Over the last century, French has been the primary language in at least one territory or state on every inhabited continent. Today, over 130 million people in 44 countries claim French as their native language.
French is the language of diplomacy, of fashion, of cuisine and of many high-tech industries. It is one of the official languages of the European Union. Some important French-speaking enterprises are: Aventis (pharmaceuticals), Lazare-Frères (investment banking), Nestlé (chocolate!), and Perrier (soft drinks). The list is long in the world of fashion: Yves Saint-Laurent, Givenchy, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Lacroix, Gaultier and many others.
The contributions of French artists and architects are recognized throughout the world. Millions of visitors (tourists and researchers) visit France's many museums each year. Two of the most famous are The Musée du Louvre and The Musée d'Orsay.