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Old 11-16-2012, 07:12 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Javier77 View Post
I was talking about border areas. The French speaking parts of both Belgium and Switzerland are on the border with France.

Abnd then, the Flemish speaking part of Belgium borders Holland, and the German speaking part of Switzerland borders Germany, and the Italian speaking part of Switzerland borders Italy, etc, etc, etc. And that makes historical sense, it would be a bit weird if the French speaking part of Belgium was in the North and the Flemish in the South, right?

So I wonder how that particularity affects interaction on those areas.
When I lived in Geneva, we were going back and forward across the border all the time. For example, Swiss would go to France to go food shopping (cheaper), to go skiing, to go to the dentist (much cheaper), to play sports (I played 5-a-side in St Genis), to go out for a meal, to visit friends, etc. etc.. French would come to Geneva for work, to buy gas (cheaper), for non-food shopping, to go out for the night, to visit friends, etc. etc..

For people living in the area, the border was very much a non-event. If you had local plates (GE, 74 or 01) then the chances of being stopped were minimal. There was also a nothing-to-declare lane that you could get a special card for which made it even quicker. Also, Geneva public transport (TPG) ran to the border and, in some cases, over the border and French rail (SNCF) operates a commuter train line from Annemasse into Geneva. In many respects, the French border towns re suburbs of Geneva.

Last edited by Jaggy001; 11-16-2012 at 07:21 AM..
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Old 11-16-2012, 10:18 AM
 
Location: Near Tours, France about 47°10'N 0°25'E
2,878 posts, read 4,051,513 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Javier77 View Post
In Europe, thanks to the Shengen treaty, any citizen of the Union and work in any country of the Union, and cross any border as many times as he/she wants (just showing valid id, of course), and they even have a single currency, the Euro, so I guess there's a lot of interaction between countries.
You shouldn't forget that all European countries are not part of the European union. concerning France neighbours, switzerland is not part of the EU. As such it is not more easy to exchange with them than the US does with Canada, even if the common language exists in both sides.

We should'nt forget also, that, among the our neighbours that are member of the EU; not all of them are part of the Schengen agreement: for exemple the UK is not. As such when going to the UK we have to pass thru customs as if we were going to the US.

Also, not all countries member of the EU have the Euro as currency. Once again the UK does not. Not being part of shengen and of Eurozone makes feel like if it was not really part of the EU. If we go to UK we have to cross customs; change our Euros to pounds; switch french for English; switch from right for left sides; switch from republic to monarchy; from red wine to Ale; from long-lasting lunches to paked lunches; from Catholicism to Anglicanism; from Boeuf Bourgignon to Fish and ships; etc. For me the UK is by far the most "exotic" of our neighbours (even though it is not really a technically neighbour since we are separated to the sea), travelling there is almost as much a cultural shock than going overseas in the US; without obviously the difficulties created with the distance.

Passing the border with countries part of Schengen and Eurozone such as Spain, Italy, Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg (+principalities such as Monaco and Andorra); technically feel more like going from one state to another (especially since so many roads and land border is shared, at the contrary with the UK where we have to take the train or the ferry). We are free to enter those countries with absolutly no customs, and not have to worry to change our money, you just have a signal on the road that reminds you that you enter a new country.
Obviously the language and culture changes; as well as many things tipical to each country (signals, local shops, different foods, etc) but it is much more easier to go in and as such feeling less foreign than when going to the UK.



Quote:
So which countries do they have more exchange, in terms of culture, tourism, trade, etc? Do French citizens who live near richer countries like Germany commute daily and work in Germany? I guess they have no communication problems with Belgium ans Switzerland, because they all speak French, but what about the other countries?
you cannot make generalisations. There are french citizens who often cross border, for trade or leisure; and many others who never left the country, because they are afraid of dealing with a different culture/language or just don't have the opportunity or money to travel, or just don't like it.
People who live close to a border might have greater opportunities to enter into the neiboring country but that is not so much done. I used to live in Nice, which is technically situated only 20 kilometers from Italy; and I've met many local people (born there) who have almost never been to Italy (but who regulary go to Marseille, french Alps, Lyon, Paris or Brittany). I think it is basically the same in most "bordering regions". Many people who live in Alsace, Pyrénnées area, Calais area, etc have never been in Germany, Spain or England. And inversely, some people who live hundreds of kilometers from there go on a regular basis. There is no rule really.

