French Influences: Cultural and economic contacts between Austria and the territory that makes up today's France existed since the Celtic times. They first started becoming significant after the Crusades, which started in 1098. At the beginning of the 13th century early Gothic artists from Burgundy came to Austria. In the 14th century dynastic ties through marriage were formed (Rudolf III married Blanca of France in 1300). The contacts intensified after Maximilian I married Mary of Burgundy; their grandsons Karl V and Ferdinand I wrote to each other in French. At the same time, however, conflicts of interest arose which often led to war: Austria and France fought most of their wars against each other. Economic and cultural influences increased after the Thirty Years War. From the 17th century French was the most important cultural language of the upper classes and diplomats after Latin; during the Enlightenment French became the language of society and of the intellectuals. The French Revolution (emigres), Napoleon's empire and the political movements associated with it influenced Austria, as did the subsequent Romantic movement. In the second half of the 19th century cultural influences in painting (Impressionism), theatre and literature dominated.
Around the mid-20th century French became less favoured in foreign language education in Austria's schools; since the introduction of secondary schools emphasising modern languages, instruction in French has become more widespread.