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France is a European country with a population of more than 65 million, more than two million of whom live in the capital, Paris.
Paris is known around the world as the international capital of fashion, romance and architecture – every year it welcomes millions of tourists from across the globe.
Many come to see the iconic Eiffel Tower, one of the city’s best known and most treasured landmarks.
Standing more than 300 metres (1,000 feet) tall, the so-called ‘Iron Lady’ was built in 1889 and is located in the city’s 7th district, famous for its architecture.
The Eiffel Tower is, however, just one famous attraction among many in he French capital.
The Champs-Elysee, the most famous avenue in France, is home to the biggest names in fashion, including Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton and Chanel.
The Arc de Triomphe – construction of which began under Napoleon – was built to celebrate French military success.
Districts in Paris
“La Seine”, the largest river in France, passes through the capital near the 4th district.
A ride on a ‘bateau mouche’ (ship) is one of the best ways to see the best of the city.
Paris has 20 districts, including its own Chinatown, a Muslim neighbourhood and some of the most expensive residential areas in the world, exclusively for the rich and famous.
Among these are the 4th and 16th districts.
Within the 4th district is an area called La Marais, mainly inhabited by people from the gay and Jewish communities.
Since the law changed in France allowing gay marriage, this has become a highly-desirable area, popular with people in the market for a home and tourists.
France is also known as one of the world’s leading wine producing countries.
Many wines are cheap, costing no more than six Euro (120 ETB), but some ‘premium’ wines can cost as much as 500 Euro (10,000 ETB) for just one bottle.
The country is also the home of champagne, with the highly-prized drink left in wooden barrels to ‘rest’ for many years.
France is just as famous for food as it is for wine.
Across Paris and throughout the country, there are restaurants welcoming guests in beautiful settings with excellent standards.
As with everything else, good food in France costs money.
25 to 30 Euro (500 – 600 ETB) will buy you a meal in many of the best restaurants, but of course it is possible to spend much more, with dishes at the very top restaurants will cost up to 300 Euro (6,000 ETB).
Despite the quality of traditional French cuisine, the country is not immune to obesity.
The big American companies – Coca-Cola and McDonald’s among them – are present in Paris and elsewhere in the country.
Offering cheap food, they play a part in a rising obesity crisis in the country.
The home of Dijon mustard
France is also famous for a condiment that you can’t replicate anywhere else – Dijon mustard.
It comes in several varieties and is made from the seeds of black mustard, vinegar, salt and water.
In 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama has expressed a desire to cook from Air Force One to taste Dijon mustard.
“Le Louvre” in Paris is one of the largest and most famous museums in the world.
It contains some of the most celebrated works of art on the planet, including the Mona Lisa.
It also has a department devoted to French painting, French sculpture, the Egyptian antiquities, antiques Greek, the Oriental antiques, the Italian painting, Italian sculpture, Dutch painting, objects of art and art of Islam.
Also in Paris another famous place “Notre Dame” is located on the islands of Paris, in fact the “Ile de la Cité”, the structure of Gothic inspiration dates from 1163, when Pope Alexander III laid the foundation stone.
The Palace of Versailles is a symbol of royal absolutism and the embodiment of classical French art, offering the Hall of Mirrors, the great Apartments of the King, the Museum of the History of France.
Besides the palace itself the property offers the Grand Trianon, the estate of Marie Antoinette and gardens.
The city of love
Paris is known worldwide as the ‘city of love’.Many couples visit the city just to see the famous Bridge of lovers “le Pont des Arts” which spans the River Seine. There is a story that says more than a million locks have been attached to the bridge, symbolizing the bond between the couples who have visited the bridge.
France’s Ethiopian community is small, with only eight Ethiopian restaurants in Paris and two elsewhere in the country.
“Association France-Ethiopie Midi-Pyrénées” is an association created in France 8 years ago in Toulouse. This association aims to help young Ethiopians adopted by foreigners, people from mixed marriages, to learn the culture, language, but also for French people who want to learn about Ethiopian culture.
The association hopes to achieve better integration of people who come from Ethiopia with French culture. All those working for the association are volunteers, and most of the students attending classes are adults, but sometimes specialized courses for children between ages 8 to 15 are available.
A regular practice of the language and cultural interaction allow for better communication between the two sides.
A woman at the University of Bordeaux who is a doctoral student of archeology, has studied the history of Ethiopia and has posted an article about it on the association’s website.
“From a linguistic point of view, the teachings of Monsieur Joseph Alemu is particularly fulfilling, especially learning to pronounce the words and developing my Amharic vocabulary. Grammar and conjugation are also addressed in concrete exercises. The scope and level is deep.”
The Amharic courses given at the Université de l’Environnement et de la Science de Bordeaux 1are recognized as part of the French curricula and are a valid part of a doctoral program.