France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe, consisting of metropolitan France and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the to the and from the
Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa, and on the ...
to the
English Channel The English Channel,, "The Sleeve"; nrf, la Maunche, "The Sleeve" ( Cotentinais) or (Jèrriais), (Guernésiais), "The Channel"; br, Mor Breizh, "Sea of Brittany"; cy, Môr Udd, "Lord's Sea"; kw, Mor Bretannek, "British Sea"; nl, Het Kan ...

English Channel
and the
North Sea The North Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean located between Great Britain (England and Scotland), Denmark, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and France. An epeiric sea, epeiric (or "shelf") sea on the European continental shelf, it conn ...
. The overseas territories include French Guiana in
South America South America is a continent entirely in the Western Hemisphere and mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. It can also be described as a southern Continent#Subcontinents, subcontinent ...
and several islands in the , and Oceans. France borders
Belgium Belgium ( nl, België ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien ), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe. It is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the s ...
Luxembourg Luxembourg ( ; lb, Lëtzebuerg ; french: link=no, Luxembourg; german: link=no, Luxemburg), officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, ; french: link=no, Grand-Duché de Luxembourg ; german: link=no, Großherzogtum Luxemburg is a landlocked ...
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language , languages = German language, German , demonym = Germans, German , government_ ...
to the northeast,
Switzerland ,german: Schweizer(in),french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/svizzera or , rm, Svizzer/Svizra , government_type = Federalism, Federal semi-direct democracy under a multi-party assembly-independent Directorial system, directorial republic , leader_t ...
, Monaco and Italy to the east, Andorra and Spain to the south, as well as the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Netherlands, Suriname and Brazil in the Americas. The country's Regions of France, eighteen integral regions (five of which are situated overseas) span a combined area of and a total population of 67.4 million (). France is a Unitary state, unitary Semi-presidential system, semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major Urban area (France), urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice. France, including its overseas territories, has the most time zones of any country, with a total of twelve. During the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by the Gauls. The area was Roman Gaul, annexed by Rome in 51 BC, developing a distinct Gallo-Roman culture that laid the foundation of the French language. The Germanic peoples, Germanic Franks arrived in 476 and formed the Francia, Kingdom of Francia, which became the heartland of the Carolingian Empire. The Treaty of Verdun of 843 partitioned the empire, with West Francia becoming the Kingdom of France in 987. In the High Middle Ages, France was a highly decentralized Feudalism, feudal kingdom in which the authority of the king was barely felt. King Philip II of France, Philip Augustus achieved remarkable success in the strengthening of royal power and the expansion of his realm, doubling its Crown lands of France, size and Battle of Bouvines, defeating his rivals. By the end of his reign, France had emerged as the most powerful state in Europe. In the mid-14th century, House of Valois, French monarchs were embroiled in a series of dynastic conflicts with House of Plantagenet, their English counterparts, collectively known as the Hundred Years' War, from which they ultimately emerged victorious. Italian Wars, Disputes with Habsburg Spain, Spain and the Holy Roman Empire soon followed during the French Renaissance, Renaissance. Meanwhile, French culture flourished and a French colonial empire, global colonial empire was established, which by the 20th century would become the second largest in the world. The second half of the 16th century was dominated by French Wars of Religion, religious civil wars between Catholic Church, Catholics and Protestants (Huguenots), which severely weakened the country. But France once again emerged as Europe's dominant cultural, political, and military power in the 17th century under Louis XIV following the Thirty Years' War. Despite the wealth of the nation, an inadequate financial model and inequitable taxation system coupled with endless and costly wars meant that the kingdom was left in a precarious economic situation by the end of the 18th century. Especially costly were the Seven Years' War and American Revolutionary War, American War of Independence. The French Revolution in 1789 saw the fall of the absolute monarchy that characterized the Ancien Régime and from its ashes, rose one of modern history's earliest French First Republic, republics, which drafted the Declaration of the Rights of the Man and of the Citizen of 1789, Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. The declaration expresses the nation's ideals to this day. Following the revolution, France reached its political and military zenith in the early 19th century under Napoleon, Napoleon Bonaparte, subjugating much of continental Europe and establishing the First French Empire. The French Revolutionary Wars, French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of European and world history. After the collapse of the empire and a relative decline, France endured a tumultuous succession of governments culminating in the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870 in the midst of the Franco-Prussian War. France was one of the Triple Entente, prominent participants of World War I, from which it Treaty of Versailles, emerged victorious, and was one of the Allies of World War II, Allied powers in World War II, but came under German military administration in occupied France during World War II, occupation by the Axis powers, Axis in 1940. Following Free France#Liberation of France, liberation in 1944, a French Fourth Republic, Fourth Republic was established and later dissolved in the course of the Algerian War. The French Fifth Republic, Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, was formed in 1958 and remains to this day. Algeria and nearly all other French colonies became independent in the 1960s, with most retaining Françafrique, close economic and military connections with France. France retains its centuries-long status as a global centre of French art, art, List of French scientists, science, and List of French philosophers, philosophy. It hosts the world's List of World Heritage Sites in France, fifth-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is the leading tourist destination, receiving over 89 million foreign Tourism in France, visitors in 2018. France is a developed country with the world's List of countries by GDP (nominal), seventh-largest economy by nominal GDP, and the List of countries by GDP (PPP), tenth-largest by PPP. In terms of aggregate household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in International rankings of France, international rankings of Education Index, education, Health care in France, health care, List of countries by life expectancy, life expectancy, and Human Development Index, human development. It remains a great power in global affairs, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and an official List of states with nuclear weapons, nuclear-weapon state. France is a founding and Big Four (Western Europe), leading Member state of the European Union, member of the European Union and the Eurozone, and a member of the Group of Seven, Group of 7, NATO, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), OECD, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Trade Organization (WTO), and Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, La Francophonie.

Etymology and pronunciation

Originally applied to the whole Francia, Frankish Empire, the name ''France'' comes from the Latin , or "realm of the Franks". Modern France is still named today in Italian and Spanish, while in German, in Dutch and in Swedish all mean "Land/realm of the Franks". The name of the Franks is related to the English word ''frank'' ("free"): the latter stems from the Old French ''franc'' ("free, noble, sincere"), ultimately from Medieval Latin ''francus'' ("free, exempt from service; freeman, Frank"), a generalization of the tribal name that emerged as a Late Latin borrowing of the reconstructed Frankish language, Frankish endonym ''*Frank''. It has been suggested that the meaning "free" was adopted because, after the conquest of Gaul, only Franks were free of taxation, or more generally because they had the status of freemen in contrast to servants or slaves. The etymology of ''*Frank'' is uncertain. It is traditionally derived from the Proto-Germanic language, Proto-Germanic word , which translates as "javelin" or "lance" (the throwing axe of the Franks was known as the ''francisca''), although these weapons may have been named because of their use by the Franks, not the other way around. In English, 'France' is pronounced in American English and or in British English. The pronunciation with is mostly confined to accents with the trap-bath split such as Received Pronunciation, though it can be also heard in some other dialects such as Cardiff English, in which is in free variation with .


Prehistory (before the 6th century BC)

The oldest traces of human life in what is now France date from approximately 1.8 million years ago.Jean Carpentier (dir.), François Lebrun (dir.), Alain Tranoy, Élisabeth Carpentier et Jean-Marie Mayeur (préface de Jacques Le Goff), Histoire de France, Points Seuil, coll. " Histoire ", Paris, 2000 (1re éd. 1987), p. 17 Over the ensuing millennia, humans were confronted by a harsh and variable climate, marked by several glacial periods. Early hominids led a nomadic hunter-gatherer life. France has a large number of decorated caves from the Upper Paleolithic, upper Palaeolithic era, including one of the most famous and best preserved, Lascaux (approximately 18,000 BC). At the end of the Last Glacial Period, last glacial period (10,000 BC), the climate became milder; from approximately 7,000 BC, this part of Western Europe entered the Neolithic era and its inhabitants became Sedentism, sedentary. After strong demographic and agricultural development between the 4th and 3rd millennia, metallurgy appeared at the end of the 3rd millennium, initially working gold, copper and bronze, as well as later iron. France has numerous megalithic sites from the Neolithic period, including the exceptionally dense Carnac stones site (approximately 3,300 BC).

Antiquity (6th century BC–5th century AD)

In 600 BC, Ionian Greeks in pre-Roman Gaul, Greeks from Phocaea founded the Greek colonisation, colony of Massalia (present-day Marseille), on the shores of the
Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa, and on the ...
. This makes it France's oldest city. At the same time, some Gallic Celtic tribes penetrated parts of Eastern and Northern France, gradually spreading through the rest of the country between the 5th and 3rd century BC. The concept of Gaul emerged during this period, corresponding to the territories of Celtic settlement ranging between the , the Atlantic Ocean, the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean. The borders of modern France roughly correspond to ancient Gaul, which was inhabited by Celtic ''Gauls''. Gaul was then a prosperous country, of which the southernmost part was heavily subject to Greek and Roman cultural and economic influences. Around 390 BC, the Gallic Tribal chief, chieftain Brennus (4th century BC), Brennus and his troops made their way to Italy through the Alps, defeated the Romans in the Battle of the Allia, and besieged and ransomed Rome. The Gallic invasion left Rome weakened, and the Gauls continued to harass the region until 345 BC when they entered into a formal peace treaty with Rome. But the Romans and the Gauls would remain adversaries for the next centuries, and the Gauls would continue to be a threat in Roman Italy, Italy. Around 125 BC, the south of Gaul was conquered by the Romans, who called this region ''Gallia Narbonensis, Provincia Nostra'' ("Our Province"), which over time evolved into the name Provence in French. Julius Caesar conquered the remainder of Gaul and overcame a revolt carried out by the Gallic chieftain Vercingetorix in 52 BC. According to Plutarch and the writings of scholar Brendan Woods, the Gallic Wars resulted in 800 conquered cities, 300 subdued tribes, one million men sold into Slavery in ancient Rome, slavery, and another three million dead in battle. Gaul was divided by Augustus into Roman provinces.Carpentier ''et al.'' 2000, pp. 53–55. Many cities were founded during the Roman Gaul, Gallo-Roman period, including Lugdunum (present-day Lyon), which is considered the capital of the Gauls. These cities were built in traditional Roman style, with a Roman Forum, forum, a Roman theatre (structure), theatre, a Roman circus, circus, an amphitheatre and Spa, thermal baths. The Gauls mixed with Roman settlers and eventually adopted Roman culture and Romance languages, Roman speech (Latin, from which the French language evolved). The Religion in ancient Rome, Roman polytheism merged with the Ancient Celtic religion, Gallic paganism into the same syncretism. From the 250s to the 280s AD, Roman Gaul suffered a serious crisis with its Limes (Roman Empire), fortified borders being attacked on several occasions by barbarians.Carpentier et al. 2000, pp. 76–77 Nevertheless, the situation improved in the first half of the 4th century, which was a period of revival and prosperity for Roman Gaul. In 312, Emperor Constantine the Great, Constantin I converted to Christianity. Subsequently, Christians, who had been persecuted until then, increased rapidly across the entire Roman Empire. But, from the beginning of the 5th century, the Migration Period, Barbarian Invasions resumed. Teutonic tribes invaded the region from present-day Germany, the Visigoths settling in the southwest, the Burgundians along the Rhine River Valley, and the Franks (from whom the French take their name) in the north.

Early Middle Ages (5th–10th century)

At the end of the Late Antiquity, Antiquity period, ancient Gaul was divided into several Germanic kingdoms and a remaining Gallo-Roman territory, known as the Domain of Soissons, Kingdom of Syagrius. Simultaneously, Britons (historical), Celtic Britons, fleeing the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain, settled the western part of Armorica. As a result, the Armorican peninsula was renamed Brittany, Celts, Celtic culture was revived and independent petty kingdoms arose in this region. The first leader to make himself king of all the Franks was Clovis I, who began his reign in 481, routing the last forces of the Roman governors of the province in 486. Clovis claimed that he would be baptized a Christian in the event of his victory against the Visigothic Kingdom, Visigoths, which was said to have guaranteed the battle. Clovis Franco-Visigothic Wars, regained the southwest from the Visigoths, was baptized in 508, and made himself master of what is now western Germany. Clovis I was the first Germanic peoples, Germanic conqueror after the fall of the Roman Empire to convert to Catholic Christianity, rather than Arianism; thus France was given the title "Eldest daughter of the Church" (''french: La fille aînée de l'Église, links=no'') by the papacy, and French kings would be called "the Most Christian Kings of France" ('). The Franks embraced the Christian Gallo-Roman culture and ancient Gaul was eventually renamed ''Francia'' ("Land of the Franks"). The Germanic Franks adopted Romance languages, Romanic languages, except in northern Gaul where Roman settlements were less dense and where Germanic languages emerged. Clovis made Paris his capital and established the Merovingian dynasty, but his kingdom would not survive his death. The Franks treated land purely as a private possession and divided it among their heirs, so four kingdoms emerged from Clovis's: Paris, Orléans, Soissons, and Reims, Rheims. The Roi fainéant, last Merovingian kings Power behind the throne, lost power to their Mayor of the Palace, mayors of the palace (head of household). One mayor of the palace, Charles Martel, defeated an Islamic invasion of Gaul at the Battle of Tours (732) and earned respect and power within the Frankish kingdoms. His son, Pepin the Short, seized the crown of Francia from the weakened Merovingians and founded the Carolingian dynasty. Pepin's son, Charlemagne, reunited the Frankish kingdoms and built a vast empire across Western Europe, Western and Central Europe. Proclaimed Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Leo III and thus establishing in earnest the French Government's longtime History of Roman Catholicism in France, historical association with the Catholic Church, See drop-down essay on "Religion and Politics until the French Revolution" Charlemagne tried to revive the Western Roman Empire and its cultural grandeur. Charlemagne's son, Louis the Pious, Louis I (Emperor 814–840), kept the empire united; however, this Carolingian Empire would not survive his death. In 843, under the Treaty of Verdun, the empire was divided between Louis' three sons, with East Francia going to Louis the German, Middle Francia to Lothair I, and West Francia to Charles the Bald. West Francia approximated the area occupied by, and was the precursor to, modern France. During the 9th and 10th centuries, continually threatened by Viking expansion, Viking invasions, France became a very decentralized state: the nobility's titles and lands became hereditary, and the authority of the king became more religious than secular and thus was less effective and constantly challenged by powerful noblemen. Thus was established feudalism in France. Over time, some of the king's vassals would grow so powerful that they often posed a threat to the king. For example, after the Battle of Hastings in 1066, William the Conqueror added "King of England" to his titles, becoming both the vassal to (as Duke of Normandy) and the equal of (as king of England) the king of France, creating recurring tensions.

