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{{Redirect|La France|other uses of "La France"|Lafrance (disambiguation){{!}}Lafrance|other uses of "France"|France (disambiguation)}}{{pp-vandalism|small=yes}}{{short description|Republic in Europe with several non-European regions}}{{Use dmy dates|date=October 2019}}{{Use British English|date=April 2015}}

| image_flag = Flag of France.svg| image_coat = File:Coat of arms of the French Republic.svg| symbol_type = Emblem100px100px|Reverse)Great Seal of France>Great Seal:La Marseillaise""The Marsellaise"(File:La Marseillaise.ogg|alt=sound clip of the Marseillaise French national anthem)(File:EU-France (orthographic projection).svgShow globeupright=1.15Show map of Europe|default=1}}location_color=dark green metropolitan France >region=Europe subregion=the European Union |subregion_color=green}}| image_map2 = File:France in the World (+Antarctica claims).svgLocation of the territory of the French Republic (red) |Adélie Land (Antarctic claim; hatched)}}| capital = Paris48N21type:city}}| largest_city = capitaland national language}}French language>French{{efn-urFor information about regional languages see Languages of France.}}

93.0% French people >7.0% foreign-borweblink}}}}| religion_year = 2016item_style=white-space:nowrap; Christians>Christian Irreligion>Non-religious Islam >1% Jewish YEAR=2016 PAGE=13 ARCHIVE-DATE=15 SEPTEMBER 2017, }}| demonym = FrenchUnitary state>Unitary semi-presidential republicPresident of France>President| leader_name1 = Emmanuel MacronPrime Minister of France>Prime Minister| leader_name2 = Édouard PhilippeList of Presidents of the Senate of France>President of the Senate| leader_name3 = Gérard LarcherList of Presidents of the National Assembly of France>President of the National Assembly| leader_name4 = Richard FerrandFrench Parliament>ParliamentSenate (France)>SenateNational Assembly (France)>National AssemblyHistory of France>Establishment| established_event1 = Baptism of Clovis I| established_date1 = 25 December 496Treaty of Verdun{{efn-ur>Established the Kingdom of the West Franks (the Kingdom of France) from the Carolingian Empire of Francia.}}| established_date2 = August 843Proclamation of the abolition of the monarchy>Republic established| established_date3 = 22 September 1792Enlargement of the European Union#Founding members>Founded the European Economic Community{{efn-ur>European Union since 1993.}}| established_date4 = 1 January 1958Constitution of France>Current constitution{{efn-urFrench Fifth Republic>Fifth Republic}}| established_date5 = 4 October 1958| area_km2 = 640,679CHAPTER=TABLE 3: POPULATION BY SEX, RATE OF POPULATION INCREASE, SURFACE AREA AND DENSITY YEAR=2012 URL=HTTP://UNSTATS.UN.ORG/UNSD/DEMOGRAPHIC/PRODUCTS/DYB/DYB2012.HTM, | area_rank = 42nd | area_sq_mi = 248,600Metropolitan France (Institut géographique national>IGN)551695sqminame=threeInstitut Géographique National>National Geographic Institute data, which includes bodies of water.}} (50th)| area_label3 = Metropolitan France (Cadastre)543940.9sqminame=fourLand registration>Land Register data, which exclude lakes, ponds and glaciers larger than 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) as well as the estuaries of rivers.}}HTTP://WWW.INSEE.FR/FR/THEMES/COMPARATEUR.ASP?CODGEO=METRODOM-1 >TITLE=FRANCE MéTROPOLITAINE YEAR=2011 ARCHIVEURL=HTTPS://WEB.ARCHIVE.ORG/WEB/20150828051307/HTTP://WWW.INSEE.FR/FR/THEMES/COMPARATEUR.ASP?CODGEO=METRODOM-1 List of countries and dependencies by area>50th)YEAR=2019 ACCESS-DATE=31 JULY 2019, | population_estimate_year = 2019| population_estimate_rank = 21st| population_label2 = Density67022000km2prec=0}} (106th)lc=y|2019}}YEAR=2019 ACCESS-DATE=31 JULY 2019, (22nd)| population_density_km2 = 116| population_density_sq_mi = 301| pop_den_footnote = | population_density_rank = 89thWORK=WORLD ECONOMIC OUTLOOK DATE=OCTOBER 2018, 26 October 2018, | GDP_PPP_year = 2019| GDP_PPP_rank = 10th| GDP_PPP_per_capita = $47,113| GDP_PPP_per_capita_rank = 26th| GDP_nominal = $2.845 trillion| GDP_nominal_year = 2019| GDP_nominal_rank = 7th| GDP_nominal_per_capita = $43,500| GDP_nominal_per_capita_rank = 22nd| Gini = 28.5| Gini_year = 2018| Gini_change = decrease PUBLISHER=EUROSTAT ACCESS-DATE=15 OCTOBER 2019, | Gini_rank = | HDI = 0.901| HDI_year = 2017| HDI_change = increaseYEAR=2017 PUBLISHER=UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME, | HDI_rank = 24th| currency = {{unbulleted listEuro (Euro sign>€) (ISO 4217){{efn-ur>name=six|Whole of the French Republic except the overseas territories in the Pacific Ocean.}}CFP franc (XPF){{efn-ur>name=seven|French overseas territories in the Pacific Ocean only.}}}}| time_zone = Central European Time| utc_offset = +1| utc_offset_DST = +2Central European Summer Time{{efn-ur>name=eight|Daylight saving time is observed in metropolitan France and Saint Pierre and Miquelon only.}}Note: various other time zones are observed in overseas France.}}{{efn-urTime zones across the French Republic span from UTC-10 (French Polynesia) to UTC+12 (Wallis and Futuna).}}Anno Domini>AD)| drives_on = rightTelephone numbers in France>+33{{efn-urThe overseas regions and collectivities form part of the French telephone numbering plan, but have their own country calling codes: Guadeloupe +590; Martinique +596; French Guiana +594, Réunion and Mayotte +262; Saint Pierre and Miquelon +508. The overseas territories are not part of the French telephone numbering plan; their country calling codes are: New Caledonia +687, French Polynesia +689; Wallis and Futuna +681.}}.fr{{efn-ur>, several other Internet TLDs are used in French overseas départements and territories: .re, .mq, .gp, .tf, .nc, .pf, .wf, .pm, .gf and .yt. France also uses .eu, shared with other members of the European Union. The .cat domain is used in Catalan Countries>Catalan-speaking territories.