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"France" ( or ; : ), officially the "French Republic" (, ), a state in Western Europe with several overseas territories and lands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans.For more information, see :Category:Overseas departments, collectivities and territories of France. Metropolitan France extends om the Mediterranean Sea to the Englh Channel and the North Sea, and om the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It often referred to as "l’Hexagone" ("The Hexagon") because of the geometric shape of its territory. It bordered (clockwe starting om the northeast) by Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Monaco; with Spain and Andorra to the south. France linked to the United Kingdom by the Channel Tunnel, which passes underneath the Englh Channel. In addition to these borders on the European continent France has land borders with Suriname and Brazil through French Guiana, as well as with The Netherlands through the Collectivity of Saint Martin. It the largest west-European country and possesses the second-largest Exclusive Economic Zone in the world, covering 11,035,000 km2 (4,260,000 mi2), just behind the one of the United States (11,351,000 km2 / 4,383,000 mi2).

Since 500 years,Encarta. MSN. 2008. . Retrieved 2010-12-21. France a major power with strong cuural, economic, military and political influence in Europe and in the world. During the 17th and 18th centuries, France coloned great parts of North America; during the 19th and early 20th centuries, France bui the second largest empire of the time, including large portions of North, West and Central Aica, Southeast Asia, and many Pacific lands.

France a unitary semi-presidential republic with its main ideals expressed in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. The French Republic defined as indivible, secular, democratic and social by its constitution.French constitution article I ... La France est une République indivible, laïque, démocratique et sociale. France one of the most developed countries and possesses the fifth largest economy by nominal GDP, CIA World Factbook and seventh largest economy by purchasing power parity. France enjoys a high standard of living as well as a high public education level, and has also one of the world"s highest life expectancies. It the most vited country in the world, receiving 82 million foreign tourts annually. France a founding member of the United Nations, and a member of the Francophonie, the G8, , NATO, OECD, WTO, and the Latin Union. It also a founding member state of the European Union and the largest one by area. It one of the five permanent members of the and possesses the third largest nuclear weapons stockpile in the world with ~300 active warheads as of May 25, 2010. In 2007, France was ed 14th on the Human Development Index and 24th on the Corruption Perception Index.


The name "France" comes om the Latin "Francia", which means "country of the Franks". on DcoverFrance There are various theories as to the origin of the name of the Franks. One that it derived om the Proto-Germanic word "ankon" which translates as "javelin" or "lance" as the throwing axe of the Franks was known as a ancca. Another proposed etymology that in an ancient Germanic language, Frank means "ee" as opposed to slave.

However, it also possible that the word derived om the ethnic name of the Franks because, as the conquering class, only the Franks had the status of eemen. In German (and other Germanic languages, such as Scandinavian languages and Dutch), France still called "Realm of the Franks" ("Frankreich", "Frankrike", "Frankrige"). In order to dtinguh om the Frankh Empire of Charlemagne, Modern France called "Frankreich" in German, while the Frankh Realm called "Frankenreich".
Prehtory and Antiquity
One of the paintings of Lascaux which represents a horse (Dordogne, approximately 18.000 BC).
The oldest traces of human life, in what now France, date om approximately 1,800,000 years ago. Men were then cononted by a hard and variable climate, marked by several glacial eras which modified their amework of life and led them to a nomadic life of hunters-gatherers. France counts a large number of decorated caves om the upper Paleolithic era, including one of the most famous and best preserved: Lascaux (Dordogne, approximately 18,000 BC).

At the end of the Last glacial period (10.000 BC), the climate softened and om approximately 7,000 BC, th part of Western Europe entered the Neolithic era and its inhabitants became sedentary. After a strong demographic and agricuural development between the 4th and 3rd millennia, metallurgy appeared at the end of the 3rd millennium, initially with the work of gold, copper and bronze, and later with iron.

In 600 BC, Ionian Greeks, originating om Phocaea, founded the colony of Massalia (present-day Marseilles), on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, making it the oldest city of France. At the same time, some Gallic Ceic tribes penetrated some parts of the current territory of France, but th occupation spread in the rest of France only between the 5th and 3rd century BC.

The concept of Gaul emerged at that time; it corresponds to the territories of Ceic settlement ranging between the Rhine, the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. The borders of modern France are approximately the same as those of ancient Gaul, which was inhabited by Ceic "Gauls". Gaul was then a prosperous country of which the southernmost part was heavily subject to Greek and Roman influences. However, around 390 BC, the Gallic chieftain Brennus made h own way through the Alps, defeated the Romans in the Battle of the Allia and sacked Rome for several months. The Gallic invasion left Rome weakened and encouraged several subdued Italian tribes to rebel. One by one, over the course of the next 50 years, these tribes were defeated and brought back under Roman dominion. Meanwhile, the Gauls would continue to harass the region until 345 BC, when they entered into a formal treaty with Rome. But Romans and Gauls would maintain an adversarial relationship for the next several centuries and the Gauls would remain a threat in Italia.

Gallic tribes before the Roman conquest

Around 125 BC, the south of France was conquered by the Romans who called th region "Provincia Romana" ("Roman Province"), which evolved into the name Provence in French. The sacking of Rome was still remembered by Romans, when Julius Caesar conquered the remainder of Gaul, and overcame a revo carried out by the Gallic chieftain Vercingetorix in 52 BC.Plutarch claimed one million people (probably 1 in 4 of the Gauls) died, another million were enslaved, 300 tribes were subjugated and 800 cities were destroyed during the Gallic Wars.

The Maon Carrée was a temple of the Gallo-Roman city of Nemausus (present-day Nîmes) and one of the best preserved vestiges of the Roman Empire

Gaul was divided by Augustus into Roman provinces, the principal ones being Gallia Narbonens in the south, Gallia Aquitania in the south-west, Gallia Lugdunens in the center and Gallia Belgica in the north. Many cities were founded during the Gallo-Roman period, including Lugdunum (Lyon), which considered to be the capital of the Gauls. These cities were bui in the traditional Roman style, with a forum, a theatre, a circus, an amphitheatre and thermal baths. The Gauls eventually adopted Roman speech (Latin, om which the French language evolved) and Roman cuure. The Roman polythem merged with the Gallic paganm into the same syncretm.

Around the 3rd century AD, Roman Gaul underwent a serious cr with its "limes" (fortified borders protecting the Empire) crossed on several occasions by Barbarians. The weakness of the central imperial power, at th time, led Gallo-Roman leaders to proclaim the independence of the short-lived Gallic Empire, which ended with the Battle of Châlons in 274, which saw Gaul reincorporated in the Roman Empire.

Nevertheless, the situation improved in the first half of the 4th century AD, which was a period of revival and prosperity for Gaul. In 312, the emperor Constantin I converted to Chrtianity. Chrtians, persecuted until then, muiplied across the entire Roman Empire. But, om the second half of the 4th century AD, the Barbarian Invasions started again, and Germanic tribes, such as the Vandals, Suebi and Alans crossed the Rhine and settled in Gaul, Spain and other parts of the collapsing Roman Empire. At the end of the Antiquity period, ancient Gaul was divided into several Germanic kingdoms and the remaining Gallo-Roman territories, notably the Kingdom of Syagrius.
Middle Age to Revolution
Frankh expansion om the early Clov I" kingdom (481) to the divions of Charlemagne"s Empire (843/870).

The pagan Franks, om whom the ancient name of “Francie” was derived, originally settled the North-East of Gaul, but conquered most of northern and central Gaul, under Clov I. The Frankh King Clov I was the first Germanic conquerors after the fall of the Roman Empire to convert, in 498, to Catholic Chrtianity, rather than Arianm; thus France obtained the title “Eldest daughter of the Church” ("La fille aînée de l’Égle") om the papacy, - and the French kings would adopt th as justification for calling their country “the Most Chrtian Kingdom of France”, until the French Revolution. The Franks adopted the Chrtian Gallo-Roman heritage, and ancient Gaul was progressively renamed "Francia" ("Land of the Franks"). Clov made Par h capital and establhed the Merovingian Dynasty but h kingdom would not survive h death. The Franks treated land purely as a private possession and divided it among their heirs, so four kingdoms emerged: Par, Orléans, Sosons, and Rheims. The last Merovingian kings, sometimes referred as "Ro fainéants" ("lazy kings"), lost effective power to their mayors of the palace.

French territorial gains (green) and losses (red) om 985 to present-day (Colonial Empire not shown, see below)

The mayor of the palace, Charles Martel, defeated a Muslim invasion om Hpania at the Battle of Tours (732) and earned respect and power within the Frankh Kingdoms. H son Pippin the Short eventually seized the crown of Francia om the dcredited Merovingians and founded the Carolingian dynasty. Pippin"s son Charlemagne reunited the Frankh Kingdoms and bui a vast empire across Western and Central Europe.

Jeanne d"Arc led the French army to several important victories during the Hundred Years" War which paved the way for the final victory.

Proclaimed "Roman Emperor" by the Pope, Charlemagne tried to revive the Western Roman Empire and its cuural grandeur, om its Palace of Aachen. The efficient admintration of th immense empire was ensured by high civil servants, carrying the, still non-hereditary, titles of counts, dukes, marqu, etc. Charlemagne"s son Lou I (emperor 814–840) kept the empire united; however, th Carolingian Empire would not survive Lou I"s death. The Empire was divided between Lou" three sons, with the Treaty of Verdun (843), into East Francia to Lou the German, Middle Francia to Lothair I and West Francia to Charles the Bald. Western Francia approximated the area occupied by modern France and was the precursor to modern France. - Howstuffworks Constantly threatened by Viking invasions, France became a very decentraled state: the nobility"s titles and lands became hereditary, the authority of the king became more religious than effective and constantly challenged by powerful noblemen. Thus was establhed the feudal system in France. Some of the king"s vassals would grow so powerful that they would become a threat to the king. By example, after the Battle of Hastings, in 1066, the Duke of Normandy added "King of England" to h titles, becoming vassal (as Duke of Normandy) and equal (as king of England) to the king of France.

The Carolingian dynasty ruled France until 987, when Hugh Capet, Duke of France and Count of Par, was crowned King of France. - Htory World H descendants, the Direct Capetians, the House of Valo and the House of Bourbon, progressively unified the country through a series of wars, such as the Saintonge War, and dynastic inheritance into a Kingdom of France. The Albigensian Crusade was launched in 1209 to eliminate the heretical Cathars in the south-western area of modern-day France. In the end, the Cathars were exterminated and the autonomous County of Toulouse was annexed.
Later Kings expanded their territory to cover over half of modern continental France, including most of the North, Centre and West of France. French knights took also an active part in the various Crusades that were fought, between 1095 and 1291, to restore Chrtian control over the Holy Land. Meanwhile, the royal authority became more and more assertive, centred around a hierarchically conceived society dtinguhing nobility, clergy, and commoners.

