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Francoscopie – Understanding the French Posted by on Aug 6, 2009 in Culture

Do you want to know what the French people are really like, but either can’t travel to France or can’t find any real French people to come to know?  Or are you French and want to know more about your own society?  Well, maybe the analyses undertaken and published by the study and advisory bureau Francoscopie will help you out.  This team of sociologists headed by Gérard Mermet is constantly studying how France and the French people are changing as far as their lifestyles, values, opinions, attitudes, behaviors and consumption habits.  The topics discussed range from health, family, work and leisure to income and spending and everything in between.

Many people recommend these books for French language students, French teachers and anyone else who is interested or needs to know about the French people.  It has been likened to a bible on French society.  I personally find the information fascinating and the language is quite easy to understand.

Here’s an example of the type of information you can get from the book (as provided in the 1993 version):

How French people spend their weekends:

¨ 65% stay at home and read, watch TV, listen to music, fix things.

¨ 39% go out at least one day to walk around their town/city or go to the countryside.

¨ 20% work

¨ 19% go to their second home, to their parents’ house or their friends’ house

¨ 16% work on do-it-yourself projects

¨ 14% do gardening

¨ 14% go joyriding by bike, motorcycle, car, etc.

¨ 11% go grocery shopping

¨ 11% do sports either alone or as part of a club

¨ 10% go to the movies, theater or to a restaurant

¨ 9% cook

¨ 3% visit museums or expositions

¨ 8% go dancing/go out at night

¨ 6% go on excursions or cultural trips.

Every so often, the group of sociologists updates the information in a new edition.  Their book was first published in 1985 and the most recent version was made available in 2007.  The next Francoscopie book will be on sale in September 2009.  You can find out more at www.francoscopie.fr.

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