Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Saturday, February 4, 2012

French citizenship changes, part II

Thanks so much to everyone for sharing their comments and opinions on Thursday's post, Ii really enjoyed reading them. No wonder this is such a hot topic, both in France and around the world.

Here is one of the sample citizenship tests Le Figaro published earlier in the week, and thankfully they don't look much more complicated than the American one. Apparently the goal is that the candidates should have (if I remember right), the history and cultural knowledge of a French fifth grader.  Right now they are saying the test will contain 10 multiple choice questions, with a score of 6/10 or higher necessary to pass.  Let's see how you do - I'll post the answers tomorrow!

1) Who constructed Versailles?
  • Napoleon
  • Louis XIV
  • Louis-Philippe
2) Who do you associate with the Arc de Triomphe?
  • Napoleon
  • General Charles de Gaulle
  • Julius Cesar
3) Gothic cathedrals were built during which historical period?
  • The Middle Ages
  • The French Revolution
  • Ancient history
4) When were the castles of the Loire built?
  • The 20th century
  • The Renaissance
  • The French Revolution
5) Before it was destroyed, what was the Bastille?
  • A hotel
  • A prison
  • A theater
6) When did the Hundred Years’ War take place?
  • In the Middle Ages
  • Under Louis XIV
  • In 1914
7) The battle of Verdun occurred during which war?
  • The Algerian War
  • WWI
  • WWII
8) The Eiffel Tower was built :
  • For the World’s Fair in 1889
  • To attract tourists
  • To install a television antenna
9) The Paris Mosque was inaugurated:
  • Before the French Revolution
  • Between WWI and WWII
  • Last year
10) When did WWI take place?
  • Between 1914 and 1918
  • Between 1946 and 1962
  • Between 1720 and 1723
11) The religious wars in the 16th century were between:
  • Catholics and Protestants
  • Christians and Muslims
  • Public and private schools
12) General de Gaulle’s speech calling for French resistance happened:
  • In the context of WWII
  • In the context of the war against the English
  • During the events of May 1968
13) Which of these three men was not president?
  • Valéry Giscard d’Estaing
  • François Mitterrand
  • Victor Hugo
14) The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen is associated with what
  • The liberation of Paris
  • The French Revolution
  • The creation of Europe
15) Joan of Arc lived during which historical period?
  • The Middle Ages
  • WWII
  • The French Revolution



Blogger Gwan said...

I don't want to sound arrogant, but those are kind of ridiculously easy, although perhaps another subtle way of favouring those who grew up with a Western-style education since you might learn a lot of that information as a side-effect of learning about English history or the world wars from a NZ or American perspective etc. and maybe be less likely to learn it if you're from Africa or Asia etc.

February 4, 2012 at 5:03 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

In the car tonight J kept saying they'll probably ask me about Francis Cabrel in order to become a citizen, and said I'd fail since I don't really care for that style of French music. I gave him some of the examples you listed here and we had a good laugh. He was shocked that they wouldn't ask for any specific dates since memorizing things is so popular here.

February 4, 2012 at 8:25 PM  
Blogger BlondeInFrance said...

I agree with Amber, I will most likely fail due to a lack of interest in football and music. (Am not laughing about it though). Is it seriously "un-French" to not know who Michel Platini is? And this is really how France wants to define it's "mémoire colletive", with Bridget Bardot? You honestly think all French primary school children know who Claude François and Edith Piaf are? (The entire article and sample tests here:

I don't find it at ALL comparable to the American one:

No mention of Elvis Presley, Babe Ruth, the Super Bowl, or Marilyn Monroe. If people have been making a hubbub about it, now I can see why. Geography, history, sure, monuments and literature, ok I guess, but it seems absurdly unfair to ask about pop culture and sports trivia. To have those types of questions is forcing a "correct" culture on immigrants and dissuades those with significantly different cultural and educational backgrounds, who in every other way would follow the laws and uphold the values of the Republic. And to change the questions over the years not because society will have changed but to STOP people from memorizing them seems inexplicably at odds with the traditional methods of education in the country! Guéant says they don't ask dates but there are questions about what year slavery was abolished, the Front populaire created and the Vème République established. Did he even read it?? Trying to define a national identity with this test causes even more contradictions (not to mention actual errors pointed out by the comments on Le Figaro). By not asking more specific questions about the political system, they're basically saying that's not important for a French person to know, it's more important to know football, singers and 18/19th century creative types. Either it should be a straight up history/geography test, or just cultural trivia. To try and do both I find makes it confusing and contradictory.

Australia's test:

The UK's test:


February 5, 2012 at 11:57 AM  

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