}}| footnotes = Source gives area of metropolitan France as 551,500 km2 (212,900 sq mi) and lists overseas regions separately, whose areas sum to 89,179 km2 (34,432 sq mi). Adding these give the total shown here for the entire French Republic. The CIA reports the total as 643,801 km2 (248,573 sq mi).| today = }}France ({{IPA-fr|fʁɑ̃s|lang|LL-Q150 (fra)-Fhala.K-France.wav}}), officially the French Republic (, {{IPA-fr|ʁepyblik fʁɑ̃sɛːz|pron|République Française.ogg}}), is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories.{{efn-ur|name=twelve|French Guiana is located in South America; Guadeloupe and Martinique are in the Caribbean Sea; and Réunion and Mayotte are in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Africa. All five are considered integral parts of the French Republic. France also comprises Saint Pierre and Miquelon in North America; Saint Barthélemy and Saint Martin in the Caribbean; French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna and Clipperton Island in the Pacific Ocean; and finally the French Southern and Antarctic Lands.}} The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and (Germany) to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions (five of which are situated overseas) span a combined area of {{convert|643801|km2|sqmi}} and a total population of 67.02 million ({{as of|2019|July|lc=y}}).WEB, The World Factbook, Field Listing :: Area,weblink CIA, 1 November 2015, France is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.During the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by the Gauls, a Celtic people. Rome annexed the area in 51 BC, holding it until the arrival of Germanic Franks in 476, who formed the Kingdom of Francia. The Treaty of Verdun of 843 partitioned Francia into East Francia, Middle Francia and West Francia. West Francia, which became the Kingdom of France in 987, emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages, following its victory in the Hundred Years' War (1337–1453). During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a global colonial empire was established, which by the 20th century would become the second largest in the world.BOOK, Hargreaves, Alan G., Memory, Empire, and Postcolonialism: Legacies of French Colonialism, Lexington Books, 2005, 978-0-7391-0821-5, 1,weblink The 16th century was dominated by religious civil wars between Catholics and Protestants (Huguenots). France became Europe's dominant cultural, political, and military power in the 17th century under Louis XIV.BOOK, R.R. Palmer, Joel Colton, A History of the Modern World, 5th, 1978, 161, In the late 18th century, the French Revolution overthrew the absolute monarchy, establishing one of modern history's earliest republics and drafting the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which expresses the nation's ideals to this day.In the 19th century, Napoleon took power and established the First French Empire. His subsequent Napoleonic Wars (1803–15) shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a tumultuous succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870. France was a major participant in World War I, from which it emerged victorious, and was one of the Allies in World War II, but came under occupation by the Axis powers in 1940. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and later dissolved in the course of the Algerian War. The Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, was formed in 1958 and remains today. Algeria and nearly all the other colonies became independent in the 1960s, with most retaining close economic and military connections with France.France has long been a global centre of art, science, and philosophy. It hosts the world's fourth-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is the leading tourist destination, receiving around 83 million foreign visitors annually.BOOK, United Nations World Tourism Organization, 2014, UNWTO Tourism Highlights, 10.18111/9789284416226, 2014, 9789284416226, France is a developed country with the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP,WEB,weblink World Economic Outlook Database, 17 April 2018, International Monetary Fund, and tenth-largest by purchasing power parity.WEB, GDP, PPP (current international $),weblink The World Bank Group, 1 November 2015, In terms of aggregate household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world.WEB, October 2010,weblink Global Wealth Report, Credit Suisse, 27 October 2014, "In euro and USD terms, the total wealth of French households is very sizeable. Although it has just 1% of the world's adults, France ranks fourth among nations in aggregate household wealth â€“ behind China and just ahead of Germany. Europe as a whole accounts for 35% of the individuals in the global top 1%, but France itself contributes a quarter of the European contingent., live,weblink" title="">weblink 9 November 2014, France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, and human development.WEB,weblink World Health Organization Assesses the World's Health Systems, World Health Organization, 8 December 2010, 16 July 2011, WEB,weblink World Population Prospects â€“ The 2006 Revision, 27 April 2010, UN, France is considered a great power in global affairs,Jack S. Levy, War in the Modern Great Power System, 1495–1975, (2014) p. 29 being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a leading member state of the European Union and the Eurozone, and a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Trade Organization (WTO), and La Francophonie.