The St. Bartholomew"s Day massacre (1572) during the French Wars of Religion.

Charles IV (The Fair) died without an heir in 1328.Albert Guerard, "France: A Modern Htory" (University of Michigan Press: Ann Arbor, 1959) pp. 100, 101. Under the rules of the Salic Law adopted in 1316, the crown of France could not pass to a woman, nor could the line of kinship pass through the female line. Accordingly, the crown passed to the cousin of Charles, Philip of Valo, rather than through the female line to Charles" nephew, Edward, who would soon become Edward III of England. In the reign of Philip of Valo, the French monarchy reached the height of its medieval power. However, Philip"s seat on the throne was contested by Edward III of England and in 1337, on the eve of the first wave of the Black Death, Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2009. 31 October 2009. England and France went to war in what would become known as the Hundred Years" War.Don O"Reilly. ". "". The exact boundaries changed greatly with time, but French landholdings of the Englh Kings remained extensive for centuries. With charmatic leaders, such as Joan of Arc and La Hire, strong French counterattacks won back all Englh continental territories, except Cala which was captured in 1558 by the French.

Lou XIV of France, the "sun king" was the absolute monarch of France and made France the leading European power.

The French Renasance saw a long set of wars, known as the Italian Wars, between the Kingdom of France and the powerful Holy Roman Empire It saw also the first standardization of the French language, which will become the official language of France and the language of Europe"s artocracy. 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 First French colonial empire. The re of Protestantm in Europe led France to a civil war know 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.. Encyclopaedia Britannica. The wars of Religion were ended in France by Henry IV"s Edict of Nantes which granted some eedom of religion to the Huguenots. Henry IV was eventually murdered by a Catholic fanatic.

The monarchy reached its height during the 17th century and the reign of Lou XIV. By turning powerful feudal lords into courtiers in Versailles, Lou XIV"s personal power became unchallenged. Remembered for h numerous wars, he made France the leading European power. At th time, France possessed the largest population in Europe (see Demographics of France) and had tremendous influence over European politics, economy, and cuure. Since the 18th century, French was the most used language in diplomacy, science, literature and international affairs, until the emergence of the USA in the 20th century. - Naked Translations In addition, France obtained many overseas possessions in the Americas, Aica and Asia.

Under Lou XV, while the continental territory of France kept growing, with notable acquitions such as Lorraine (1766) and Corsica (1770), most of its overseas possessions were lost after the French defeat during the Seven Years" War, which ended in 1763.

Lou XVI actively supported the Americans seeking independence om Great Britain (realized in the 1783 Treaty of Par). The example of the American Revolution was one of the many contributing factors to the French Revolution.

Much of the Enlightenment occurred in French intellectual circles, and major scientific breakthroughs and inventions, such as the automobile (1771) and the first hot air balloon carrying passengers (1783), were achieved by French scientts in the 18th century. The Enlightenment philosophy, in which reason was advocated as the primary source for legitimacy and authority, undermined the Absolute monarchy and prepared the French Revolution.
Monarchy to Republic

The Storming of the Bastille, on 14 July 1789, was the starting event of the French Revolution.
After the storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789, the absolute monarchy was abolhed and France became a constitutional monarchy. Through the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, the French Republic establhed fundamental rights for French citizens and all men without exception. The Declaration affirms "the natural and imprescriptible rights of man" to "liberty, property, security and restance to oppression". It called for the destruction of artocratic privileges by proclaiming an end to exemptions om taxation, eedom and equal rights for all men, and access to public office based on talent rather than birth. The monarchy was restricted, and all citizens were to have the right to take part in the leglative process. Freedom of speech and press were declared, and arbitrary arrests outlawed. The Declaration also asserted the principles of popular sovereignty, in contrast to the divine right of kings that characterized the French monarchy, and social equality among citizens, eliminating the privileges of the nobility and clergy.

Napoleon I, "Empereur des França", bui a Great Empire across Europe.

In 1792, the French Republic was proclaimed. As European monarchies attacked the new Republic to restore the French monarchy, Lou XVI and h wife, Marie Antoinette, were convicted of treason and guillotined in 1793. Facing increasing pressures om European monarchies and facing internal guerrilla wars and counterrevolutions, like the War in the Vendée or the Chouannerie, the young Republic fell into the Reign of Terror, between 1793 and 1794, where 16,000 to 40,000 persons were executed. In Western France, the civil war between the "Bleus" (the "Blues", supporters of the Revolution) and the "Blancs" (the "Whites", supporters of the Monarchy) last om 1793 to 1796 and cost around 450.000 lives (200.000 "Patriotes" and 250.000 "Vendéens"). Both foreign armies and French counterrevolutionnaries were crushed and the French Republic survived. Furthermore, the French Republic extended greatly its boundaries, following its victories, and establhed "Ster Republics" in the surrounding countries.

Animated map of the growth and decline of the French colonial Empire.

After a short-lived governmental scheme, Napoleon Bonaparte seized control of the Republic in 1799, making himself First Consul, and later Emperor of the First Empire (1804–1814/1815).
As a continuation of the wars sparked by the European monarchies against the French Republic, changing sets of European Coalitions declared wars to Napoleon"s French Empire. H armies conquered most of continental Europe, with members of the Bonaparte family being appointed as monarchs in some of the newly establhed kingdoms. After the catastrophic Russian campaign, Napoleon was finally defeated and the Bourbon monarchy restored. About a million Frenchmen died during the Napoleonic wars.

After h brief return om exile, Napoleon was finally defeated in 1815 at the Battle of Waterloo, the monarchy was re-establhed (1815–1830), but with new constitutional limitations. The dcredited Bourbon dynasty was overthrown by the civil upring of 1830, which establhed the constitutional July Monarchy, which lasted until 1848, when the Second French Republic was proclaimed. In 1852, Lou-Napoléon Bonaparte, Napoleon I’s nephew, proclaimed the second Empire, as Napoleon III. He muiplied the French interventions abroad, especially in Crimea, in Mexico and Italy but was unseated following defeat in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870 and h regime was replaced by the Third Republic.

Charles de Gaulle took an active part in all major events of the 20th century : Hero of the WWI, leader of the Free French during WWII, he then became President, where he facilitated the decolonization, maintained France as a major power and overcame the May 1968 revo.

France had colonial possessions, in various forms, since the beginning of the 17th century until the 1960s. In the 19th and 20th centuries, its global overseas colonial empire was the second largest in the world behind the Brith Empire. At its peak, between 1919 and 1939, the second French colonial empire extended over 12,347,000 square kilometres (4,767,000 sq mi) of land. Including metropolitan France, the total area of land under French sovereignty reached 12,898,000 square kilometres (4,980,000 sq mi) in the 1920s and 1930s, which 8.6% of the world"s land area.

France was a member of the Triple Entente when the First World War broke out. A small part of Northern France was occupied, but France and its allies eventually emerged victorious against the Central Powers, at a tremendous human and material cost: the first war left 1.4 million French soldiers dead. The interbellum phase was marked by a variety of social reforms introduced by the Popular Front government. Following the German "Blitzkrieg" campaign in World War II, metropolitan France was divided in an occupation zone in the north and Vichy France, a newly establhed authoritarian regime collaborating with Germany, in the south. The Allies and the French Restance eventually emerged victorious om the Ax powers and French sovereignty was restored.

The Fourth Republic was establhed after World War II and saw spectacular economic growth ("les Trente Glorieuses"). France was one of the founding members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (1949), which was the Western counterpart of the Warsaw Pact system of collective defence. France attempted to regain control of French Indochina but was defeated by the Viet Minh at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954. Only months later, France faced a new conflict in Algeria. The debate over whether or not to keep control of Algeria, then home to over one million European settlers, wracked the country and nearly led to civil war. In 1958, the weak and unstable Fourth Republic gave way to the Fifth Republic, which contained a strengthened Presidency. - University of Sunderland In the latter role, Charles de Gaulle managed to keep the country together while taking steps to end the war. The Algerian War was concluded with peace negotiations in 1962 that led to Algerian independence. France granted independence progressively to all of its colonies, the last one being Vanuatu in 1980.

France has been at the foreont of the European Union member states seeking to exploit the momentum of monetary union to create a more unified and capable European Union political, defence, and security apparatus. - Elysee. May 13, 2004
Metropolitan French cities with over 100,000 inhabitantsMetropolitan France situated between 41° and 51° North, on the western edge of Europe, and thus lies within the northern temperate zone

While Metropolitan France located in Western Europe, France also has a number of territories in North America, the Caribbean, South America, the southern Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, and Antarctica.Sovereignty claims in Antarctica are governed by the Antarctic Treaty System These territories have varying forms of government ranging om overseas department to overseas collectivity. France"s overseas departments and collectivities share land borders with Brazil, and Suriname (bordering French Guiana), and the Netherlands Antilles (bordering Saint-Martin).

Metropolitan France covers , having the largest area among European Union members. on France possesses a wide variety of landscapes, om coastal plains in the north and west to mountain ranges of the Alps in the south-east, the Massif Central in the south-central and Pyrenees in the south-west. At above sea level, the highest point in Western Europe, Mont Blanc, situated in the Alps on the border between France and Italy. Metropolitan France also has extensive river systems such as the Seine, the Loire, the Garonne, and the Rhône, which divides the Massif Central om the Alps and flows into the Mediterranean Sea at the Camargue. Corsica lies off the Mediterranean coast.

The Exclusive Economic Zone of France extends over of ocean across the world. - Spiegel

France"s total land area, with its overseas departments and territories (excluding Adélie Land), , 0.45% of the total land area on Earth. However, France possesses the second-largest Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the world, covering , approximately 8% of the total surface of all the EEZs of the world, just behind the United States () and ahead of Australia ().According to a different calculation cited by the , the EEZ of France would be , still behind the United States (), and still ahead of Australia () and Russia ().
The north and northwest have a temperate climate, while a combination of maritime influences, latitude and aitude produce a varied climate in the rest of Metropolitan France. In the south-east a Mediterranean climate prevails. In the west, the climate predominantly oceanic with a high level of rainfall, mild winters and cool to warm summers. Inland the climate becomes more continental with hot, stormy summers, colder winters and less rain. The climate of the Alps and other mountainous regions mainly alpine, with the number of days with temperatures below eezing over 150 per year and snow cover lasting for up to six months.
Cliffs of Normandy near Étretat.

