Made in France!

(this page is under construction)

French specificities...   French products and quality
  • Quality of food : the label AOC ("appellation d'origine contrôlée") means that a product has been produced in France according to a specific process which guarantees its qualities and its perennity.

  • The search for beauty : look at the quality of French shop windows, even very modest shops.

  • Examples of French products famous for their exceptional quality :

    • Basque linen
    • Kitchenware (Le Creuset)
    • Knives (Opinel, Laguiole)
    • Saxophones (Selmer)
    • Baccarat cristal
    • More to come...
  • Many French institutions try to maintain and develop this tradition of quality and artcraft. Among them :
    • Ecole Boulle is a highly regarded school of artcraft (ewspecially cabinet-making) : read about French styles and see more artschools.
    • Comité Colbert is a association of the most prestigious French corporation
    • See an example of unique craftsmanship : Maison Legeron, the last independent maker of feather flowers for top fashion houses (Dior, Chanel, etc.).
    • Read about the title of "meilleur ouvrier de France" ("best worker in France")
    • More to come

 

 
  • The image of high quality of many food products (gastronomy, wine, cheese), perfumes and fashion (haute couture) is unquestioned and corresponds to some classical stereotypes about France and the French.
  • But, this image of quality is not attached to industrial and mass products where the reputation of France is not as good (this is why they are often given an English name) ! It is not easy to be the French Minister of Economy : they have to persuade France's economic partners that France does not produce only wine, cheese, fashion and perfumes.
Arnaud Montebourg, then (2014) Minister of Economy, making a cover page with three excellent export products : a T-shirt (Armor-Lux), a watch (Herbelin) and a mixer (Moulinex).
  • More to come...
From the "French industrial art" to the "French touch"...   Facts and figures ....

A little bit of history : before WW1, common wisdom among US manufacturers was that there was in France a "French Industrial Art" which was an unrivalled ability to manufacture (in small quantities) products of high quality, perfectly adapted to the taste of the client and with an aesthetic taste that US manufacturers could never challenge because their organization was adapted to production in large numbers of identical products ! Alas, that was a century ago and this competitive advantage has long vanished but there is something that remains and some call it "the French touch" ! Read more about the history of US firms in France.

 

 
  • LVMH is the largest group in the world for luxury goods ; its most famous brands include Dior, Louis Vuitton, Gucci to name a few. Its founder, Bernard Arnault is the richest man in France : read about the French and money.

  • Of course, the trade surplus gives an idea of the industrial sectors where French products are the most competitive. The numbers are (2015) : Aeronautics & aerospace : 22 bn.€, Wine & spirits : 10.4 bn., Perfumes & Cosmetics : 9.2 bn., Cereal : 6.4 bn., Cheese & Milk products : 3.4 bn.

  • More and more corporations (today 2,500+), big or small, open their doors to tourists. See the site of their association Entreprise & Découverte. The most visited is the glss factory of Biot (French Riviera) with more than 540,000 tourists (60% non-French).

  • More to come ...

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Harriet Welty Rochefort writes articles and books about France and the French. Order her books :

  • "Joie de Vivre", Secrets of Wining, Dining and Romancing like the French, St.Martin's Press, New York, 2012
  • "French Toast, An American in Paris Celebrates The Maddening Mysteries of the French", St.Martin's Press, New York, 1999
  • "French Fried, The Culinary Capers of An American in Paris", St.Martin's Press, New York, 2001

More on Harriet's books (excerpts, upcoming events, testimonials, etc..)

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Together or separately, Harriet and Philippe speak about Intercultural Differences : click here for information.