Etymology and pronunciation

Originally applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name France comes from the Latin , or "country of the Franks".WEB,weblink History of France,, 17 July 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 24 August 2011, Modern France is still named today in Italian and Spanish, while in German, in Dutch and in Swedish all mean "Land/realm of the Franks".There are various theories as to the origin of the name Frank. Following the precedents of Edward Gibbon and Jacob Grimm,Perry, Walter Copland (1857). The Franks, from Their First Appearance in History to the Death of King Pepin. London: Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans, and Roberts. the name of the Franks has been linked with the word frank (free) in English.Examples: ENCYCLOPEDIA, frank, American Heritage Dictionary, harv, ENCYCLOPEDIA, frank, Webster's Third New International Dictionary, harv, And so on. It has been suggested that the meaning of "free" was adopted because, after the conquest of Gaul, only Franks were free of taxation.BOOK, A History of Private Life: From Pagan Rome to Byzantium, Paul Veyne, Belknap Press, The Early Middle Ages in the West, Michel Rouche, 1987, 978-0-674-39974-7, 59830199, 425, Another theory is that it is derived from the Proto-Germanic word , which translates as javelin or lance as the throwing axe of the Franks was known as a francisca.BOOK, Blair, Claude, Tarassuk, Leonid,weblink 1982, The Complete Encyclopedia of Arms and Weapons: the most comprehensive reference work ever published on arms and armor from prehistoric times to the present with over 1,250 illustrations, 186, Simon & Schuster, 978-0-671-42257-8, 5 July 2011, However, it has been determined that these weapons were named because of their use by the Franks, not the other way around.Isidore of Seville, Etymologiarum sive originum, libri XVIIIIn English, 'France' is pronounced {{IPAc-en|f|r|æ|n|s}} {{respell|FRANSS}} in American English and {{IPAc-en|f|r|ɑː|n|s}} {{respell|FRAHNSS}} or {{IPAc-en|f|r|æ|n|s}} {{respell|FRANSS}} in British English. The pronunciation with {{IPAc-en|ɑː}} is mostly confined to accents with the trap-bath split such as Received Pronunciation, though it can be also heard in some other dialects such as Cardiff English, in which {{IPAc-en|f|r|ɑː|n|s}} is in free variation with {{IPAc-en|f|r|æ|n|s}}.BOOK, Wells, John C., 2008, Longman Pronunciation Dictionary, 3rd, Longman, 978-1-4058-8118-0, BOOK, Collins, Beverley, Mees, Inger M., Coupland, Nikolas, Thomas, Alan Richard, 1990, English in Wales: Diversity, Conflict, and Change, The Phonetics of Cardiff English, Multilingual Matters Ltd., 96, 1-85359-032-0,weblink


Prehistory (before the 6th century BC)

File:Lascaux2.jpg|thumb|left|alt=Lascaux cave paintings: a horse from Dordogne facing right brown on white background|One of the (Lascaux]] paintings: a horse â€“ approximately 18,000 BC)The oldest traces of human life in what is now France date from approximately 1.8 million years ago.Jean Carpentier (dir.), François Lebrun (dir.), Alain Tranoy, Élisabeth Carpentier et Jean-Marie Mayeur (préface de Jacques Le Goff), Histoire de France, Points Seuil, coll. " Histoire ", Paris, 2000 (1re éd. 1987), p. 17 {{ISBN|2-02-010879-8}} Over the ensuing millennia, Humans were confronted by a harsh and variable climate, marked by several glacial eras.Early hominids led a nomadic hunter-gatherer life. France has a large number of decorated caves from the upper Palaeolithic era, including one of the most famous and best preserved, Lascaux (approximately 18,000 BC). At the end of the last glacial period (10,000 BC), the climate became milder; from approximately 7,000 BC, this part of Western Europe entered the Neolithic era and its inhabitants became sedentary.After strong demographic and agricultural development between the 4th and 3rd millennia, metallurgy appeared at the end of the 3rd millennium, initially working gold, copper and bronze, and later iron.Carpentier et al. 2000, pp. 20–24. France has numerous megalithic sites from the Neolithic period, including the exceptionally dense Carnac stones site (approximately 3,300 BC).

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

File:Siege-alesia-vercingetorix-jules-cesar.jpg|thumb|Vercingetorix surrenders to Caesar during the Battle of Alesia. The Gallic defeat in the Gallic Wars secured the Roman conquest of the country.]]In 600 BC, Ionian Greeks, originating from Phocaea, founded the colony of Massalia (present-day Marseille), on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. This makes it France's oldest city.BOOK,weblink The Cambridge ancient history, 754, Cambridge University Press, 23 January 2011, 978-0-521-08691-2, 2000, BOOK,weblink A history of ancient Greece, Claude Orrieux, 62, John Wiley & Sons, 1999, 23 January 2011, 978-0-631-20309-4, At the same time, some Gallic Celtic tribes penetrated parts of the current territory of France, and this occupation spread to the rest of France between the 5th and 3rd century BC.Carpentier et al. 2000, p. 29.File:Maison carrée (6).jpg|thumb|alt=Maison Carrée temple in Nemausus Corinthian columns and portico|The Maison Carrée was a temple of the Gallo-Roman city of Nemausus (present-day Nîmes) and is one of the best-preserved vestiges of the Roman EmpireRoman EmpireThe concept of Gaul emerged at that time; it corresponds to the territories of Celtic settlement ranging between the Rhine, the Atlantic Ocean, the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean. The borders of modern France are roughly the same as those of ancient Gaul, which was inhabited by Celtic Gauls. Gaul was then a prosperous country, of which the southernmost part was heavily subject to Greek and Roman cultural and economic influences.Around 390 BC the Gallic chieftain Brennus and his troops made their way to Italy through the Alps, defeated the Romans in the Battle of the Allia, and besieged and ransomed Rome.WEB,weblink Cornelius Tacitus, The History, BOOK II, chapter 91,, The Gallic invasion left Rome weakened, and the Gauls continued to harass the region until 345 BC when they entered into a formal peace treaty with Rome.Polybius, The Histories, 2.18.19 But the Romans and the Gauls would remain adversaries for the next centuries, and the Gauls would continue to be a threat in Italy.Cornell, The Beginnings of Rome, p. 325Around 125 BC, the south of Gaul was conquered by the Romans, who called this region Provincia Nostra ("Our Province"), which over time evolved into the name Provence in French.NEWS,weblink Provence in Stone, Life, 77, 13 July 1953, 23 January 2011, Julius Caesar conquered the remainder of Gaul and overcame a revolt carried out by the Gallic chieftain Vercingetorix in 52 BC.Carpentier et al. 2000, pp. 44–45. According to Plutarch and the writings of scholar Brendan Woods, the Gallic Wars resulted in 800 conquered cities, 300 subdued tribes, one million men sold into slavery, and another three million dead in battle.{{citation needed|date=February 2019}}Gaul was divided by Augustus into Roman provinces.Carpentier et al. 2000, pp. 53–55. Many cities were founded during the Gallo-Roman period, including Lugdunum (present-day Lyon), which is considered the capital of the Gauls. These cities were built in traditional Roman style, with a forum, a theatre, a circus, an amphitheatre and thermal baths. The Gauls mixed with Roman settlers and eventually adopted Roman culture and Roman speech (Latin, from which the French language evolved). The Roman polytheism merged with the Gallic paganism into the same syncretism.From the 250s to the 280s AD, Roman Gaul suffered a serious crisis with its fortified borders being attacked on several occasions by barbarians.Carpentier et al. 2000, pp. 76–77 Nevertheless, the situation improved in the first half of the 4th century, which was a period of revival and prosperity for Roman Gaul.Carpentier et al. 2000, pp. 79–82. In 312, Emperor Constantin I converted to Christianity. Subsequently, Christians, who had been persecuted until then, increased rapidly across the entire Roman Empire.Carpentier et al. 2000, p. 81. But, from the beginning of the 5th century, the Barbarian Invasions resumed.Carpentier et al. 2000, p. 84. Teutonic tribes invaded the region from present-day Germany, the Visigoths settling in the southwest, the Burgundians along the Rhine River Valley, and the Franks (from whom the French take their name) in the north.Carpentier et al. 2000, pp. 84–88.