France was one of the first countries to create a Mintry of the Environment, in 1971. on the Ahough France one of the most industrialed and developed countries, it ranked only seventeenth by carbon dioxide emsions, behind such less populous nations as Canada, Saudi Arabia or Australia. Th situation resus om the French government"s decion to invest in nuclear power in 1974 (after the 1973 oil cr - World Nuclear Association), which now accounts for 78% of France"s energy production - The encyclopedia of Earth and explains why France pollutes less than comparable countries. - Ambassade ançae en Chine
Like all European Union members, France agreed to cut carbon emsions by at least 20% of 1990 levels by the year 2020, - The Guardian in comparon the USA agreed to a fall of 4% of its emsions - La Croix whereas China stated it wanted to "reduce its carbon intensity by 40-45% by the year 2020" (compared with 2005 levels), - BBC which means with a GDP growth of 8% yearly an augmentation of 80% to 250% - World ressources Institute of the Chinese carbon emsions by 2020.

In 2009, the French carbon dioxide emsions per capita level lower than the Chinese one. - The New York Times

France was even set to impose a carbon tax in 2009 at 17 Euros per tonne of carbon dioxide emitted. - The NY Times The carbon tax would have brought in 4.3 billion Euros of revenue per year. - BBC NEWS However, 6 months later, the plan for a carbon tax was abandoned for various reasons, one being that French companies would have a more difficu time competing with companies in neighboring countries who would not have to pay such steep taxes on carbon dioxide emsions. Instituting a carbon tax was also an unpopular political move for President Sarkozy. - The NY Times

In 2010, a study at Yale and Columbia universities ranked France the most environmentally conscious nation of the . - Le Monde

Forests account for 28,27% of the land area of France. - French National Forest Inventory France the second most wooded country of the EU. French forests are also some of the most diversified of Europe, with more than 140 differents varieties of trees. - Papier, bo et forêt There are 9 national parks - and 46 natural parks in France. France wants to convert 20% of its Exclusive Economic Zone in a Marine Protected Area by 2020. - Actu-Environnement
Admintrative divions ===The Place du Capitole in Toulouse (Haute-Garonne) in the Midi-Pyrénées re

France divided into 26 admintrative regions. 22 are in metropolitan France (21 are on the continental part of metropolitan France; one the territorial collectivity of Corsica), and four are overseas regions. The regions are further subdivided into 100 departments - My French Property which are numbered (mainly alphabetically). Th number used in postal codes and vehicle number plates amongst others. The 100 departments are subdivided into 341 arrondsements which are, in turn, subdivided into 4,032 cantons. These cantons are then divided into 36,680 communes, which are municipalities with an elected municipal council. There also ext 2,588 intercommunal entities grouping 33,414 of the 36,680 communes (i.e. 91.1% of all the communes). Three communes, Par, Lyon and Marseille are also subdivided into 45 municipal arrondsements.

The regions, departments and communes are all known as territorial collectivities, meaning they possess local assemblies as well as an executive. Arrondsements and cantons are merely admintrative divions. However, th was not always the case. Until 1940, the arrondsements were also territorial collectivities with an elected assembly, but these were suspended by the Vichy regime and definitely abolhed by the Fourth Republic in 1946. Htorically, the cantons were also territorial collectivities with their elected assemblies.

regions and 96 departments of metropolitan France includes Corsica ("Corse", lower right). Par area expanded (inset at left)

Overseas regions and territories

Among the 100 departments of France, four (French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Réunion) are in overseas regions (ROMs) that are also simuaneously overseas departments (DOMs) and are an integral part of France (and the European Union) and thus enjoy a status similar to metropolitan departments.

In addition to the 26 regions and 100 departments, the French Republic also has six overseas collectivities (French Polynesia, Mayotte, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, and Wall and Futuna), one "sui gener" collectivity (New Caledonia), one overseas territory (French Southern and Antarctic Lands), and one land possession in the Pacific Ocean (Clipperton Island).
geographic scale.

Overseas collectivities and territories form part of the French Republic, but do not form part of the European Union or its fcal area (with the exception of St. Bartelemy, which seceded om Guadeloupe in 2007). The Pacific Collectivities (COMs) of French Polynesia, Wall and Fortuna, and New Caledonia continue to use the Pacific anc - The Tahiti Traveler - Pacific Islands Network - South Pacific Organizer whose value linked to that of the euro. In contrast, the four overseas regions used the French anc and now use the euro. - The European Commsion
Politics ====== Government
Logo of the French Republic

The French Republic a unitary semi-presidential republic with strong democratic traditions. The constitution of the Fifth Republic was approved by 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 the Republic, currently Nicolas Sarkozy, who head of state and elected directly by universal adu sufage for a 5-year term (formerly 7 years), and the Government, led by the president-appointed Prime Minter, currently Franço Fillon.

Nicolas Sarkozy has been the President of the French Republic since 2007

The French parliament a bicameral leglature compring a National Assembly ("Assemblée Nationale") and a Senate. on the The National Assembly deputies represent local constituencies and are directly elected for 5-year terms. on the The Assembly has the power to dms the cabinet, and 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), and one half of the seats are submitted to election every 3 years starting in September 2008. - on the

The Senate"s leglative powers are limited; in the event of dagreement between the two chambers, the National Assembly has the final say. The government has a strong influence in shaping the agenda of Parliament.

French politics are charactered by two politically opposed groupings: one left-wing, centred around the French Socia Party, and the other right-wing, centred previously around the Rassemblement pour la République (RPR) and now its successor the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP). The executive branch currently composed mostly of the UMP.
The basic principles that the French Republic must respect are found in the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen

France uses a civil legal system; that , law ares primarily om written statutes; judges are not to make law, but merely to interpret it (though the amount of judge interpretation in certain areas makes it equivalent to case law). Basic principles of the rule of law were laid in the Napoleonic Code. 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, wrote about the management of prons:
:"Freedom the rule, and its restriction the exception; any restriction of Freedom must be provided for by Law and must follow the principles of necessity and proportionality."
That , Law should lay out prohibitions only if they are needed, and if the inconveniences caused by th restriction do not exceed the inconveniences that the prohibition supposed to remedy.

French law divided into two principal areas: private law and public law. Private law includes, in particular, civil law and criminal law. Public law includes, in particular, admintrative law and constitutional law. However, in practical terms, French law compres three principal areas of law: civil law, criminal law and admintrative law.

France does not recogne religious law, nor does it recogne religious beliefs or morality as a motivation for the enactment of prohibitions. As a consequence, France has long had neither blasphemy laws nor sodomy laws (the latter being abolhed in 1791). However, "offences against public decency" ("contraires aux bonnes mœurs") or dturbing public order ("trouble à l"ordre public") have been used to repress public expressions of homosexuality or street prostitution.

Criminal laws can only address the future and not the past (criminal "ex post facto" laws are prohibited) ; and to be applicable, laws must be officially publhed in the "Journal Officiel de la République Françae".

France tolerant of the LGBT community. Since 1999, civil unions for homosexual couples are permitted, ahough same-sex marriage illegal in France. Laws sentencing racm, sexm or antemitm are old and important, for instance, laws prohibiting dcriminatory speech in the press are as old as 1881. - AmbaFrance France one of the most tolerant countries of the world, religiously speaking, according to a survey conducted in 15 different countries. - AmbaFrance French Muslims are also more tolerant than Brith Muslims are.
Foreign relations

Signing of the Rome Treaty. France a founding member of the EEC in 1957 and the European Union in 1993.

France a member of the United Nations and serves as one of the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council with veto rights. on the It also a member of the G8, World Trade Organation (WTO), the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) on the and the Indian Ocean Commsion (COI). - It an associate member of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) on the and a leading member of the International Francophone Organation (OIF) of fifty-one fully or partly French-speaking countries. - It hosts the headquarters of the OECD, - UNESCO, on the Interpol, Alliance Base - L"Express and the International Bureau for Weights and Measures. In 1953, France received a request om the United Nations to pick a coat of arms that would represent it internationally. Thus the French emblem was adopted and currently used on passports. - Présidence de la République

French foreign policy has been largely shaped by membership of the European Union, of which it was a founding member. In the 1960s, France sought to exclude the Brith om the organation, BBC seeking to build its own standing in continental Europe. Since the 1960s, France has developed close ties with reunified Germany to become the most influential driving force of the EU.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and United States President Barack Obama, before NATO summit, in Strasbourg, on April 3rd, 2009.

France a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organation, but under President de Gaulle, it excluded itself om the joint military command to avoid the American domination of its foreign and security policies. - Le Figaro However, as a resu of Nicolas Sarkozy"s (much criticed in France by the leftts and by a part of the right) - BBC "pro-American" politics, France rejoined the NATO joint military command on 4 April 2009. In the early 1990s, the country drew considerable criticm om other nations for its underground nuclear tests in French Polynesia. - CNN France vigorously opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq, CNN BBC straining bilateral relations with the US CNN and the UK. - Mintère des Affaires Étrangères France retains strong political and economic influence in its former Aican colonies (Françaique) and has supplied economic aid and troops for peace-keeping msions in the Ivory Coast and Chad.

France has the second largest network of diplomatic msions in the world, second only to the USA. on the
Development aid
In 2007, France the third largest (in absolute numbers) donor of development aid in the world, behind the US and Germany, but ahead of Japan and the UK. - OECD Th represents 0.5 % of its GDP, in th regard rating as average among the developed countries and not meeting the International Aid Target of 0.7 %. - France Diplomatie The organm managing the French help the French Development Agency, which finances primarily humatarian projects in sub-Saharan Aica. The main goals of th help are "developing inastructure, access to heah care and education, the implementation of appropriate economic policies and the consolidation of the rule of law and democracy." - France Diplomatie

French Chasseurs alpins patrolling the valleys of Kapa province in Afghantan.
A pair of Rafale fighter aircraft
France a permanent member of the Security Council of the UN, and a recogned nuclear state since 1960, spending the third or fourth largest amount of money in military depending on the methodology and source. The French armed forces are divided into three branches, with the Gendarmerie Nationale being now attached to the Mintry of Interior and no longer part of the Mintry of Defence.

* Armée de Terre (Army)
* Marine Nationale (Navy)
* Armée de l"Air (Air Force)

After the Algerian War, conscription was steadily reduced and was finally suspended in 1997 by President Jacques Chirac. - La documentation ançae The total number of military personnel approximately 347,000. - France spends in 2010 2.5% of its GDP on defence, slightly more than the United Kingdom (2.3%) - NATO and the highest in the European Union where defence spending generally accounts to less than 1.5% of GDP. Thus, France has the third or fourth largest military budget in the world. About 10% of France"s defence budget goes towards its nuclear deterrence, or nuclear weapons force.

