Saints Day (La Toussaint)
11th November Armistice Day (Jour d'armistice)
25th December Christmas Day (Noël)
26th December 2nd Day of Christmas (in Alsace and Lorraine only)

Bastille Day

Mardi Gras

Click on the links to find out more about the famous french festivals

Back to the top.

Songs & Rhymes | Flash Cards | Stories | Fun Stuff |French Culture |Useful Links |Why teach French?|Home