Early Middle Ages (5th–10th century)

{{See also|List of French monarchs|France in the Middle Ages}}(File:Franks expansion.gif|thumb|alt=animated gif showing expansion of Franks across Europe|Frankish expansion from 481 to 843/870)At the end of the Antiquity period, ancient Gaul was divided into several Germanic kingdoms and a remaining Gallo-Roman territory, known as the Kingdom of Syagrius. Simultaneously, Celtic Britons, fleeing the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain, settled the western part of Armorica. As a result, the Armorican peninsula was renamed Brittany, Celtic culture was revived and independent petty kingdoms arose in this region.The first leader to make himself king of all the Franks was Clovis I, who began his reign in 481, routing the last forces of the Roman governors of the province in 486. Clovis claimed that he would be baptized a Christian in the event of his victory against the Visigoths, which was said to have guaranteed the battle. Clovis regained the southwest from the Visigoths, was baptized in 508, and made himself master of what is now western Germany.Clovis I was the first Germanic conqueror after the fall of the Roman Empire to convert to Catholic Christianity, rather than Arianism; thus France was given the title "Eldest daughter of the Church" (') by the papacy,WEB,weblink Faith of the Eldest Daughter â€“ Can France retain her Catholic heritage?,, 17 July 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 22 July 2011, and French kings would be called "the Most Christian Kings of France" (').File:Chlodwigs taufe.jpg|thumb|left|upright|alt=painting of Clovis I conversion to Catholicism in 498, a king being baptized in a tub in a cathedral surrounded by bishop and monks|With Clovis's conversion to Catholicism in 498, the Frankish monarchy, elective and secular until then, became hereditary and of divine right.]]The Franks embraced the Christian Gallo-Roman culture and ancient Gaul was eventually renamed Francia ("Land of the Franks"). The Germanic Franks adopted Romanic languages, except in northern Gaul where Roman settlements were less dense and where Germanic languages emerged. Clovis made Paris his capital and established the Merovingian dynasty, but his kingdom would not survive his death. The Franks treated land purely as a private possession and divided it among their heirs, so four kingdoms emerged from Clovis's: Paris, Orléans, Soissons, and Rheims. The last Merovingian kings lost power to their mayors of the palace (head of household). One mayor of the palace, Charles Martel, defeated an Islamic invasion of Gaul at the Battle of Tours (732) and earned respect and power within the Frankish kingdoms. His son, Pepin the Short, seized the crown of Francia from the weakened Merovingians and founded the Carolingian dynasty. Pepin's son, Charlemagne, reunited the Frankish kingdoms and built a vast empire across Western and Central Europe.Proclaimed Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Leo III and thus establishing in earnest the French Government's longtime historical association with the Catholic Church,WEB,weblink France, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, 14 December 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 6 February 2011, See drop-down essay on "Religion and Politics until the French Revolution" Charlemagne tried to revive the Western Roman Empire and its cultural grandeur. Charlemagne's son, Louis I (Emperor 814–840), kept the empire united; however, this Carolingian Empire would not survive his death. In 843, under the Treaty of Verdun, the empire was divided between Louis' three sons, with East Francia going to Louis the German, Middle Francia to Lothair I, and West Francia to Charles the Bald. West Francia approximated the area occupied by, and was the precursor to, modern France.WEB,weblink Treaty of Verdun,, 27 February 2008, 17 July 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 16 July 2011, During the 9th and 10th centuries, continually threatened by Viking invasions, France became a very decentralized state: the nobility's titles and lands became hereditary, and the authority of the king became more religious than secular and thus was less effective and constantly challenged by powerful noblemen. Thus was established feudalism in France. Over time, some of the king's vassals would grow so powerful that they often posed a threat to the king. For example, after the Battle of Hastings in 1066, William the Conqueror added "King of England" to his titles, becoming both the vassal to (as Duke of Normandy) and the equal of (as king of England) the king of France, creating recurring tensions.

Late Middle Ages (10th–15th century)