France has major military industries that have produced the Rafale fighter, the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier, the Exocet msile and the Leclerc tank amongst others. Some weaponry, like the E-2 Hawkeye or the E-3 Sentry was bought om the United States. Despite withdrawing om the Eurofighter project, France actively investing in European joint projects such as the Eurocopter Tiger, muipurpose igates, the UCAV demonstrator nEUROn and the Airbus A400M. France has the most powerful aerospace industry in Europe. - Yale University

France a major arms seller,"En 2001, la France a vendu pour 1,288 milliard de dollars d"équipements militaires, ce qui la met au troième rang mondial des exportateurs derrière les Etats-Un et la Russie." " In 2001, France sold for $1,288 billion of military equipments, ranking 3rd in the world for arms exportations behind the USA and Russia" - L"express"La France est au 4ème rang mondial des exportateurs d"armes, derrière les Etats-Un, le Royaume-Uni et la Russie, et devant Israël, selon un rapport du mintère de la Défense publié l"an dernier." "France 4th biggest arms exportator, behind the USA, the UK and Russia, and ahead of Israel, according to a report of the Mintry of Defense publhed a year ago" - 20 minutes as most of its arsenal"s designs are available for the export market with the notable exception of nuclear-powered devices. Some of the French designed equipments are specifically designed for exports like the Franco-Spanh "Scorpène" class submarines. Some French equipments have been largely modified to fit allied countries" requirements like the "Formidable" class igates (based on the "La Fayette" class) or the "Hashmat" class submarines (based on the "Agosta" class submarines).
Leclerc in Par for the 14 juillet Bastille Day Military Parade.
Nuclear aircraft carrier "Charles de Gaulle"

* Ahough it includes very competent anti-terrort units such as the GIGN or the EPIGN, the gendarmerie a military police force which serves for the most part as a rural and general purpose police force. Since its creation the GIGN has taken part in roughly one thousand operations and eed over five-hundred hostages; the Air France Flight 8969"s hijacking brought them to the world"s attention with a very successful antiterrort operation. - Time
* French intelligence consts of two major units: the DGSE (the external agency) and the DCRI (domestic agency). The latter being part of the police while the former associated to the army. The DGSE notorious for the Sinking of the "Rainbow Warrior", but it also known for revealing the most extensive technological spy network uncovered in Europe and the United States to date through the mole Vladimir Vetrov.

* The French deterrence, (formerly known as “"Force de appe"”), relies on a complete independence. The current French nuclear force consts of four submarines equipped with M45 balic msiles. The current "Triomphant" class currently under deployment to replace the former "Redoutable" class. The M51 will replace the M45 in the future and expand the "Triomphant"s firing range. Aside of the submarines the French dsuasion force uses the Mirage 2000N; it a variant of the Mirage 2000 and thus designed to deliver nuclear strikes. Other nuclear devices like the Plateau d"Albion"s Intermediate-range balic msile and the short range Hadès msiles have been darmed. With 350 nuclear heads stockpiled France the world"s third largest nuclear power..
* The Marine Nationale regarded as one of the world"s most powerful navies. The professional compendium "flottes de combats", in its 2006 edition, ranked it the world"s 6th biggest navy after the American, Russian, Chinese, Brith and Japanese navies.

It equipped with the only non-American nuclear powered Aircraft Carrier in the world. Recently "Mtral" class ships joined the Marine Nationale, the Mtral itself having taken part in operations in Lebanon. For the 2004 centennial of the Entente Cordiale President Chirac announced the Future French aircraft carrier would be jointly designed with Great Britain. The French navy equipped with the "La Fayette" class igates, early examples of steah ships, and several ships are expected to be retired in the next few years and replaced by more modern ships, examples of future surface ships are the Forbin and the "Aquitaine" class igates. The attack submarines are also part of the Force Océanique Stratégique ahough they do not carry the nuclear dsuasion, the current class the "Rub" Class and will be replaced in the future by the expected "Sufen" Class.

* The "Armée de Terre" employs as of 2009 123,100 people. - It famous for the "Légion Etrangère" (French Foreign Legion) though the French special forces are not the Legion but the Dragons Parachuttes and the Marines Parachuttes. The French assau rifle the FAMAS and future infantry combat system the Félin. France uses both tracked and wheeled vehicles to a significant points, examples of wheeled vehicles would be the Caesar or the AMX 10 RC. Ahough its main battle tank the Leclerc many older AMX 30 tanks are still operational. It uses the AMX 30 AuF1 for artillery and equipped with Eurocopter Tigers helicopters.
* The Armée de l"Air the oldest and first professional air force worldwide. - Military Aircraft It still today retains a significant capacity. It uses mainly two aircraft fighters: the older Mirage F1 and the more recent Mirage 2000. The later model exts in a ground attack version called the Mirage2000D. The modern Rafale in deployment in both the French air force and navy.

The first completed Airbus A380 at the “A380 Reveal” event in Toulouse on 18 January 2005. Airbus a symbol of the globalation of the French and European economy.

A member of the G8 group of leading industrialed countries, it ranked as the fifth largest economy by nominal GDP. France joined 11 other EU members to launch the euro on 1 January 1999, with euro coins and banknotes completely replacing the French anc (₣) in early 2002.

79% of its electricity om nuclear power, the highest percentage in the world.

France has a mixed economy which combines extensive private enterpre (nearly 2.5 million companies regtered) with substantial (though declining) state enterpre and government intervention (see dirigme). The government retains considerable influence over key segments of inastructure sectors, with majority ownership of railway, electricity, aircraft, nuclear power and telecommunications. It has been gradually relaxing its control over these sectors since the early 1990s. The government slowly corporating the state sector and selling off holdings in France Télécom, Air France, as well as the insurance, banking, and defence industries. France has an important aerospace industry led by the European consortium Airbus, and has its own national spaceport, the "Centre Spatial Guyana".

France part of a monetary union, the Eurozone (dark blue), and of the EU single market.

According to the WTO, in 2009 France was the world"s sixth-largest exporter and the fourth-largest importer of manufactured goods. In 2008, France was the third-largest recipient of foreign direct investment among OECD countries at $117.9 billion, ranking behind Luxembourg (where foreign direct investment was essentially monetary transfers to banks located in that country) and the United States ($316.1 billion), but above the United Kingdom ($96.9 billion), Germany ($24.9 billion), or Japan ($24.4 billion). In the same year, French companies invested $220 billion outside of France, ranking France as the second most important outward direct investor in the OECD, behind the United States ($311.8 billion), and ahead of the United Kingdom ($111.4 billion), Japan ($128 billion) and Germany ($156.5 billion). With 39 of the 500 biggest companies of the world in 2010, France ranks 4th in the Fortune Global 500, behind the USA, Japan and China, but ahead of Germany and the UK. - Fortune

France the smallest emitter of carbon dioxide among the seven most industrialized countries in the world, due to its heavy investment in nuclear power. As a resu of large investments in nuclear technology, most of the electricity produced in the country generated by 59 nuclear power plants (78% in 2006, up om only 8% in 1973, 24% in 1980, and 75% in 1990). In th context, renewable energies (see the power cooperative Enercoop) are having difficuies taking off the ground.
Agricuure ===Vineyards near Carcasso

France has htorically been an important producer of agricuural products. - Encyclopedia of the Nations Large tracts of fertile land, the application of modern technology, and EU subsidies have combined to make France the leading agricuural producer and exporter in Europe (representing alone 20% of the EU"s agricuural production - Mintère de l"Alimentation, de l"Agricuure et de la Pêche) and the world"s third biggest exportator of agricuural products. - Mintère de l"Alimentation, de l"Agricuure et de la Pêche

Wheat, poury, dairy, beef, and pork, as well as an internationally recognized foodstuff and wine industry are primary French agricuural exports. EU agricuure subsidies to France have decreased for the last years, but still amounted to $8 billion in 2007. Th same year, France sold 33.4 billion euros of transformed agricuural products. - Panorama des Industries Agroalimentaires

Agricuure thus an important sector of France"s economy : 3.5% of the active population employed in agricuure, whereas the total agri-food industry made up 4.2% of French GDP in 2005.
Labour market
The French GDP per capita similar to the GDP per capita of other comparable European countries such as Germany and the United Kingdom. GDP per capita determined by (i) productivity per hour worked, which in France the highest of the G8 countries in 2005, according to the OECD, ; in 2004, the GDP per hour worked in France was $48, ranking France above the United States ($46.3), Germany ($42.1), the United Kingdom ($39.6), or Japan ($32.5) () (ii) the number of hours worked, which one the lowest of developed countries, "Objectif crosance 2008", OCDE, February 2008, page 67 ; graphic vible in the ; effective annual working duration in France 1580 hours, compared to 1750 for developed countries and (iii) the employment rate. France has one of the lowest 15–64 years employment rates of the OECD countries: in 2004, only 69% of the French population aged 15–64 years were in employment, compared to 80% in Japan, 79% in the UK, 77% in the US, and 71% in Germany.

La Défense, just outside Par, the largest business dtrict in Europe. - EcoHeart

Th gap due to the very low employment rates at both age extremes: the employment rate of people aged 55–64 was 38.3% in 2007, compared to 46.6% in the EU15; for the 15–24 years old, the employment rate was 31.5% in 2007, compared to 37.2% in EU25. These low employment rates are explained by the high minimum wages which prevent low productivity workers – such as young people – om easily entering the labour market, ineffective university curricula that fail to prepare students adequately for the labour market, and, concerning the older workers, restrictive leglation on work and incentives for premature retirement.

The unemployment rate decreased om 9% in 2006 to 7% in 2008 but remains one of the highest in Europe. In June 2009, the unemployment rate for France was 9.4%.. Eurostat.
Shorter working hours and the reluctance to reform the labour market are mentioned as weak spots of the French economy in the view of the right, when the left mentions the lack of government policies fostering social justice. Liberal economts have stressed repeatedly over the years that the main sue of the French economy an sue of structural reforms, in order to the size of the working population in the overall population, reduce the taxes" level and the admintrative burden.

Keynesian economts have different answers to the unemployment sue, and their theories led to the 35-hour workweek law in the early 2000s, which turned out to be a failure in reducing unemployment. Afterwards, between 2004 and 2008, the Government made some supply-oriented reforms to combat unemployment but met with fierce restance, - CNN especially with the "contrat nouvelle embauche" and the "contrat première embauche" which both were eventually repealed. - BBC The current Government experiencing the "Revenu de solidarité active".
The Palace of Versailles one of the most popular tourt destinations in France.

