And France's undying love for its aging rock star Johnny Hallyday still mystifies other Europeans. Perhaps it represents the cultural diversity that Europeans continue to covet.
Yet if Europeans remain focused on the riches of the past and ignore one another's contemporary work, there may also be a price.
In 2002, a good year for French cinema, 50 percent of the box office went to American movies and 35 percent to French movies, but only 4.9 percent to British films, 0.8 percent to German and 0.2 percent to Italian.
And in Spain last year, Hollywood had 67 percent of the movie market, Spain 15.8 percent, Britain 5.7 percent, France 2.6 percent and Germany just 1.2 percent.
In one crucial sense, then, the lingua franca of this expanded Europe remains that of Shakespeare, Leonardo, Mozart and other giants of the past.
Turn to the contemporary arts, however, and a different picture emerges.
As Europe moves toward ''ever closer union,'' unless it also communicates culturally, popular taste will become ever more American.
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More surprisingly, while modeled after American ''sound,'' even European pop music rarely crosses the region's borders, as if Europeans were accustomed to lyrics in English but not in other languages.
The Rolling Stones can fill stadiums across the region, but no other European rock group could do so outside its own country.