Bienvenue à la France! - Welcome to France!

We are learning French and finding out about France. France is one of the largest and most important countries in Europe as well as being one of Great Britain's nearest neighbours. Here are some of the things that we have been learning, and some links to other sites where you can find out more.
Practise what you have learned on the BBC Website - click here for BBC Schools French

Map of France

Facts about France
We used Google to find out some facts.
We also looked at the Woodlands Junior School site and the BBC website also has a very good country profile.

President of France: Nicolas Sarkozy
Population: 61.9 million (UN, 2008)
Capital: Paris
Imports: machinery, chemicals, oil
Exports: transport equipment, agricultural products including wine
543,965 sq km
Main language: French
Main religion: Christianity
Climate: similar to UK in the North but warmer in the South
Neighbours: Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain, Switzerland, Andorra, Monaco, Italy, UK (although we are separated by the English Channel)

Famous French People
invented the system of raised dots which form letters for the visually impaired to read
in 1066 he invaded England with his army and killed English King Harold
Marie Antoinette (1755-1793) was Queen of France until she was executed during the French revolution
was a leading impressionist painter
was an important French army general and became Emperor of France after the revolution
Gustave Eiffel (1832-1923) designed the famous Eiffel tower for an exhibition in 1889
a village girl who led the French army into battle against the English
a pioneering scientist who made discoveries about radioactivity and won two Nobel prizes
a French writer, philosopher and feminist
French Landmarks
We used Google Earth to find satellite images of some famous French landmarks. Click on the links to view in Google Maps.

Eiffel Tower - Paris

Arc de Triomphe

Château de Versailles

Viaduct de Millau

Mont Blanc

French Food
France is well known for its fantastic food.

Le petit déjeuner
French breakfast is usually a delicious buttery croissant, bread, jam and café au lait (milky coffee) or hot chocolate.

Steak frites
This is food you might eat in a typical French brasserie (restaurant) - steak, chips and salad.

Les fromages
France produces some of the best cheese in the world. It is thought there might be more than 1,000 different types of French cheese. Some of the most famous are Brie, Camembert and Roquefort.

Frogs legs and snails?
Actually, the French do not often eat frogs legs and snails, although you might sometimes find them fried in butter, garlic and herbs in some restaurants.
French Shops
The French enjoy shopping in small specialist shops as well as large supermarkets. We looked at the sort of shops you would find in a typical French village. 

La boulangerie

La charcuterie

La maison de la presse

La boucherie

Le magasin de jouets
Toy shop

La poste
Post office

La poissonerie

Le supermarché


La Musique
We used the website Poisson Rouge to find out about French words for musical instruments. Here are some of the instruments that we looked at:

Un violon

Une contrebasse
Double bass
Une trompette

Une clarinette
Une flûte

Un tuba
Un saxophone

Un piano
Une guitare

Un banjo
Un triangle

Un tambour
Des maracas
Une cloche
Un trombone
Un mètronome

We also learned about the French composer Hector Berlioz. He was born in 1803 and died in 1869. He travelled widely all over Europe and composed some lovely music including the Symphonie Fantastique. This music was written after he fell in love with an actress. You can hear more about the story of the music in this video clip.

French Schools
We learned about the differences between French and English Schools. Here are some of the things we talked about:

Start school at age 6 years
Start school at age 4 years
Wednesdays are often free or half days for sport and activities
School on Mon-Fri
No exams in L'école Élémentaire (primary school)
SATS in Y2 and Y6
French children get lots of homework
English children don't have to do much homework
French children have a 2 hour lunchbreak and eat a three course meal in their school or go home for lunch
In England, children usually get an hour for lunch and have school dinners or a packed lunch
The school day is usually at least an hour longer than in England 8.45am-4pm
Our school day is from 9am-3.15pm
No school uniform
Most schools have uniform

See if you can find out more about differences between French and English schools. Use the links below to help you:
How long are French school holidays?

What playground games do children in France play?
Are French schools more strict than in England?