Want To Be A French Painter? A Short Guide!

French Painter

France is the default capital of the world when it comes to art. It is no secret that French art schools are among the very best in the world. But that is perhaps more because of the history of painting and various forms of art including sculpting, fashion designing and architecture, than the modern day education system. Becoming a French painter is not easy. You would need to be supremely talented and then you must have formal training. You may argue that very few masters of French portraits had undergone any formal training but they were the ones who have developed the myriad techniques that are now taught at French art schools.

Imagine Claude Monet, known to have been an impressionist painter. It was actually Monet’s work that coined the term ‘impressionism’. ‘Impression, Sunrise’ is still considered one of the best French portraits championing the impressionist style.

French Painter
Claude Monet painting in his Garden…

Paul Cezanne is regarded as a post impressionist painter. He innovated his way through impressionist styles and then developed new styles that later became the bridge or correlation between nineteenth century art and cubist or modern art.

You can think of French painter Paul Gauguin, August Renoir, Camille Pissarro, Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, Charles-François Daubigny, Eugène Delacroix or Marcel Duchamp. All these legends had paved the way for the modern French art schools that preserve the elements and skills that went into popular French portraits but also focus on modern methods. (Note: Vincent Van Gogh had lived in France but he was not French.)

French Painter
A piece by Paul Cezanne.

There is no dearth of French art schools. The most popular of them all are École Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle, ENSCI Les Ateliers and Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. The two are ranked among the top art schools in the world. There are of course dozens of other French art schools that are widely endorsed as the best in Europe and beyond.

French painter
Painting in France…

You may also choose contemporary art schools that specialize in specific approaches to painting. Of course you would have a certain style and it is more befitting if you choose a faculty and institute that would hone your skills and enhance the style you specialize in. Trying to unlearn what you have practiced all along in art is not easy and it is not very wise either. That is why being a French painter will be more satiating. French portraits don’t have to comply with preset rules.

The Secrets of French Culture and Customs

French Culture

French culture and customs have always fascinated people from all across the world. Whether you dream of romancing in Paris or walking the ramps during the fashion week, whether you wish to explore the French countryside or want to dive into the history that the museums will unfurl for you, whether you are in love with French food and wine or you wish to explore the art, culture and literature of France, you would be amazed with French culture and customs. Beware as you may even be shocked by some elements of the French culture.

The French love food. It may not seem apparent because many people think of the French as thin or slender. You may use the word skinny because the French don’t care about being politically correct. French cooking is extremely refined and focused on prepping, detail, fresh ingredients and classic cooking techniques. It is the French culture that has given us the concept of eating small portions, taking time to chew and savor the food for a while, to focus on eating during breakfast, lunch or dinner and to respect every produce that you work on so you respect and love the meal you have.

French culture
A typical French Meal…Yummy 🙂

French art has always been riveting and evolutionary. Many a French painter has ushered in a new era. Whether it is the art of sculpting or painting using myriad novel techniques, French culture and art has always led from the front. It is not without a reason why Paris is still the fashion capital of the world. French art is most widely manifested today in how the women use makeup. From using the foundation with unparalleled élan to picking the ideal lingerie, sporting hair styles that many may only dream of to perfecting their nails, from picking shoes to the clothes, endorsing nudity and being confident of sex, French women have certainly been more empowered in many ways and they don’t take the refuge of politically imposed embarrassed or perceived shame.

French culture and customs pertaining to private or personal and family life are also quaint compared to other major western cultures. The typical French family has every member understanding fully what their responsibilities are. While the French are romantics, once they are married and have kids, they take their role of being a provider very seriously. The French may appear to be cold, upfront or just not bothered to most people but they are heavily invested in relationships. They don’t call anyone and everyone a friend. When they have friends, they maintain frequent contacts and are there for one another. It is not namesake friendship or likes and dislikes on social networks.

Want to read more about French Culture and Art? Read our post about 3 French Artists who changed the world…

Why Study in French? 5 Crucial Reasons!

study in French

Why study in French when English is clearly the most spoken language in the world. English is also recognized as the first official language in all world bodies or global organizations. Following English, you have French, Spanish, Chinese, Hindi and Portuguese, Russian and Japanese. Most of these languages are confined to their countries of origin or among natives.