High and Late Middle Ages (10th–15th century)

The Carolingian dynasty ruled France until 987, when Hugh Capet, Duke of France and Count of Paris, was crowned List of French monarchs, King of the Franks. His descendantsthe House of Capet, Capetians, the House of Valois and the House of Bourbonprogressively unified the country through wars and dynastic inheritance into the Kingdom of France, which was fully declared in 1190 by Philip II of France (''Philippe Auguste''). Later kings would expand their directly possessed Crown lands of France, ''domaine royal'' to cover over half of modern continental France by the 15th century, including most of the north, centre and west of France. During this process, the royal authority became more and more assertive, centered on a Estates of the realm, hierarchically conceived society distinguishing French nobility, nobility, clergy, and Estates General (France), commoners. The French nobility played a prominent role in most Crusades to restore Christian access to the Holy Land. French knights made up the bulk of the steady flow of reinforcements throughout the two-hundred-year span of the Crusades, in such a fashion that the Arabs uniformly referred to the crusaders as ''Franj'' caring little whether they really came from France. The French Crusaders also imported the French language into the Levant, making Old French, French the base of the ''lingua franca'' (litt. "Frankish language") of the Crusader states. French knights also made up the majority in both the Knights Hospitaller, Hospital and the Knights Templar, Temple orders. The latter, in particular, held numerous properties throughout France and by the 13th century were the principal bankers for the French crown, until Philip IV of France, Philip IV annihilated the order in 1307. The Albigensian Crusade was launched in 1209 to eliminate the heretical Catharism, Cathars in the southwestern area of modern-day France. In the end, the Cathars were exterminated and the autonomous Counts of Toulouse, County of Toulouse was annexed into the crown lands of France. From the 11th century, the House of Plantagenet, the rulers of the County of Anjou, succeeded in establishing its dominion over the surrounding provinces of Maine (province), Maine and Touraine, then progressively built an "empire" that spanned from England to the Pyrenees and covering half of modern France. Tensions between the kingdom of France and the Angevin Empire, Plantagenet empire would last a hundred years, until Philip II of France conquered, between 1202 and 1214 most of the continental possessions of the empire, leaving England and Aquitaine to the Plantagenets. Following the Battle of Bouvines, the Angevin court retreated to England, but persistent Capetian–Plantagenet rivalry would pave the way for another conflict, the Hundred Years' War. Charles IV of France, Charles IV the Fair died without an heir in 1328.Albert Guerard, ''France: A Modern History'' (University of Michigan Press: Ann Arbor, 1959) pp. 100, 101. Under the rules of the Salic law the crown of France could not pass to a woman nor could the line of kingship pass through the female line. Accordingly, the crown passed to Philip of Valois, a cousin of Charles, rather than through the female line to Charles' nephew, Edward of Plantagenet, who would soon become Edward III of England. During the reign of Philip IV of France, Philip of Valois, the French monarchy reached the height of its medieval power. Philip's seat on the throne was contested by Edward III of England in 1337, on the eve of the first wave of the Black Death, and England and France went to war in what would become known as the Hundred Years' War. The exact boundaries changed greatly with time, but French landholdings of the List of English monarchs, English Kings remained extensive for decades. With charismatic leaders, such as Joan of Arc and La Hire, strong French counterattacks won back most English continental territories. Like the rest of Europe, France was struck by the Black Death; half of the 17 million population of France died.

Early modern period (15th century–1789)

:''Main articles: French Renaissance (c. 1400–c. 1650), Early modern France (1500–1789), French Wars of Religion (1562–1598) and Ancien Régime (c. 1400–1792)'' The French Renaissance saw a spectacular cultural development and the first standardisation of the French language, which would become the Ordinance of Villers-Cotterêts, official language of France and the language of Europe's aristocracy. It also saw a long set of wars, known as the Italian Wars, between France and the House of Habsburg. French explorers, such as Jacques Cartier or Samuel de Champlain, claimed lands in the Americas for France, paving the way for the expansion of the French colonial empire, First French colonial empire. The rise of Protestantism in Europe led France to a civil war known as the French Wars of Religion, where, in the most notorious incident, thousands of Huguenots were murdered in the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre of 1572. The Wars of Religion were ended by Henry IV of France, Henry IV's Edict of Nantes, which granted some freedom of religion to the Huguenots. Habsburg Spain, Spanish troops, the terror of Western Europe, assisted the Catholic side during the Wars of Religion in 1589–1594, and invaded northern France in 1597; after some skirmishing in the 1620s and 1630s, Spain and France returned to all-out war between 1635 and 1659. Franco-Spanish War (1635–1659), The war cost France 300,000 casualties. Under Louis XIII, the energetic Cardinal Richelieu promoted the centralisation of the state and reinforced the royal power by disarming domestic power holders in the 1620s. He systematically destroyed castles of defiant lords and denounced the use of private violence (dueling, carrying weapons and maintaining private armies). By the end of the 1620s, Richelieu established "the royal monopoly of force" as the doctrine. During Louis XIV's minority and the regency of Anne of Austria, Queen Anne and Cardinal Mazarin, a period of trouble known as the Fronde occurred in France. This rebellion was driven by the great feudal lords and sovereign courts as a reaction to the Absolutism (European history), rise of royal absolute power in France. The monarchy reached its peak during the 17th century and the reign of Louis XIV. By turning powerful feudal lords into courtiers at the Palace of Versailles, Louis XIV's personal power became unchallenged. Remembered for his numerous wars, he made France the leading European power. France became the Demographics of France, most populous country in Europe and had tremendous influence over European politics, economy, and culture. French became the most-used language in diplomacy, science, literature and international affairs, and remained so until the 20th century. France obtained many overseas possessions in the Americas, Africa and Asia. Louis XIV also Edict of Fontainebleau, revoked the Edict of Nantes, forcing thousands of Huguenots into exile. Under Louis XV, Louis XIV's great-grandson, France lost New France and most of its French India, Indian possessions after its defeat in the Seven Years' War (1756–1763). Its Metropolitan France, European territory kept growing, however, with notable acquisitions such as Lorraine (1766) and Corsica (1770). An unpopular king, Louis XV's weak rule, his ill-advised financial, political and military decisions as well as the debauchery of his court discredited the monarchy, which arguably paved the way for the French Revolution 15 years after his death. Louis XVI, Louis XV's grandson, actively France in the American Revolutionary War, supported the Americans, who were seeking their American Revolutionary War, independence from Great Britain (realised in the Treaty of Paris (1783), 1783 Treaty of Paris). The financial crisis aggravated by France's involvement in the American Revolutionary War was one of many contributing factors to the French Revolution. Much of the Age of Enlightenment, Enlightenment occurred in French intellectual circles, and major scientific breakthroughs and inventions, such as the Antoine Lavoisier, discovery of oxygen (1778) and the first Montgolfier brothers, hot air balloon carrying passengers (1783), were achieved by French scientists. French explorers, such as Louis Antoine de Bougainville, Bougainville and Jean-François de Galaup, comte de Lapérouse, Lapérouse, took part in the European and American voyages of scientific exploration, voyages of scientific exploration through maritime expeditions around the globe. The Enlightenment philosophy, in which Rationalism, reason is advocated as the primary source for Legitimacy (political), legitimacy and authority, undermined the power of and support for the monarchy and helped pave the way for the French Revolution.

Revolutionary France (1789–1799)

Facing financial troubles, King Louis XVI of France, Louis XVI summoned the Estates-General of 1789, Estates-General (gathering the three Estates of the realm) in May 1789 to propose solutions to his government. As it came to an impasse, the representatives of the Commoner, Third Estate formed into a National Assembly (French Revolution), National Assembly, signalling the outbreak of the French Revolution. Fearing that the king would suppress the newly created National Assembly, insurgents Storming of the Bastille, stormed the Bastille on 14 July 1789, a date which would become Bastille Day, France's National Day. In early August 1789, the National Constituent Assembly (France), National Constituent Assembly August Decrees, abolished the privileges of the French nobility, nobility such as Serfdom, personal serfdom and exclusive hunting rights. Through the Declaration of the Rights of the Man and of the Citizen of 1789, Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (27 August 1789) France established fundamental rights for men. The Declaration affirms "the natural and imprescriptible rights of man" to "liberty, property, security and resistance to oppression". Freedom of speech and press were declared, and arbitrary arrests outlawed. It called for the destruction of aristocratic privileges and proclaimed freedom and equal rights for all men, as well as access to public office based on talent rather than birth. In November 1789, the Assembly decided to nationalise and sell all property of the Catholic Church, Roman Catholic Church which had been the largest landowner in the country. In July 1790, a Civil Constitution of the Clergy reorganized the French Catholic Church, cancelling the authority of the Church to levy taxes, et cetera. This fueled much discontent in parts of France, which would contribute to the civil war breaking out some years later. While King Louis XVI still enjoyed popularity among the population, his disastrous flight to Varennes (June 1791) seemed to justify rumors he had tied his hopes of political salvation to the prospects of foreign invasion. His credibility was so deeply undermined that the Abolition of monarchy, abolition of the monarchy and establishment of a republic became an increasing possibility. In August 1791, the Emperor of Habsburg Monarchy, Austria and the King of Kingdom of Prussia, Prussia in the Declaration of Pillnitz threatened revolutionary France to intervene by force of arms to restore the French absolute monarchy. In September 1791, the National Constituent Assembly forced King Louis XVI to accept the French Constitution of 1791, thus turning the French absolute monarchy into a Kingdom of France (1791–92), constitutional monarchy. In the newly established Legislative Assembly (France), Legislative Assembly (October 1791), enmity developed and deepened between a group, later called the 'Girondins', who favored war with Habsburg Monarchy, Austria and Kingdom of Prussia, Prussia, and a group later called 'The Mountain, Montagnards' or 'Jacobins', who opposed such a war. A majority in the Legislative Assembly (France), Assembly in 1792 however saw a war with Austria and Prussia as a chance to boost the popularity of the revolutionary government, and thought that France would win a war against those gathered monarchies. On 20 April 1792, therefore, they French Revolutionary Wars, declared war on Austria. On 10 August 1792, an angry crowd Insurrection of 10 August 1792, threatened the palace of King Louis XVI, who took refuge in the Legislative Assembly. A Prussian Army invaded France later in August 1792. In early September, Parisians, infuriated by French Revolutionary Wars, the Prussian Army capturing Verdun and counter-revolutionary uprisings in the west of France, September Massacres, murdered between 1,000 and 1,500 prisoners by raiding the Parisian prisons. The Legislative Assembly (France), Assembly and the Paris Commune (French Revolution), Paris City Council seemed unable to stop that bloodshed. The National Convention, chosen in the first elections under male universal suffrage, Noah Shusterman – ''De Franse Revolutie (The French Revolution).'' Veen Media, Amsterdam, 2015. (Translation of: ''The French Revolution. Faith, Desire, and Politics.'' Routledge, London/New York, 2014.) Chapter 5 (p. 187–221) : The end of the monarchy and the September Murders (summer–fall 1792). on 20 September 1792 succeeded the Legislative Assembly (France), Legislative Assembly and on 21 September abolished the monarchy by proclaiming the French First Republic. Ex-King Louis XVI was Trial of Louis XVI, convicted of treason and Execution of Louis XVI, guillotined in January 1793. France had declared war on Great Britain and the Dutch Republic in November 1792 and did the same on Spain in March 1793; in the spring of 1793, Austria and Prussia invaded France; in March, France created a "sister republic" in the "Republic of Mainz". Also in March 1793, the War in the Vendée, civil war of the Vendée against Paris started, evoked by both the Civil Constitution of the Clergy of 1790 and the nationwide army conscription early 1793; elsewhere in France rebellion was brewing too. A factionalist feud in the National Convention, smoldering ever since October 1791, came to a climax with the group of the 'Girondins' on 2 June 1793 being forced to resign and leave the convention. The counter-revolution, begun in March 1793 in the Vendée, by July had spread to Brittany (administrative region), Brittany, Normandy, Bordeaux, Marseilles, Toulon, and Lyon. Paris' Convention government between October and December 1793 with brutal measures managed to subdue most internal uprisings, at the cost of tens of thousands of lives. Some historians consider the civil war to have lasted until 1796 with a toll of possibly 450,000 lives. By the end of 1793 the allies had been driven from France. France in February 1794 Abolitionism, abolished slavery in its French colonial empire, American colonies, but would reintroduce it later. Political disagreements and enmity in the National Convention between October 1793 and July 1794 reached unprecedented levels, leading to dozens of Convention members being sentenced to death and guillotined. Meanwhile, French Revolutionary Wars, France's external wars in 1794 were going prosperous, for example in Belgium. In 1795, the government seemed to return to indifference towards the desires and needs of the lower classes concerning freedom of (Catholic Church, Catholic) religion and fair distribution of food. Until 1799, politicians, apart from inventing a new parliamentary system (the 'French Directory, Directory'), busied themselves with dissuading the people from Catholic Church, Catholicism and from royalism.

Napoleon and 19th century (1799–1914)

Napoleon, Napoleon Bonaparte Coup of 18 Brumaire, seized control of the Republic in 1799 becoming French Consulate, First Consul and later Constitution of the Year XII, Emperor of the First French Empire, French Empire (1804–1814; 1815). As a continuation of French Revolutionary Wars, the wars sparked by the European monarchies against the French Republic, changing sets of Coalition Wars, European Coalitions declared Napoleonic Wars, wars on Napoleon's Empire. His armies conquered most of continental Europe with swift victories such as the Battle of Jena-Auerstadt, battles of Jena-Auerstadt or Battle of Austerlitz, Austerlitz. Members of the House of Bonaparte, Bonaparte family were appointed as monarchs in some of the newly established kingdoms. These victories led to the worldwide expansion of French revolutionary ideals and reforms, such as the metric system, the Napoleonic Code and the Declaration of the Rights of Man. In June 1812, Napoleon attacked Russia, reaching Moscow. Thereafter his army disintegrated through supply problems, disease, Russian attacks, and finally winter. After the catastrophic French invasion of Russia, Russian campaign, and the ensuing War of the Sixth Coalition, uprising of European monarchies against his rule, Napoleon was defeated and the Bourbon monarchy Bourbon Restoration in France, restored. About a million Frenchmen Napoleonic Wars casualties, died during the Napoleonic Wars. After his Hundred Days, brief return from exile, Napoleon was finally defeated in 1815 at the Battle of Waterloo, the monarchy was Bourbon Restoration in France, re-established (1815–1830), with new constitutional limitations. The discredited Bourbon dynasty was overthrown by the July Revolution of 1830, which established the constitutional July Monarchy. In that year, French troops conquered Algeria, establishing the first colonial presence in Africa since Napoleon's abortive French campaign in Egypt and Syria, invasion of Egypt in 1798. In 1848 general unrest led to the French Revolution of 1848, February Revolution and the end of the July Monarchy. The abolition of slavery and introduction of male universal suffrage, which were briefly enacted during the French Revolution, were re-enacted in 1848. In 1852, the president of the French Republic, Napoleon III, Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, Napoleon I's nephew, was proclaimed emperor of the Second French Empire, Second Empire, as Napoleon III. He multiplied French interventions abroad, especially in Crimean War, Crimea, in French intervention in Mexico, Mexico and Second Italian War of Independence, Italy which resulted in the annexation of the Duchy of Savoy and the County of Nice, then part of the Kingdom of Sardinia. Napoleon III was unseated following defeat in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 and his regime was replaced by the French Third Republic, Third Republic. By 1875, the French conquest of Algeria was complete and approximately 825,000 Algerians were killed as a result. France had French colonial empire, colonial possessions, in various forms, since the beginning of the 17th century, but in the 19th and 20th centuries, its List of largest empires, global overseas colonial empire extended greatly and became the second largest in the world behind the British Empire. Including metropolitan France, the total area of land under French sovereignty almost reached 13 million square kilometers in the 1920s and 1930s, 8.6% of the world's land. Known as the ''Belle Époque'', the turn of the century was a period characterised by optimism, regional peace, economic prosperity and technological, scientific and cultural innovations. In 1905, state secularism was 1905 French law on the Separation of the Churches and the State, officially established.