{{See also|List of French monarchs|France in the Middle Ages}}File:Joan of Arc miniature graded.jpg|thumb|Joan of Arc led the French army to several important victories during the Hundred Years' WarHundred Years' WarFile:French borders from 985 to 1947.gif|thumb|alt=animated gif showing changes in French borders|French territorial evolution from 985 to 1947]]The Carolingian dynasty ruled France until 987, when Hugh Capet, Duke of France and Count of Paris, was crowned King of the Franks.WEB,weblink History of France â€“ The Capetian kings of France: AD 987–1328,, 21 July 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 6 August 2011, His descendants{{mdash}}the Capetians, the House of Valois, and the House of Bourbon{{mdash}}progressively unified the country through wars and dynastic inheritance into the Kingdom of France, which was fully declared in 1190 by Philip II Augustus. The French nobility played a prominent role in most Crusades to restore Christian access to the Holy Land. French knights made up the bulk of the steady flow of reinforcements throughout the two-hundred-year span of the Crusades, in such a fashion that the Arabs uniformly referred to the crusaders as Franj caring little whether they really came from France.BOOK, Jean-Benoit Nadeau, Julie Barlow, The Story of French,weblink 8 January 2008, St. Martin's Press, 978-1-4299-3240-0, 34–, The French Crusaders also imported the French language into the Levant, making French the base of the lingua franca (litt. "Frankish language") of the Crusader states. French knights also made up the majority in both the Hospital and the Temple orders. The latter, in particular, held numerous properties throughout France and by the 13th century were the principal bankers for the French crown, until Philip IV annihilated the order in 1307. The Albigensian Crusade was launched in 1209 to eliminate the heretical Cathars in the southwestern area of modern-day France. In the end, the Cathars were exterminated and the autonomous County of Toulouse was annexed into the crown lands of France.NEWS, Massacre of the Pure,weblink Time, New York, 28 April 1961, Later kings expanded their domain to cover over half of modern continental France, including most of the north, centre and west of France. Meanwhile, the royal authority became more and more assertive, centered on a hierarchically conceived society distinguishing nobility, clergy, and commoners.From the 11th century, the House of Plantagenet, the rulers of the County of Anjou, succeeded in establishing its dominion over the surrounding provinces of Maine and Touraine, then progressively built an "empire" that spanned from England to the Pyrenees and covering half of modern France. Tensions between the kingdom of France and the Plantagenet empire would last a hundred years, until Philip Augustus of France conquered between 1202 and 1214 most of the continental possessions of the empire, leaving England and Aquitaine to the Plantagenets. Following the Battle of Bouvines, the Angevin court retreated to England, but persistent Capetian–Plantagenet rivalry would paved the way for another conflict.Charles IV the Fair died without an heir in 1328.Albert Guerard, France: A Modern History (University of Michigan Press: Ann Arbor, 1959) pp. 100, 101. Under the rules of the Salic law the crown of France could not pass to a woman nor could the line of kingship pass through the female line. Accordingly, the crown passed to Philip of Valois, a cousin of Charles, rather than through the female line to Charles' nephew, Edward of Plantagenet, who would soon become Edward III of England. During the reign of Philip of Valois, the French monarchy reached the height of its medieval power. Philip's seat on the throne was contested by Edward III of England and in 1337, on the eve of the first wave of the Black Death,WEB,weblink France VII, Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2009,, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 29 August 2009, England and France went to war in what would become known as the Hundred Years' War.Don O'Reilly. "weblink" title="">Hundred Years' War: Joan of Arc and the Siege of Orléans". The exact boundaries changed greatly with time, but French landholdings of the English Kings remained extensive for decades. With charismatic leaders, such as Joan of Arc and La Hire, strong French counterattacks won back English continental territories. Like the rest of Europe, France was struck by the Black Death; half of the 17 million population of France died.Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie (1987). "The French peasantry, 1450–1660". University of California Press. p. 32. {{ISBN|0-520-05523-3}}Peter Turchin (2003). Historical dynamics: why states rise and fall. Princeton University Press. p. 179. {{ISBN|0-691-11669-5}}

Early modern period (15th century–1789)

Main articles: French Renaissance (c. 1400–c. 1650), Early modern France (1500–1789), French Wars of Religion (1562–1598) and Ancien Régime (c. 1400–1792)
File:Chateau de Chenonceau 2008E.jpg|thumb|left|The Château de Chenonceau, nowadays part of a UNESCO World Heritage siteWorld Heritage siteThe French Renaissance saw a spectacular cultural development and the first standardisation of the French language, which would become the official language of France and the language of Europe's aristocracy. It also saw a long set of wars, known as the Italian Wars, between France and the House of Habsburg. French explorers, such as Jacques Cartier or Samuel de Champlain, claimed lands in the Americas for France, paving the way for the expansion of the First French colonial empire. The rise of Protestantism in Europe led France to a civil war known as the French Wars of Religion, where, in the most notorious incident, thousands of Huguenots were murdered in the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre of 1572.WEB,weblink Massacre of Saint Bartholomew's Day, Encyclopædia Britannica, 21 July 2011, The Wars of Religion were ended by Henry IV's Edict of Nantes, which granted some freedom of religion to the Huguenots. Spanish troops, the terror of Western Europe,BOOK,weblink Tudors: The Illustrated History, Richard, Rex, 15 November 2014, Amberley Publishing Limited, Google Books, 9781445644035, assisted the Catholic side during the Wars of Religion in 1589–1594, and invaded northern France in 1597; after some skirmishing in the 1620s and 1630s, Spain and France returned to all-out war between 1635 and 1659. The war cost France 300,000 casualties.Clodfelter 2017: 40Under Louis XIII, the energetic Cardinal Richelieu promoted the centralisation of the state and reinforced the royal power by disarming domestic power holders in the 1620s. He systematically destroyed castles of defiant lords and denounced the use of private violence (dueling, carrying weapons, and maintaining private army). By the end of 1620s, Richelieu established "the royal monopoly of force" as the doctrine.Tilly, Charles (1985). "War making and state making as organized crime," in Bringing the State Back In, eds P.B. Evans, D. Rueschemeyer, & T. Skocpol. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985. p. 174. During Louis XIV's minority and the regency of Queen Anne and Cardinal Mazarin, a period of trouble known as the Fronde occurred in France. This rebellion was driven by the great feudal lords and sovereign courts as a reaction to the rise of royal absolute power in France.File:Louis XIV of France.jpg|thumb|upright|alt=Louis XIV of France standing in plate armor and blue sash facing left holding baton|Louis XIV, the "sun king" was the absolute monarch of France and made France the leading European power.]]The monarchy reached its peak during the 17th century and the reign of Louis XIV. By turning powerful feudal lords into courtiers at the Palace of Versailles, Louis XIV's personal power became unchallenged. Remembered for his numerous wars, he made France the leading European power. France became the most populous country in Europe and had tremendous influence over European politics, economy, and culture. French became the most-used language in diplomacy, science, literature and international affairs, and remained so until the 20th century.WEB,weblink Language and Diplomacy,, 21 July 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 21 July 2011, France obtained many overseas possessions in the Americas, Africa and Asia. Louis XIV also revoked the Edict of Nantes, forcing thousands of Huguenots into exile.Under Louis XV, Louis XIV's great-grandson, France lost New France and most of its Indian possessions after its defeat in the Seven Years' War (1756–63). Its European territory kept growing, however, with notable acquisitions such as Lorraine (1766) and Corsica (1770). An unpopular king, Louis XV's weak rule, his ill-advised financial, political and military decisions {{ndash}} as well as the debauchery of his court{{ndash}} discredited the monarchy, which arguably paved the way for the French Revolution 15 years after his death.WEB,weblink BBC History: Louis XV (1710–1774), BBC, 21 July 2011, WEB,weblink Scholarly bibliography by Colin Jones (2002), 21 July 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 25 July 2011, Louis XVI, Louis XV's grandson, actively supported the Americans, who were seeking their independence from Great Britain (realised in the Treaty of Paris (1783)). The financial crisis aggravated by France's involvement in the American Revolutionary War was one of many contributing factors to the French Revolution. Much of the Enlightenment occurred in French intellectual circles, and major scientific breakthroughs and inventions, such as the discovery of oxygen (1778) and the first hot air balloon carrying passengers (1783), were achieved by French scientists. French explorers, such as Bougainville and Lapérouse, took part in the voyages of scientific exploration through maritime expeditions around the globe. The Enlightenment philosophy, in which reason is advocated as the primary source for legitimacy and authority, undermined the power of and support for the monarchy and helped pave the way for the French Revolution.