By many metrics, the second most important language on global platforms is French. You can consider the fact that 76 million people speak French in more than 50 countries. There are additional twenty countries that have a substantial French speaking populace being a part of the OIF, an international organization of French-speaking countries. According to some estimates, people speaking French as first, second or third language account for more than 200 million. That’s already a reason you should consider to study in French…but where?

Colleges in Paris are considered among the very best in the world. While you would continuously hear of the Ivy League and the equivalents, ala Oxford and Cambridge, France leads the bandwagon when it comes to art and professional training. Painting, music, language courses and fashion are clearly the fortes of colleges in France. Another distinction of the country is the gamut of French medical schools. The French medical schools are known for their holistic training, expansive curriculum and the hands-on approach to ensure that the aspiring doctors, surgeons and even nurses turn out to be the best professionals one can be in medical sciences.

  • Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Université Claude Bernard, Université Paris Descartes, Université de Strasbourg, Aix-Marseille University, Université de Montpellier, Université Paris Diderot, Université Paris-Sud, Université de Nantes, Université de Rennes, Université Lille 2 Droit et Santé, Université Nice Sophia-Antipolis, Université Paris-Est Créteil Val de Marne and Université Paul Sabatier Toulouse III find a place in the top ranking medical schools in the world.
  • You should study in French for myriad reasons. Being proficient in both English and French will help you qualify for a rare breed of professionals. You would have a consequential advantage in many regions of the world, especially in Switzerland, Belgium and Africa.
  • Study in French to have an advantage in higher studies and to further your professional prospects. French is an official and working language of the United Nations, UNESCO, European Union, the International Olympic Committee, NATO and the International Red Cross.
  • French is more difficult than English and Spanish. Thus, it will hone your cognitive skills pertaining to language. Bilingual and multilingual people would always have better cognitive skills than those who know only one language.

Contemplating if to learn French online or offline? Read this article about the available French classes!

Getting to Know the Largest French Companies

Largest French Companies

In the previous post entitled ‘Want to Make Money in the French Stock Market?’, we explained how you can get started by getting acquainted with European stock markets, specifically Euronext Paris. Choosing where to trade is only one part of the equation though, given that you’ll still have to decide on which stocks to invest your hard-earned money.

This part also requires a lot of effort especially in terms of research. Stocks are serious investments and can be long-term investments, which is why it’s crucial for you to know the history and track record of the company you’re buying into before you can even start to think about the whole cost and profit relationship. Additionally, the number of corporations even in France alone means picking which firms to invest in might be an overwhelming task.

For this reason, we have prepared a compilation of some of the best performing French companies on the stock market to help you decide where to invest. These firms are established so much so that even if the market is bearish, investors are confident that they can bounce back due to their proven track records.

Société Générale

We have actually recommended starting with this company in the aforementioned previous post. Société Générale is among the strongest banks in the country and the feature posted by Jack Burns about the company specified that it’s a pillar of the French banking sector.

Within the last 5 years, the performance of Société Générale stocks have been bullish for the most part. They remain stable and are projected to stay that way for years to come.

Air France

NASDAQ created an analysis of stock performance and categorised the results into VGM scores which means Value, Growth and Momentum, respectively. Air France is one of their top rated companies which received a VGM score of ‘A’ and by the end of this year, it’s projected that the company’s revenues will grow by more than 27%.

Furthermore, the airline company’s stocks currently stands at a around €11 per share, making it one of the more affordable stocks in relation to its performance. In other words, you can buy more shares as opposed to the prices per share of other large companies in this list.


French Companies
Total is considered as one of the world’s ‘super major’ oil companies.

The Financial Times shared graphical summaries of Total’s stock performance and since last year, it has been on the rise with expected lows due to rise and fall of oil prices. Nevertheless, Total is considered as one of the world’s ‘super major’ oil companies and the firm’s output has an impact on a global scale.

The company also has investments in other sources of power such as solar energy. Oil is a non-renewable resource so even if the world’s oil assets get depleted, Total may have long established itself as a major player in the field of renewable energy which will allow it to remain strong. And of course, a strong company is good for business.


Sanofi is to pharmaceuticals what Total is to oil and gas. It’s the world’s fifth-largest pharmaceutical company and it’s poised to remain strong for many years to come.


AXA Banque
One of the top 3 global financial services.

