France salon: gastronomy, love and marriage – フランスサロン:食文化、恋愛と結婚

Alice from KPIC!
Today I would like to speak about a new series of events I started in February.
Since I arrived at the Center, I have been doing some international understanding lectures, each approximately 2 hours, giving a detailed speech about a chosen topic.
However, I realized that discussion with the participants and communication between them is also very important when promoting multiculturalism and understanding of different cultures.
For these “France salon” lectures, I chose to give a speech of only 40min mainly based on my experience, followed by a discussion of 45 min where participants could freely ask questions about the topic or about France and international relations.


France salonThe 1st session was about French gastronomy and culinary culture. I explained the evolution of French food and customs across the centuries, before mentioning the content and meaning of the classification of French gastronomy culture to UNESCO’s Intangible Heritage of Humanity list. I also introduced typical French food. Indeed, the image of French food abroad is mostly one of expensive course style dishes whereas French people do not eat that type of food on a daily basis.
In the end I presented a few famous festivals or events where food is central, such as Chandeleur (crepe day),Galette des Rois (king’s cake), Easter and Christmas.
During the discussion the main topic was… chocolate! A lot of people were interested about the habit of eating chocolate in France, if it was as casual as in Japan or viewed as more special.
In France, you can buy chocolate in supermarkets for regular consumption, but we often like to buy chocolatier-made chocolate for special occasions or to celebrate something, spending more money than usual on it.

Eve calendar, paper crowns and small figurines used for the Galette des Rois イブカレンダーとガレット・デ・ロワに使う陶器の人形と冠

Christmas Eve calendar, paper crowns and small figurines used for the Galette des Rois

最後に、食が中心になるイベントや行事について説明しました。例えば、「Chandeleur(クレープの日)、「Galette des Rois(王様ガレット)、「イースター」と「クリスマス」に関する習慣を紹介しました。

France salonThe 2nd session was about love and marriage in France.
I first spoke about particular styles of union in France such as PACS (civil solidary pact) or same sex marriage, which has been recognized since May last year in France.
I then spoke about public opinion on love life, marriage and dating. While some things are similar to Japan, a lot are very different or opposite.
For French people, love in the couple is really important, and people are keen to preserve that relationship all throughout their couple life, even after having children and becoming parents. Marriage is not viewed as a social obligation or a special aspiration and more people prefer to live in a free union rather than getting married. It is also common to live together for a few years before tying the knot. Lastly, both partners (including women) usually work and the role of merely a housewife is often criticized.
As a result of love being put forward, women being able to pursue both a career and motherhood and strong child support policies from the government, the French birth rate is the 2nd highest in the EU after Ireland.
During the discussion, people mainly wanted to know how the government recognized people in a PACS union and how succession and family links were being organized.

Evolution of marriage and PACS contracts (blue: marriage, red: PACS) 結婚と民事連帯契約の動き(青:結婚、赤:民事連帯契約)

Evolution of marriage and PACS contracts (blue: marriage, red: PACS)


More sessions on different themes will be organized in the future, so keep updated!



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