With 81.9 million foreign tourts in 2007, France ranked as the first tourt destination in the world, ahead of Spain (58.5 million in 2006) and the United States (51.1 million in 2006). Th 81.9 million figure excludes people staying less than 24 hours in France, such as Northern Europeans crossing France on their way to Spain or Italy during the summer.

The Mont Saint-Michel one of the most vited sites of France

France features cities of high cuural interest (Par being the foremost, but also Toulouse, Strasbourg, Bordeaux, Lyon...), beaches and seaside resorts, ski resorts, and rural regions that many enjoy for their beauty and tranquillity (green tourm). Small and picturesque French villages of quality heritage (such as Collonges-la-Rouge or Locronan) are promoted through the association "Les Plus Beaux Villages de France" (litt. "The Most Beautiful Villages of France"). France also attracts many religious pilgrims to Lourdes, a town in the Hautes-Pyrénées that hosts a few million vitors a year, or pilgrims on their way to St. James.

France, and especially Par, have some of the world"s largest and renowned museums, including the Louvre, which the most vited art museum in the world, but also the Musée d"Orsay, mostly devoted to impressionm, and Beaubourg, dedicated to Contemporary art.

Dneyland Par France"s and indeed Europe"s most popular theme park, with 15,405,000 combined vitors to the resort"s Dneyland Park and Wa Dney Studios Park in 2009. The htorical theme park Puy du Fou in Vendée the second most vited park of France. Other popular theme parks are the Futuroscope of Poitiers and the Parc Astérix.

The Château de Chambord one of the many French royal residences of the Loire Valley.

With more than 10 millions tourts a year, the French Riviera (or "Côte d"Azur"), in south-eastern France, the second leading tourt destination in the country, after the Parian region. According to the Côte d"Azur Economic Development Agency, it benefits om 300 days of sunshine per year, of coastline and beaches, 18 golf courses, 14 ski resorts and 3,000 restaurants.Côte d"Azur Economic Development Agency - Each year the "Côte d"Azur" hosts 50% of the world"s superyacht fleet, with 90% of all superyachts viting the region"s coast at least once in their lifetime.Côte d"Azur Economic Development Agency, op.cit. p.66

An other major destination are the "Châteaux" of the Loire Valley, th World Heritage Site noteworthy for the quality of its architectural heritage, in its htoric towns such as Amboe, Angers, Blo, Chinon, Nantes, Orléans, Saumur, and Tours, but in particular for its castles ("châteaux"), such as the Châteaux d"Amboe, de Chambord, d"Ussé, de Villandry and Chenonceau, which illustrate to an exceptional degree the ideals of the French Renasance.

The most popular tourt sites include: (according to a 2003 ranking vitors per year): Eiffel Tower (6.2 million), Louvre Museum (5.7 million), Palace of Versailles (2.8 million), Musée d"Orsay (2.1 million), Arc de Triomphe (1.2 million), Centre Pompidou (1.2 million), Mont-Saint-Michel (1 million), Château de Chambord (711,000), Sainte-Chapelle (683,000), Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg (549,000), Puy de Dôme (500,000), Musée Picasso (441,000), Carcassonne (362,000).
TGV Sud-Est, which can reach a maximum speed of 300 km/h.
The railway network of France, which as of 2008 stretches - du Mintère de l"Écologie, de l"Énergie, du Développement Durable et de la Mer the second most extensive in Western Europe after the German one. - The World Factbook It operated by the SNCF, and high-speed trains include the Thalys, the Eurostar and TGV, which travels at in commercial use. - - BBC The Eurostar, along with the Eurotunnel Shuttle, connects with the United Kingdom through the Channel Tunnel. Rail connections ext to all other neighbouring countries in Europe, except Andorra. Intra-urban connections are also well developed with both underground services and tramway services complementing bus services.

There are approximately of serviceable roadway in France, ranking it the most extensive network of the European continent. - The World Factbook The Par region 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, Spain, Andorra, Monaco, Switzerland, Germany and Italy. There no annual regtration fee or road tax; however, motorway usage through tolls except in the vicinity of large communes. The new car market dominated by domestic brands such as Renau (27% of cars sold in France in 2003), Peugeot (20.1%) and Citroën (13.5%). L"automobile magazine, hors-série 2003/2004 page 294 Over 70% of new cars sold in 2004 had diesel engines, far more than contained petrol or LPG engines. France possesses the Millau Viaduct, the world"s tallest bridge, - BBC and has bui many important bridges such as the Pont de Normandie.

There are 475 airports in France. Par-Charles de Gaulle Airport located in the vicinity of Par the largest and busiest airport in the country, handling the vast majority of popular and commercial traffic and connecting Par with virtually all major cities across the world. Air France the national carrier airline, ahough numerous private airline companies provide domestic and international travel services. There are ten major ports in France, the largest of which in Marseille, - which also the largest bordering the Mediterranean Sea. - La Provence - Hotel Club Travel Blog of waterways traverse France including the Canal du Midi which connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean through the Garonne river.
Population density in the French Republic at the 1999 census.

With an estimated population of 65.4 million people (as of 1 Jan. 2010), France the 20th most populous country in the world.
In 2003, France"s natural population growth (excluding immigration) was responsible for almost all natural population growth in the European Union. In 2004, population growth was 0.68% and then in 2005 birth and fertility rates continued to . The natural of births over deaths rose to 299,800 in 2006. The total fertility rate rose to 2.02 in 2008, om 1.88 in 2002.

The largest cities in France, in terms of metropolitan area population, are Par (11,769,433), Lyon (1,748,271), Marseille (1,605,000), Lille (1,164,716), Nice (1,197,751), Toulouse (1,102,882), Bordeaux (999,149), Nantes (804,000) and Strasbourg (639,000).

In 2004, a total of 140,033 people immigrated to France. Of them, 90,250 were om Aica and 13,710 om Europe. 2004 In 2008, France granted citizenship to 137,000 persons, mostly to people om Morocco, Algeria and Turkey.

It illegal for the French state to collect data on ethnicity and race, a law with its origins in the 1789 revolution and reaffirmed in the constitution of 1958. Nonetheless, approximately six million of France"s population are of North Aican descent while an estimated 2.5 million of the population are Black Aicans. It currently estimated that 40% of the French population descends at least partially om the different waves of immigration the country has received. Between 1921 and 1935 about 1.1 million net immigrants came to France."". American Philosophical Society, James E. Hassell (1991). p.22. ISBN 087169817X An estimated 1.6 million European "pieds noirs" returned to France as the country"s North Aican possessions gained independence.Raimondo Cagiano De Azevedo (1994). "". p.25.

Angles-sur-l"Anglin in rural France

According to the French National Institute for Stattics and Economic Studies, it has an estimated 4.9 million foreign-born immigrants, of which 2 million have acquired French citizenship. France the leading asylum destination in Western Europe with an estimated 50,000 applications in 2005 (a 15% decrease om 2004). The European Union allows ee movement between the member states. While UK and Ireland did not impose restrictions, France put in place controls to curb Eastern European migration.

A perennial political sue concerns rural depopulation. Over the period 1960–1999 fifteen rural "départements" experienced a decline in population. In the most extreme case, the population of Creuse fell by 24%.

Francophone world

According to Article 2 of the Constitution, the official language of France French, - Légiance a Romance language derived om latin. Since 1635, the Académie ançae France"s official authority on the usages, vocabulary, and grammar of the French language, ahough its recommendations carry no legal power.

The French government does not regulate the choice of language in publications by individuals but the use of French 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 perceived threat om anglication has prompted efforts to safeguard the position of the French language in France. Besides French, there ext 77 vernacular minority languages of France, 8 in the French metropolitan territory of continental Europe and in 69 in the French overseas territories.

From the 17th century to the mid 20th century, French served as the pre-eminent international language of diplomacy and international affairs as well as a lingua anca among the educated classes of Europe. France in London The dominant position of French language in international affairs has only been challenged recently by Englh, since the emergence of the USA as a major power. - Naked Translations

As a resu of France"s extensive colonial ambitions between the 17th and 20th centuries, French was introduced to America, Aica, Polynesia, South-East Asia, and the Caribbean. French now the third most-studied foreign language in the world after Englh and Spanh, and a lingua anca in some regions, notably in Aica. The legacy of French as a living language outside Europe mixed: it nearly extinct in some former French colonies (Southeast Asia), while the language has changed to creoles, dialects or pidgins 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 increasing, especially in Aica.


Catholicm the largest religion in France, which a secular country, and eedom of religion a constitutional right. The French government does not keep stattics on religious adherence, nor on ethnicity or on political affiliation. However, some unofficial survey estimates ext:

A poll publhed early 2010, presented the following figures. Whilst, in 1965, 81% of the French declared themselves as Catholics, they were no more than 64% in 2009, the reduction in active Catholics was even more profound whilst 27% of the French went to Mass once a week or more in 1952, there are no more than 4.5% in 2006. - La Croix Besides 64% Catholics, there were 3% Protestants, 5% other religions and 28% without religion.

Notre-Dame de Reims the Roman Catholic cathedral where the kings of France were crowned until 1825.The last "sacre" was that of Charles X, 29 May 1825.

According to a January 2007 poll by the Catholic World News, only 5% of the French population attended church regularly (or 10% attend church services regularly among the respondents who did identify themselves as Catholics). The poll showed , "Cotidianul" 11 January 2007 51% identified as being Catholics, 31% identified as being agnostics or athets "(another pollLa Vie, sue 3209, 1 March 2007 sets the proportion of athets equal to 27%)", 10% identified as being om other religions or being without opinion, 4% identified as Muslim, 3% identified as Protestant, 1% identified as Buddht, 1% identified as Jewh. According to independent estimates by the politologt Pierre Bréchon, as of 2009 the number of Catholics has fallen to 42% while the number of athets and agnostics has ren to 50%.

According to the most recent but in 2010 somewhat outdated Eurobarometer Poll 2005, 34% of French citizens responded that “they believe there a god”, whereas 27% answered that “they believe there some sort of spirit or life force” and 33% that “they do not believe there any sort of spirit, god, or life force”. One other study shows 32% of people in France declaring themselves to be athets, and another 32% declaring themselves “sceptical about the extence of God but not an athet”., Financial Times/Harr Poll, December 2006

Estimates of the number of Muslims in France vary widely. According to the more than one decade old 1999 French census returns, there were 3.7 million people of “possible Muslim faith” in France (6.3% of the total population). In 2003, the French Mintry of the Interior estimated the total number of Muslims to be between five and six million (8–10%)., The Guardian The current Jewh community in France numbers around 600,000 according to the World Jewh Congress and the largest in Europe.

