11 Things the French Can Be Proud Of
In 2016, Paris ranked #3 in the top 10 of the most visited cities in the world. The City of Lights is most famous for its amazing Haussmann architecture, for the chic and romantic atmosphere, and for its countless museums. You can easily spend an entire month visiting Paris without being bored. Even for a Parisian, there are always new things to do and places to discover. It took me 4 full days just to visit all of The Louvre.
2. The diversity of the landscapes
You can enjoy beaches to surf, swim, or snorkel in the south, west, and north of France. You can also ski in the Alps or Pyrenees. You can hike around extinct volcanoes. Add 4 seasons to this and you get an extraordinary mix of landscapes.
3. The French language
French is the official language of 28 different countries, and one of the three official Olympic languages. If you make the effort to speak a little bit of French, we will be happy. Even if English is now spoken everywhere, we stay committed to keeping our language alive and well.
4. We were pioneers in the recognition of universal human rights
The French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, established in 1789, is the first official document to recognize “liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression,” not only for the French nation but also for all citizens in the world.
5. Our healthcare system
Despite the polemics, our health care system was recognized as “the best overall health care” by the World Health Organization. Even without socialized medicine, everyone is reimbursed at least 70% of any medical consultation.
6. The French kiss
Maybe it’s because we are practising more than others, but everyone thinks we invented it and we won’t deny it.
7. Our men’s national handball team
Our men’s handball team is the best team in the history of handball. They are six times world champions (1995, 2001, 2009, 2011, 2015, 2017), three times European champions (2006, 2010, 2014), and won two gold medals at the Olympic Games (2008, 2012). It is also the first team ever to win each of the three major competitions twice.
8. Food with a longer shelf-life
To avoid organisms that can make you sick or spoil your food very rapidly, in 1865, the French scientist Louis Pasteur invented what is now called pasteurization. He discovered that heating eliminated pathogenic microbes and lowered microbial numbers in beer and wine and prolonged their quality. Now, this process is widely used in the dairy industry and other food-processing industries to achieve food preservation and food safety. That’s why we don’t keep milk in the fridge in case you were wondering.
9. Paid leave and holidays
With 11 public holidays and at least 5 weeks of annual paid leave, France is one of the most generous countries in terms of holidays. The best month for holidays is May; with 3 public holidays, long weekends abound. If the holiday is on a Thursday or a Tuesday, we will skip Friday or Monday, shamelessly “bridging” the holiday to the weekend.
Even for us French, it is nearly impossible to taste all the varieties of cheese available. We love cheese so much that we have dedicated many recipes to it: “raclette”, “tartiflette”, and “fondue”, for example.
Pétanque is one of the most popular non-official sports in France, especially in Provence, and one of France’s favorite pastimes. As soon as the sun is out, the French take out their hollow steel balls a few rounds.