AXA has been designated last year as one of the top 3 global financial services and this mammoth insurance firm operates all over the world. It’s now the second most powerful multinational corporation just behind London’s Barclays, which has the capacity to influence global financial stability and market competition.


The giant automaker Renault has lots of subsidiaries under its belt and you can even settle on those branches, but still, nothing beats the parent company. Its recorded revenues surged past €45 billion in 2015, signifying its stable performance on a whole.

Largest french companies
Nothing beats the parent company.


The parent company of Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Givenchy and several other luxurious fashion houses has one of the priciest shares in France at around €200 per unit so this one calls for a bigger capital. Because it’s ideal to start small in stock investing, you might have to keep this company for future consideration once your accounts grow larger. One thing’s for sure though: LVMH is here to stay and will keep on raking in billions from their constantly in-demand products.

These are only some of the largest French companies worth looking into with regards to their stocks. There are countless more so don’t hesitate to check out other firms. Just keep in mind to study their track record to be sure that your investments will not go to waste.

Additionally, it’s also important that you make use of all the available tools for you to make the most out of your stock investment ventures. It’s ideal to start familiarising yourself with major indices which are perhaps the best friends of any stock investor. Wealth Pilgrim simplified the role of a stock index into two: it provides you a glimpse on the movement of the overall market and; it can be used as a gauge to see how your own stocks are performing. The stock investment experts over at Teramusu describe these major indices as macro movements which are useful for hedging against losses and diversifying your stock portfolio. As for the Euronext Paris stock exchange, its main benchmark index is the CAC 40 and it’s worth mentioning that the components here are included in the larger SBF 120 index which is comprised of the 120 most actively traded stocks in Paris. To put it simply, if you want to venture out to larger scale stock trading, then an index like the CAC 40 may help serve as a stepping stone.

Now that you have an idea about the stock exchange, the top-performing companies as well as indices, it’s time to start plotting a business plan. Like any other business venture, stock investing has gains and losses. But with the right knowledge and mindset, you can minimise the latter and you can be well on your way to enjoy reaping profits.

Opening a French Bank Account Online 

Opening a French Bank Account Online

Are you also sick of going to banks and waiting in line? Had enough of all the old style bank bureaucracy? Looking for the easier, online solutions? Looking to opening a French Bank account online?

Well, as technology evolves faster than ever, Online banking is gaining ground also in France. You can now send, receive and organize your money internationally, without spending your hard-earned money on fees or crazy exchange rates.

Here are some good and popular options for those of you who are looking into opening a French bank account online:

Britline (Crédit Agricole)

  • This bank offers Internet/phone banking services, which are operated by a famous French bank, Crédit Agricole
  • Britlineoffers banking services in English, both online and through the phone
  • A big advantage is that you can open an account with Britline before moving to France
  • Note that ss with most French banks, charges are levied on banking activities
  • A good thing is that Britline’s chargesand documentation are very transparent and published in English, making it easy for you to monitor.

BNP Paribas

  • This is one of the largest and most respectful banks operating in France, and probably in the world.
  • BNP Paribasoffers a wide range of services, from basic current accounts to more complex savings products
  • They have a great App for managing and monitoring your online bank account.

La Banque Postale

  • La Banque Postalis an offshoot bank of the famous French Postal Service
  • Thanks to that, it has one of the largest branch networks in France, operating through local post offices
  • La Banque Postale offers competitive rates, but service is likely to be French-language only
  • You can start the application process online, before posting your ‘dossier’ of forms and documents for free

ING Direct

  • ING Directis currently the largest online bank in France
  • It offers a full range of products including a free basic current account
  • However – you must be a resident in France in order to open an account
  • Also – the application process is in French only

As you surely know, there are plenty of banking options in France – so before you choosing a bank to open your account, be clear on what is important to you. If your French isn’t perfect, or if you’ll be living outside of the major cities, you’re better be off with an online bank with the option of corresponding in English and opening a French Bank Account Online.

If you still have questions – check out our post for more details on opening a bank account in France.


Banque Palatine

banks in france

Banque Palatine is a subsidiary of Groupe BPCE, which offers banking services to corporate and private clients it its offices and through the Internet. As one of the oldest banks in France (founded in 1780),it serves 36 million customers and employs almost 120,000 people and contributes to equal 20% of the financing of the French economy.