Last edited by french user; 11-16-2012 at 10:30 AM..
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Old 11-16-2012, 10:33 AM
 
Location: Near Tours, France about 47°10'N 0°25'E
2,878 posts, read 4,051,513 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Javier77 View Post
I was talking about border areas. The French speaking parts of both Belgium and Switzerland are on the border with France.

Abnd then, the Flemish speaking part of Belgium borders Holland, and the German speaking part of Switzerland borders Germany, and the Italian speaking part of Switzerland borders Italy, etc, etc, etc. And that makes historical sense, it would be a bit weird if the French speaking part of Belgium was in the North and the Flemish in the South, right?
Well, France does also border a part of Flemish-speaking Belgium (in the so-called french flanders), as well as a part of German-speaking Switzerland in Basel area (in southern Alsace near Mulhouse).
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Old 11-16-2012, 11:06 AM
 
Location: North West Northern Ireland.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by britinparis View Post
I Disagree.

As someone who commutes regularly between Paris and London, I would say that now England and France share a land border in the shape of the Channel Tunnel, the links between Paris and London at least have boomed. It now only takes 2hrs 20mins to get from the Gare du Nord to London St Pancras. That is less than between London and most major British regional cities.

Since 1994 the numbers of French people living in the UK - almost all in the Greater London region - has skyrocketed - and now sits at nearly 400,000 - making them one of the countries largest "immigrant" communities. Though as they are largely affluent, well educated, and in fact are culturally quite similar to native born Britons - this has gone pretty much totally unnoticed, particularly if you compare it to the only slightly larger boom in migration from Poland - about which there's been eight years of screaming headlines.
BBC News - London, France's sixth biggest city

Likewise, even more Britons now live in France - as many as 500,000, according to this report by the French government:
The English in France - France-Diplomatie
In contrast to the French community in the UK, Britons are more spread out over the whole country, with a particular concentration in the southwest, and typically tend to be middle-class families and self-employed people rather than the French students and young workers who move the other way.

Statistics are somewhat sketchy as within the EU it is not necessary to register with any authorities when you move to another EU state, as there is total freedom of movement. So a Google search will throw up quite a few different figures. But the general point it there - a huge boom in migration and general integration since 1994.

Anecdotally, I would say that London is absolutely jam-packed with French people and you hear the French language all the time. In some affluent areas in west London they almost seem to be the dominant nationality. Likewise it's really common to meet other Britons living and working in Paris, is not unusual at all and raises absolutely no eyebrows. And some in some villages in the south-west I've heard tales of half the class of school kids being English in some cases - all with perfect little French accents, of course.

Owenc - up there in Northern Ireland you're really missing out on all this Anglo-French love down here mate. To me it already feels like Belfast/Edinburgh or even Manchester are far more "distant" from London and the southeast than Paris is.
No. Indeed I am not. I am proud to be from Northern Ireland and I want nothing to do with the French.

Maybe, the relationship is great for politicians or for the pro EU people like you. But for normal people the relationship is non-exsistant. If London is so close to France perhaps you should join France and become a Frenchman.
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Old 11-16-2012, 11:41 AM
 
Location: American Expat
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Not gonna read it, but 500k Brits in France? Sounds inflated.
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Old 11-16-2012, 11:45 AM
 