Contemporary period (1914–present)

France was a member of the Triple Entente when World War I broke out. A small part of Northern France was occupied, but France and its allies emerged victorious against the Central Powers at a tremendous human and material cost. World War I left 1.4 million French soldiers dead, 4% of its population. Between 27 and 30% of soldiers conscripted from 1912 to 1915 were killed. The interbellum years were marked by Events preceding World War II in Europe, intense international tensions and a variety of social reforms introduced by the Popular Front (France), Popular Front government (annual leave, Eight-hour day, eight-hour workdays, women in government). In 1940, France was Battle of France, invaded and occupied by Nazi Germany and Kingdom of Italy, Italy. Metropolitan France was divided into a German military administration in occupied France during World War II, German occupation zone in the north, an Italian occupation of France, Italian occupation zone in the southeast and Vichy France, a newly established authoritarian regime collaborating with Germany, in the south, while Free France, the government-in-exile led by Charles de Gaulle, was set up in London. From 1942 to 1944, about 160,000 French citizens, including around The Holocaust in France, 75,000 Jews, were deported to extermination camps, death camps and concentration camps in Germany and occupied Poland. In September 1943, Corsica was the first French metropolitan territory to liberate itself from the Axis. On 6 June 1944, the Allies of World War II, Allies Invasion of Normandy, invaded Normandy and in August they Operation Dragoon, invaded Provence. Over the following year the Allies and the French Resistance emerged victorious over the Axis powers and French sovereignty was restored with the establishment of the Provisional Government of the French Republic (GPRF). This interim government, established by de Gaulle, aimed to continue to Western Allied invasion of Germany, wage war against Germany and to Épuration légale, purge collaborators from office. It also made several important reforms (suffrage extended to women, creation of a Social security in France, social security system). The GPRF laid the groundwork for a new constitutional order that resulted in the French Fourth Republic, Fourth Republic, which saw spectacular economic growth (''les Trente Glorieuses''). France was one of the founding members of NATO (1949). France attempted to First Indochina War, regain control of French Indochina but was defeated by the Viet Minh in 1954 at the climactic Battle of Dien Bien Phu. Only months later, France faced another anti-colonialist Algerian War, conflict in Algeria. The systematic torture and repression, as well as the extrajudicial killings that were perpetrated to keep control of French Algeria, Algeria, then considered as an integral part of France and home to over one million Pied-Noir, European settlers, wracked the country and nearly led to a coup and civil war. In 1958, the weak and unstable Fourth Republic gave way to the French Fifth Republic, Fifth Republic, which included a strengthened Presidency. In the latter role, Charles de Gaulle managed to keep the country together while taking steps to end the Algerian War. The war was concluded with the Évian Accords in 1962 that led to Algerian independence. The Algerian independence came at a high price: namely, the large toll on the Algerian population. It resulted in half million to a million deaths and over 2 million internally displaced Algerians. A vestige of the colonial empire are the Overseas France, French overseas departments and territories. In the context of the Cold War, De Gaulle pursued a policy of "national independence" towards the Western Bloc, Western and Eastern blocs. To this end, he withdrew from NATO's military integrated command (while remaining in the NATO alliance itself), launched a Force de dissuasion, nuclear development programme and made France the France and weapons of mass destruction, fourth nuclear power. He Élysée Treaty, restored cordial France–Germany relations, Franco-German relations to create a European counterweight between the American and Soviet spheres of influence. However, he opposed any development of a Supranational union, supranational Europe, favouring a Europe of Sovereign state, sovereign nations. In the wake of the series of worldwide protests of 1968, the May 1968 in France, revolt of May 1968 had an enormous social impact. In France, it is considered to be the watershed moment when a conservative moral ideal (religion, patriotism, respect for authority) shifted towards a more liberal moral ideal (secularism, individualism, sexual revolution). Although the revolt was a political failure (as the Gaullism, Gaullist party emerged even stronger than before) it announced a split between the French people and de Gaulle who resigned shortly after. In the post-Gaullist era, France remained one of the most developed List of countries by GDP (nominal), economies in the world, but faced several economic crises that resulted in high unemployment rates and increasing public debt. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries France has been at the forefront of the development of a supranational European Union, notably by signing the Maastricht Treaty (which created the European Union) in 1992, establishing the Eurozone in 1999 and signing the Treaty of Lisbon, Lisbon Treaty in 2007. France has also gradually but fully reintegrated into NATO and has since participated in most NATO sponsored wars. Since the 19th century France has received many Immigration to France, immigrants. These have been mostly male foreign workers from European Catholic countries who generally returned home when not employed.Marie-Christine Weidmann-Koop, Rosalie Vermette, "France at the dawn of the twenty-first century, trends and transformations"
p. 160
/ref> During the 1970s France faced economic crisis and allowed new immigrants (mostly from the Maghreb) to permanently Family reunification, settle in France with their families and to acquire French citizenship. It resulted in hundreds of thousands of Muslims (especially in the larger cities) living in subsidised public housing and suffering from very high unemployment rates. Simultaneously France renounced the Assimilation (sociology), assimilation of immigrants, where they were expected to adhere to French traditional values and cultural norms. They were encouraged to retain their distinctive cultures and traditions and required merely to Social integration, integrate. Since the 1995 Paris Métro and RER bombings, France has been sporadically targeted by Islamist organisations, notably the January 2015 Île-de-France attacks, ''Charlie Hebdo'' attack in January 2015 which provoked the Republican marches, largest public rallies in French history, gathering 4.4 million people, the November 2015 Paris attacks which resulted in 130 deaths, the deadliest attack on French soil since World War II and the deadliest in the European Union since the 2004 Madrid train bombings, Madrid train bombings in 2004, as well as the 2016 Nice truck attack, which caused 87 deaths during Bastille Day celebrations. Opération Chammal, France's military efforts to contain Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIS, killed over 1,000 ISIS troops between 2014 and 2015.


Location and borders

The vast majority of France's territory and population is situated in Western Europe and is called Metropolitan France, to distinguish it from the country's various overseas polities. It is bordered by the
North Sea The North Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean located between Great Britain (England and Scotland), Denmark, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and France. An epeiric sea, epeiric (or "shelf") sea on the European continental shelf, it conn ...
in the north, the
English Channel The English Channel,, "The Sleeve"; nrf, la Maunche, "The Sleeve" ( Cotentinais) or (Jèrriais), (Guernésiais), "The Channel"; br, Mor Breizh, "Sea of Brittany"; cy, Môr Udd, "Lord's Sea"; kw, Mor Bretannek, "British Sea"; nl, Het Kan ...

English Channel
in the northwest, the Atlantic Ocean in the west and the Mediterranean sea in the southeast. Its land borders consist of Belgium and Luxembourg in the northeast, Germany and Switzerland in the east, Italy and Monaco in the southeast, and Andorra and Spain in the south and southwest. With the exception of the northeast, most of France's land borders are roughly delineated by natural boundaries and geographic features: to the south and southeast, the Pyrenees and the Alps and the Jura, respectively, and to the east, the Rhine river. Due to its shape, France is often referred to as ' ("The Hexagon"). Metropolitan France includes various coastal islands, of which the largest is Corsica. Metropolitan France is situated mostly between latitudes 41st parallel north, 41° and 51st parallel north, 51° N, and longitudes 6th meridian west, 6° W and 10th meridian east, 10° E, on the western edge of Europe, and thus lies within the northern temperateness, temperate zone. Its continental part covers about 1000 km from north to south and from east to west. France has several Overseas departments and territories of France, overseas regions across the world, which are organized as follows: * In South America: French Guiana. * In the Atlantic Ocean: Saint Pierre and Miquelon and, in the Antilles: Guadeloupe, Martinique, Collectivity of Saint Martin, Saint Martin and Saint Barthélemy. * In the Pacific Ocean: French Polynesia, the special collectivity of New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna and Clipperton Island. * In the Indian Ocean: Réunion island, Mayotte, Kerguelen Islands, Crozet Islands, Île Saint-Paul, St. Paul and Île Amsterdam, Amsterdam islands, and the Scattered Islands in the Indian Ocean * In the Antarctic: Adélie Land. France has land borders with Brazil and Suriname via French Guiana and with the Kingdom of the Netherlands through the French portion of Saint Martin (island), Saint Martin. Metropolitan France covers , the largest among European Union members. France's total land area, with its overseas departments and territories (excluding Adélie Land), is , 0.45% of the total land area on Earth. France possesses a wide variety of landscapes, from coastal plains in the north and west to mountain ranges of the Alps in the southeast, the Massif Central in the south central and Pyrenees in the southwest. Due to its numerous Overseas departments and territories of France, overseas departments and territories scattered across the planet, France possesses the second-largest Exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the world, covering 11,035,000 km2 (4,260,000 mi2), just behind the EEZ of the United States, which covers 11,351,000 km2 (4,383,000 mi2), but ahead of the EEZ of Australia, which covers 8,148,250 km2 (4,111,312 mi2). Its EEZ covers approximately 8% of the total surface of all the EEZs of the world.

Geology, topography and hydrography

Metropolitan France has a wide variety of topographical sets and natural landscapes. Large parts of the current territory of France were raised during several tectonic episodes like the Hercynian uplift in the Paleozoic Era, during which the Armorican Massif, the Massif Central, the Morvan, the Vosges and Ardennes ranges and the island of Corsica were formed. These massifs delineate several sedimentary basins such as the Aquitaine basin in the southwest and the Paris basin in the north, the latter including several areas of particularly fertile ground such as the silt beds of Beauce and Brie. Various routes of natural passage, such as the Rhône Valley, allow easy communications. The Alpine, Pyrenean and Jura mountains are much younger and have less eroded forms. At above sea level, Mont Blanc, located in the Alps on the French and Italian border, is the highest point in Western Europe. Although 60% of municipalities are classified as having seismic risks, these risks remain moderate. The coastlines offer contrasting landscapes: mountain ranges along the French Riviera, coastal cliffs such as the Côte d'Albâtre, and wide sandy plains in the Languedoc. Corsica lies off the Mediterranean coast. France has an extensive river system consisting of the four major rivers Seine, the Loire, the Garonne, the Rhône and their tributaries, whose combined catchment includes over 62% of the metropolitan territory. The Rhône divides the Massif Central from the Alps and flows into the Mediterranean Sea at the Camargue. The Garonne meets the Dordogne (river), Dordogne just after Bordeaux, forming the Gironde estuary, the largest estuary in Western Europe which after approximately 100 kilometres (62 mi) empties into the Atlantic Ocean. Other water courses drain towards the Meuse and Rhine along the north-eastern borders. France has of marine waters within three oceans under its jurisdiction, of which 97% are overseas.


The French metropolitan territory is relatively large, so the climate is not uniform, giving rise to the following climate nuances: • The hot-summer mediterranean climate (''Csa'') is found along the Gulf of Lion. Summers are hot and dry, while winters are mild and wet. Cities affected by this climate: Arles, Avignon, Fréjus, Hyères, Marseille, Menton, Montpellier, Nice, Perpignan, Toulon. • The warm-summer mediterranean climate (''Csb'') is found in the northern part of Brittany. Summers are warm and dry, while winters are cool and wet. Cities affected by this climate: Belle Île, Saint-Brieuc. • The humid subtropical climate (''Cfa'') is found in the Garonne and Rhône's inland plains. Summers are hot and wet, while winters are cool and damp. Cities affected by this climate: Albi, Carcassonne, Lyon, Orange, Vaucluse, Orange, Toulouse, Valence, Drôme, Valence. • The oceanic climate (''Cfb'') is found around the coasts of the Bay of Biscay, and a little bit inland. Summers are pleasantly warm and wet, while winters are cool and damp. Cities affected by this climate: Amiens, Biarritz, Bordeaux, Brest, France, Brest, Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, Dunkirk, Lille, Nantes, Orléans, Paris, Reims, Tours. • The Oceanic climate, degraded oceanic climate (degraded-''Cfb'') is found in the interior plains and in the intra-alpine valleys, far from the ocean (or sea). Summers are hot and wet, while winters are cold and gloomy. Cities affected by this climate: Annecy, Besançon, Bourges, Chambéry, Clermont-Ferrand, Colmar, Dijon, Grenoble, Langres, Metz, Mulhouse, Nancy, France, Nancy, Strasbourg. • The Subpolar oceanic climate, subalpine oceanic climate (''Cfc'') is found at the foot of all the mountainous regions of France. Summers are short, cool and wet, while winters are moderately cold and damp. No major cities are affected by this climate. • The Warm-summer humid continental climate, warm-summer mediterranean continental climate (''Dsb'') is found in all the mountainous regions of Southern France between 700 and 1,400 metres a.s.l. Summers are pleasantly warm and dry, while winters are very cold and snowy. City affected by this climate: Barcelonnette. • The Subarctic climate, cool-summer mediterranean continental climate (''Dsc'') is found in all the mountainous regions of Southern France between 1,400 and 2,100 metres a.s.l. Summers are cool, short and dry, while winters are very cold and snowy. Place affected by this climate: Isola 2000. • The warm-summer humid continental climate (''Dfb'') is found in all the mountainous regions of the Northern half of France between 500 and 1,000 metres a.s.l. Summers are pleasantly warm and wet, while winters are very cold and snowy. Cities affected by this climate: Chamonix, Mouthe. In January 1985, in Mouthe, the temperature has dropped under −41 °C. • The Subarctic climate, subalpine climate (''Dfc'') is found in all the mountainous regions of the northern half of France between 1,000 and 2,000 metres a.s.l. Summers are cool, short and wet, while winters are very cold and snowy. Places affected by this climate: Cauterets Courchevel, Alpe d'Huez, Les 2 Alpes, Peyragudes, Val-Thorens. • The Tundra climate, alpine tundra climate (''ET'') is found in all the mountainous regions of France, generally above 2,000 or 2,500 metres a.s.l. Summers are chilly and wet, while winters are extremely cold, long and snowy. Mountains affected by this climate: French Alps, Aiguilles-Rouges, French Alps, Aravis, the top of Jura mountains, Crêt de la neige (rare, altitude 1,718 m) and the top of Vosges, Grand-Ballon (rare, altitude 1,423 m). • The ice cap climate (''EF'') is found in all the mountainous regions of France that have a glacier. Summers are cold and wet, while winters are extremely cold, long and snowy. Mountains affected by this climate: Aiguille du midi, Barre des Écrins, French Alps, Belledonne, French Alps, Grand-Casse, Mont Blanc (4,810 m), Pic du Midi de Bigorre. • In the Overseas France, overseas regions, there are three broad types of climate: ** A tropical climate (''Am'') in most overseas regions including eastern French Guiana: high constant temperature throughout the year with a dry and a wet season. ** An equatorial climate (''Af'') in western French Guiana: high constant temperature with even precipitation throughout the year. ** A subpolar oceanic climate (''Cfc''), characterised by mild, wet summers and cool, but generally not cold, damp winters. Cities or places affected by this climate: Port-aux-Français, Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon. ** An ice cap climate (''EF''): extremely cold year-round in Adélie Land.


France was one of the first countries to create an environment ministry, in 1971. Although it is one of the most industrialised countries in the world, France is ranked List of countries by carbon dioxide emissions, only 19th by carbon dioxide emissions, behind less populous nations such as Canada or Australia. This is due to the country's heavy investment in nuclear power following the 1973 oil crisis, which now accounts for 75 percent of its electricity production and results in less pollution. According to the 2018 Environmental Performance Index conducted by Yale and Columbia University, Columbia, France was the second-most environmentally-conscious country in the world (after Switzerland), compared to tenth place in 2016 and 27th in 2014. Like all European Union state members, France agreed to cut carbon emissions by at least 20% of 1990 levels by the year 2020, compared to the United States plan to reduce emissions by 4% of 1990 levels. , French carbon dioxide emissions per capita were lower than that of China's. The country was set to impose a carbon tax in 2009 at 17 euros per tonne of carbon emitted, which would have raised 4 billion euros of revenue annually. However, the plan was abandoned due to fears of burdening French businesses. Forests account for 31 percent of France's land area—the fourth-highest proportion in Europe—representing an increase of 7 percent since 1990. French forests are some of the most diverse in Europe, comprising more than 140 species of trees. France had a 2018 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 4.52/10, ranking it 123rd globally out of 172 countries. There are nine national parks and 46 Protected area, natural parks in France, with the government planning to convert 20% of its Exclusive economic zone into a Marine protected area by 2020. A regional nature park (french: parc naturel régional, links=no or PNR) is a public establishment in France between local authorities and the Government of France, national government covering an inhabited rural area of outstanding beauty, to protect the scenery and heritage as well as setting up sustainable economic development in the area. A PNR sets goals and guidelines for managed human habitation, sustainable economic development and protection of the natural environment based on each park's unique landscape and heritage. The parks foster ecological research programs and public education in the natural sciences. there are 54 PNRs in France.

Administrative divisions

The French Republic is divided into 18 Regions of France, regions (located in Europe and overseas), five Overseas collectivities of France, overseas collectivities, one Overseas territory (France), overseas territory, one special collectivity – New Caledonia and one uninhabited island directly under the authority of the Minister of Overseas France – Clipperton Island, Clipperton.