Groupe BPCE includes banking and insurance companies:

– 19 Banques Populaires and 17 Caisses d’Epargne cooperative networks
– Subsidiary Crédit Foncier, Banque Palatine, BPCE International and Natixis, providing bank financing, management and financial services abroad.

There are three business segments that Banque Palatine operates, that is, asset management, retail banking and SME banking. It has 52 branches in total and offers banking services to personal customers and businesses as well.

One is spoiled of choice of the financial services and products that the bank has to offer. These include investment banking, financial engineering solutions, mortgage loans, checking and savings accounts, retirement scheme consulting services, life insurance, asset management,cash pooling, investment plans, insurance brokerage and international development.

Banque Palatine has an excellent close relationship with its customers and the employees are fully committed to make sure that the expectations of a demanding clientele are met.

Groupe BPCE head office address:
50 avenue Mendès-France 75013 Paris

Phone: +33 1 58 40 41 42
Fax: +33 1 58 40 48 00
website (French)



Banque Palatine Opening Hours:

Monday: 9:15 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday: 9:15 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday: 9:15 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Thursday: 9:15 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Friday: 9:15 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Banque Populaire

banks in france

Banque Populaire is a network of 17 regional banks and 2 banks with national jurisdiction: Coopératif Casden and Banque Populaire. The bank is a part of Groupe BPCE, the second-largest banking group in France. The Bank is a key player in the regional economy, as well as a leader on loans for business creation.

Banque Populaire head office address:
76 Avenue France, 75013 Paris

Tel.: 01 45 70 74 59
website (French)


Opening hours:

Monday: 09:00 to 12:30 and from 1:40 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday: 09:00 to 12:30 and from 1:40 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Wednesday: 09:00 to 12:30 and from 1:40 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Thursday: 09:00 to 12:30 and from 1:40 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Friday: 09:00 to 12:30 and from 1:40 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

AXA Bank in France

AXA Banque
One of the top 3 global financial services.

La Banque Postale is a French public bank founded January 1, 2006 as a successor of financial services of La Poste (Centre de chèques postaux and Caisse nationale d’épargne). The bank is a 100% subsidiary of the La Poste Group.

AXA Banque operates in France as an arm of the AXA – multinational, investment banking firm headquartered in Paris. The group is active on Investment banking, Investment management, Life and health insurance markets.

La Banque Postale accompanies all stakeholders that sustain the local economy through projects and tangible investments, regardless of their size:

Businesses and professionals
La Banque Postale meets all their needs offering cash management, social engineering, debt service and financing. It allows them to concentrate fully on their activities and development.

The social economy
In line with its values, La Banque Postale accompanies stakeholders of the social economy for a long time. It now puts at the disposal of associations and mutual contacts and specialized products and dedicated services.

Local Authorities
The bank invented a new funding model to better support of local authorities, social landlords and mixed-economy companies.

Currently, La Banque Postale serves 10.6 million active private customers and 446,000 corporate and institutional customers.

Financial data:

Equity (2011): € 5.91 billion
Net income (2010):€ 649 million

IBAN: 20041 and 30041

Headquarters address:
115, rue de Sèvres
75275 Paris, CEDEX 06, France

La Banque Postale Contact:
Tel.: +33 1 5677 6000
website (French)

La Banque Postale

french banks

This is the Postal Bank of France. The retail network of the Banque Postale consists of more than 10,000 post offices where 30,000 professionals serve both individual and corporate customers. All the bank’s products are also available through phone, Internet and mobile channels.


Dexia Credit Local

french banks

Dexia Credit Local, founded in 1989,  is the main subsidiary of Dexia, European banking group historically active in the areas of public sector finance and retail banking.

Dexia Credit Local de France is a part of the Dexia Group, which was Franco-Belgian financial institution active in public finance, providing retail and commercial banking services to individuals and SMEs, asset management, and insurance.

Employees: Approx. 2,200

In 2011, Dexia Bank was bought out by the Belgian state, and will continue to exist under its new name Belfius.

Head Office Address:
1, Passerelle des Reflets,
Tour Dexia – La Défense 2,
Paris, France

Tel.: +33 1 5858 7777
Fax: 33 1 5858 7000
website (in French)

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