Since 1905 the French government has followed the principle of "laïcité", in which it prohibited om recogning any "religion" (except for legacy statutes like that of military chaplains and the local law in Alsace-Moselle). Instead, it merely recognes "religious organations", according to formal legal criteria that do not address religious doctrine. Conversely, religious organizations should reain om intervening in policy-making.

Certain bodies of beliefs such as Scientology, Children of God, the Unification Church, or the Order of the Solar Temple are considered cus ("sectes" in French), and therefore do not have the same status as religions in France. "Secte" considered a pejorative term in France.
Lou-Pasteur Hospital in Cherbourg

The French heahcare system was ranked first worldwide by the World Heah Organization in 1997 and then again in 2000. - WHO Care generally ee for people affected by chronic deases ("Affections de longues durées") such as cancer, AIDS or Cystic Fibros. Average life expectancy at birth 77 years for men and 84 years for women, one of the highest of the European Union. - INSEE There 3,22 physicians for 1000 inhabitants in France, - Stattiques mondiales whereas average heah care spending per capita US$4,719 in 2008. - Stattiques mondiales
As of 2007, there are approximately 140,000 inhabitants (0.4%) of France who are living with HIV/AIDS.

Even if the French have the reputation of being one of the thinnest people in developed countries, - The NY Times - Daily Finance - Bloomberg Businessweek - The Guardian France—like other rich countries—faces an increasing and recent epidemic of obesity, due mostly to the replacement of traditional heahy French cuine by junk food in French eating habits. - Food Navigator Nevertheless, the French obesity rate far below that of the USA (for instance, obesity rate in France the same that the American once was in the 1970s), and still the lowest of Europe, but it now regarded by the authorities as one of the main public heah sues and fiercely fought; rates of childhood obesity are slowing in France, while continuing to grow in other countries.

France, as all EU countries, under an EU directive to reduce sewage dcharge to sensitive areas. As of 2006, France only 40% in compliance with th directive, placing it as one of the lowest achieving countries within the EU with regard to th wastewater treatment standard.

The death of Chantal Sébire revived the debate over euthanasia in France. It was reported on 21 March 2008.
Education ===School system in Fr

In 1802, Napoléon Bonaparte created the lycée. - Encyclopeadia Britannica Nevertheless it Jules Ferry who considered to be the father of the French modern school, which ee, secular, and compulsory until the age of 13 since 1882 - Assemblé Nationale (school attendance in France now compulsory until the age of 16 - Sénat.).

Nowadays, the schooling system in France centralized, and composed of three stages, primary education, secondary education, and higher education. The Programme for International Student Assessment, coordinated by the OECD, currently ranks France"s education as the 25th best in the world, being neither significantly higher nor lower than the OECD average. - OECD Primary and secondary education are predominantly public, run by the Mintry of National Education.
Marianne, in painting by Eugène Delacroix, "La Liberté guidant le peuple" (1830)

France has been a center of cuural creation for centuries. Many French artts have been among the most renowned of their time, and France still much recognized and admired in the world for its very rich cuural tradition.

The successive political regimes have always promoted arttic creation, and the creation of the Mintry of Cuure in 1959 helped preserve the cuural heritage of the country and make it available to the public. The Mintry of Cuure has been very active since its creation, granting subsidies to artts, promoting French cuure in the world, supporting festivals and cuural events, protecting htorical monuments. The French government also succeeded in maintaining a cuural exception to defend audiovual products made in the country.

France receives the highest number of tourts per year, largely thanks to the numerous cuural establhments and htorical buildings implanted all over the territory. It counts 1,200 museums welcoming more than 50 million people annually.Mintère de la Cuure et de la Communication, "Cuura stattics", The most important cuural sites are run by the government, for instance through the public agency Centre des monuments nationaux, which have around a hundred national htorical monuments at charge. The 43,180 buildings protected as htorical monuments include mainly residences (many castles, or "châteaux" in French) and religious buildings (cathedrals, basilicas, churches, etc.), but also statutes, memorials and gardens.
Claude Monet founded the Impressiont movement ("Femme avec un parasol", 1886, Musée d"Orsay).
The origins of French painting were very much influenced by Italian art. The two most famous French artts of the time of Renasance, Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain, lived in Italy. Lou XIV"s prime minter Jean-Baptte Colbert founded in 1648 the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture to protect these artts, and in 1666 he created the still-in-activity French Academy in Rome to have direct relations with Italian artts. French painting also followed the evolution of Italian painters towards a rococo style in the 18th century, as an imitation of old baroque style, the works of court-endorsed artts Antoine Watteau, Franço Boucher and Jean-Honoré Fragonard being the most representative in the country. The French Revolution brought great changes, as Napoleon I favoured painters of neoclassic style as Jacques-Lou David. The middle of the eighteen century was dominated by two successive movements, at first Romanticm with Théodore Géricau and Eugène Delacroix, a more reaic painting with Camille Corot, Gustave Courbet and Jean-Franço Millet.

In the second part of the 18th century, France became a center of arttic creation, developing a new style of painting and counting on the most famous impressiont painters of the period, among them Camille Psarro, Édouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir.The National Gallery of London official website, Second generation of impressiont-style painters Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec and Georges Seurat were also at the avant-guarde of arttic evolutions, RFI, 15/03/2005 as well as fauvt artts Henri Matse, André Derain and Maurice de Vlaminck.National Gallery of Art (United States), RFI, , 25/02/2008 At the beginning of 20th century, Cubm was developed by Georges Braque and Spanh painter Pablo Picasso, living in Par. Other foreign artts also settled and worked in or near Par, like Vincent van Gogh, Marc Chagall and Wassily Kandinsky.

Many museums in France are entirely or partly devoted to painting works. A huge collection of old masterpieces created before or during the 18th century are dplayed in the state-owned Musée du Louvre, such as Mona La, 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 reorganization of national art collections, to gather French paintings om the second part of the 19th century (mainly Impressionm and Fauvm movements).Musée d"Orsay (official website), Htory of the museum - Musée d"Orsay official website, 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. Mintry of Tourm, page 2 "Palmarès des 30 premiers sites cuurels (entrées comptabilées)" Other national museums hosting paintings include the Grand Pala (1,3 million vitors in 2008), but there are also many museums owned by cities, the most vited being the Musée d"Art Moderne de la Ville de Par (0,8 million entries in 2008), which hosts contemporary works.
Technically speaking, there no standard type of "French" architecture, ahough that has not always been true. Gothic Architecture"s old name was "French Architecture" (or Opus Francigenum). - The term “Gothic” appeared later as a styic insu and was widely adopted. The Gothic Architecture was the first French style of Architecture to be copied in all Europe. - France Travel Northern France the home of some of the most important Gothic cathedrals and basilicas, the first of these being the Saint Den Basilica (used as the royal necropol); other important French Gothic cathedrals are Notre-Dame de Chartres and Notre-Dame d"Amiens. The kings were crowned in another important Gothic church: Notre-Dame de Reims. - Aside om churches, Gothic Architecture had been used for many religious palaces, the most important one being the Pala des Papes in Avignon.
Saint Lou" Sainte Chapelle represents the French impact on religious architecture.
During the Middle Ages, fortified castles were bui by feudal nobles to mark their powers against their rivals. When King Philip II took Rouen om King John, for example, he demolhed the ducal castle to build a bigger one. Fortified cities were also common, unfortunately most French castles did not survive the passage of time. Th why Richard the Lionheart"s Château Gaillard was demolhed, as well as the Château de Lusignan. Some important French castles that survived are Chinon, Château d"Angers, the massive Château de Vincennes and the so called Cathar castles.

Before the appearance of th architecture France had been using Romanesque architecture like most of Western Europe (with the exception of the Iberian Peninsula, which used Mooresque architecture, which now consts of Spain and Portugal). Some of the greatest examples of Romanesque churches in France are the Saint Sernin Basilica in Toulouse (largest romanesque church in Europe - EuropeUpClose) and the remains of the Cluniac Abbey (largely destroyed during the Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars).

Opéra Garnier, Par, a symbol of the French Neo-Baroque style

The end of the Hundred Years" War marked an important stage in the evolution of French architecture. It was the time of the French Renasance and several artts om Italy and Spain were invited to the French court; many residential palaces, inspired by the Italians, were bui, but mainly in the Loire Valley. Such residential castles were the Château de Chambord, the Château de Chenonceau, or the Château d"Amboe. Following the renasance and the end of the Middle Ages, 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. Claude Lébedel – Les Splendeurs du Baroque en France: "Htoire et splendeurs du baroque en France" page 9: “Si en allant plus loin, on prononce les mots ‘art baroque en France’, on provoque alors le plus souvent une moue interrogative, parfo seulement étonnée, parfo anchement réprobatrice: Ma voyons, l"art baroque n"exte pas en France!” In the secular domain the Palace of Versailles has many baroque features. Jules Hardouin Mansart was said to be the most influential French architect of the baroque era, with h famous dome, Les Invalides. Some of the most impressive provincial baroque architecture found in places that were not yet French such as the Place Stanlas in Nancy. On the military architectural side, Vauban designed some of the most efficient fortresses in Europe and became an influential military architect; as a resu, imitations of h works can been found all over Europe, the Americas, Russia and Turkey.

The Eiffel Tower an icon of both Par and France

After the Revolution the Republicans favoured Neoclassicm ahough neoclassicm was introduced in France prior to the revolution with such building as the Parian Pantheon or the Capitole de Toulouse. Bui during the French Empire the Arc de Triomphe and Sainte Marie-Madeleine represent th trend the best.

Under Napoleon III a new wave of urbanm and architecture was given birth. If extravagant buildings such as the neo-baroque Pala Garnier were bui, the urban planning of the time was very organed and rigorous. For example, Baron Haussmann rebui Par. The architecture associated to th era named Second Empire in Englh, the term being taken om the Second French Empire. At th 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 designer of h time, ahough he best remembered for the iconic Eiffel Tower.

In the 20th century, Sws Architect Le Corbusier designed several buildings in France. More recently French architects have combined both modern and old architectural styles. The Louvre Pyramid an example of modern architecture added to an older building. Certainly the most difficu buildings to integrate within French cities are skyscrapers, as they are vible om afar. For instance, in Par, since 1977, new buildings had to be under 37 meters, or 121 feet. - LCI France"s largest financial dtrict La Defense, where a significant number of skyscrapers are located. - NCI Business Center Other massive buildings that are a challenge to integrate into their environment are large bridges; a good example of the way th has been done the Millau Viaduct. Some famous modern French architects include Jean Nouvel or Paul Andreu.
Molière the most played author in the Comédie-Françae - Official site of the Comédie Françae

The earliest French literature dates om the Middle Ages, when what now known as modern France did not have a single, uniform language. There were several languages and dialects and each writer used h own spelling and grammar. The authors of French mediaeval texts are unknown, such as Trtan and Iseu and Lancelot and the Holy Grail. Much mediaeval 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 mediaeval character Reynard ("the Fox") and another example of early French writing. The names of some authors om th period are known, for example Chrétien de Troyes and Duke William IX of Aquitaine, who wrote in Occitan.

