Travail réalisé par nos deux étudiantes Italiennes Maria et Chiara dans le cadre de leur stage Leonardo da Vinci à ALFMED. En partenatriat avec l'Université de Firenze (Italie). Perpignan le 8 Janvier 2007
Before beginning your trip in this wonderful country, it is necessary to know some general data:
With its 550.000 square kilometres, it is the widest country of Western Europe (close to a fifth of the European Union surface), and it’s bordered by:
The country possesses a wide variety of landscapes:
The population of France is about 62,2 million inhabitants.
♦ Administrative divisions
It is divided into 22 administrative regions; 96 metropolitan departments; 4 overseas departments (DOM): Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guyana, Reunion; 5 overseas territories (TOM): French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna, Mayotte, Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, French Southern and Antarctic Territories.
The French Republic is a laic State where all religions are represented.
French culture (architectural, linguistic, literary, cinematographic, theatrical…) reflects aristocratic and middle-class elite, especially Parisian, but also some regional differences as well as the influence of recent immigration.
France has always attracted lots of international artists: the painters Dali, Picasso and Van Gogh, the writers Julio Cortazar, Henry Miller and Beckett, or fashion designers like Kenzo.
French culture has been preserved and enriched as the years go by, opening and developing itself to countries abroad and France itself.
Within the framework of the “Day of the Inheritance”, every year on the 3rd weekend of September, hundreds of prestigious historic buildings are exceptionally open to the public.
But France is not just turned towards its past: over the last years, architectural projects of great importance have been completed, such as the “Grand Louvre” or the “Grande Arche”.
From a quantitative point of view, French cinematographic production is the most important of Europe: Within the European framework, French films the ones that are exported abroad the most.
Music has a great importance, too: the “Festival of Music”, created in 1982, has become an institution which marks the beginning of summer on June 21st: all the amateur musicians can improvise concerts in public places and cafés; as well as several professionals who play for free on that occasion.
The idea has been taken up now in more than 100 countries out of the 5 continents.
French literature is also put forward every year; once in May during ‘Le Salon du livre’ - “Book show” as well as in October when ‘Livres en Fête’ - “Book Festival” is held with many free demonstrations open to everyone.
Thanks to its gross domestic product (GDP), France is the fourth economic world-power.
Its assets are varied: transport, telecommunications, food industries, pharmaceutical products, but also banking environment, insurance, tourism, and the traditional luxury products (leather goods, ready-to-wear, perfumes, alcohols…).
France is the world’s fourth exporter of manufactured goods and the second concerning services and agriculture (in particular cereals and food industry).
France’s most important economic sectors are:
France benefits from a rich and diversified land from which the French have always built on enabling them to compete with such ingeniousness and talent concerning their culinary talents.
In spite of an increasing internationalisation of tastes and food habits, French people remain very attached to the quality of their meals, and the grand chefs de cuisine carry on the tradition of creativity and refinement through their teaching in culinary schools where trainees from world wide attend the courses.
France has many quality regional products: the most famous are its wines (Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne…) and its cheeses.
It is said that in France there is a cheese for every day if the year, but there are undoubtedly many more!
Whether it is haute couture or ready-to-wear, fashion is a major field for French creators.
More than 20 houses in France have the label “haute couture”, with great names such as Chanel, Dior, Yves St. Laurent…
Many French civil servants benefit from this know-how: post-office employees, Air Europe hostesses, RATP agents, national museum guardians… they all wear uniforms drawn by the most famous dressmakers.
♦ Luxury and perfumes
Since the 18th century, France has forged itself a solid name in the field of luxury accessories and in particular in that of perfumes (Chanel, Guerlain, Lancôme).
The very famous “N°5” by Chanel represents 5% of the world perfume market.
♦ Technologies and telecommunication
Since 1983, France Telecom placed at the disposal of French a rudimentary computer terminal connected to the telephone, the Minitel.
France was thus one of the first consumers of services on line, well before the arrival of Internet.
The TGV (High-speed train), the fastest train in the world, contributed in modifying the perception of the distances: A Parisian spends only three hours on the train, does 800 km and he is on the Mediterranean coast.
With 75,1 million foreign tourists in 2004, France is the most visited country in the world.
STUDYING IN FRANCE
If you want to stay more than 3 months in France, you must carry out some formalities:
There are various types of student visas:
The residence permit
All foreign students who come to France for more than three months, even if they come from a European Union country, must ask for a residence permit marked “Etudiant”.
To obtain this permit, you must be registered in an establishment giving access to the “student” statute and to follow a minimum of 20h course per week.
There is no official list of approved establishments giving access to the “Student” residence permit. It is each prefecture which grants or not its approval, on a case-by-case basis.
In general, the courses carried out by universities, the Alliance Française or the Chamber of Commerce are approved.
But it’s better to check it out with the prefecture.
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