France and England may only be divided by the small waters of the channel, but there are huge differences between our countries and cultures. Here we take a look at just three areas which show this divide.
French – French is what is known as a Romance language, meaning it has Latin roots. It came in with the Romans, and in fact, romance means speaking in a roman way. Some Romance languages are Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Romanian, these Romance languages share a lot of common ground and knowing one will help you learn another much more rapidly.
English – English on the other hand is a west-Germanic language, with later Latin influences. It is not a Romance language and though the Latin influence lends it some similarities it is a highly different language. These variables were made all the larger through the many invasions England endured.
word: un mot
sentence: une phrase
language: la langue
Food & Drink
French – The French have long been famous for their Haute Cuisine; particularly renowned for wine, cheese and their baked goods. Eating is not something rushed or taken at your desk. Dinner is late, always after 7 and often as late as 9 or 10. Lunch is usually a sit-down meal, lasting an hour or more. Families eat together as much as possible, with even children joining in the late dinners.
English – English food does not have such a good reputation, though recent advances have certainly begun to change this perception, and you will be pleasantly surprised by the current standards. Wine is not very British but on the other hand cider and ale have been brewed here for about two thousand years and a whole range of delicious varieties can be found.
beer: de la bière
wine: du vin
cider: du cidre
breakfast: le petit-déjeuner
lunch: le déjeuner
dinner: le dîner
French – France like anywhere has popular shops that become chains, but it is much less common than what you see in England. In fact, everywhere you go, you are sure to be surprised with a cute boutique shop or artisanal café. Clothes shopping is generally more high-end, with fashion being a pretty important cultural element in France.
English – English town centres are full of chains, you are generally guaranteed to see a Waterstones, a Boots, a Clarks, a Costa and so on. Though of course there are independent shops and cafes out there they are not so common. Clothes shopping is more mid-level, with large chains being the common choice.
restaurant: le restaurant
café: le café
shop: la boutique