Since 2016 France is mainly divided into 18 administrative regions: 13 regions in metropolitan France (including the territorial collectivity of Corsica), and five located overseas region, overseas. The regions are further subdivided into 101 Departments of France, departments, which are numbered mainly alphabetically. This number is used in postal codes and was formerly used on vehicle number plates. Among the 101 departments of France, five ( French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, and Réunion) are in overseas regions (ROMs) that are also simultaneously overseas departments (DOMs), enjoy exactly the same status as metropolitan departments and are an integral part of the European Union. The 101 departments are subdivided into 335 Arrondissements of France, arrondissements, which are, in turn, subdivided into 2,054 Cantons of France, cantons. These cantons are then divided into 36,658 Communes of France, communes, which are municipalities with an elected municipal council. Three communes—Paris, Lyon and Marseille—are subdivided into 45 Municipal arrondissements of France, municipal arrondissements. The regions, departments and communes are all known as territorial collectivity, territorial collectivities, meaning they possess local assemblies as well as an executive. Arrondissements and cantons are merely administrative divisions. However, this was not always the case. Until 1940, the arrondissements were territorial collectivities with an elected assembly, but these were suspended by the Vichy France, Vichy regime and definitely abolished by the French Fourth Republic, Fourth Republic in 1946.

Overseas territories and collectivities

In addition to the 18 regions and 101 departments, the French Republic has five overseas collectivity, overseas collectivities (French Polynesia, Saint Barthélemy, Collectivity of Saint Martin, Saint Martin, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, and Wallis and Futuna), one ''sui generis'' collectivity (New Caledonia), one overseas territory (France), overseas territory (French Southern and Antarctic Lands), and one island possession in the Pacific Ocean (Clipperton Island). Overseas collectivities and territories form part of the French Republic, but do not form part of the European Union or its fiscal area (with the exception of St. Bartelemy, which seceded from Guadeloupe in 2007). The Pacific Collectivities (COMs) of French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna, and New Caledonia continue to use the CFP franc whose value is strictly linked to that of the euro. In contrast, the five overseas regions used the French franc and now use the euro.



The French Republic is a Unitary state, unitary Semi-presidential system, semi-presidential representative democratic republic with strong democratic traditions. The Constitution of the Fifth Republic was approved by 1958 French constitutional referendum, referendum on 28 September 1958. It greatly strengthened the authority of the executive in relation to Parliament. The executive branch itself has two leaders. The President of France, President of the Republic, currently Emmanuel Macron, is the head of state, elected directly by universal adult suffrage for a 5-year term (formerly 7 years). The Prime Minister of France, Prime Minister, currently Jean Castex, is the head of government, appointed by the President of the Republic to lead the Government of France. The French Parliament is a Bicameralism, bicameral legislature comprising a National Assembly (France), National Assembly (''Assemblée nationale'') and a Senate (France), Senate. The National Assembly deputies represent local constituencies and are directly elected for 5-year terms. The Assembly has the power to dismiss the government; thus the majority in the Assembly determines the choice of government. Senators are chosen by an electoral college for 6-year terms (originally 9-year terms); one half of the seats are submitted to election every 3 years. The Senate's legislative powers are limited; in the event of disagreement between the two chambers, the National Assembly has the final say. The Government has a strong influence in shaping the agenda of Parliament. Until World War II, Radicalism (historical), Radicals were a strong political force in France, embodied by the Republican, Radical and Radical-Socialist Party which was the most important party of the Third Republic. Since World War II, they were marginalized while French politics became characterized by two politically opposed groupings: one left-wing, centred on the French Section of the Workers' International and its successor the Socialist Party (France), Socialist Party (since 1969); and the other right-wing, centred on the Gaullist Party, whose name changed over time to the Rally of the French People (1947), the Union of Democrats for the Republic (1958), the Rally for the Republic (1976), the Union for a Popular Movement (2007) and The Republicans (France), The Republicans (since 2015). In the 2017 presidential and legislative elections, Radical centrism, radical centrist party En Marche! became the dominant force, overtaking both Socialists and Republicans. As of 2017, voter turnout was 75 percent during recent elections, higher than the OECD average of 68 percent.


France uses a civil law (legal system), civil legal system, wherein law arises primarily from written statutes; judges are not to make law, but merely to interpret it (though the amount of judicial interpretation in certain areas makes it equivalent to case law in a common law system). Basic principles of the rule of law were laid in the Napoleonic Code (which was, in turn, largely based on the royal law codified under Louis XIV of France, Louis XIV). In agreement with the principles of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, law should only prohibit actions detrimental to society. As Guy Canivet, first president of the Court of Cassation (France), Court of Cassation, wrote about the management of prisons: ''Freedom is the rule, and its restriction is the exception; any restriction of Freedom must be provided for by Law and must follow the principles of necessity and proportionality.'' That is, Law should lay out prohibitions only if they are needed, and if the inconveniences caused by this restriction do not exceed the inconveniences that the prohibition is supposed to remedy. French law is divided into two principal areas: private law and public law. Private law includes, in particular, civil law (common law), civil law and criminal law. Public law includes, in particular, administrative law and constitutional law. However, in practical terms, French law comprises three principal areas of law: civil law, criminal law, and administrative law. Criminal laws can only address the future and not the past (criminal ''Ex post facto law, ex post facto'' laws are prohibited). While administrative law is often a subcategory of civil law in many countries, it is completely separated in France and each body of law is headed by a specific supreme court: ordinary courts (which handle criminal and civil litigation) are headed by the Court of Cassation (France), Court of Cassation and administrative courts are headed by the Conseil d'Etat (France), Council of State. To be applicable, every law must be officially published in the ''Journal officiel de la République française''. France does not recognise religious law as a motivation for the enactment of prohibitions; it has long abolished blasphemy laws and sodomy laws (the latter in 1791). However, "offences against Decency, public decency" (''contraires aux bonnes mœurs'') or breach of the peace, disturbing public order (''trouble à l'ordre public'') have been used to repress public expressions of homosexuality or street prostitution. Since 1999, Pacte civil de solidarité, civil unions for homosexual couples are permitted, and since 2013, same-sex marriage and LGBT adoption are legal. Laws prohibiting discriminatory speech in the press are Law on the Freedom of the Press of 29 July 1881, as old as 1881. Some consider hate speech laws in France to be too broad or severe, undermining freedom of speech. France has laws against racism and antisemitism, while the 1990 Gayssot Act prohibits Holocaust denial. Freedom of religion in France, Freedom of religion is constitutionally guaranteed by the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. The 1905 French law on the Separation of the Churches and the State is the basis for ''laïcité'' (state secularism): the state does not formally recognize any religion, Concordat in Alsace-Moselle, except in Alsace-Moselle. Nonetheless, it does recognize religious associations. The Parliament has Groups referred to as cults in government reports#France, listed many religious movements as dangerous cults since 1995, and has French law on secularity and conspicuous religious symbols in schools, banned wearing conspicuous religious symbols in schools since 2004. In 2010, it banned the French ban on face covering, wearing of face-covering Islamic veils in public; human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch described the law as discriminatory towards Muslims. However, it is supported by most of the population.

Foreign relations

France is a founding member of the United Nations and serves as one of the Permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, permanent members of the UN Security Council with veto rights. In 2015, France was described as being "the best networked state in the world", because it is a country that "is member of more multi-lateral organisations than any other country". France is a member of the G8, World Trade Organization (WTO), the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Indian Ocean Commission (COI). It is an associate member of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) and a leading member of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, International Francophone Organisation (OIF) of 84 fully or partly French-speaking countries. As a significant hub for international relations, France hosts the List of diplomatic missions of France, second largest assembly of diplomatic missions in the world and the headquarters of international organization, international organisations including the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD, UNESCO, Interpol, the International Bureau of Weights and Measures, and ''Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, la Francophonie''. Postwar French foreign policy has been largely shaped by membership of the European Union, of which it was a Inner Six, founding member. Since the Élysée Treaty, 1960s, France has developed close ties with reunified Germany to become the France–Germany relations, most influential driving force of the EU. In the 1960s, France sought to exclude the British from the European unification process, seeking to build its own standing in continental Europe. However, since 1904, France has maintained an "Entente cordiale" with the United Kingdom, and there has been a strengthening of links between the countries, especially Defence and Security Co-operation Treaty, militarily. France is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), but under President de Gaulle, it excluded itself from the joint military command to protest the Special Relationship between the United States and Britain and to preserve the independence of French foreign and security policies. However, as a result of Nicolas Sarkozy's ''pro-American'' politics (much criticised in France by the leftists and by a part of the right), France re-joined the NATO joint military command on 4 April 2009. In the early 1990s, the country drew considerable criticism from other nations for its underground nuclear tests in French Polynesia. France vigorously opposed the Iraq War, 2003 invasion of Iraq, straining bilateral relations with the United States and the United Kingdom. France retains strong political and economic influence in its Second French colonial empire, former African colonies (''Françafrique'') and has supplied economic aid and troops for peacekeeping missions in Ivory Coast and Chad. Recently, after the unilateral declaration of independence of Northern Mali by the Tuareg rebellion (2012), Tuareg National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad, MNLA and the subsequent regional Northern Mali conflict with several Islamist groups including Ansar Dine and Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, MOJWA, France and other African states intervened to help the Malian Army to retake control. In 2017, France was the fourth-largest donor (in absolute terms) of development aid in the world, behind the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom. This represents 0.43% of its GNP, the 12th highest among the OECD. The organisation managing the French help is the French Development Agency, which finances primarily humanitarian projects in sub-Saharan Africa. The main goals of this support are "developing infrastructure, access to health care and education, the implementation of appropriate economic policies and the consolidation of the rule of law and democracy".France priorities
 – France Diplomatie


The French Armed Forces (''Forces armées françaises'') are the military and paramilitary forces of France, under the President of France, President of the Republic as supreme commander. They consist of the French Army (''Armée de Terre''), French Navy (''Marine Nationale'', formerly called ''Armée de Mer''), the French Air and Space Force (''Armée de l'Air et de l’Espace''), and the Military Police called National Gendarmerie (''Gendarmerie nationale''), which also fulfils civil police duties in the rural areas of France. Together they are among the List of countries by number of troops, largest armed forces in the world and the largest in the EU. According to a 2018 study by Crédit Suisse, the French Armed Forces are ranked as the List of countries by Military Strength Index, world's sixth-most powerful military, and the most powerful in Europe, only behind Russia. While the Gendarmerie is an integral part of the French armed forces (gendarmes are career soldiers), and therefore under the purview of the Minister of the Armed Forces (France), Ministry of the Armed Forces, it is operationally attached to the Minister of the Interior (France), Ministry of the Interior as far as its civil police duties are concerned. When acting as general purpose police force, the Gendarmerie encompasses the counter terrorist units of the Parachute Intervention Squadron of the National Gendarmerie (''Escadron Parachutiste d'Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale''), the National Gendarmerie Intervention Group (''Groupe d'Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale''), the Search Sections of the National Gendarmerie (''Sections de Recherche de la Gendarmerie Nationale''), responsible for criminal enquiries, and the Mobile Brigades of the National Gendarmerie (''Brigades mobiles de la Gendarmerie Nationale'', or in short ''Gendarmerie mobile'') which have the task to maintain public order. The following special units are also part of the Gendarmerie: the Republican Guard (France), Republican Guard (''Garde républicaine'') which protects public buildings hosting major French institutions, the Maritime Gendarmerie (''Gendarmerie maritime'') serving as Coast Guard, the Provost Service (''Prévôté''), acting as the Military Police branch of the Gendarmerie. As far as the French intelligence units are concerned, the Directorate-General for External Security (''Direction générale de la sécurité extérieure'') is considered to be a component of the Armed Forces under the authority of the Ministry of Defense. The other, the Central Directorate for Interior Intelligence (''Direction centrale du renseignement intérieur'') is a division of the National Police Force (''Direction générale de la Police Nationale''), and therefore reports directly to the Ministry of the Interior. There has been no national conscription since 1997. France has a special military corps, the French Foreign Legion, founded in 1830, which consists of foreign nationals from over 140 countries who are willing to serve in the French Armed Forces and become French citizens after the end of their service period. The only other countries having similar units are Spain (the Spanish Foreign Legion, called ''Tercio'', was founded in 1920) and Luxembourg (foreigners can serve in the National Army provided they speak Luxembourgish). France is a Big Five (United Nations), permanent member of the Security Council of the UN, and a List of states with nuclear weapons#Five nuclear-weapon states under the NPT, recognised nuclear state since 1960. France has signed and ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and acceded to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. France's annual military expenditure in 2018 was US$63.8 billion, or 2.3% List of countries by military expenditure share of GDP, of its GDP, making it the List of countries by military expenditures, fifth biggest military spender in the world after the United States, China, Saudi Arabia, and India. French nuclear deterrence, (formerly known as "''Force de Frappe''"), relies on complete independence. The current French nuclear force consists of four Triomphant class submarine, ''Triomphant'' class submarines equipped with submarine-launched ballistic missiles. In addition to the submarine fleet, it is estimated that France has about 60 Air-Sol Moyenne Portée, ''ASMP'' medium-range Air-to-surface missile, air-to-ground missiles with Nuclear weapon, nuclear warheads, of which around 50 are deployed by the Air and Space Force using the Dassault Mirage 2000N/2000D, Mirage 2000N long-range nuclear strike aircraft, while around 10 are deployed by the French Navy's Dassault-Breguet Super Étendard, Super Étendard Modernisé (SEM) attack aircraft, which operate from the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle (R91), ''Charles de Gaulle''. The new Dassault Rafale, Rafale F3 aircraft will gradually replace all Mirage 2000N and SEM in the nuclear strike role with the improved ''ASMP-A'' missile with a nuclear warhead. France has major military industries with one of the largest Aerospace manufacturer, aerospace industries in the world. Its industries have produced such equipment as the Rafale fighter, the ''Charles de Gaulle'' aircraft carrier, the Exocet missile and the AMX-56 Leclerc, Leclerc tank among others. Despite withdrawing from the Eurofighter Typhoon, Eurofighter project, France is actively investing in European joint projects such as the Eurocopter Tiger, FREMM multipurpose frigate, multipurpose frigates, the Unmanned combat air vehicle, UCAV demonstrator Dassault nEUROn, nEUROn and the Airbus A400M. France is a major arms seller, with most of its arsenal's designs available for the export market with the notable exception of nuclear-powered devices. France has consistently developed its Cybersecurity, cybersecurity capabilities, which are regularly ranked as some of the most robust of any nation of the world. The Bastille Day military parade held in Paris each 14 July for Bastille Day, France's national day, called Bastille Day in English-speaking countries (referred to in France as ''Fête nationale''), is the oldest and largest regular military parade in Europe. Other smaller parades are organised across the country.

Government finance

The Government of France has run a budget deficit each year since the early 1970s. , French government debt levels reached 2.2 trillion euros, the equivalent of 96.4% of French GDP. In late 2012, credit rating agencies warned that growing French Government debt levels risked List of countries by credit rating, France's AAA credit rating, raising the possibility of a future downgrade and subsequent higher borrowing costs for the French authorities. However, in July 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the French government issued 10-years bonds which had negative interest rates, for the first time in its history. France also possesses in 2020 the Gold reserve#Officially reported holdings, fourth-largest gold reserves in the world.


