This page is one of the annex pages of, the foremost site on Franco-American intercultural differences. It contains documents, facts and figures illustrating the content of some of its pages.

Facts & figures

This page contains Facts and Figures about France and the French. Some are significant, other less so....

 Culture    Tourism
  • France has the strongest national cinema industry in Europe (Source : Observatoire Européen de l'Audiovisuel, 2005)
       Audience (millions)  Market-share of national movies  Number of national movies
















More about the French policy for the film industry...

  • The steps of the restoration of Notre-Dame cathedral (to be kept updated)
    • April 15, 2019 : the 12th Century roof and the 19th c. spire are totally destroyed
    • April 18, 2019 : the government creates a public body to manage the project (General Jean-Louis Georgelin)
    • May 15, 2019 : private donations reach the amount of 1 billion Euros
    • May : Beginning of the controversy : should the spire be reconstructed as it was or with modern design and material ?
    • June 2020 : the government decides to rebuild the spire exactly as it was before the fire ; the decision about rebuilding the roof with timber/ steel/ or cement framework is stil yo be made
    • Summer 2020 : dismantling of the giant scafholding ; the cathedral wil be considered saved only when it will be successfully achieved
    • Nov.24, 2020 : the last piece of the scafholding is removed : the cathedral will not crumble
    • To be updated
  •  Mathematics : French prize-winners of the Fields Medal (every 4 years since since 1950)

    • 1950 : Laurent Schwartz
    • 1954 : Jean-Pierre Serre
    • 1958 : René Thom
    • 1966 : Alexandre Grothendieck
    • 1982 : Alain Connes
    • 1994 : Pierre-Louis Lions & Jean-Christophe Yoccoz
    • 2002 : Laurent Lafforgue
    • 2006 : Wendelin Werner
    • 2010 : Cedric Villani & Ngo Bao Chan (Franco-Vietnamese)
    • 2014 : Artur Avila (Franco-Brazilian)
  • French prize-winners of the Abel award (every year since 2003) :
    • 2003 : Jean-Pierre Serre
    • 2008 : Jacques Tits
    • 2009 : Misha Gromov (born Russian)
    • 2017 : Yves Meyer
  • More on math...


  •  Origin of foreign tourists to France (source : Direction du Tourisme DSPES 2005)
     Country  Visitors (million)  % 2005/2004






     Belgium & Lux.


     Italy & Greece


     Spain & Portugal




     Austria, Finland, Sweden, Denmark










The rules of the Parisian "dîner en blanc" event :

(every year in June, in a beautiful site in Paris)

  • you must be sponsored by somebody who has already been invited ; it is free and you'll receive a message at the very last minute giving you the exact location of the dinner. Only a handful of people know it and the secret is always well kept. The City of Paris and the police are indulgent and tolerant because the tradition is to leave the place as clean as it was before the dinner when the thousands of guests leave.
  • be elegant and dressed totally in white (no sport shoes, no base ball caps!); many women wear hats
  • bring table and chairs, tablecloth etc and porcelain tableware : everything white and classy (no paper napkins and tablecloth, no plastic glasses!) ; do not forget candleholders (silver appreciated) and fresh flowers to decorate the table
  • bring your own food and drinks : no hard alcohol, no soft drinks but wine (white, of course) and champagne
  • remember that the objective of the dinner is to create a huge group of tables as elegant and classy as possible ; there is absolutely no business involved and the organization relies on volunteers. The event is only for fun and for beauty and there is no VIP sector. You must come in a couple (or with a group of couples).
 The American population in France and where do they live   Where do Americans live in the Paris region ?
  • Total American population in France :

Contrary to what one would think, it is impossible to give A PRECISE number and estimates vary between 30,000 and 100,000 ! The truth is probably in the brackett 40/50,000.

  • Americans by region :

By mixing various sources, my estimates are as follows :

Region Main city % of total American Population
Ile de France Paris (in itself 30.7%) 50.0 %
Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Lyon 11.6 %
Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Marseille and Nice 8.2 %
Midi-Pyrénées Toulouse 7.8 %
Grande Aquitaine Bordeaux 5.7 %
Grand Est Strasbourg 4 %
Hauts de France Lille 2.5 %
Bretagne Rennes 2.3 %
Pays de Loire Nantes 2.2 %
Normandie Rouen and Caen 1.9 %
Centre-Val de Loire Tours 1.9 %
Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Besançon 1.9 %
Corse Ajaccio 0.2%




Where do they live (in the Paris Region) ? The membership directory of two associations of US residents in France (AAWE, AARO 2006) gives the following results :

  • Western Paris (upscale 16th, 7th, 17th and 8th "Arrondissements") : 29,4 %
  • Central Paris (historical 5th, 6th, 1rst, 2nd, 3rd and 4rth Arrts) : 12,1 %
  • Southern Paris (traditional 13th, 14th and 15th Arrts) : 9,5 %
  • Eastern and Northern Paris (9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 18, 19 and 20 th Arrts) : 8,8 %
  • Close Western suburbs (Hauts de Seine 92-Département, with Neuilly, Asnières, Suresnes, etc...) : 16,9 %
  • More distant Western suburbs (Yvelines 78-département with Versailles, Saint-Germain, le Vésinet, Saint-Cloud, etc...) : 14,7 %
  • Other suburbs : 8,5 %