Revolutionary France (1789–1799)

File:Prise de la Bastille.jpg|thumb|alt=drawing of the Storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789, smoke of gunfire enveloping stone castle|The Storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789 was the most emblematic event of the French RevolutionFrench RevolutionFacing financial troubles, King Louis XVI summoned the Estates-General (gathering the three Estates of the realm) in May 1789 to propose solutions to his government. As it came to an impasse, the representatives of the Third Estate formed into a National Assembly, signalling the outbreak of the French Revolution. Fearing that the king would suppress the newly created National Assembly, insurgents stormed the Bastille on 14 July 1789, a date which would become France's National Day.In early August 1789, the National Constituent Assembly abolished the privileges of the nobility such as personal serfdom and exclusive hunting rights.Through the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (27 August 1789) France established fundamental rights for men. The Declaration affirms "the natural and imprescriptible rights of man" to "liberty, property, security and resistance to oppression". Freedom of speech and press were declared, and arbitrary arrests outlawed. It called for the destruction of aristocratic privileges and proclaimed freedom and equal rights for all men, as well as access to public office based on talent rather than birth.In November 1789, the Assembly decided to nationalize and sell all property of the Roman Catholic Church which had been the largest landowner in the country. In July 1790, a Civil Constitution of the Clergy reorganized the French Catholic Church, cancelling the authority of the Church to levy taxes, et cetera. This fueled much discontent in parts of France, which would contribute to the civil war breaking out some years later. While King Louis XVI still enjoyed popularity among the population, his disastrous flight to Varennes (June 1791) seemed to justify rumors he had tied his hopes of political salvation to the prospects of foreign invasion. His credibility was so deeply undermined that the abolition of the monarchy and establishment of a republic became an increasing possibility.In August 1791, the Emperor of Austria and the King of Prussia in the Declaration of Pillnitz threatened revolutionary France to intervene by force of arms to restore the French absolute monarchy. In September 1791, the National Constituent Assembly forced King Louis XVI to accept the French Constitution of 1791, thus turning the French absolute monarchy into a constitutional monarchy. In the newly established Legislative Assembly (October 1791), enmity developed and deepened between a group, later called the 'Girondins', who favored war with Austria and Prussia, and a group later called 'Montagnards' or 'Jacobins', who opposed such a war. A majority in the Assembly in 1792 however saw a war with Austria and Prussia as a chance to boost the popularity of the revolutionary government, and thought that France would win a war against those gathered monarchies. On 20 April 1792, therefore, they declared war on Austria.{{efn-ur|The present-day state of Austria did not exist as such, its territory was part of the Habsburg Monarchy which also comprised the present-day states of Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Belgium, Slovenia and Croatia: that Habsburg Monarchy was usually called 'Austria'.}}File:Serment du Jeu de Paume - Jacques-Louis David.jpg|thumb|left|Le Serment du Jeu de paume by Jacques-Louis DavidJacques-Louis DavidOn 10 August 1792, an angry crowd threatened the palace of King Louis XVI, who took refuge in the Legislative Assembly.Censer, Jack R. and Hunt, Lynn. Liberty, Equality, Fraternity: Exploring the French Revolution. University Park, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2004.A Prussian army invaded France later in August 1792.In early September, Parisians, infuriated by the Prussian army capturing Verdun and counter-revolutionary uprisings in the west of France, murdered between 1,000 and 1,500 prisoners by raiding the Parisian prisons. The Assembly and the Paris city council seemed unable to stop that bloodshed.Doyle, William. The Oxford History of The French Revolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989. pp 191–192. The National Convention, chosen in the first elections under male universal suffrage,{{nl}} Noah Shusterman – De Franse Revolutie (The French Revolution). Veen Media, Amsterdam, 2015. (Translation of: The French Revolution. Faith, Desire, and Politics. Routledge, London/New York, 2014.) Chapter 5 (p. 187–221) : The end of the monarchy and the September Murders (summer–fall 1792). on 20 September 1792 succeeded the Legislative Assembly and on 21 September abolished the monarchy by proclaiming the French First Republic.Ex-King Louis XVI was convicted of treason and guillotined in January 1793.France had declared war on Great Britain and the Dutch Republic in November 1792 and did the same on Spain in March 1793; in the spring of 1793, Austria and Prussia invaded France; in March, France created a "sister republic" in the "Republic of Mainz".Also in March 1793, the civil war of the Vendée against Paris started, evoked by both the Civil Constitution of the Clergy of 1790 and the nationwide army conscription early 1793; elsewhere in France rebellion was brewing too.A factionalist feud in the National Convention, smoldering ever since October 1791, came to a climax with the group of the 'Girondins' on 2 June 1793 being forced to resign and leave the Convention.The counter-revolution, begun in March 1793 in the Vendée, by July had spread to Brittany, Normandy, Bordeaux, Marseilles, Toulon, and Lyon. Paris' Convention government between October and December 1793 with brutal measures managed to subdue most internal uprisings, at the cost of tens of thousands of lives. Some historians consider the civil war to have lasted until 1796 with a toll of possibly 450,000 lives.NEWS, The Terror in the French Revolution, Marisa, Dr Linton,weblink Kingston University, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 17 January 2012, Jacques Hussenet (dir.), " Détruisez la Vendée ! " Regards croisés sur les victimes et destructions de la guerre de Vendée, La Roche-sur-Yon, Centre vendéen de recherches historiques, 2007 By the end of 1793 the allies had been driven from France.France in February 1794 abolished slavery in its American colonies, but would reintroduce it later.Political disagreements and enmity in the National Convention between October 1793 and July 1794 reached unprecedented levels, leading to dozens of Convention members being sentenced to death and guillotined.Meanwhile, France's external wars in 1794 were going prosperous, for example in Belgium.In 1795, the government seemed to return to indifference towards the desires and needs of the lower classes concerning freedom of (Catholic) religion and fair distribution of food.Until 1799, politicians, apart from inventing a new parliamentary system (the 'Directory'), busied themselves with dissuading the people from Catholicism and from royalism.