A member of the Group of Seven (formerly Group of Eight) leading industrialized countries, , it is ranked as the world's List of countries by GDP (PPP), tenth largest and the EU's second largest economy by purchasing power parity. France joined 11 other EU members to launch the euro in 1999, with euro coins and euro banknotes, banknotes completely replacing the French franc (₣) in 2002. France has a diversified economy, that is dominated by the service sector (which represented in 2017 78.8% of its GDP), whilst the industrial sector accounted for 19.5% of its GDP and the primary sector accounted for the remaining 1.7%. The fifth largest trading nation in the world (and second in Europe after Germany). It is the third largest manufacturing country in Europe behind Germany and Italy. Tourism in France, France is also the most visited destination in the world, as well the European Union's leading agricultural power. France was in 2019 the largest Foreign Direct Investment recipient in Europe,How can Europe reset the investment agenda now to rebuild its future?
Ernst&Young, EY, 28 May 2020
Europe's second largest spender in Research and development, ranked among the 10 most Innovation, innovative countries in the world by the 2020 Bloomberg Innovation Index, as well as the 15th most competitive nation globally, according to the 2019 Global Competitiveness Report#2019 rankings, Global Competitiveness Report (up 2 notches compared to 2018). According to the International Monetary Fund, IMF, in 2020, France was the List of countries by GDP (nominal) per capita, world's 20th country by GDP per capita with $39,257 per inhabitant. In 2019, France was listed on the United Nations's Human Development Index with a value of 0.901 (indicating very high human development) and 23rd on the Corruption Perceptions Index in 2019. In 2018, France was the 5th largest trading nation in the world, as well as the second-largest trading nation in Europe (after Germany).World Trade Statistical Review 2019
World Trade Organization, p. 11
In 2008, France was the third largest recipient of foreign direct investment among OECD countries at $118 billion, ranking behind Luxembourg (where foreign direct investment was essentially monetary transfers to banks located there) and the United States ($316 billion), but above the United Kingdom ($96.9 billion), Germany ($25 billion), or Japan ($24 billion). In the same year, French companies invested $220 billion outside France, ranking France as the second largest outward direct investor in the OECD, behind the United States ($311 billion), and ahead of the UK ($111 billion), Japan ($128 billion) and Germany ($157 billion). Financial services, banking and the insurance sector are an important part of the economy. Three largest cooperative banking, financial institutions cooperatively owned by their customers are located in France. The Paris stock exchange (french: links=no, La Bourse de Paris) is an old institution, created by Louis XV of France, Louis XV in 1724. In 2000, the stock exchanges of Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels merged into Euronext. In 2007, Euronext merged with the New York stock exchange to form NYSE Euronext, the world's largest stock exchange. Euronext Paris, the French branch of the NYSE Euronext group is Europe's 2nd largest stock exchange market, behind the London Stock Exchange. French companies have maintained key positions in the insurance and banking industries: AXA was in 2019 the world's third largest insurance company by total non banking assets. The leading French banks are BNP Paribas and the Crédit Agricole, both ranking among the top 10 largest banks by assets according to a 2020 S&P Global Market Intelligence report. According to the same source, Société Générale and Groupe BPCE were in 2020 the world's 17th and 19th largest banks, respectively. France is a member of the Eurozone (around 330 million consumers) which is part of the European Single Market (more than 500 million consumers). Several domestic commercial policies are determined by agreements among European Union (EU) members and by EU legislation. France introduced the common European currency, the Euro in 2002.


France has historically been a large producer of agricultural products. Extensive tracts of fertile land, the application of modern technology, and Common agricultural policy, EU subsidies have combined to make France the leading agricultural producer and exporter in Europe (representing 20% of the EU's agricultural production) and the world's third biggest exporter of agricultural products. Wheat, poultry, dairy, beef, and pork, as well as internationally recognized processed foods are the primary French agricultural exports. Rosé wines are primarily consumed within the country, but Champagne and Bordeaux wine, Bordeaux wines are major exports, being known worldwide. EU agriculture subsidies to France have decreased in recent years but still amounted to $8 billion in 2007. That same year, France sold 33.4 billion euros of transformed agricultural products. List of French rums, France produces rum via sugar cane-based distilleries almost all of which are located in overseas territories such as Martinique, Guadeloupe and La Réunion. Agriculture is an important sector of France's economy: 3.8% of the active population is employed in agriculture, whereas the total agri-food industry made up 4.2% of French GDP in 2005.


With 89 million international tourist arrivals in 2018, France is World Tourism rankings, ranked as the first tourist destination in the world, ahead of Spain (83 million) and the United States (80 million). It is third in income from tourism due to shorter duration of visits. The most popular tourist sites include (annual visitors): Eiffel Tower (6.2 million), Palace of Versailles, Château de Versailles (2.8 million), National Museum of Natural History (France), Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle (2 million), Pont du Gard (1.5 million), Arc de Triomphe (1.2 million), Mont Saint-Michel (1 million), Sainte-Chapelle (683,000), Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg (549,000), Puy de Dôme (500,000), Musée Picasso (441,000), and Carcassonne (362,000).

Paris region

France, especially Paris, has some of the world's largest and most renowned museums, including the Louvre, which is the List of most visited art museums in the world, most visited art museum in the world (5.7 million), the Musée d'Orsay (2.1 million), mostly devoted to Impressionism, the Musée de l'Orangerie (1.02 million), which is home to eight large Water Lilies (Monet series), Water Lily murals by Claude Monet, as well as the Centre Georges Pompidou (1.2 million), dedicated to contemporary art. Disneyland Paris is Europe's most popular theme park, with 15 million combined visitors to the resort's Disneyland Park (Paris), Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park in 2009.

French Riviera

With more than 10 millions tourists a year, the French Riviera (French: ''Côte d'Azur''), in Southeast France, is the second leading tourist destination in the country, after the Île-de-France, Paris region. It benefits from 300 days of sunshine per year, of coastline and beaches, 18 golf courses, 14 ski resorts and 3,000 restaurants. Each year the ''Côte d'Azur'' hosts 50% of the world's Luxury yacht, superyacht fleet.


With 6 millions tourists a year, the Châteaux of the Loire Valley, castles of the Loire Valley (French: ''châteaux'') and the Loire Valley itself are the third leading tourist destination in France; this World Heritage site is noteworthy for its architectural heritage, in its historic towns but in particular its castles, such as the Châteaux d'Château d'Amboise, Amboise, de Château de Chambord, Chambord, d'Château d'Ussé, Ussé, de Château de Villandry, Villandry, Château de Chenonceau, Chenonceau and Château de Montsoreau, Montsoreau. The Château de Chantilly, Palace of Versailles, Versailles and Vaux-le-Vicomte, all three located near Paris, are also visitor attractions.

Other protected areas

France has 37 sites inscribed in List of World Heritage Sites in France, UNESCO's World Heritage List and features cities of high cultural interest, beaches and seaside resorts, ski resorts, as well as rural regions that many enjoy for their beauty and tranquillity (Ecotourism, green tourism). Small and picturesque French villages are promoted through the association ''Les Plus Beaux Villages de France'' (literally "The Most Beautiful Villages of France"). The "Remarkable Gardens of France, Remarkable Gardens" label is a list of the over 200 gardens classified by the Ministry of Culture (France), Ministry of Culture. This label is intended to protect and promote remarkable gardens and parks. France attracts many religious Christian pilgrimage, pilgrims on their Way of St. James, way to St. James, or to Lourdes, a town in the Hautes-Pyrénées that hosts several million visitors a year.


Électricité de France (EDF), the main electricity generation and distribution company in France, is also one of the world's largest producers of electricity. In 2018, it produced around 20% of the European Union's electricity, primarily from nuclear power. France is the smallest emitter of Greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide among the G8, due to its heavy investment in nuclear power. , 72% of the electricity produced by France is generated by 58 nuclear power plants. In this context, renewable energies are having difficulty taking off. France also uses hydroelectric dams to produce electricity, such as the Eguzon dam, Étang de Soulcem and Lac de Vouglans.


The Rail transport in France, railway network of France, which stretches is the second most extensive in Western Europe after that of Rail transport in Germany, Germany. It is operated by the SNCF, and high-speed trains include the Thalys, the Eurostar and TGV, which travels at in commercial use. The Eurostar, along with the Eurotunnel Shuttle, connects with the United Kingdom through the Channel Tunnel. Rail connections exist to all other neighboring countries in Europe, except Andorra. Intra-urban connections are also well developed with both Rapid transit, underground services (Paris, Lyon, Lille, Marseille, Toulouse, Rennes) and tramway services (Nantes, Strasbourg, Bordeaux, Grenoble, Montpellier...) complementing bus services. There are approximately of serviceable roadway in France, ranking it the most extensive network of the European continent. The Paris region is enveloped with the most dense network of roads and highways that connect it with virtually all parts of the country. French roads also handle substantial international traffic, connecting with cities in neighboring Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Andorra and Monaco. There is no annual registration fee or road tax; however, usage of the mostly privately owned motorways is through tolls except in the vicinity of large communes. The new car market is dominated by domestic brands such as Renault (27% of cars sold in France in 2003), Peugeot (20.1%) and Citroën (13.5%). Over 70% of new cars sold in 2004 had diesel engines, far more than contained petrol or Liquified petroleum gas, LPG engines. France possesses the Millau Viaduct, the world's tallest bridge, and has built many important bridges such as the Pont de Normandie. There are 464 List of airports in France, airports in France. Charles de Gaulle Airport, located in the vicinity of Paris, is the largest and busiest airport in the country, handling the vast majority of popular and commercial traffic and connecting Paris with virtually all major cities across the world. Air France is the national carrier airline, although numerous private airline companies provide domestic and international travel services. There are ten major ports in France, the largest of which is in Marseille, which also is the largest bordering the Mediterranean Sea. of waterways traverse France including the Canal du Midi, which connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean through the Garonne river.

Science and technology

Since the Middle Ages, France has been a major contributor to scientific and technological achievement. Around the beginning of the 11th century, Pope Sylvester II, born Gerbert d'Aurillac, reintroduced the abacus and armillary sphere, and introduced Arabic numerals and clocks to Northern and Western Europe. The University of Paris, founded in the mid-12th century, is still one of the most important universities in the Western world. In the 17th century, mathematician René Descartes defined a Rationalism, method for the acquisition of scientific knowledge, while Blaise Pascal became famous for his work on probability and fluid mechanics. They were both key figures of the Scientific Revolution, which blossomed in Europe during this period. The French Academy of Sciences, Academy of Sciences was founded by Louis XIV to encourage and protect the spirit of French Scientific method, scientific research. It was at the forefront of scientific developments in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. It is one of the earliest academy of sciences, academies of sciences. The Age of Enlightenment was marked by the work of biologist Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, Buffon and chemist Antoine Lavoisier, Lavoisier, who discovered the role of oxygen in combustion, while Denis Diderot, Diderot and Jean le Rond d'Alembert, D'Alembert published the ''Encyclopédie'', which aimed to give access to "useful knowledge" to the people, a knowledge that they can apply to their everyday life. With the Industrial Revolution, the 19th century saw spectacular scientific developments in France with scientists such as Augustin Fresnel, founder of modern optics, Nicolas Léonard Sadi Carnot, Sadi Carnot who laid the foundations of thermodynamics, and Louis Pasteur, a pioneer of microbiology. Other eminent French scientists of the 19th century have their List of the 72 names on the Eiffel Tower, names inscribed on the Eiffel Tower. Famous French scientists of the 20th century include the mathematician and physicist Henri Poincaré, physicists Henri Becquerel, Pierre Curie, Pierre and Marie Curie, who remained famous for their work on radioactivity, the physicist Paul Langevin and virologist Luc Montagnier, co-discoverer of HIV AIDS. Hand transplantation was developed on 23 September 1998 in Lyon, France, Lyon by a team assembled from different countries around the world including Jean-Michel Dubernard who, shortly thereafter, performed the first successful double hand transplant. Remote surgery, Telesurgery was developed by Jacques Marescaux and his team on 7 September 2001 across the Atlantic Ocean (New-York-Strasbourg, Lindbergh Operation). A face transplant was first done on 27 November 2005 by Dr. Bernard Devauchelle. France was the Force de dissuasion, fourth country to achieve nuclear capability and has the List of states with nuclear weapons, third largest nuclear weapons arsenal in the world. It is also a leader in Nuclear power in France, civilian nuclear technology. France was the third nation, after the former USSR and the United States, to launch its Diamant, own space satellite and remains the biggest contributor to the European Space Agency (ESA). The European Airbus, formed from the French group Aérospatiale along with DaimlerChrysler Aerospace AG (DASA) and Construcciones Aeronáuticas SA (CASA), designs and develops civil and military aircraft as well as communications systems, missiles, space rockets, helicopters, satellites, and related systems. France also hosts major international research instruments such as the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility or the Institut Laue–Langevin and remains a major member of CERN. It also owns Minatec, Europe's leading nanotechnology research center. The SNCF, the French national railroad company, has developed the TGV, a high speed train which holds a series of Land speed record for railed vehicles, world speed records. The TGV has been the fastest wheeled train in commercial use since reaching a speed of ' on 3 April 2007. Western Europe is now serviced by a network of TGV lines. The ''French National Centre for Scientific Research, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique'' (CNRS) has been ranked by the Nature Index 2020 as the fourth institution with highest share of articles published in scientific journals in the world. France itself was the 6th nation globally with the highest share of articles published in scientific journals according to the Nature Index 2020, which is valid for the calendar year 2019. , List of Nobel laureates by country, 69 French people have been awarded a Nobel Prize and 12 have received the Fields Medal.


With an estimated March 2021 population of 67.4 million people, France is the List of countries by population#List, 20th most populous country in the world, the third-most populous in Europe (after Russia and
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language , languages = German language, German , demonym = Germans, German , government_ ...
), and the second most populous in the European Union (after Germany). France is an outlier among developed countries in general, and European countries in particular, in having a relatively high rate of natural population growth: by birth rates alone, it was responsible for almost all natural population growth in the European Union in 2006. Between 2006 and 2016, France saw the second highest overall increase in population in the EU, and was one of only four EU countries where natural births accounted for most population growth. This was the highest rate since the end of the baby boom in 1973, and coincides with the rise of the total fertility rate from a nadir of 1.7 in 1994 to 2.0 in 2010. the fertility rate declined slightly to 1.84 children per woman, below the replacement rate of 2.1, and considerably below the high of 4.41 in 1800. France's fertility rate and crude birth rate nonetheless remain among the highest in the EU. However, like many developed nations, France's population is aging; the average age is 41.7 years, while about a fifth of French people are 65 or over. List of countries by life expectancy, Average life expectancy at birth is 82.7 years, the 12th highest in the world. From 2006 to 2011 population growth averaged 0.6 percent per year; since 2011, annual growth has been between 0.4 and 0.5 percent annually. Immigrants are major contributors to this trend; in 2010, 27 percent of newborns in metropolitan France had at least one Immigration to France#Immigration per region, foreign-born parent and 24 percent had at least one parent born outside of Europe (excluding French overseas territories).

