Kids from France

  • Continent: Western Europe
  • Climate: Mild winters and cool summers in much of the nation; warmer winters and hot summers along the Mediterranean coast
  • School:
    • The school day typically runs from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., with a two-hour lunch break. Schools close Wednesday and Sunday, and have a half-day on Saturday.
    • There are no uniforms in public schools; however, religious dress, such as headscarves for Muslim girls or yarmulkes for Jewish boys, is banned.
    Play:
    • Escargot (snail), or la marelle ronde, is a traditional hopscotch game that uses a spiral shape and only one foot. Numerous traditional card games are also played.
    • Soccer, bicycling and tennis are favorite sports in France. In some areas, pelote, a traditional handball game, is popular.
    Family:
    • Most French mothers work; the majority of preschool children attend state-run day cares known as crèches.
    • France has laws about naming children. Until 1993, all names had to be chosen from an official list. Today, public prosecutors can still reject a child's name.
    Signature foods:
    • Onion soup made with beef broth and topped with toast and cheese, then broiled until the cheese is melted and browned
    • Clafouti, a dessert made of fruit, such as cherries or peaches, topped with a rich cake batter and then baked
    Interesting animals:
    • The garden dormouse, a forest-dwelling rodent, with a bushy tail, oversized ears, and dramatic black markings on its face
    • The Pyrenean desman, a furry, swimming, rat-sized mammal that uses its sensitive, tube-like snout to catch water insects
  • Unique holiday: Bastille Day, July 14, celebrates the end of the French monarchy during the French Revolution of 1879. Military parades and fireworks are a traditional part of this national holiday.
  • Did you know? There are more than 350 kinds of cheese in France. French cheese may be made of cow, sheep or goat milk, or a combination of these. The average French person eats about 50 pounds of cheese per year (compared with 31 pounds per American).

For more information, go to the Fact Monster page about France.


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