Napoleon and 19th century (1799–1914)

{{See also|France in the 19th century|France in the 20th century}}File:Jacques-Louis David - The Emperor Napoleon in His Study at the Tuileries - Google Art Project.jpg|thumb|left|alt=painting of Napoleon in 1806 standing with hand in vest attended by staff and Imperial guard regiment|Napoleon, Emperor of the French, and his Grande Armée built a vast Empire across Europe. His conquests spread the French revolutionary ideals across much of Europe, such as popular sovereignty, legal equality, republicanism, and administrative reorganization while his legal reforms had a major impact worldwide. Nationalism, especially in (Germany), emerged in reaction against him.BOOK, Frank W. Thackeray, Events that Changed the World in the Nineteenth Century,weblink 1996, 6, 978-0-313-29076-3, ]]Napoleon Bonaparte seized control of the Republic in 1799 becoming First Consul and later Emperor of the French 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 on Napoleon's Empire. His armies conquered most of continental Europe with swift victories such as the battles of Jena-Auerstadt or Austerlitz. Members of the Bonaparte family were appointed as monarchs in some of the newly established kingdoms.NEWS, Napoleon and German identity, Tim, Blanning, Tim Blanning,weblink History Today, London, April 1998, 48, These victories led to the worldwide expansion of French revolutionary ideals and reforms, such as the Metric system, the Napoleonic Code and the Declaration of the Rights of Man. In June 1812, Napoleon attacked Russia, reaching Moscow. Thereafter his army disintegrated through supply problems, disease, Russian attacks, and finally winter. After the catastrophic Russian campaign, and the ensuing uprising of European monarchies against his rule, Napoleon was defeated and the Bourbon monarchy restored. About a million Frenchmen died during the Napoleonic Wars. After his brief return from exile, Napoleon was finally defeated in 1815 at the Battle of Waterloo, the monarchy was re-established (1815–1830), with new constitutional limitations.The discredited Bourbon dynasty was overthrown by the July Revolution of 1830, which established the constitutional July Monarchy. In that year, French troops conquered Algeria, establishing the first colonial presence in Africa since Napoleon's abortive invasion of Egypt in 1798. In 1848 general unrest led to the February Revolution and the end of the July Monarchy. The abolition of slavery and male universal suffrage, both briefly enacted during the French Revolution, were re-enacted in 1848. In 1852, the president of the French Republic, Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, Napoleon I's nephew, was proclaimed emperor of the second Empire, as Napoleon III. He multiplied French interventions abroad, especially in Crimea, in Mexico and Italy which resulted in the annexation of the duchy of Savoy and the county of Nice, then part of the Kingdom of Sardinia. Napoleon III was unseated following defeat in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 and his regime was replaced by the Third Republic. By 1875, the French conquest of Algeria was complete and approximately 825,000 Algerians were killed as a result.BOOK, Ben Kiernan, Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to Darfur,weblink 2007, Yale University Press, 978-0-300-10098-3, 374, File:French Empire evolution.gif|thumb|upright=2|alt=animated gif of French colonial territory on world map|Animated map of the growth and decline of the French colonial empireFrench colonial empireFrance had colonial possessions, in various forms, since the beginning of the 17th century, but in the 19th and 20th centuries, its global overseas colonial empire extended greatly and became the second largest in the world behind the British Empire. Including metropolitan France, the total area of land under French sovereignty almost reached 13 million square kilometers in the 1920s and 1930s, 8.6% of the world's land. Known as the Belle Époque, the turn of the century was a period characterized by optimism, regional peace, economic prosperity and technological, scientific and cultural innovations. In 1905, state secularism was officially established.

Contemporary period (1914–present)

