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Arts and Culture for Expats in France

Submitted: October 2013

France’s cultural identity is steeped in its rich art history. From neolithic art that can be found in Alpine rock cavings to the post-impressionist work of Henry Rousseau, France is the ideal country for the art enthusiast.  Even if you never developed a real appreciation for the arts before, you may start to; living in France can turn anyone into an aesthete.

The Louvre in Paris, which houses the Mona Lisa, might be the most iconic museum in France however the French terrain is teeming with many other museums. The city of Paris is home to many of the most popular museums in the world. The Musée d'Orsay (https://www.musee-orsay.fr) boasts a grand collection of works by world-renowned artists such as Monet, Degas, Renoir and Van Gogh. The Georges Pompidou Centre houses the Musée National d'Art Moderne. It is the largest museum for modern art in Europe and is the second largest in the world after the Musem of Modern Art in New York. The website https://uk.rendezvousenfrance.com/en/culture-and-heritage provides a list of museums in France that you can visit.

From the visual to the performing arts, all art forms in France are recognised and celebrated. The reverence for the arts is demonstrated in the many festivals held throughout the year. The International Festival of Photojournalism is held throughout the first two weeks of September in Perpignan (South of France). Photographers from around the world gather there to speak on many subjects surrounding the profession. There are also exhibitions addressing a range of subjects.

The Festival D’Avignon is certainly one of the biggest festivals in the world for contemporary live performance. Visitors flock to Avignon to enjoy open-air performances. Works of dance, theatre and music are performed against the beautiful architectural backdrop of the Palais des Papes.

Each year, 21st June is designated Fête de la Musique or World Music Day. This annual festival, which has its origins in France, now takes place in many other countries around the world. Amateur and professional musicians alike gather to bring music freely to the streets of the nation. The first music festival of this kind took place in 1982 and has grown increasingly popular every year. The festival has become a symbolic event of France’s cultural calendar.

While living it France, you should definitely make the effort to see the ballet. The Opéra Nationale de Paris performs around 200 shows per year in Paris as well as the other regions. You can make bookings at the website https://www.operadeparis.fr. The Grand Théatre in Bordeaux, which dates back to the eighteenth century, is the home Ballet National de Bordeaux. Reservations can be made online at https://www.opera-bordeaux.com

The French passion for art is closely rivaled by their obsession with fine food and dining. The gastronomic meal of the France is an essential part of their cultural identity and made it onto UNESCO”s 2010 list of “The intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity”. If you are invited to dinner in France, you may very well enjoy a seven-course meal. The gastronomic meal is very much a part of French Culture and is sacrosanct.

There is simply no time for ennui in France. Your experience in France will be an enjoyable one if you immerse yourself fully into the culture.



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