As the largest country in Western Europe France has a lot to offer in its culture. It has its famous gastronomy, its famous Riviera, its famous fashion, its famous capital, its famous tower, but it also has, arguably more than any other country, its famous thinkers.
France: a nation of thinkers
Once, not so long ago, philosophy was a core subject in the French school curriculum. It may not be anymore, but at the very crux of French society, immortalised in its tricolore flag signifying its revolutionary motto, are three philosophical concepts that underpin the French raison d’être: liberté (freedom), égalité (equality) and fraternité (fraternity).
And if you sit down in a café with a French local it won’t be long until the conversation will veer towards issues of a philosophical nature. This is because nearly any subject matter that has ever existed has been discussed by a French thinker, the words of whom can be whipped out to evidence any point of view. On politics they might reach for Rousseau, feminism de Beauvoir, happiness Montaigne, and on taxis Vanessa Paradis. In France philosophy, like its mousse de chocolat, is rich, moreish, and goes well with coffee.
My favourite quote from the French
And one more for luck
An expensive fashion accessory that heralds hope for the future of travel
At 13 I already had a crush on Europe. But that fondness was about to grow into a lifelong passion for the continent.