• France's news in English
France ranked world’s top cultural trendsetter
Sites like Paris' Louvre museum contributed to the top score. Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP

France ranked world’s top cultural trendsetter

The Local · 20 Jan 2016, 15:41

Published: 20 Jan 2016 15:41 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

When it comes to offering cultural influence around the globe France was ranked top dog, followed by Italy, in the new study from US News & World Report.

"It is difficult to overstate the influence France has on the world, both in the past and today," reads the report.

"France is one of the world’s oldest countries, and its reach extends around the globe through science, politics, economics and perhaps above all, culture," it adds.

The rankings of the 60 countries were based on a survey of 16,000 people worldwide who were asked to associate each country with certain attributes. The responses were then broken down into various categories, including adventure, power, entrepreneurship and quality of life.

Respondents gave France a perfect score of 10 in the Cultural Influence category, which included scores of 10 for being prestigious, fashionable and trendy.

And here's why France was ranked number one:

"Countries that command cultural influence are often synonymous with fine food, fashion and easy living," reads the report. 

"They are trendsetters – the country equivalent of the cooler, older sibling.

"Their products have that certain “je ne sais quoi” that makes them fly a little faster off the shelves. Their music, television and movies are absorbed by other cultures, becoming part of a wider global conversation."

However, those surveyed were less likely to describe French culture as happy, a category where the country received only 3.3 points of a possible 10.

The report said: “French literature began in the Middle Ages, and the country has a long history in fine arts, music and dance.” It also praised France’s food and said the country was “nearly synonymous with wine”.

Heritage was a separate category, and France came fourth with consistently high scores in the four sub-categories, ‘culturally accessible’, ‘many cultural attractions’, ‘has a rich history’ and ‘has great food’.

Story continues below…

Taking the top three spots were France’s southern European neighbours Italy, Spain and Greece, but all of the top four scored over 90 out of 100, while fifth placed Mexico lagged 17 points behind France.

France has 41 World Heritage sites (check out some of its lesser-known gems here), and the report singled out the Louvre, which welcomes 9.2 million visitors each year, and the Eiffel Tower, which sees an average of 7 million.

However, in recent months, visitor numbers have dipped following security fears.

France came eighth overall out of the 60 countries included in the study. Germany was ranked the world’s best country, followed by Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States in the survey, which was based on countries' worldwide reputation – i.e. how they are seen by others rather than what they are actually like (although the two often overlap).

"How a nation is perceived outside its borders is critical to its success," UK businessman Sir Martin Sorrell, one of the names behind the survey, explained the rankings.

Another area where France scored well was education. Ranked fourth for studying abroad (Italy came top) and fifth for education overall (while the UK topped the ranks), the results merely confirmed what study after study has told us before: students love France, especially its capital.

So where did France do poorly? Well, it scored only 3.3 for being friendly, 2.7 for being entrepreneurial, 1.5 for the state of its job market and a measly 0.1 in the mysterious category of being ‘different’.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Is Marks & Spencer to close Champs-Elysées store?
Photo: AFP

Is it goodbye to crumpets, jam, and English biscuits?

After Calais, France faces growing migrant crisis in Paris
Photo: AFP

While all the focus has been on the closure of the Jungle in Calais, France must deal with the thousands of migrants sleeping rough in Paris. And their numbers are growing.

Restaurant boss suspected of kidnapping Cannes millionaire
The Nice residence of the president of Cannes' Grand Hotel, Jacqueline Veyrac. Photo: AFP

A restaurant owner 'harbouring a grudge', apparently.

Le Thought du Jour
Vive le pont - The best thing about French public holidays
Photo: AFP

The UK might have guaranteed public holidays, but France has "les ponts".

What's on in France: Top things to do in November
Don't miss the chocolate fashion show in Lyon. Photo: Salon du chocolat

The autumn is in full swing in France, and there's plenty to do.

What Paris 'squalor pit' Gare du Nord will look like in future
All photos: Wilmotte et Assoicés

IN PICTURES: The universally accepted 'squalor pit of Europe' is finally getting a facelift.

Halloween: The ten spookiest spots in Paris
Is there really a ghost on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower? Photo: AFP

Read at your own peril.

Halloween holiday in France: Traffic nightmares and sun!
Photo: AFP

But it's great news for the country's beleaguered tourism industry.

French MPs vote to make Airbnb 'professionals' pay tax
Photo: AFP

Do you make a lot of money through Airbnb in France? You'll have to pay a share to the taxman in future.

France and Britain accused of abandoning Calais minors
Photo: AFP

Scores of young migrants are forced to sleep rough for a second night.

Fifteen of the most bizarre laws in France
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Medieval town in south of France upholds ban on UFOs
Mouth fun? French words you just can't translate literally
How France plans to help its stressed-out police force
Paris: 'Flying' water taxis to be tested on River Seine
Paris landlords still charging illegally high rents
Calais migrants given mixed reception in French towns
Lonely Planet says Bordeaux is world's best city to visit
What rights to a future in France for Calais migrants?
Myth busting: Half of French adults are now overweight
How speaking French can really mess up your English
The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
jobs available