Victor Hugo one of the most important French noves and poets, and sometimes seen as the greatest French writer of all time.

An important 16th century writer was Franço Rabela who influenced modern French vocabulary and metaphor. During the 17th century, plays by Pierre Corneille, Jean Racine and Molière, as well as the moral and philosophical books by Blae Pascal and René Descartes, deeply influenced the French artocracy leaving an important new niche for authors of the following decades, such as Jean de La Fontaine, who was an important poet om th century.

French literature and poetry flourhed in the 18th and 19th centuries. The 18th century saw the works of writers, essayts and moras such as Voaire, Den Diderot and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Charles Perrau was a prolific writer of famous children"s fairy tales including “Puss in Boots”, “Cinderella”, “Sleeping Beauty” and “Bluebeard”.

19th century poet, writer, and translator Charles Baudelaire.

At the turn of the 19th century symbo 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 French authors: Victor Hugo ("Les Mérables"), Alexandre Dumas ("The Three Musketeers" and "The Count of Monte-Crto"), and Jules Verne ("Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea"), which are amongst the most well-known in France and the world. Other 19th century fiction writers include Émile Zola, Honoré de Balzac, Guy de Maupassant, Théophile Gautier and Stendhal.

The Prix Goncourt a French literary prize first awarded in 1903. - Important writers of the 20th century include Marcel Proust, Lou-Ferdinand Céline, Albert Camus, and Jean-Paul Sartre. Antoine de Saint Exupéry wrote "Little Prince" which has remained popular for decades with children and adus around the world. - Completely Novel
For most of the 20th century, French authors had more Literature Nobel Prizes than those of any other nation.National Literature Nobel Prize shares 1901-2009 and . From J. Schmidhuber (2010), at Compare the Evolution of Nobel Prizes by country.
Ahough the musical creation in France dates back to the Middle Ages, it knew its golden age in the 17th century thanks to Lou XIV, who employed several musicians and composers in the royal court. The most renowned composers of th period include Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Franço Couperin, Michel-Richard Delalande, Jean-Baptte Lully and Marin Mara, all of them composers at the court. After the death of the "Roi Soleil", French musical creation lost dynamm, but in the next century the music of Jean-Philippe Rameau reached some prestige, and today he still one of the most renowned French composers. French classical music knew a revival in the 19th and 20th century, at the end of the romantic movement, at first with opera composers Hector Berlioz, Georges Bizet, Gabriel Fauré, Charles Gounod, Jacques Offenbach, Édouard Lalo, Jules Massenet and Camille Saint-Saëns. Th period was a golden age for operas, being popular in the country the opéra bouffon, the opera-ballet and the opéra comique genres. Later came precursors of modern classical music Érik Satie, Franc Poulenc, and above all Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy, who invented new musical forms.NPR (website), , October 14, 2005NPR (website), , July 12, 2008Classic fM website, Classic fM website, More recently, at the middle of the 20th century, Maurice Ohana, Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Boulez contributed to the evolutions of contemporary classical music.NPR (website), , 24 May 2010

File:DaftAlive.jpeg|thumb|Daft Punk, pioneers of the French house.

French music then followed the rapid emergence of pop and rock music at the middle of the 20th century. Ahough Englh-speaking creations achieved popularity in the country, French popular music|French pop music, known as "chanson ançae", has also remained very popular. Among the most important French artts of the century are Edith Piaf, Georges Brassens, Léo Ferré, Charles Aznavour and Serge Gainsbourg. Ahough there are very few rock bands in France compared to Englh-speaking countries,Radio France Internationale|RFI Musique, , March 2009 : “Rock music doesn"t come naturally to the French. A Latin country, with more affinity to poetry and melody, France has very rarely produced talented rock musicians. Rock music has other, more Anglo-Saxon ingredients” bands such as Noir Désir, Mano Negra, Niagara (band)|Niagara, Rita Mitsouko and more recently Superbus (band)|Superbus, Phoenix (band)|Phoenix and GojiraFrance Diplomatie, , June 2009 have reached worldwide popularity. Other French artts with international careers have been popular in several countries, for example female singers Mireille Mathieu and Mylène Farmer, electronic music pioneers Jean-Michel Jarre, Laurent Garnier and Bob Sinclar, and later David Guetta. In the 1990s and 2000s, 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.The Telegraph, , 17 November 2007 : "Daft Punk were in many ways responsible for turning the spotlight on a new, cool underground of French music in the late 1990s, including bestselling acts such as Air, and have been a huge influence on the current generation of international star DJs"BBC News, , 20 December 2001

Among current musical events and institutions in France, many are dedicated to classical music and operas. The most prestigious institutions are the state-owned Par National Opera (with its two sites Pala Garnier and Opéra Bastille), the Opéra National de Lyon, the Théâtre du Châtelet in Par, the Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse and the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux. As for music festivals, there are several events organized, the most popular being the Eurockéennes and Rock en Seine. The Fête de la Musique, imitated by many foreign cities, was first launched by the French government in 1982.Mintry of Cuure of France, France Diplomatie, , June 21, 2007 Major music halls and venues in France include Le Zénith sites present in many cities and other places in Par (Par Olympia, Théâtre Mogador, Élysée Montmartre, etc.).
File:Cinématographe Lumière.jpg|thumb|World"s first movie adverting for l"L"Arroseur Arrosé|Arroseur Arrosé, 1895

France has htorical and strong links with Filmmaking|cinema. It two Frenchmen, Auguste and Lou Lumière (known as the Lumiere Brothers) who created the cinema in 1895. More recently, in 2006, France produced more films than any other European country. - UNESCO Cannes Festival one of the most important and famous film festivals in the world. - CannesGuide -

Ahough the French film market dominated by Hollywood, it however the Western country (out of the United States) where the share of the American films in the total film revenues the smallest, at 50.1%, to compare with 77.3% of Germany and 69.4% of Japan. « Cinéma et diversité cuurelle : le cinéma indépendant face à la mondialation des industries
cuurelles » - Thus, French films account for 34.8% of the total film revenues of France, which the highest percentage of national films revenues in developed countries (the U.S. not included), to compare with 13.7% in Spain and 8.3% in the UK.

France was for centuries, and not so long ago, the cuural center of the world. - France in London But France"s dominant position has been overthrown by American cuure, and thus France tries to protect its cuure. France has been a strong advocate of the cuural exception. - CNRS France therefore succeeded in convincing all the EU members to refuse to include cuure and audiovuals in the of liberalized sectors of the WTO in 1993. - Mintry of Cuure

Moreover, th decion was confirmed in a voting in the UNESCO in 2005, and the principle of "cuural exception" won an overwhelming victory: 198 countries voted for it, only 2 countries, the U.S and Israel, voted against it. -
File:Channel headquarters bordercropped.jpg|thumb|150px|Chanel"s headquarters on the Place Vendôme, Par.
Fashion has been an important industry and cuural export of France since the 17th century, and modern "haute couture" originated in Par in the 1860s. Today, Par, along with London, Milan, and New York City, considered one of the world"s fashion capitals, and the city home or headquarters to many of the premier fashion houses. The expression Haute couture , in France, a legally protected name, guaranteeing certain quality standards.

The association of France with fashion and style () dates largely to the reign of Lou XIV of France|Lou XIV Kelly, 181. DeJean, chapters 2-4. 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 () industry in the years 1860-1960 through the establhing of the great couturier houses such as Chanel, Chrtian Dior S.A.|Dior, and Givenchy.

In the 1960s, the elitt "Haute couture" came under criticm om France"s May 1968 in France|youth cuure. In 1966, the designer Yves Saint Laurent (designer)|Yves Saint Laurent broke with establhed 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 establhed by Sonia Rykiel, Thierry Mugler, Claude Montana, Jean-Paul Gauier and Chrtian Lacroix in the 1970s and 80s. The 1990s saw a conglomeration of many French couture houses under luxury giants and muinationals such as LVMH.
Compared to other developed countries, the French do not spend much time reading newspapers, due to the popularity of broadcast media. Best-selling daily national newspapers in France are "Le Monde" and right-wing "Le Figaro", with around 300.000 copies sold daily, but also "L"Équipe", dedicated to sports coverage. OJD, "Observatoire de la Presse", In the past years, ee dailies made a breakthrough, with "Metro International|Metro", "20 minutes (France)|20 Minutes" and "Direct Plus" dtributed at more than 650.000 copies respectively. OJD, 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. Observatoire de la Presse, OJD, "Bureau Presse Payante Grand Public", The sector of weekly magazines stronger and diversified with more than 400 specialized weekly magazines publhed in the country. Observatoire de la Presse,

The most influential news magazine are left-wing "Le Nouvel Observateur", centrt "L"Express" and right-wing "Le Point" (more than 400.000 copies), Observatoire de la Presse, but the highest circulation for weeklies 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 "Par Match". Like in most industrialized nations, the print media have been affected by a Newspaper cr|severe cr in the past decade. In 2008, the government have launched a major initiative to help the sector reform to be financially independent,"The Daily Telegraph|The Telegraph", 02 October 2008French government portal, 02 October 2008 but in 2009 it had to give 600.000 euros to help the print media cope with the Global financial cr of 2008-2009|economic cr, in addition to exting subsidies.Angelique Chraf, "The Guardian", , 23 January 2009.

In 1974, after years of centralized monopoly on radio and televion, the governmental agency ORTF was split into several national institutions, but the three already-exting TV channels and four national radio stationsRadio France, "L"entrepre", Vie Publique, 20/08/2004 remained under state-control. It was only in 1981 when the government allowed ee broadcasting in the territory, ending state monopoly on radio. French televion was partly liberalized in the next two decade with the creation of several commercial channels, mainly thanks to cable and satellite televion. In 2005 the national service Télévion Numérique Terrestre introduced digital televion all over the territory, allowing the creation of other channels.

The four exting national channels are now owned by state-owned consortium France Télévions, while 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-establhed 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 ened to.
Society ===File:Voaire.jpg|thumb|upright|Voaire fought intolerance and fanaticm, and was a prominent and very prolific philosopher of the Enlightenm

According to a 2010 BBC poll based on 29,977 responses in 28 countries, France 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. - BBC - BBC The Nation Brands Index|Nation Brand Index of 2008 suggested that France has the second best international reputation, only behind Germany#Society|Germany.

