Cultural activities and France go hand in hand at all levels of life.
The origin of the word ‘culture’ comes from ‘cultivate’, in French the term ‘culture’ actually refers to agricultural crops. It wasn’t until the beginning of the 19th century that the word took on the meaning of cultivating the mind, faculties, or manners and today we have the Ministry of Culture … referring to the development of the Arts … all the Arts.
Art is all around you in France — whether in Paris or other key cities and villages — The public buildings and Churches are replete with Gothic, Rococo, Romanesque and Neoclassic influences to name just a few.
This influence reaches into the villages and far corners of the country. It is apparent at local markets where you’ll always find a stand dedicated to some aspect of culture, often quite innovative.
You probably already have your cultural interests. Here are some additional practical ideas to consider digging into while in France. I suggest doing a Google search including the geographical region, department or village where you’ll be staying to find museums, exhibitions, workshops and craftspeople nearby whom you can visit and admire as well as gleaning some precious advice to improve your abilities for your cultural development.
Pell-mell list of Cultural Activities
Theatre and costumes, dance, contemporary and other types of art, ceramics, workshops for toy and furniture making, multimedia libraries, decoration, drawing classes – learn to play an instrument, handicrafts, engraving, stained glass fusing called vitrail in French, ornithology, museums of fine arts, leather tanning or crafting, botanical garden, cinema, calligraphy, porcelain in Limoges, painting on wood, patchwork, initiation into cutting puzzles, intitiation into raku, gemology, book binding, mosaics, dolls, furniture restoration and decoration.
Art is highly regarded in France and there are many art collections in museums around the country. You will probably want to visit the Louvre in Paris, (now with an independent annex in Lens, Northern France). It is home to the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo a couple of the cultural chef-d’oeuvres in the world as well as Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People.
But art includes many other disciplines. Some of which we’ve forgotten because of the age we’re living in. France could very well be the place to rekindle a desire to develop your culture in: fashion, cuisine, architecture (symbolized by the ornate facade of the Palais Garnier – the Opera House in Paris, top of the page, which you can tour), photography, music, pottery, sculpture.
There are literally thousands of boutique museums around France with exhibitions and workshops with demonstrations where you can spend some profitable time drinking up some of the French culture.