Ethnic groups

Most French people are of Celtic peoples, Celtic (Gauls) origin, with an admixture of Italic peoples, Italic (Roman Empire, Romans) and Germanic peoples, Germanic (Franks) groups. Different regions reflect this diverse heritage, with notable Bretons, Breton elements in western France, Aquitanian in the southwest, Scandinavian in the northwest, Alemannic in the northeast and Ligures, Ligurian in the southeast. Large-scale immigration over the last century and a half has led to a more multicultural society. In 2004, the Institut Montaigne estimated that within Metropolitan France, 51 million people were White (85% of the population), 6 million were Northwest African (10%), 2 million were Black (3.3%), and 1 million were Asian (1.7%). Since the French Revolution, and as codified in the 1958 French Constitution, it is illegal for the French state to collect data on ethnicity and ancestry. In 2008, the TeO ("Trajectories and origins") poll conducted jointly by INED and INSEE, the French National Institute of Statistics estimated that 5 million people were of Italians in France, Italian ancestry (the largest immigrant community), followed by 3 million to 6 million of Northwest African ancestry, 2.5 million of Afro-French, Sub-Saharan African origin, 500,000 ethnic Armenian, and 200,000 people of Turks in France, Turkish ancestry. There are also sizable minorities of other European ethnic groups, namely Spaniards, Spanish, Portuguese people, Portuguese, Poles, Polish, and Greeks, Greek. France has a significant Romani people in France, Gitan (Romani) population, numbering between 20,000 and 400,000. Many foreign Romani people, Roma are Deportation of Roma migrants from France, expelled back to Bulgaria and Romania frequently. It is currently estimated that 40% of the French population is descended at least partially from the different waves of immigration the country has received since the early 20th century; between 1921 and 1935 alone, about 1.1 million net immigrants came to France. The next largest wave came in the 1960s, when around 1.6 million ''pieds noirs'' returned to France following the independence of its Northwest African possessions, Algeria and Morocco. They were joined by numerous former colonial subjects from North and West Africa, as well as numerous European immigrants from Spain and Portugal. France remains a major destination for immigrants, accepting about 200,000 legal immigrants annually. In 2005, it was Western Europe's leading recipient of refugee, asylum seekers, with an estimated 50,000 applications (albeit 15% decrease from 2004). In 2010, France received about 48,100 asylum applications—placing it among the top five asylum recipients in the world and in subsequent years it saw the number of applications increase, ultimately doubling to 100,412 in 2017. The European Union allows free movement between the member states, although France established controls to curb Eastern European migration, and immigration remains a contentious political issue. In 2008, the INSEE (National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies) estimated that the total number of foreign-born immigrants was around 5 million (8% of the population), while their French-born descendants numbered 6.5 million, or 11% of the population. Thus, nearly a fifth of the country's population were either first or second-generation immigrants, of which more than 5 million were of European origin and 4 million of Maghrebis, Maghrebi ancestry. In 2008, France granted citizenship to 137,000 persons, mostly from Morocco, Algeria and Turkey. In 2014, the INSEE published a study which reported doubling of the number of Spanish immigrants, Portuguese and Italians in France between 2009 and 2012. According to the French Institute, this increase resulting from the financial crisis that hit several European countries in that period, has pushed up the number of Europeans installed in France. Statistics on Spanish immigrants in France show a growth of 107 percent between 2009 and 2012, i.e. in this period went from 5300 to 11,000 people. Of the total of 229,000 foreigners who were in France in 2012, nearly 8% were Portuguese, 5% British, 5% Spanish, 4% Italians, 4% Germans, 3% Romanians, and 3% Belgians.

Major cities

France is a highly urbanized country, with its List of cities in France over 20,000 population (1999 census), largest cities (in terms of metropolitan area population in 2016) being Paris (12,568,755 inh.), Lyon (2,310,850), Marseille (1,756,296), Toulouse (1,345,343), Bordeaux (1,232,550), Lille (1,187,824), Nice (1,006,402), Nantes (961,521), Strasbourg (785,839) and Rennes (727,357). (Note: There are significant differences between the metropolitan population figures just cited and those in the following table, which indicates the population of the Communes of France, communes). Rural flight was a perennial political issue throughout most of the 20th century.


According to Article 2 of the Constitution, the official language of France is French, a Romance language derived from Latin. Since 1635, the Académie française has been France's official authority on the French language, although its recommendations carry no legal weight. There are also regional languages spoken in France, such as Occitan language, Occitan, Breton language, Breton, Catalan language, Catalan, French Flemish, Flemish (Dutch language, Dutch dialect), Alsatian dialect, Alsatian (German dialect), Basque language, Basque, and Corsican language, Corsican. Italian was the official language of Corsica until 9 May 1859. The Government of France does not regulate the choice of language in publications by individuals but the use of French is required by law in commercial and workplace communications. In addition to mandating the use of French in the territory of the Republic, the French government tries to promote French in the European Union and globally through institutions such as the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie. The perceived threat from anglicisation has prompted efforts to safeguard the position of the French language in France. Besides French, there exist 77 vernacular minority languages of France, eight spoken in French metropolitan territory and 69 in the French Overseas departments and territories of France, overseas territories. From the 17th to the mid-20th century, French served as the pre-eminent international language of diplomacy and international affairs as well as a lingua franca among the educated classes of Europe.Joffre Agne
ls the French obsession with "cultural exception" declining?
. France in London. 5 October 2008
The dominant position of French language in international affairs was overtaken by English, since the emergence of the United States as a major power. For most of the time in which French served as an international lingua franca, it was not the native language of most Frenchmen: a report in 1794 conducted by Henri Grégoire found that of the country's 25 million people, only three million spoke French natively; the rest spoke one of the country's many regional languages, such as Alsatian language, Alsatian, Breton language, Breton or Occitan language, Occitan. Through the expansion of public education, in which French was the sole language of instruction, as well as other factors such as increased urbanisation and the rise of mass communication, French gradually came to be adopted by virtually the entire population, a process not completed until the 20th century. As a result of France's extensive French colonial empire, colonial ambitions between the 17th and 20th centuries, French was introduced to the Americas, Africa, Polynesia, South-East Asia, as well as the Caribbean. French is the second most studied foreign language in the world after English, and is a lingua franca in some regions, notably in Africa. The legacy of French as a living language outside Europe is mixed: it is nearly extinct in some former French colonies (The Levant, South and Southeast Asia), while creoles and pidgins based on French have emerged in the French departments in the West Indies and the South Pacific (French Polynesia). On the other hand, many former French colonies have adopted French as an official language, and the total number of French speakers is increasing, especially in Africa. It is estimated that between 300 million and 500 million people worldwide can speak French, either as a mother tongue or a second language. According to the 2007 Adult Education survey, part of a project by the European Union and carried in France by the INSEE and based on a sample of 15,350 persons, French was the native language of 87.2% of the total population, or roughly 55.81 million people, followed by Arabic (3.6%, 2.3 million), Portuguese (1.5%, 960,000), Spanish (1.2%, 770,000) and Italian (1.0%, 640,000). Native speakers of other languages made up the remaining 5.2% of the population.


France is a secular country in which freedom of religion is a constitutional right. French religious policy is based on the concept of ''laïcité'', a strict separation of church and state under which public life is kept completely secular. According to a survey held in 2016 by Institut Montaigne and Institut français d'opinion publique (IFOP), 51.1% of the total population of France was Christian, 39.6% had no religion (atheism or agnosticism), 5.6% were Muslims, 2.5% were followers of other faiths, and the remaining 0.4% were undecided about their faith. Estimates of the number of Islam in France, Muslims in France vary widely. In 2003, the French Ministry of the Interior estimated the total number of people of Muslim background to be between 5 and 6 million (8–10%). The current Jews in France, Jewish community in France is the largest in Europe and the third-largest in the world after Israel and the United States, ranging between 480,000 and 600,000, about 0.8% of the population as of 2016. Catholicism has been the predominant religion in France for more than a millennium, though it is not as actively practised today as it was. Among the 47,000 religious buildings in France, 94% are Catholic Church, Roman Catholic. During the French Revolution, activists conducted a brutal dechristianisation of France during the French Revolution, campaign of de-Christianisation, ending the Catholic Church as the state religion. In some cases clergy and churches were attacked, with iconoclasm stripping the churches of statues and ornaments. After alternating between royal and secular republican governments during the 19th century, in 1905 France passed the 1905 French law on the Separation of the Churches and the State, 1905 law on the Separation of the Churches and the State, which established the principle of ''laïcité''. To this day, the government is prohibited from recognizing any specific right to a religious community (except for legacy statutes like those of military chaplains and the local law in Alsace-Moselle). It recognizes religious organisations according to formal legal criteria that do not address religious doctrine. Conversely, religious organisations are expected to refrain from intervening in policy-making. Certain groups, such as Scientology, Children of God (New Religious Movement), Children of God, the Unification Church, and the Order of the Solar Temple are considered cults ("''sect#Corresponding words in other European languages, sectes''" in French), and therefore do not have the same status as recognized religions in France. ''Secte'' is considered a pejorative term in France.


The Health in France, French health care system is one of universal health care largely financed by government national health insurance. In its 2000 assessment of world health care systems, the World Health Organization found that France provided the "close to best overall health care" in the world. The French healthcare system was ranked first worldwide by the World Health Organization in 1997. In 2011, France spent 11.6% of GDP on health care, or US$4,086 per capita, a figure much higher than the average spent by countries in Europe but Health care compared, less than in the United States. Approximately 77% of health expenditures are covered by government funded agencies. Care is generally free for people affected by chronic diseases (''affections de longues durées'') such as cancer, AIDS or cystic fibrosis. Average life expectancy at birth is 78 years for men and 85 years for women, one of the highest of the European Union and the World. There are 3.22 physicians for every 1000 inhabitants in France, and average health care spending per capita was US$4,719 in 2008. , approximately 140,000 inhabitants (0.4%) of France are living with HIV/AIDS. Even if the Frenchmen, French have the reputation of being one of the thinnest people in developed countries,Even the French are fighting obesity
nbsp;– ''The New York Times''

 – Bloomberg Businessweek
France—like other rich countries—faces an increasing and recent epidemic of obesity, due mostly to the replacement in French eating habits of traditional healthy French cuisine by junk food.France heading for US obesity levels says study
nbsp;– Food Navigator
The French obesity rate is still far below that of the United States—currently equal to American rate in the 1970s—and is still the lowest of Europe. Authorities now regard obesity as one of the main public health issues and fight it fiercely. Nevertheless, rates of childhood obesity are slowing in France, while continuing to grow in other countries.


In 1802, Napoleon created the lycée, the second and final stage of secondary education that prepares students for higher education studies or a profession. Nevertheless, Jules Ferry is considered the father of the French modern school, leading reforms in the late 19th century that established free, secular, and compulsory education (currently mandatory until the age of 16). French education is centralized and divided into three stages: Primary, secondary, and higher education. The Programme for International Student Assessment, coordinated by the OECD, ranked France's education as below OECD average in 2018. Primary and secondary education are predominantly public, run by the Minister of National Education (France), Ministry of National Education. While training and remuneration of teachers and the curriculum are the responsibility of the state centrally, the management of primary and secondary schools is overseen by local authorities. Primary education comprises two phases, nursery school (''école maternelle'') and elementary school (''école élémentaire''). Nursery school aims to stimulate the minds of very young children and promote their socialization and development of a basic grasp of language and number. Around the age of six, children transfer to elementary school, whose primary objectives are learning about writing, arithmetic and citizenship. Secondary education also consists of two phases. The first is delivered through colleges (''collège'') and leads to the national certificate (Diplôme national du brevet). The second is offered in high schools (''lycée'') and finishes in national exams leading to a baccalaureate (''baccalauréat'', available in professional, technical or general flavors) or certificate of professional competence (''certificat d'aptitude professionelle''). Education in France#Higher education, Higher education is divided between Universities in France, public universities and the prestigious and selective ''Grandes écoles'', such as Sciences Po Paris for Political studies, HEC Paris for Economics, Polytechnique, the École des hautes études en sciences sociales for Social studies and the École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris that produce high-profile engineers, or the École nationale d'administration for careers in the Grands corps de l'État, Grands Corps of the state. The ''Grandes écoles'' have been criticized for alleged elitism, producing many if not most of France's high-ranking civil servants, CEOs, and politicians.Les grandes écoles dans la tourmente
nbsp;– Le Figaro


France has been a centre of Western cultural development for centuries. Many French artists have been among the most renowned of their time; France is still recognised in the world for its rich cultural tradition. The successive political regimes have always promoted artistic creation. The creation of the Ministry of Culture (France), Ministry of Culture in 1959 helped preserve the cultural heritage of the country and make it available to the public. The Ministry of Culture has been very active since its creation, granting subsidies to artists, promoting French culture in the world, supporting festivals and cultural events, protecting Monument historique, historical monuments. The French government also succeeded in maintaining a cultural exception to defend audiovisual products made in the country. France receives the highest number of tourists per year, largely thanks to the numerous cultural establishments and historical buildings implanted all over the territory. It counts 1,200 List of museums in France, museums welcoming more than 50 million people annually. The most important cultural sites are run by the government, for instance through the public agency Centre des monuments nationaux, which is responsible for approximately 85 national historical monuments. The 43,180 buildings protected as historical monuments include mainly residences (many List of castles in France, castles) and religious buildings (List of cathedrals in France, cathedrals, List of basilicas in France, basilicas, Church (building), churches), but also statues, memorials and Gardens of France, gardens. The UNESCO inscribed 45 sites in Table of World Heritage Sites by country, France on the World Heritage List.


The origins of French art were very much influenced by Flemish art and by Italian art at the time of the Renaissance. Jean Fouquet, the most famous medieval French painter, is said to have been the first to travel to Italy and experience the Early Renaissance at first hand. The Renaissance painting School of Fontainebleau was directly inspired by Italian painters such as Primaticcio and Rosso Fiorentino, who both worked in France. Two of the most famous French artists of the time of Baroque era, Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain, lived in Italy. The 17th century was the period when French painting became prominent and individualised itself through classicism. Prime Minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert founded in 1648 the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture under Louis XIV to protect these artists; in 1666 he also created the still-active French Academy in Rome to have direct relations with Italian artists. French artists developed the rococo style in the 18th century, as a more intimate imitation of old baroque style, the works of the court-endorsed artists Antoine Watteau, François Boucher and Jean-Honoré Fragonard being the most representative in the country. The French Revolution brought great changes, as Napoleon favoured artists of Neoclassicism, neoclassic style such as Jacques-Louis David and the highly influential Académie des Beaux-Arts defined the style known as Academism. At this time France had become a centre of artistic creation, the first half of the 19th century being dominated by two successive movements, at first Romanticism with Théodore Géricault and Eugène Delacroix, then Realism (arts), Realism with Camille Corot, Gustave Courbet and Jean-François Millet, a style that eventually evolved into Naturalism (arts), Naturalism. In the second part of the 19th century, France's influence over painting became even more important, with the development of new styles of painting such as Impressionism and Symbolism (arts), Symbolism. The most famous impressionist painters of the period were Camille Pissarro, Édouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet and Auguste Renoir. The second generation of impressionist-style painters, Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec and Georges Seurat, were also at the avant-garde of artistic evolutions, as well as the Fauvism, fauvist artists Henri Matisse, André Derain and Maurice de Vlaminck. At the beginning of the 20th century, Cubism was developed by Georges Braque and the Spanish painter Pablo Picasso, living in Paris. Other foreign artists also settled and worked in or near Paris, such as Vincent van Gogh, Marc Chagall, Amedeo Modigliani and Wassily Kandinsky. Many museums in France are entirely or partly devoted to sculptures and painting works. A huge collection of old masterpieces created before or during the 18th century are displayed in the state-owned Louvre, Musée du Louvre, such as the ''Mona Lisa'', also known as "La Joconde". While the Louvre Palace has been for a long time a museum, the Musée d'Orsay was inaugurated in 1986 in the old railway station Gare d'Orsay, in a major reorganisation of national art collections, to gather French paintings from the second part of the 19th century (mainly Impressionism and Fauvism movements). The musée d'Orsay was voted in 2018 the best museum in the world. Modern works are presented in the Musée National d'Art Moderne, which moved in 1976 to the Centre Georges Pompidou. These three state-owned museums welcome close to 17 million people a year. Ministry of Tourism
Sites touristiques en France
page 2 "Palmarès des 30 premiers sites culturels (entrées comptabilisées)" [Ranking of 30 most visited cultural sites in France]
Other national museums hosting paintings include the Grand Palais (1.3 million visitors in 2008), but there are also many museums owned by cities, the most visited being the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (0.8 million entries in 2008), which hosts contemporary works. Outside Paris, all the large cities have a Museum of Fine Arts with a section dedicated to European and French painting. Some of the finest collections are in Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, Lyon, Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille, Lille, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen, Rouen, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon, Dijon, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rennes, Rennes and Museum of Grenoble, Grenoble.