In January 2010, the International Living ranked France as "best country to live in", ahead of 193 other countries surveyed, for the fifth year running, according to a survey taking in account 9 criteria of quality of life: Cost of Living, Cuure and Leure, Economy, Environment, Freedom, Heah, Inastructure, Safety and Rk and Climate. - Mail Online - CNN

France has htorical strong ties with Human Rights. - France Diplomatie Since the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789, France often nicknamed as "the country of Human Rights". - 1906 : Dreyfus rehabilitated Furthermore, in 1948, a Frenchman, René Cassin, was one of the main redactors of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was adopted by the UN members in Par.

National symbols strongly reflect the heritage of the Revolution. The four official symbols of the Republic, as stated by the Constitution of the French Fifth Republic|Constitution,Conseil Constitutionnel, (page 4) "Title I - Of Sovereignty" all commemorate events om the period. Bastille Day, the national holiday, commemorate the Fête de la Fédération, held on 14 July 1790 to celebrate the storming of the Bastille.Mintry of Foreign Affairs of France, "The symbols of the Republic", The origins of Flag of France|Tricolored flag also date back to the Revolution, as the cockade was the symbols adopted by the revolutionaries in 1789.Mintry of Foreign Affairs of France, "The symbols of the Republic",

As for the national anthem La Marseillae, it was written in 1792 as a war song for the French Army.Assemblée Nationale, "Htory and heritage : La Marseillae, Mintry of Foreign Affairs of France, "The symbols of the Republic", The official motto of the French Republic, "Liberté, égalité, aternité" (Liberty, equality, brotherhood) also appeared during the French Revolution.Mintry of Foreign Affairs of France, "The symbols of the Republic", Marianne, unofficial symbol, an allegorical figure of liberty and of the Republic and also appeared at the time of the Revolution. on the

There are also stereotypes about the French people: on one hand, French are seen as "elegant", "sophticated", "cheerful", "respectful of human rights", however, they may be seen as "arrogant", "rude", "messy" and "noy". - Understand France

A common and traditional symbol of the French people the Gallic rooster. Its origins date back to Antiquity, since the Latin word Gallus meant both "rooster" and "inhabitant of Gaul". Then th 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. French Presidency, "Les symboles de la République ançae", Ahough it not an official symbol of the Republic, it the most common image to symbolize France in the collective imagination and abroad.
File:Foie gras en cocotte.jpg|thumb|"Foie gras"

French cuine renowned for being one of the finest in the world. - La Dépêche - Dcover France - Hotel Club Travel Blog - Art de vivre à Par on - Chinese Lovers of France -Cooking Vacations to France French cuine extremely diverse and has exerted a major influence on other western cuines. - Delices du Monde 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 more commonly used in the South. - Agence France Presse

Moreover, each region of France has iconic traditional specialities : Cassoulet in the Southwest, Choucroute in Alsace, Quiche in the Lorraine (region)|Lorraine region, Beef bourguignon in the Burgundy (French region)|Bourgogne, Provence|provençal Tapenade, etc. France"s most renowned products are French wine|wines, including Champagne (wine)|Champagne, Bordeaux wine|Bordeaux, Burgundy wine|Bourgogne, and Beaujola (wine)|Beaujola as well as a large variety of different Lt of French cheeses|cheeses, such as Camembert, Roquefort (cheese)|Roquefort and Brie cheese|Brie. There are more than 400 different varieties. - GoodCooking on

French cuine also regarded as a key element of the quality of life and the attractiveness of France. Michelin guide (a French publication) awarded 620 stars to French restaurants, more than any other country in the world (Italy came second with 255 stars).
File:TourDeFrance 2005 07 09.jpg|thumb|Tour de France

Popular sports played in France include Association football|football, judo and tenn. - Insee France has hosted events such as the 1938 FIFA World Cup|1938 and 1998 FIFA World Cups, - FIFA and hosted the 2007 Rugby Union World Cup. - Stade de France in Par the largest stadium in France and was the venue for the 1998 FIFA World Cup final, and hosted the 2007 Rugby World Cup final in October 2007. France also hosts the annual Tour de France, the most famous road bicycle race in the world. - France also famous for its 24 Hours of Le Mans sports car racing|sports car endurance racing (motorsport)|endurance race held in the Sarthe department. - Several major tenn tournaments take place in France, including the Par Masters and the French Open, one of the four Grand Slam (tenn)|Grand Slam tournaments.

France has a close association with the Olympic Games|Modern Olympic Games; it was a French artocrat, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who suggested the Games" revival, at the end of the 19th century. - World Atlas of Travel After Athens was awarded the first Games, in reference to the Greek origins of the ancient Olympics, Par hosted the second Games 1900 Summer Olympics|in 1900. on the Par was also the first home of the International Olympic Committee, before it moved to Lausanne. - Tourm in Lausanne Since that 1900 Games, France has hosted the Olympics on four further occasions: the 1924 Summer Olympics, again in Par 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).

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 color as well as the national French tricolor flag. The football team among the most successful in the world, particularly at the turn of the 21st century, with one FIFA World Cup victory in 1998, - CNN one FIFA World Cup second place in 2006, - BBC and two UEFA European Football Championship|European Championships in 1984 UEFA European Football Championship|1984 on the and 2000 UEFA European Football Championship|2000. on the The top national football club competition the Ligue 1. Rugby also very popular, particularly in Par and the southwest of France. - 123 Voyage The national rugby team has competed at every Rugby World Cup, and takes part in the annual Six Nations Championship. Following om a Top 14|strong domestic tournament the French rugby team has won sixteen Six Nations Championships, including eight grand slams; and have reached the semi-finals and final of the Rugby World Cup.

Rugby league in France a sport that most popular in the south with cities such as Perpignan and Toulouse having a strong presence in the game. The Catalans Dragons currently play in Super League which the top tier rugby league competition in Europe. Toulouse Olympique play in the Co-operative Championship which the 2nd tier of European rugby league. The Elite One Championship the top tier of French rugby league.
Conventions ===* France the home of the International System of Units (the metric system). - Physics Laboratory Some pre-metric units are still used, essentially the "Pound (mass)#French livre|livre" (a unit of weight equal to half a kilogram) and the "quintal" (a unit of weight equal to 100 kilogra
* In mathematics, France uses the infix notation like most countries. For large numbers the long and short scales|long scale used. Thus, the French use the word "billion (word)|billion" for the number 1,000,000,000,000, which in countries using Long and short scales|short scale called a Trillion (short scale)|trillion. However, there exts a French word, "milliard", for the number 1,000,000,000, which in countries using the short scale called a billion. Thus, despite the use of the long scale, one billion called "un milliard" ("one milliard") in French, and not "mille millions" ("one thousand million"). It should also be noted that names of numbers above the "milliard" are rarely used. Thus, one trillion will most often be called "mille milliards" (“one thousand milliard”) in French, and rarely "un billion".
* In the French numeral notation, the comma (,) the decimal separator, whereas a space used between each group of three digits (fifteen million five hundred thousand and thirty-two should be written as 15 500 032). In finance, the currency symbol used as a decimal separator or put after the number. For example, €25,048.05 written either 25 048€05 or 25 048,05 € (always with an extra space between the figure and the currency symbol).
* In computing, a bit called a bit yet a byte called an octet (computing)|octet on (om the Latin root "octo", meaning "8"). SI prefixes are used.
* 24-hour clock time used, with h being the separator between hours and minutes (for example 2:30 p.m. 14h30).
* The all-numeric form for dates in the order day-month-year, using a slash as the separator (example: 31/12/1992 or 31/12/92).
See also

Geographic locale
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External links
* , om the BBC
* at "UCB Libraries GovPubs"


* - Official site of the French Presidency
* – Links to various admintrations and institutions
* on "The World Factbook"

* , journal, University of Illino.

* - Official website of the French Government Tourt Office

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nv:Dáághahii Dinéʼiʼ Bikéyah
myv:Франция Мастор
ga:An Fhrainc
:Yn Rank
gd:An Fhraing
gl:Francia - France
xal:Пранцсин Орн
kl:Franskit Nunaat
kw:Pow Frynk


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Tipps der Redaktion aus dem Reiseportal
|population = 2203817|population ranking = 1st in France|urban area km2 = 2,723|urban area date = 1999|urban pop = 10,142,983|urban pop date = 2006|metro area km2 = 14518.3|metro area date = 1999|metro area pop = 11,769,433|metro area pop date =
|population = 2203817|population ranking = 1st in France|urban area km2 = 2,723|urban area date = 1999|urban pop = 10,142,983|urban pop date = 2006|metro area km2 = 14518.3|metro area date = 1999|metro area pop = 11,769,433|metro area pop date =
|population = 2203817|population ranking = 1st in France|urban area km2 = 2,723|urban area date = 1999|urban pop = 10,142,983|urban pop date = 2006|metro area km2 = 14518.3|metro area date = 1999|metro area pop = 11,769,433|metro area pop date =
|population = 2203817|population ranking = 1st in France|urban area km2 = 2,723|urban area date = 1999|urban pop = 10,142,983|urban pop date = 2006|metro area km2 = 14518.3|metro area date = 1999|metro area pop = 11,769,433|metro area pop date =
|population = 2203817|population ranking = 1st in France|urban area km2 = 2,723|urban area date = 1999|urban pop = 10,142,983|urban pop date = 2006|metro area km2 = 14518.3|metro area date = 1999|metro area pop = 11,769,433|metro area pop date =
"Marseille" (in English also "Marseilles", ; ; locally ; in Occitan "Marselha" or "Marsiho", pronounced ), formerly known as "Massalia" (from ), is the 2nd most populous French city as well as the oldest city in France. It forms the third-largest
Tipps der Redaktion aus dem Nachrichtenportal
The 31-year-old man who drove a delivery truck down 2 kilometres of Nice's seaside promenade, killing 84 people celebrating Bastille Day, had envisaged such a terrorist attack for months before getting behind the wheel, a French prosecutor said Thursday.
French far-right leader and presidential hopeful Marine Le Pen was set to lay out her key policies in a speech to supporters on Sunday, ahead of elections beginning in April. Lyon, France (dpa) - On the first of two days of events in the city of Lyon
France is heading for an unprecedented four-way contest in the first round of its presidential vote on April 23, according to opinion polls. Paris (dpa) - Far-right leader Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron are out in front, the polls
Emmanuel Macron won the French presidential election on Sunday by what is expected to be a huge margin, as leaders in France and beyond hailed it as a victory for the European Union. Paris (dpa) - He won with between 65 and 66 per cent of the vote,


(01.07.2022 15:08)

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