Geography has contributed to the French national character. It has given them rich lands to work with to grow different herbs and such. This gives the French their characteristic of having a love for food. They have a passion for food in France, and given the rich land and soil they have to grow stuff they have the tools to love food the way they do. Their geography is also very diverse. In Newsweek 1961 president Charles De Gaulle asked, "How can anyone govern a country that has 246 kinds of cheese?". But the book Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong, the authors state that he meant to say, "How can anyone be to govern 246 different kinds of people?". This showing that the diverse geography in France has created very different kinds of characteristics among the French.
I agree, France is a very diverse country with many characteristic and one known world wide is their love for food!
It reminds of how diverse America is and how we identify best with the region that we're from. Like, I'm from Chicago so identify more with that than I do New York.
The main thing that geography has contributed to France’s national character is diversity. As stated in the book there are many types of different life styles that people in France live. The books states that, “Inside, French men and women cherish their regional identities as if they were ethnic origins—and they often are.” France has multiple ethnic origins that people define themselves as. France is a country that has multiple ways to identify someone. An example of this is that French farmers prefer to be called “peasants”. In all most any other country calling someone a peasant is very rude and insulting, but in France it is just another way to identify someone. The outside world sees France totally different than how France sees themselves and what seems weird to other countries is normal for France. As stated in the previous chapters, France seems to be a prideful country still connected to its roots. There are many ways to identify people in France and the geographical differences throughout all of France play a huge factor as to how France’s national character is today.
Great thoughts! I love how you brought up how they have multiple ways of identifying themselves and how in our society some of those ways could be rude. But it's just how they do things over there so to them, it isn't rude at all.
At first glance, some might think that the French are rude but in reality they just have a particular way of dealing with things. It takes time and effort to see the reasons why they are the way that they are.
I agree that the French see themselves differently than other people see them. But I also think that this is the case for most countries, including the United States.
Geography has shaped French culture. They take the region where they are from so seriously. I also think that other countries view the French people in many different ways. If you're from Paris or another very well known French city, people might assume things about you, like you're rich or spend every waking second in a café. As much as geography has contributed to France's national character, it has also contributed to how the world sees France. As people who like they're superior to others, when in all reality they're just incredibly proud of where they came from.
I agree with your comment about how geography contributes to how the world sees France. The way the world sees France is different than how they see themselves.
This is all very true. We all see ourselves in a different way than the rest of the world sees that, and I really do believe that France is the poster child for that particular trait. Great ideas!
Reader Response 2
In chapter 2 of Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t be Wrong, authors Jean-Benoit Nadeau and Julie Barlow synthesize a strong relationship between the French and the land they come from. While are Frenchmen are considered citizens of France, it is the place/province of origin that resonates strongly within them. The authors use a variety of ways to prove their point.
When it comes to the French and their cuisine, it is obvious that there is a very special bond between the two. Authors Nadeau and Barlow also recognized the interesting way they name their food, which tells of the French’s relationship with their land. Specialities from each province are named after that province. For example, champagne is from Champagne, bordeaux wine is from Bordeaux, and Roquefort cheese is from Roquefort. The authors soon realized that the people are the same way. Nadeau and Barlow’s own friends, who live in Paris, said their country is the providence they came from. Through these examples, it is easy to understand the direct relationship between a Frenchman and his national identity.
As for what real life examples, I believe the theories offered by Nadeau and Barlow coincide with what I have heard about the French. I have heard that the French are persnickety people. The assertion that they most identify with their province of origin does not surprise me, but gives me good insight into why they are the way that they are. They fiercely protect that which best represents their national identity and are unashamed about it. The relationship between the French and their province of origin reminds me of some of us in America.
Just like the French, Americans can be stickler when it comes to their national identity. For example, since I am from Chicago, I identify more as a Chicagoan than I would as a New Yorker, even though the two states are in the same country. And southerners hold strong ties with their roots in the country. Regardless of the fact that Americans are from the same country, we identify most with the region that we come from. The same goes for the French. The reading helped me draw the connection between citizens and their place of origin, especially when it comes to the French.
I love the point that you made about the food and how it exemplifies the diversity and hometown pride that the French people have. It was a point that stood out to me as well
Geography has contributed to the French natural character due to the strong regional diversity that lives within the country. The people of France are very proud of their regional identity and wear it loud and proud. The authors indicate that in their three years living in France, they only befriended two whole people who were truly from Paris, but that was through four or five generations. Most people from France identify with their payee. Essentially, payee indicates which town/region of France you are from and each payee has it’s own unique features including cuisine, and even language. Even one hundred years ago, most of France did not speak the form of French we know as the language today. While there are still different dialects, most of France has become uniform in their language.
As we learned through the introduction and the first chapter, the French are very proud of who they are and value their culture and history. The same applies to the different payee’s and how they identify themselves. A big factor in all of this is their food. While we do not know how or why traditional dishes for various regions came to be, we know one thing for sure: the people value them as a part of their culture. One region’s recipe does not hold the same or equal value in another. Specialty dishes, wines, cheeses, etc. are named after their place of origin as a sign of pride and tradition within the region. In the book, they talk about how champagne is from the region of Champagne, Roquefort cheese is from Roquefort and can only bear that name if it goes through a certain process to be made, as well as if the ingredients are from a certain mile radius around Roquefort and come from certain farmers. Essentially, geography has contributed to the French national character due to rich diversity and regional pride.