Where do they buy (in Paris) ? According to a study on property transactions in Paris (Source : Le Monde Dec.4, 2008),

  • In 2008, foreigners bought 7,8% of the apartments sold in Paris ; among them, 22,8% Italians, 9,2% British and 5,3% Americans
  • Americans prefer the following Arrondissements : 4th (Marais), 5th (Latin Quarter), 6th (Saint-Germain), 7th (Invalides), 9th (Grands Magasins) : i.e. they go only in the very center and generally ignore the rest of the city

Back to American Community. To know what they like the most in Paris, click here.

See a list of illustrious Americans who lived in Paris.

Cultural activities

Cultural activities of the French (over 15) according to the periodic survey of the Ministry of Culture (original study)

Activity in the past year (%) 1973 2008
Watching TV 88 98
hours per week 16 21
Listening to radio 89 87
hours per week 17 15
Listening to music 66 81
Reading a daily newspaper 77 69
Reading (more than 20 books) 28 16
Being a member of a library 13 18

Practicing music

5 8
Practicing another artisitic activity 11 22
Watching movies (more than 3/year) 39 40

Attending a dance show

6 8
... (professional) theater 12 19
... concert classical 7 7
... concert Rock or Jazz 6 14
... concert popular music 11 11
... circus 11 14
... amateur show 10 21
Visited museum or exhibitions 33 37

French culture and American expats...

  • On February 26, 2014 I attended a book presentation by Diane Johnson at the American Library in Paris. The attendance, around 50, was composed of long-timer Americans in France. One of the questions was : "Why don't the French show any interest for American writers?". The audience thought it was an interesting question although the answer was unclear but it was about "The French are only interested in themselves".
    It happened that the next day, February 27, was the day of the literary supplements of the two major French newspapers, Le Monde and Le Figaro.
    The supplement of Le Monde analysed 4 American books (Sigrid Nunez, Manuel Munoz, Robert Graysmith, Stanley Cavell) and on a list of 18 suggested books, there were only 7 French writers but 3 Americans (one American novel- Ben Lerner- and 2 essays- Richard Sennett and Aaron Smith).
    The same day, the supplement of Le Figaro analysed 4 books (Jim Harrison, Tupelo Hassman, Manuel Munoz and Robert Graysmith).
    Not bad for an insular country!
    This little anecdote illustrate how stupid the question was, asked by someone who's been living in France for years but does not know any French, doesn't read the French press and doesn't watch French TV. But the stereotype remains : the French are not interested by other cultures (or the stereoptype : the French dislike everything American). (see my insularity test)
  • More to come....

Quality of life

  • Perfumes for women : the 10 best-sellers (2018) : N°5 (Chanel, 1921, "unsurpassable"), Shalimar (Guerlain, "oriental"), Opium (Yves Saint Laurent, 1977, "spicy"), Angel (Thierry Mugler, 1992, "sugary"), J'Adore (Dior, 1999, "flowery"), FlowerByKenzo (Kenzo, 2000, "entrancing"), La Vie est Belle (Lancôme, "fresh"), Petite Robe Noire (Guerlain, "fruity"), Mademoiselle Coco (Chanel, "oriental"), Miss Dior (Dior, "young"). (Source : Cosmopolitan, Feb.2018).
  • Against opening shops on Sundays : says Michèle Biaggi, member of the national board of Force Ouvrière, one of the largest unions : " We are against opening shops on Sundays, whatever kind of shop : people must not work this day ! Because it is a way to increase work time and to suppress this day of rest, which is a traditional break, adding that schools are closed this day. The structure of the family is destroyed in the name of work, people cannot get together again. In a couple one will work on week days, the other one the week end ? Some people say that workers make more money if they work on Sundays : let's just raise the salaries and they will not need to work this day ! People who work on Sunday are often part-time workers : for them it is not additional time (NDLR : i.e. higher hourly basis) but just more hours (NDLR : i.e. at the same hourly price). . We need to add that people are led to believe that by working on Sunday, they work for the nation since everybody can go shopping. This is an intellectual fraud " (source : le Figaro, Dec.18,2006). Read a poll about working on Sunday.

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Harriet Welty Rochefort writes articles and books about France and the French. Order her books:

  • "Joie de Vivre", Secrets of Wining, Dining and Romancing like the French, St.Martin's Press, New York, 2012
  • "French Toast, An American in Paris Celebrates The Maddening Mysteries of the French", St.Martin's Press, New York, 1999
  • "French Fried, The Culinary Capers of An American in Paris", St.Martin's Press, New York, 2001

More on Harriet's books (excerpts, upcoming events, testimonials, etc..)

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