During the Middle Ages, many fortified castles were built by feudal nobles to mark their powers. Some French castles that survived are Chinon (castle), Chinon, Château d'Angers, the massive Château de Vincennes and the so-called Cathar castles. During this era, France had been using Romanesque architecture like most of Western Europe. Some of the greatest examples of Romanesque churches in France are the Basilique de Saint-Sernin, Toulouse, Saint Sernin Basilica in Toulouse, France, Toulouse, the largest romanesque church in Europe, and the remains of the Cluny Abbey, Cluniac Abbey. The Gothic architecture, originally named ''Opus Francigenum'' meaning "French work", was born in Île-de-France and was the first French style of architecture to be copied in all Europe. Northern France is the home of some of the most important Gothic cathedrals and basilicas, the first of these being the Saint Denis Basilica (used as the royal necropolis); other important French Gothic cathedrals are Cathedral of Chartres, Notre-Dame de Chartres and Amiens Cathedral, Notre-Dame d'Amiens. The kings were crowned in another important Gothic church: Notre-Dame de Reims. Aside from churches, Gothic Architecture had been used for many religious palaces, the most important one being the Palais des Papes in Avignon. The final victory in the Hundred Years' War marked an important stage in the evolution of French architecture. It was the time of the French Renaissance and several artists from Italy were invited to the French court; many residential palaces were built in the Loire Valley, from 1450 with as a first reference the Château de Montsoreau. Such residential castles were the Château de Chambord, the Château de Chenonceau, or the Château d'Amboise. Following the renaissance and the end of the Middle Ages, French Baroque architecture, Baroque architecture replaced the traditional Gothic style. However, in France, baroque architecture found a greater success in the secular domain than in a religious one. In the secular domain, the Palace of Versailles has many baroque features. Jules Hardouin Mansart, who designed the extensions to Versailles, was one of the most influential French architect of the baroque era; he is famous for his dome at Les Invalides. Some of the most impressive provincial baroque architecture is found in places that were not yet French such as the Place Stanislas in Nancy, France, Nancy. On the military architectural side, Vauban designed some of the most efficient fortresses in Europe and became an influential military architect; as a result, imitations of his works can be found all over Europe, the Americas, Russia and Turkey. After the Revolution, the Republicanism, Republicans favoured Neoclassicism although it was introduced in France prior to the revolution with such buildings as the Panthéon, Paris, Parisian Pantheon or the Capitole de Toulouse. Built during the first French Empire, the Arc de Triomphe and Église de la Madeleine, Sainte Marie-Madeleine represent the best example of Empire style architecture. Under Napoleon III, a new wave of urbanism and architecture was given birth; extravagant buildings such as the neo-baroque Palais Garnier were built. The urban planning of the time was very organised and rigorous; for example, Haussmann's renovation of Paris. The architecture associated to this era is named Second Empire (architecture), Second Empire in English, the term being taken from the Second French Empire. At this time there was a strong Gothic resurgence across Europe and in France; the associated architect was Eugène Viollet-le-Duc. In the late 19th century, Gustave Eiffel designed many bridges, such as Garabit viaduct, and remains one of the most influential bridge designers of his time, although he is best remembered for the iconic Eiffel Tower. In the 20th century, French-Swiss architect Le Corbusier designed several buildings in France. More recently, French architects have combined both modern and old architectural styles. The Louvre Pyramid is an example of modern architecture added to an older building. The most difficult buildings to integrate within French cities are skyscrapers, as they are visible from afar. For instance, in Paris, since 1977, new buildings had to be under 37 meters (121 feet). France's largest financial district is La Defense, where a significant number of skyscrapers are located. Other massive buildings that are a challenge to integrate into their environment are large bridges; an example of the way this has been done is the Millau Viaduct. Some famous modern French architects include Jean Nouvel, Dominique Perrault, Christian de Portzamparc or Paul Andreu.


The earliest French literature dates from the Middle Ages, when what is now known as modern France did not have a single, uniform language. There were several languages and dialects, and writers used their own spelling and grammar. Some authors of French medieval texts are unknown, such as ''Tristan and Iseult'' and ''Lancelot-Grail''. Other authors are known, for example Chrétien de Troyes and William IX of Aquitaine, Duke William IX of Aquitaine, who wrote in Occitan. Much medieval French poetry and literature were inspired by the legends of the Matter of France, such as ''The Song of Roland'' and the various chansons de geste. The ''Roman de Renart'', written in 1175 by Perrout de Saint Cloude, tells the story of the medieval character Reynard ('the Fox') and is another example of early French writing. An important 16th-century writer was François Rabelais, whose novel ''Gargantua and Pantagruel'' has remained famous and appreciated until now. Michel de Montaigne was the other major figure of the French literature during that century. His most famous work, ''Essays (Montaigne), Essais'', created the literary genre of the essay. French poetry during that century was embodied by Pierre de Ronsard and Joachim du Bellay. Both writers founded the La Pléiade literary movement. During the 17th century, Madame de La Fayette published anonymously ''La Princesse de Clèves'', a novel that is considered to be one of the first psychological novels of all time. Jean de La Fontaine is one of the most famous fabulists of that time, as he wrote hundreds of fables, some being far more famous than others, such as ''The Ant and the Grasshopper''. Generations of French pupils had to learn his fables, that were seen as helping teaching wisdom and common sense to the young people. Some of his verses have entered the popular language to become proverbs, such as "''À l'œuvre, on connaît l'artisan."[A workman is known by his chips].'' Jean Racine, whose incredible mastery of the French Alexandrine, alexandrine and of the French language has been praised for centuries, created plays such as ''Phèdre'' or ''Britannicus''. He is, along with Pierre Corneille (''Le Cid'') and Molière, considered as one of the three great dramatists of France's golden age. Molière, who is deemed to be one of the greatest masters of comedy of the Western literature, wrote dozens of plays, including ''Le Misanthrope'', ''L'Avare'', ''Le Malade imaginaire'', as well as ''Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme''. His plays have been so popular around the world that French language is sometimes dubbed as "the language of Molière" (''la langue de Molière''), just like English is considered as "the language of Shakespeare". French literature and poetry flourished even more in the 18th and 19th centuries. Denis Diderot's best-known works are ''Jacques the Fatalist'' and ''Rameau's Nephew''. He is however best known for being the main redactor of the ''Encyclopédie'', whose aim was to sum up all the knowledge of his century (in fields such as arts, sciences, languages, and philosophy) and to present them to the people, to fight ignorance and obscurantism. During that same century, Charles Perrault was a prolific writer of famous children's fairy tales including ''Puss in Boots'', ''Cinderella'', ''Sleeping Beauty'' and ''Bluebeard''. At the start of the 19th century, symbolist poetry was an important movement in French literature, with poets such as Charles Baudelaire, Paul Verlaine and Stéphane Mallarmé. The 19th century saw the writings of many renowned French authors. Victor Hugo is sometimes seen as "the greatest French writer of all time" for excelling in all literary genres. The preface of his play ''Cromwell (play), Cromwell'' is considered to be the manifesto of the Romanticism, Romantic movement. ''Les Contemplations'' and ''La Légende des siècles'' are considered as "poetic masterpieces", Hugo's verse having been compared to that of Shakespeare, Dante and Homer. His novel ''Les Misérables'' is widely seen as one of the greatest novel ever written and ''The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, The Hunchback of Notre Dame'' has remained immensely popular. Other major authors of that century include Alexandre Dumas (''The Three Musketeers'' and ''The Count of Monte-Cristo''), Jules Verne (''Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea''), Émile Zola (''Les Rougon-Macquart''), Honoré de Balzac (''La Comédie humaine''), Guy de Maupassant, Théophile Gautier and Stendhal (''The Red and the Black'', ''The Charterhouse of Parma''), whose works are among the most well known in France and the world. The Prix Goncourt is a French literary prize first awarded in 1903. Important writers of the 20th century include Marcel Proust, Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Albert Camus, and Jean-Paul Sartre. Antoine de Saint Exupéry wrote ''The Little Prince, Little Prince'', which has remained popular for decades with children and adults around the world. , French authors had more Nobel Prize in Literature, Literature Nobel Prizes than List of Nobel laureates in Literature, those of any other nation.Modiano strengthens France's literature Nobel dominance
, Global Post, 9 October 2014
The first Nobel Prize in Literature was a French author, while France's latest Nobel prize in literature is Patrick Modiano, who was awarded the prize in 2014. Jean-Paul Sartre was also the first nominee in the committee's history to refuse the prize in 1964.


Medieval philosophy was dominated by Scholasticism until the emergence of Humanism in France, Humanism in the Renaissance. Modern philosophy began in France in the 17th century with the philosophy of René Descartes, Blaise Pascal and Nicolas Malebranche. Descartes revitalised Western philosophy, which had been declined after the Greek and Roman eras. His ''Meditations on First Philosophy'' changed the primary object of philosophical thought and raised some of the most fundamental problems for foreigners such as Spinoza, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Leibniz, David Hume, Hume, George Berkeley, Berkeley, and Immanuel Kant, Kant. French philosophers produced some of the most important political works of the Age of Enlightenment. In ''The Spirit of the Laws'', Baron de Montesquieu theorised the principle of separation of powers, which has been implemented in all liberal democracy, liberal democracies since Separation of powers under the United States Constitution, it was first applied in the United States. Voltaire came to embody the Enlightenment with his defence of civil liberties, such as the right to a free trial and freedom of religion. 19th-century French thought was targeted at responding to the social malaise following the French Revolution. Rationalist philosophers such as Victor Cousin and Auguste Comte, who called for a new social doctrine, were opposed by reactionary thinkers such as Joseph de Maistre, Louis de Bonald and Hugues Felicité Robert de Lamennais, Félicité Robert de Lamennais, who blamed the rationalist rejection of traditional order. De Maistre is considered, together with the Englishman Edmund Burke, one of the founders of European conservatism, while Comte is regarded as the founder of positivism, which Émile Durkheim reformulated as a basis for social research. In the 20th century, partly as a reaction to the perceived excesses of positivism, French Spiritualism (philosophy), spiritualism thrived with thinkers such as Henri Bergson and it influenced American pragmatism and Alfred North Whitehead, Whitehead's version of process philosophy. Meanwhile, French epistemology became a prominent school of thought with Jules Henri Poincaré, Gaston Bachelard, Jean Cavaillès and Jules Vuillemin. Influenced by German Phenomenology (philosophy), phenomenology and existentialism, the philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre gained a strong influence after World War II, and late-20th-century-France became the cradle of postmodern philosophy with Jean-François Lyotard, Jean Baudrillard, Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault.


France has a long and varied musical history. It experienced a golden age in the 17th century thanks to Louis XIV, who employed a number of talented musicians and composers in the royal court. The most renowned composers of this period include Marc-Antoine Charpentier, François Couperin, Michel-Richard Delalande, Jean-Baptiste Lully and Marin Marais, all of them composers at the court. After the death of the "Roi Soleil", French musical creation lost dynamism, but in the next century the music of Jean-Philippe Rameau reached some prestige, and today he is still one of the most renowned French composers. Rameau became the dominant composer of French opera and the leading French composer for the harpsichord. French composers played an important role during the music of the 19th and early 20th century, which is considered to be the Romantic music era. Romantic music emphasised a surrender to nature, a fascination with the past and the supernatural, the exploration of unusual, strange and surprising sounds, and a focus on national identity. This period was also a golden age for operas. French composers from the Romantic era included: Hector Berlioz (best known for his ''Symphonie fantastique''), Georges Bizet (best known for ''Carmen'', which has become one of the most popular and frequently performed operas), Gabriel Fauré (best known for his ''Pavane (Fauré), Pavane'', Requiem (Fauré), ''Requiem'', and ''Fauré Nocturnes, nocturnes''), Charles Gounod (best known for his ''Ave Maria (Bach/Gounod), Ave Maria'' and his opera ''Faust (opera), Faust''), Jacques Offenbach (best known for his 100 operettas of the 1850s–1870s and his uncompleted opera ''The Tales of Hoffmann''), Édouard Lalo (best known for his ''Symphonie espagnole'' for violin and orchestra and his Cello Concerto (Lalo), Cello Concerto in D minor), Jules Massenet (best known for his operas, of which he wrote more than thirty, the most frequently staged are ''Manon'' (1884) and ''Werther'' (1892)) and Camille Saint-Saëns (he has many frequently-performed works, including ''The Carnival of the Animals'', ''Danse macabre (Saint-Saëns), Danse macabre'', ''Samson and Delilah (opera), Samson and Delilah'' (Opera), ''Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso'' and his Symphony No. 3 (Saint-Saëns), Symphony No. 3). Later came precursors of modern classical music. Érik Satie was a key member of the early-20th-century Parisian avant-garde, best known for his ''Gymnopédies''. Francis Poulenc's best known works are his piano suite ''Trois mouvements perpétuels'' (1919), the ballet ''Les biches'' (1923), the ''Concert champêtre'' (1928) for harpsichord and orchestra, the opera ''Dialogues des Carmélites'' (1957) and the ''Gloria (Poulenc), Gloria'' (1959) for soprano, choir and orchestra. Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy are the most prominent figures associated with Impressionist music. Debussy was among the most influential composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and his use of non-traditional scales and chromaticism influenced many composers who followed. Debussy's music is noted for its sensory content and frequent usage of atonality. The two composers invented new musical forms and new sounds. Ravel's piano compositions, such as ''Jeux d'eau (Ravel), Jeux d'eau'', ''Miroirs'', ''Le tombeau de Couperin'' and ''Gaspard de la nuit'', demand considerable virtuosity. His mastery of orchestration is evident in the ''Rapsodie espagnole'', ''Daphnis et Chloé'', his arrangement of Modest Mussorgsky's ''Pictures at an Exhibition'' and his orchestral work ''Boléro'' (1928). More recently, the middle of the 20th century, Maurice Ohana, Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Boulez contributed to the evolutions of contemporary classical music. French music then followed the rapid emergence of pop and rock music at the middle of the 20th century. Although English-speaking creations achieved popularity in the country, French popular music, French pop music, known as ''chanson française'', has also remained very popular. Among the most important French artists of the century are Édith Piaf, Georges Brassens, Léo Ferré, Charles Aznavour and Serge Gainsbourg. Although there are very few rock bands in France compared to English-speaking countries, bands such as Noir Désir, Mano Negra (band), Mano Negra, Niagara (band), Niagara, Les Rita Mitsouko and more recently Superbus (band), Superbus, Phoenix (band), Phoenix and Gojira (band), Gojira, or Shaka Ponk, have reached worldwide popularity. Other French artists with international careers have been popular in several countries, most notably female singers Dalida, Mireille Mathieu, Mylène Farmer, Alizée and Nolwenn Leroy, electronic music pioneers Jean-Michel Jarre, Laurent Garnier and Bob Sinclar, later Martin Solveig and David Guetta. In the 1990s and 2000s (decade), electronic duos Daft Punk, Justice (French band), Justice and Air (French band), Air also reached worldwide popularity and contributed to the reputation of modern electronic music in the world. Among current musical events and institutions in France, many are dedicated to classical music and operas. The most prestigious institutions are the state-owned Paris National Opera (with its two sites Palais Garnier and Opéra Bastille), the Opéra National de Lyon, the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, the Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse and the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux. As for music festivals, there are several events organised, the most popular being Eurockéennes (a word play which sounds in French as "European"), Solidays and Rock en Seine. The Fête de la Musique, imitated by many foreign cities, was first launched by the French Government in 1982. Major music halls and venues in France include Le Zénith sites present in many cities and other places in Paris (Paris Olympia, Théâtre Mogador, Élysée Montmartre).


