What symbols represent your country, your culture? Are they great tourist attractions renowned for their beauty? Are they landscapes or monuments? Is there a famous landscape or monument that is a must-see for everyone? Can you see a typical architectural style or building material? What are the most typical art forms? Which musical instrument do people play the most? Is a real or imaginary figure often used to represent your country? Is an animal often associated with your country?
From an everyday life perspective, do you have specific symbols in your country? Are there typical drinks or foods? What is the most common means of transport? Which word could represent the climate? Is there a national sport, with local club results that are reported in every newspaper?
In your country, what are the stereotypes linked to Belgians, to the French, the Quebecois, the Swiss? Do you feel very different from Belgians, from the French, the Quebecois, the Swiss? Why? If you have ever been to Belgium, France, Quebec, or Switzerland, what surprised you the most when you arrived? How has your view of these countries changed since you've known them better?
Popular symbols of France
Cultural, artistic, or historical elements, but also aspects of everyday life, represent France and create its identity in the eyes of foreigners.
The brand "France" likes to highlight its haute couture and its perfumes, but also its high tech specialisation (TGV, aeronautics, bridges). Of course, the Louvre Museum and the Eiffel Tower are inseparable from Paris and therefore from France, not forgetting also the Palace of Versailles, the Pompidou Centre, and the Musée d'Orsay.
After Paris, the most visited cities are Lourdes and Lyon (sharing joint second place), then Toulouse, Nice, and La Rochelle (Sud-Ouest, 29/10/2012). As for the most popular recreational sites, they are Disneyland Paris, the Puy du Fou theme park, the Parc Astérix, Futuroscope in Poitiers, and the Millau Viaduct (Mémento du tourisme, 2014 edition). Lastly, the animal that represents France is the rooster.
In everyday life, France is often associated with gastronomy. There is no national dish, but each French region is praised for a traditional dish, for a type of cheese or wine. Foreigners mostly remember that baguettes and croissants are typical foods.
Exercices de mise en pratique
Culture: the emblematic places of a country
Watch • Culture(s) (Tourisme)