General Information:Capital: Paris
Political system: a semi-presidential republic with a prime minister - a prime minister appointed by the president. The president is the directly elected head of state.
Population: 67 mil
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Official language: French
EU single emergency number: 112
Rescue service: 15
Cultural differences and advice from Intercultural Communication Coach:
France is the biggest EU country. Its national symbol is the Gallic rooster. The French are proud of their history and, above all, of their language, used in the past by diplomats and the upper classes. France is currently making an effort to promote the French language in EU member countries and can boast the highest number of Nobel Prizes in literature.
The French cannot imagine their day without fresh pastry and cheese. More than 350 different types of cheese are produced in France. Each French person consumes on average up to 500 snails a year. In addition to snails, you will also find “treats” on French plates such as frog legs or horse meat. France is one of the largest wine producers in the world. The country is proud of its 17 wine regions. The most well-known are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Loire and Provence. The “Tour de France” cycling competition dates back to 1903. The life of the French revolves around good food, wine, meeting friends and the stoic acceptance of life events expressed by the phrase “C'est la vie!”
The French business culture is one of the formal ones. Therefore, addressing colleagues is associated with the titles Monsieur and Madame. The French try to be as polite as possible in written communication and follow this in the English language too. Business meetings are scheduled in advance and should take place in accordance with a pre-scheduled agenda. However, what usually happens is that the participants of the meeting deviate from the topic and the discussion is prolonged. The French are proud of their opinions and the way they can express them. In such cases time is not important to them. On many occasions, they feel the need to express their views publicly, on strike. It is not uncommon for a strike to last several days for the relevant professional group to achieve its goal.
In France, too, friendly and business relationships are built with food and wine. As a result, working hours in many offices often prolong, which is incomprehensible to colleagues from cultures that plan their work in a way to end on time.
Recommendations for Co-operation with Colleagues from France:
A formal introduction is more appropriate at the first meeting with new colleagues.
The French expect polite written language and communication from their colleagues, which means starting and ending emails with extensive courtesy phrases.
Business meetings are a space for discussing proposals and recommendations. Everyone has the right to express their opinions and the way of communication and speech is often associated with the quality of education.
Leaders expect members of their teams to respect the rules and instructions.
The French prepare for changes in a consistent manner and that is why any proposal for changes needs to be presented and justified in detail.