File:Louis de Funès 1970.jpg, 150px, Louis de Funès, often called "France's favourite actor", has played over 130 roles in film and over 100 on stage. France has historical and strong links with Filmmaking, cinema, with two Frenchmen, Auguste and Louis Lumière (known as the Auguste and Louis Lumière, Lumière Brothers) credited with creating cinema in 1895. The world's first female filmmaker, Alice Guy-Blaché, was also from France. Several important cinematic movements, including the late 1950s and 1960s Nouvelle Vague, began in the country. It is noted for having a strong film industry, due in part to protections afforded by the Government of France. France remains a leader in filmmaking, producing more films than any other European country. The nation also hosts the Cannes Festival, one of the most important and famous film festivals in the world. Apart from its strong and innovative film tradition, France has also been a gathering spot for artists from across Europe and the world. For this reason, French cinema is sometimes intertwined with the cinema of foreign nations. Directors from nations such as Poland (Roman Polanski, Krzysztof Kieślowski, Andrzej Żuławski), Argentina (Gaspar Noé, Edgardo Cozarinsky), Russia (Alexandre Alexeieff, Anatole Litvak), Austria (Michael Haneke) and Georgia (Géla Babluani, Otar Iosseliani) are prominent in the ranks of French cinema. Conversely, French directors have had prolific and influential careers in other countries, such as Luc Besson, Jacques Tourneur or Francis Veber in the Cinema of the United States, United States. Although the French film market is dominated by Hollywood, France is the only nation in the world where American films make up the smallest share of total film revenues, at 50%, compared with 77% in Germany and 69% in Japan. Damien Rousselièr
Cinéma et diversité culturelle: le cinéma indépendant face à la mondialisation des industries culturelles
''Horizons philosophiques'' Vol. 15 No. 2 2005
French films account for 35% of the total film revenues of France, which is the highest percentage of national film revenues in the developed world outside the United States, compared to 14% in Spain and 8% in the UK. France is in 2013 the 2nd exporter of films in the world after the United States. Until recently, France had for centuries been the cultural center of the world, although its dominant position has been surpassed by the American culture, United States. Subsequently, France takes steps in protecting and promoting its culture, becoming a leading advocate of the cultural exception. The nation succeeded in convincing all EU members to refuse to include culture and audiovisuals in the list of liberalised sectors of the WTO in 1993. Moreover, this decision was confirmed in a voting in the UNESCO in 2005: the principle of "cultural exception" won an overwhelming victory with 198 countries voting for it and only 2 countries, the United States and Israel, voting against.


Fashion has been an important industry and cultural export of France since the 17th century, and modern "haute couture" originated in Paris in the 1860s. Today, Paris, along with London, Milan, and New York City, is considered one of the world's fashion capitals, and the city is home or headquarters to many of the premier fashion houses. The expression Haute couture is, in France, a legally protected name, guaranteeing certain quality standards. The association of France with fashion and style (french: link=no, la mode) dates largely to the reign of Louis XIV of France, Louis XIV when the luxury goods industries in France came increasingly under royal control and the French royal court became, arguably, the arbiter of taste and style in Europe. But France renewed its dominance of the high fashion (french: link=no, couture haute couture) industry in the years 1860–1960 through the establishing of the great couturier houses such as Chanel, Christian Dior S.A., Dior, and Givenchy. The French perfume industry is world leader in its sector and is centered on the town of Grasse. In the 1960s, the elitist "Haute couture" came under criticism from France's May 1968 in France, youth culture. In 1966, the designer Yves Saint Laurent (designer), Yves Saint Laurent broke with established Haute Couture norms by launching a prêt-à-porter ("ready to wear") line and expanding French fashion into mass manufacturing. With a greater focus on marketing and manufacturing, new trends were established by Sonia Rykiel, Thierry Mugler, Claude Montana, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Christian Lacroix in the 1970s and 1980s. The 1990s saw a conglomeration of many French couture houses under luxury giants and multinationals such as LVMH. According to 2017 data compiled by Deloitte, Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey (LVMH), a French brand, is the largest luxury company in the world by sales, selling more than twice the amount of its nearest competitor.Global Powers of Luxury Goods 2019: Bridging the gap between the old and the new
Moreover, France also possesses 3 of the top 10 luxury goods companies by sales (LVMH, Kering SA, L'Oréal), more than any other country in the world.


Best-selling daily national newspapers in France are ''Le Parisien Aujourd'hui en France'' (with 460,000 sold daily), ''Le Monde'' and ''Le Figaro'', with around 300,000 copies sold daily, but also ''L'Équipe'', dedicated to sports coverage. In the past years, free dailies made a breakthrough, with ''Metro International, Metro'', ''20 minutes (France), 20 Minutes'' and ''Direct Plus'' distributed at more than 650,000 copies respectively. However, the widest circulations are reached by regional daily ''Ouest France'' with more than 750,000 copies sold, and the 50 other regional papers have also high sales. The sector of weekly magazines is stronger and diversified with more than 400 specialized weekly magazines published in the country. The most influential news magazines are the left-wing ''Le Nouvel Observateur'', centrist ''L'Express (France), L'Express'' and right-wing ''Le Point'' (more than 400.000 copies), but the highest circulation for weeklies is reached by TV magazines and by women's magazines, among them ''Marie Claire'' and ''ELLE'', which have foreign versions. Influential weeklies also include investigative and satirical papers ''Le Canard Enchaîné'' and ''Charlie Hebdo'', as well as ''Paris Match''. Like in most industrialized nations, the print media have been affected by a Newspaper crisis, severe crisis in the past decade. In 2008, the government launched a major initiative to help the sector reform and become financially independent, but in 2009 it had to give 600,000 euros to help the print media cope with the Global financial crisis of 2008–2009, economic crisis, in addition to existing subsidies. In 1974, after years of centralised monopoly on radio and television, the governmental agency ORTF was split into several national institutions, but the three already-existing TV channels and four national radio stations Vie Publique
Chronologie de la politique de l'audiovisuel
20 August 2004 [Chronology of policy for audiovisual]
remained under state-control. It was only in 1981 that the government allowed free broadcasting in the territory, ending state monopoly on radio. French television was partly liberalized in the next two-decade with the creation of several commercial channels, mainly thanks to cable and satellite television. In 2005 the national service Télévision Numérique Terrestre introduced digital television all over the territory, allowing the creation of other channels. The four existing national channels are owned by state-owned consortium France Télévisions, funded by advertising revenue and TV licence fees. Public broadcasting group Radio France run five national radio stations. Among these public media are Radio France Internationale, which broadcasts programs in French all over the world, and Franco-German TV channel TV5 Monde. In 2006, the government created global news channel France 24. Long-established TV channels TF1 (privatized in 1987), France 2 and France 3 have the highest shares, while radio stations RTL (French radio), RTL, Europe 1 and state-owned France Inter are the least listened to.


According to a BBC poll in 2010, based on 29,977 responses in 28 countries, France is globally seen as a positive influence in the world's affairs: 49% have a positive view of the country's influence, whereas 19% have a negative view. The Nation Brands Index, Nation Brand Index of 2008 suggested that France has the second best international reputation, only behind Germany#Society, Germany. A global opinion poll for the BBC saw France ranked the fourth most positively viewed nation in the world (behind Germany, Canada and the United Kingdom) in 2014. According to a poll in 2011, the French were found to have the highest level of religious tolerance and to be the country where the highest proportion of the population defines its identity primarily in term of nationality and not religion. , 75% of French had a favourable view of the United States, making France one of the most pro-American countries in the world. , the favourable view of the United States had dropped to 46%. In January 2010, the magazine ''International Living'' ranked France as "best country to live in", ahead of 193 other countries, for the fifth year running. The OECD Better Life Index states that "France performs well in many measures of well-being relative to most other countries in the Better Life Index." The French Revolution continues to permeate the country's collective memory. The tricolour flag of France, the anthem "La Marseillaise", and the motto ''Liberté, égalité, fraternité'', defined in Title 1 of the Constitution of France, Constitution as national symbols, all emerged during the cultural ferment of the early revolution, along with Marianne, a common national personification. In addition, Bastille Day, the national holiday, commemorates the storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789. A common and traditional symbol of the French people is the Gallic rooster. Its origins date back to Antiquity, since the Latin word Gallus meant both "rooster" and "inhabitant of Gaul". Then this figure gradually became the most widely shared representation of the French, used by French monarchs, then by the Revolution and under the successive republican regimes as representation of the national identity, used for some stamps and coins. France is one of the world leaders of gender equality in the workplace: as of 2017, it has 36.8% of its corporate board seats held by women, which makes it the leader of the G20 for that metric; and was ranked in 2019 by the World Bank as one of the only 6 countries in the world where women have the same work rights as men. France is one of the most liberal countries in the world when it comes to LGBT rights: a 2020 Pew Research Center poll found that 86% of the French think that same-sex relationships should be accepted by society, one of the highest acceptance rates in the world (comparable to that of other Western European nations). France legalized same-sex marriage and adoption in 2013. The government has used its diplomatic clout to support LGBT rights by country or territory, LGBT rights throughout the world, notably in LGBT rights at the United Nations, the United Nations. In 2020, France was ranked 5th in the Environmental Performance Index (behind the United Kingdom), out of 180 countries ranked by Yale University in that study. Being the host country of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference, the French government was instrumental in securing the 2015 Paris agreement, a success that has been credited to its "openness and experience in diplomacy" (though the US, after the election of President Trump in 2016, United States withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, then announced it will withdraw from the agreement).


French cuisine is renowned for being one of the finest in the world. According to the regions, traditional recipes are different, the North of the country prefers to use butter as the preferred fat for cooking, whereas olive oil is more commonly used in the South. Moreover, each region of France has iconic traditional specialties: Cassoulet in the Southwest, Choucroute in Alsace, Quiche in the Lorraine (region), Lorraine region, Beef bourguignon in the Burgundy, Bourgogne, Provence, provençal Tapenade, etc. France's most renowned products are French wine, wines, including Champagne, Bordeaux wine, Bordeaux, Burgundy wine, Bourgogne, and Beaujolais as well as a large variety of different List of French cheeses, cheeses, such as Camembert, Roquefort (cheese), Roquefort and Brie cheese, Brie. There are more than 400 different varieties. A meal often consists of three courses, ''hors d'œuvre'' or ''entrée'' (introductory course, sometimes soup), ''plat principal'' (main course), ''fromage'' (cheese course) or ''dessert'', sometimes with a salad offered before the cheese or dessert. Hors d'œuvres could include terrine de saumon au basilic, lobster bisque, foie gras, French onion soup or a croque monsieur. The plat principal could include a pot au feu or steak frites. The dessert could be mille-feuille pastry, a macaron, an éclair, crème brûlée, Chocolate mousse, mousse au chocolat, crêpes, or Café liégeois. French cuisine is also regarded as a key element of the quality of life and the attractiveness of France. A French publication, the Michelin guide, awards ''Michelin stars'' for excellence to a select few establishments. The acquisition or loss of a star can have dramatic effects on the success of a restaurant. By 2006, the Michelin Guide had awarded 620 stars to French restaurants, at that time more than any other country, although the guide also inspects more restaurants in France than in any other country (by 2010, Japan was awarded as many Michelin stars as France, despite having half the number of Michelin inspectors working there). In addition to its wine tradition, France is also a major producer of beer and rum. The three main French brewing regions are Alsace (60% of national production), Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Lorraine. List of French rums, France produces rum via distilleries located on islands such as Reunion Island in the southern Indian Ocean.


France hosts "the world's biggest annual sporting event", the Tour de France, and other popular sports played in France include: Association football, football, judo, tennis, rugby union and pétanque. France has hosted events such as the 1938 FIFA World Cup, 1938 and 1998 FIFA World Cups, the 2007 Rugby World Cup, and will host the 2023 Rugby World Cup. The country also hosted the 1960 European Nations' Cup, UEFA Euro 1984, UEFA Euro 2016 and 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup. The Stade de France in Saint-Denis, Seine-Saint-Denis, Saint-Denis is France's largest stadium and was the venue for the 1998 FIFA World Cup and 2007 Rugby World Cup finals. Since 1903, France is famous for its 24 Hours of Le Mans sports car racing, sports car endurance racing (motorsport), endurance race. Several major tennis tournaments take place in France, including the Paris Masters and the French Open, one of the four Grand Slam (tennis), Grand Slam tournaments. French martial arts include Savate and Fencing. France has a close association with the Modern Olympic Games; it was a French aristocrat, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who suggested the Games' revival, at the end of the 19th century.Olympic History
nbsp;– World Atlas of Travel
After Athens was awarded the first Games, in reference to the Olympics' Greek origins, Paris hosted the second Games 1900 Summer Olympics, in 1900. Paris was the first home of the International Olympic Committee, before it moved to Lausanne. Since 1900, France has hosted the Olympics on 4 further occasions: the 1924 Summer Olympics, again in Paris and three Winter Olympic Games, Winter Games (1924 Winter Olympics, 1924 in Chamonix, 1968 Winter Olympics, 1968 in Grenoble and 1992 Winter Olympics, 1992 in Albertville). Similar to the Olympics, France introduced Olympics for the deaf people (Deaflympics) in 1924 Summer Deaflympics, 1924 with the idea of a French deaf car mechanic, Eugène Rubens-Alcais who paved the way to organise the inaugural edition of the Summer Deaflympics in Paris. Both the France national football team, national football team and the France national rugby union team, national rugby union team are nicknamed "''Les Bleus''" in reference to the team's shirt colour as well as the national Flag of France, French tricolour flag. Football is the most popular sport in France, with over 1,800,000 registered players, and over 18,000 registered clubs. The football team is among the most successful in the world, with two FIFA World Cup victories in 1998 and 2018, one FIFA World Cup second place in 2006, and two UEFA European Championships in UEFA Euro 1984, 1984 and UEFA Euro 2000, 2000. The top national football club competition is Ligue 1. France has produced some of the greatest players in the world, including three time FIFA World Player of the Year Zinedine Zidane, three time Ballon d'Or recipient Michel Platini, record holder for most goals scored at a World Cup Just Fontaine, first football player to receive the Légion d'honneur Raymond Kopa, and the record goalscorer for the French national team Thierry Henry. The French Open, also called Roland-Garros, is a major tennis tournament held over two weeks between late May and early June at the Stade Roland Garros, Stade Roland-Garros in Paris. It is the premier clay court tennis championship event in the world and the second of four annual Grand Slam (tennis), Grand Slam tournaments. Rugby union is popular, particularly in Paris and the southwest of France.Rugby
123 Voyage
The national rugby union team has competed at every Rugby World Cup, and takes part in the annual Six Nations Championship.

See also

* Outline of France * List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, List of communes in France *History of French *History of France



Further reading

* "France." in ''Europe,'' edited by Ferdie McDonald and Claire Marsden, Dorling Kindersley, (Gale, 2010), pp. 144–217
* "France." in Worldmark ''Encyclopedia of the Nations'', edited by Timothy L. Gall and Derek M. Gleason, (13th ed., vol. 5: Europe, Gale, 2012), pp. 215–243


* Carls, Alice-Catherine. "France." in ''World Press Encyclopedia,'' edited by Amanda C. Quick, (2nd ed., vol. 1, Gale, 2003), pp. 314–337
online coverage of press and media
* Chabal, Emile, ed. ''France since the 1970s: History, Politics and Memory in an Age of Uncertainty'' (2015
* Gildea, Robert. ''France Since 1945'' (2nd ed. Oxford University Press, 2002). * Goodliffe, Gabriel, and Riccardo Brizzi, eds. ''France After 2012'' (Bergham, 2015) * Haine, W. S. ''Culture and Customs of France'' (Greenwood Press, 2006). * Kelly, Michael, ed. ''French Culture and Society: The Essentials'' (Oxford University Press, 2001). * Raymond, Gino. ''Historical Dictionary of France'' (2nd ed. Scarecrow, 2008). *Jones, Colin. Cambridge Illustrated History of France (Cambridge University Press,1999)
Ancient maps
of France from the Eran Laor Cartographic Collection, The National Library of Israel

External links

at ''Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development''

at ''UCB Libraries GovPubs'' *

at the EU * *
Key Development Forecasts for France
from International Futures


OECD France statistics


France.fr (in English)
Official French tourism website *
Official Site of the Government

Official site of the French public service
nbsp;– Links to various administrations and institutions
Official site of the National Assembly


''Contemporary French Civilization''
journal, University of Illinois.
nbsp;– Official website of the French Government Tourist Office {{Authority control France, Countries in Europe French-speaking countries and territories G7 nations Group of Eight nations G20 nations Member states of NATO Member states of the Council of Europe Member states of the European Union Member states of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie Member states of the Union for the Mediterranean Member states of the United Nations Republics Southwestern European countries Western European countries States and territories established in 1792 1792 establishments in France 1792 establishments in Europe Transcontinental countries