Welcome to the timeless country of romance, wine and the arts. France occupies an area slightly larger than California, and is divided into 96 different regions or départements that are as varied as the landscape. France has left its mark on the diverse worlds of gastronomy, arts, politics, fashion, and science and is the number one tourist destination in the world. It is a republic led by a president who serves for seven years. The official language is French, although there are many different dialects spoken within the various regions.
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The average family has 2 or 3 children, and it is common for both parents to work. Cats and dogs are the most popular family companions.
People enjoy playing and watching sports, socializing with friends, going to dance clubs, and seeing movies. The train system (TGV) is extremely efficient and extensive, making it easy for people to get around to other, diverse parts of the country.
French cuisine is world famous, and people enjoy a daily diet of rich cheeses, fresh fruit and freshly baked bread. Breakfast usually consists of a large cup of café au lait (coffee with steamed milk) and a croissant or fresh bread with butter and jam. Lunch and dinner are much the same, usually an entrée with soup or salad, wine, and sometimes followed by a selection of cheese.
School is compulsory for students until they are 16. Students have a very formal relationship with their teachers. Teachers are seen as instructors, not friends, and are given a great deal of respect.
Students begin to study subjects like philosophy, logic, and economics while they are in high school and spend roughly 2 to 3 hours a night studying.
All students prepare to take the very difficult university entrance exam, called the Baccalaureat. About half of all students continue their education and attend university.
Most teenagers do not have a curfew, but because they are so busy with schoolwork many do not have time to go out during the week. Young people usually have more freedom on the weekends, and may stay out quite late.
French teenagers are very fashion conscious, but popular dress includes jeans, t-shirts, sweaters, and sneakers.
Teens normally start dating when they are 15 or 16, but mostly students tend to go out in groups.