For this week's Travel Tuesday we will visit France. We in Louisiana have many historical and cultural ties to France, but the reason we are looking at France this week is in honor of Bastille Day on July 14.

There are many things travelers and curious folk can learn about France by reading through the country profile in Global Road Warrior. Listed below are 5 more quick facts to get you started.

  • National Holiday: "France's national day celebrates the storming of the Bastille prison in Paris that marked the beginning of the French Revolution. Spectacular military parades take place on the morning of July 14, with the largest one proceeding down the Champs-Élysées in Paris in front of the president. Parades and processions are also held in other parts of the country. At night, balls and street parties are staged, mostly at national parks or squares. It is customary for firefighters to organize these dance parties. The festivities are capped with a spectacular fireworks display at Trocadero."
  • Business Culture: "The French tend to focus on long-term objectives and will encourage personal relationships between parties. It is essential that foreigners remain polite and cordial, but not assume that overly friendly behavior will be acceptable. It is better to be reserved, pleasant, and focused on 'proper' behavior and manners than it is to smile excessively, laugh out loud, or exhibit 'outgoing' mannerisms. Professionalism is the key to being accepted as an outsider."
  • Cell Phone Dialing Guide: "When calling a mobile phone from within France, always dial the Domestic Access Code before the nine-digit number. Do not dial this access code when calling from another country."
  • Transportation, subway: "A Paris Visite pass provides for one to five consecutive days of unlimited transit on most types of public transport, as well as discounted admission at 18 attractions. You can get a Paris Visite pass that just covers the inner three tariff zones, or you can one for zones 1–6."
  • Tipping: "Tipping in France is not required and is seen as personal decision made solely on one's enjoyment of a service provided. Servers are paid a living wage in France, so any extra gratuity should directly reflect your experience. It is French law that all restaurants add a 12 to 15 percent service charge to the bill total—even if it is not explicitly noted on your check. As a general rule, rounding up to the nearest whole number, or nearest multiple of five, will ensure a generous gratuity. On the other hand, if you found the service to be unsatisfactory, don't tip."

    Language Learners: French is available through both Mango Languages and Pronunciator.
    Music Lovers: Visit our Freegal music service to explore more music options from French and French-language music artists.

    Recipe Corner: For an example French recipe, try Gratin Dauphinois.

    Sliced potatoes baked in cream are a French standard served with all types of roast meats. Thin cream is normally used for this dish, and seasonings are limited to salt, pepper, and garlic. Recipe Serving: Serves 4–6

    Ingredients:

  • 2 lb (1 kg) potatoes, peeled, sliced
  • 1 quart (1 l) cream
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Instructions
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • Arrange a layer of potatoes in a buttered baking dish.
  • Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic, and pour cream over.
  • Repeat with all remaining potatoes, finishing the top with cream, salt, and pepper.
  • Bake for up to 1 hour, until potatoes are very tender and the top of the gratin is golden.
  • Serve hot.