The main purpose that Nadeau and Barlow had of writing this chapter was to explain the Geographical and cultural connection the French people had with their home “state” and provided helpful examples to help understand the extent of this. The French are a very prideful in a great way and Geography has a big role in why that is the case. Nadeau and Barlow explain how there are many different providences in France that are very diverse in what kind of crop has the best yields, have better growing conditions, or is just the most suitable for habitat. This is seen in the abundance when it comes to cheese and wine. Because French citizens are so prideful and emotionally connected to the land and the past heritage of their providence, farmers who made cheese would usually name it by the name of the land they would reside in, for example, Roquefort cheese is farmed and pasteurized by farmers from Roquefort. Because of the differences in geography, names for different types of French citizens arose as an easier way to identify each other as there are some major differences between some groups. Honestly, before reading the first two chapters I really underestimated the diversity of France and the people who live there. It wasn’t until I thought to myself the cultural differences between the provinces in Canada are very similar to those in France, even if there aren’t official “states”. I could see how generalizing the French people can be offensive as I do not like when someone assumes that I’m from Toronto just because I’m Canadian. Albertans (my home province) and Ontarians have very different industries and believes that I do not resonate with at all. So far the book is opening my eyes to the broad spectrum of culture that I never realized was there.
I also thought it was very interesting that the French named their food after their land! And like you said, it has become more obvious since reading these chapters that France is more diverse than they get credit for.
I agree with your comment about underestimating the diversity of France. I had similar impressions before reading this book and previously had never had an opportunity to challenge those beliefs.
Geography plays a huge role in the French culture. France is surrounded by oceans as well as many other countries that provide various benefits for them. Even though they are surrounded by other countries, they still stand out. Their culture and land is unique and allows them to live differently than other countries in the surrounding continent. Because France is on the ocean, transportation in and out of the country has always been easy. It is readily available to import and export items which is convenient because it makes the rest of the world familiar with them. France is a well-known country, and a large part of that is most likely because of their ability to get around. Their geography also makes the country prone to visitors. There are mountains, beautiful bodies of water, and stunning cities such as Paris and Lyon, that make the country irresistible to visit. Throughout the reading, it becomes clear that the French love their land just as much as tourists do. Based on what we’ve ready already in ”60 Million Frenchmen Can’t be Wrong”, food is obviously a huge part of French culture, and it seems as if their respect for their food and geography go hand in hand. Overall, France would not be the breathtaking city that it is now without it’s prominent geography.
I totally agree on your point about visitors as to the outside world as most tourists only know about the physical beauty that you pointed out
I agree that the cultural importance of food and geography in France have a strong relationship. The way that many regions have a specific food item associated with that area is not only a way to preserve traditional practices but also can serve as a source of pride for the region producing these items, and therefore a source of national pride.
France’s development into the country we recognize today has been strongly influenced by the geography of the region. In chapter 2 of the book “Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t be Wrong,” the authors assert that “a lot of the peculiarities of French society, including their obsession with food, can be traced back to the relationship the French have with their land.” This strong connection with land and history is apparent in the concept of a person’s “pays,” explained in the book as something that doesn’t exactly translate but refers to the part of France a person comes from. It is noted that the “pays” are closely connected with the regional cuisine in France. The authors write that “the French are obsessed with their land, its geography, its history, and the traditions that sprung from it, and no matter where they end up living, their ‘pays’ stays with them.” These connections form part of a French person’s identity, as well as being a strong component of the national character.
An interesting point highlighted in the reading was that France’s borders come from natural structures in the land, such as shores, mountains, a river, and a barrier of canyons and plateaus. It is noted earlier in the chapter that since “France’s land is rich and varied...that has pushed them to constantly look inward.” The natural borders of the country also contribute to this attitude, as in many ways France is naturally isolated, and historically may have had less pressures forcing the people to interact with as many outsiders. This preserves a decidedly unique way of life and set of traditions and beliefs which have not been diluted over time with the introduction of outsiders.
Geography has contributed to the French national character in the way of their regional pride diversity. In short, French people love and are proud of being from France, they love what it represents, and are not ashamed of their country. Throughout the chapter, the reader is given the information that French people identify from where they geographically lie in the country, or their payee. For example, if a person is from Nice, that payee will have a whole different sort of vibe, sometimes language, and even specialized cuisine that differ the location from that of Paris. Actually, there are very few French people who originate from Paris and the authors in all their time in France, only befriended two Paris citizens.
Cuisine is a huge part of French culture and there are specific dishes that are attributed to certain locations such as: croissants, cheese, wine, snails, and champagne. They emphasized in the reading that in order for a food or beverage to be named after the place it originated from is a whole process that also includes the ingredients must be grown in the same payee.
The cool thing that I noticed about the reading was that the French language has consistently evolved throughout their history very similarly to how American’s speak English. Where we were in 1776 and we are now is vastly different and it’s cool to think other countries languages have evolved as well.