Location: Leeds, UK
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The 2011 estimates give the number of French people actually living in the UK to be 137,000. The 500,000 number probably includes students and temporary residents?
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:30 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by owenc View Post
No. Indeed I am not. I am proud to be from Northern Ireland and I want nothing to do with the French.
I don't mind you being proud of your heritage (I am too by the way). But when you say things like that, I very much doubt whether other inhabitants of Northren Ireland are so proud of you being a fellow Northren Irishmen/Northren Irish Britton ! By the way, when you tell someone to change nationallity because he likes to welcome people from a different culture, you must have a pretty skewed definition of patriotism (Sarah Palin and her true and false America comes to mind). When your conversation partner sees certain simmilarities between the two cultures, that doesn't resonate with your experiences; Than let that alone be testimony of the wide heterogeneity of your own nation. A true patriot loves his entire country not only the part with wich he agrees.

Important piece of advice: French leadership (whether political or economical; and whether your beef with them is justified or not) does not equal french people.

I also want to express disagreement over a previous comment (of wich I don't remember the author) that went something like this: "dutch speaking belgians refuse to speak french, and french speaking belgians refuse to speak dutch"

In my experience not true (wich is offcourse subjective, so take it for what it is). First of all, economically speaking that wouldn't be a viable option where I live - at the northren flank of Brussels (so this isn't applicable to the whole of Flanders) in flemish territory where dutch is the only officially recognized language - In three quarters of my job-interviews my knoledge of french was actively tested (And these were low-wage jobs as well as high wage jobs). Offcourse "knoledge of" doesn't necessarily mean that you will apply it outside of a proffessional context. Yet most people I know - of wich a significant amount are more flemish-minded than I am - reply in french when adressed in french. When they don't it's often because their knoledge of french is severly lacking (I'm not fluent either by the way).

It is true though that knoledge of french is diminishing in Flanders. But I think global economic and cultural changes have more to do with this than ideological motives. Bussiness-language used to be french before WWII, while now English is more important. Because of an expansion of worldwide media-acces we have also become more anglosaxon orientated.
One little example: Nowadays more english than french programs - wich used to be the other way round - are shown on tv. In Flanders we put subtitles (so we don't dub them them like they do in Wallonie) under foreign language programs, so the impact is quite significant.

In Wallonie knoledge of dutch has always been severly lacking! On this point, they are way behind on us. But since the status of dutch has (slightly?) increased in importance (In the mid sixties the economic balance shifted toward Flanders and in the following decades dutch finally gained equal status in all Belgian institutions. Though always having been the majority-language). More and more walloon youngsters are interested in learning dutch. Here again lack of capability isn't the same as unwillingnes.

So in both cases economics seems to be the most deceisive factor. Offcourse you might say that letting only economics play a role in your endeavours shows lack of engagement. Yet I think that learning is easiest (certainly languages) when still a kid and they usually don't get to decide for themselves. So I don't blame Walloons for their louzy dutch. I do blame the people responsible for their schoolingsystem over there
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Old 11-22-2012, 05:13 AM
 
2,816 posts, read 5,366,479 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by owenc View Post
No. Indeed I am not. I am proud to be from Northern Ireland and I want nothing to do with the French.
owenc, yesterday:


AL Murray National Anthems - YouTube
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Old 11-24-2012, 11:53 AM
 
274 posts, read 736,388 times
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We have no problem with "gavatxos" except when they burn trucks of produce. There was a lot of hate not long ago, not anymore considering that Spanish regions bordering France are far wealthier. In the case of Catalonia, Basque country, Gascogne and Occitania, those four countries or regions are divided by the frontier, so you find the same people.

In fact, most ethnic Catalans came from the other side of the frontier some 400 years ago after five consecutive waves of bubonic plague killed 3/4 of the population. I'd say that relationships are the best in centuries, considering that French always considered "Barcelonne" as part of France since it was conquered by Charlemagne in the year 801.

Last edited by Pizarro; 11-24-2012 at 12:18 PM..
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Old 11-24-2012, 12:15 PM
 
Location: Minnysoda
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don't know much about people wise.....But the Germans depend on French power plants to stabilize the electriacl grid there....
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