File:El 114 de infantería, en París, el 14 de julio de 1917, León Gimpel.jpg|thumb|left|French Poilus posing with their war-torn flag in 1917, during World War IWorld War IFrance was a member of the Triple Entente when World War I broke out. A small part of Northern France was occupied, but France and its allies emerged victorious against the Central Powers at a tremendous human and material cost. World War I left 1.4 million French soldiers dead, 4% of its population.NEWS, France's oldest WWI veteran dies,weblink BBC News, London, 20 January 2008, Between 27 and 30% of soldiers conscripted from 1912 to 1915 were killed.Spencer C. Tucker, Priscilla Mary Roberts (2005). Encyclopedia Of World War I: A Political, Social, And Military History. ABC-CLIO. {{ISBN|1-85109-420-2}} The interbellum years were marked by intense international tensions and a variety of social reforms introduced by the Popular Front government (annual leave, eight-hour workdays, women in government).In 1940, France was invaded and occupied by Nazi Germany and Italy. Metropolitan France was divided into a German occupation zone in the north, an Italian occupation zone in the south-east and Vichy France, a newly established authoritarian regime collaborating with (Germany), in the south, while Free France, the government-in-exile led by Charles de Gaulle, was set up in London.Vichy France and the Jews. Michael Robert Marrus, Robert O. Paxton (1995). Stanford University Press. p. 368. {{ISBN|0-8047-2499-7}} From 1942 to 1944, about 160,000 French citizens, including around 75,000 Jews,WEB,weblink The Danish Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 16 April 2014, WEB,weblink BBC, The Vichy Policy on Jewish Deportation, France, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, WEB,weblink Archived copy, 16 October 2014, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 6 December 2014, were deported to death camps and concentration camps in Germany and occupied Poland.Noir sur Blanc: Les premières photos du camp de concentrationde Buchenwald après la libération, WEB,weblink Archived copy, 14 October 2014, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 9 November 2014, (French) In September 1943, Corsica was the first French metropolitan territory to liberate itself from the Axis. On 6 June 1944, the Allies invaded Normandy and in August they invaded Provence. Over the following year the Allies and the French Resistance emerged victorious over the Axis powers and French sovereignty was restored with the establishment of the Provisional Government of the French Republic (GPRF). This interim government, established by de Gaulle, aimed to continue to wage war against Germany and to purge collaborators from office. It also made several important reforms (suffrage extended to women, creation of a social security system). File:De Gaulle-OWI.jpg|thumb|upright|alt=Charles de Gaulle seated in uniform looking left with folded arms|Charles de Gaulle took an active part in many major events of the 20th century: a hero of World War I, leader of the Free French during World War II, he then became President, where he facilitated decolonisation, maintained France as a major power and overcame the revolt of May 1968.]]The GPRF laid the groundwork for a new constitutional order that resulted in the Fourth Republic, which saw spectacular economic growth (les Trente Glorieuses). France was one of the founding members of NATO (1949). France attempted to regain control of French Indochina but was defeated by the Viet Minh in 1954 at the climactic Battle of Dien Bien Phu. Only months later, France faced another anti-colonialist conflict in Algeria. The systematic torture and repression, as well as the extrajudicial killings that were perpetrated to keep control of Algeria, then considered as an integral part of France and home to over one million European settlers,BOOK, Norrie Macqueen, Colonialism,weblink 22 July 2014, Routledge, 978-1-317-86480-6, 131, NEWS, In France, a War of Memories Over Memories of War, Michael, Kimmelman,weblink The New York Times, 4 March 2009, wracked the country and nearly led to a coup and civil war.JOURNAL, Crozier, Brian, Mansell, Gerard, July 1960, France and Algeria, International Affairs (journal), International Affairs, 36, 3, 310–321, 10.2307/2610008, 2610008, In 1958, the weak and unstable Fourth Republic gave way to the Fifth Republic, which included a strengthened Presidency.WEB,weblink From Fourth to Fifth Republic,weblink" title="">weblink 23 May 2008, University of Sunderland, dead, In the latter role, Charles de Gaulle managed to keep the country together while taking steps to end the Algerian War. The war was concluded with the Évian Accords in 1962 that led to Algerian independence. The Algerian independence came at a high price; the large toll on the Algerian population. It resulted in half million to a million deaths and over 2 million internally displaced Algerians.BOOK, A New Paradigm of the African State: Fundi wa Afrika, 2009, Springer, 75, BOOK, David P Forsythe, Encyclopedia of Human Rights,weblink 27 August 2009, OUP USA, 978-0-19-533402-9, 37, BOOK, Elizabeth Schmidt, Foreign Intervention in Africa: From the Cold War to the War on Terror,weblink 25 March 2013, Cambridge University Press, 978-1-107-31065-0, 46, A vestige of the colonial empire are the French overseas departments and territories.File:Dien bien phu castor or siege deinterlaced.png|thumb|left|French-marked USAF C-119 flown by CIA pilots over Dien Bien Phu in 1954]]In the context of the Cold War, de Gaulle pursued a policy of "national independence" towards the Western and Eastern blocs. To this end, he withdrew from NATO's military integrated command (while remaining in the NATO alliance itself), launched a nuclear development programme, and made France the fourth nuclear power. He restored cordial Franco-German relations to create a European counterweight between the American and Soviet spheres of influence. However, he opposed any development of a supranational Europe, favouring a Europe of sovereign nations. In the wake of the series of worldwide protests of 1968, the revolt of May 1968 had an enormous social impact. In France, it is considered to be the watershed moment when a conservative moral ideal (religion, patriotism, respect for authority) shifted towards a more liberal moral ideal (secularism, individualism, sexual revolution). Although the revolt was a political failure (as the Gaullist party emerged even stronger than before) it announced a split between the French people and de Gaulle who resigned shortly after.In the post-Gaullist era, France remained one of the most developed economies in the world, but faced several economic crises that resulted in high unemployment rates and increasing public debt. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries France has been at the forefront of the development of a supranational European Union, notably by signing the Maastricht Treaty (which created the European Union) in 1992, establishing the Eurozone in 1999, and signing the Lisbon Treaty in 2007.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 25 October 2005, Declaration by the Franco-German Defense and Security Council,, 21 July 2011, France has also gradually but fully reintegrated into NATO and has since participated in most NATO sponsored wars.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink dead, 9 May 2014, France and NATO, La France à l'Otan, File:Strasbourg manifestation Charlie Hebdo 11 janvier 2015-2.jpg|thumb|alt=Place de la République statue column with large French flag|Republican marches were organised across France after the January 2015 ÃŽle-de-France attacks perpetrated by radicalised Islamist extremist terroristterroristSince the 19th century France has received many immigrants. These have been mostly male foreign workers from European Catholic countries who generally returned home when not employed.Marie-Christine Weidmann-Koop, Rosalie Vermette, "France at the dawn of the twenty-first century, trends and transformations", p. 160 During the 1970s France faced economic crisis and allowed new immigrants (mostly from the Maghreb) to permanently settle in France with their families and to acquire French citizenship. It resulted in hundreds of thousands of Muslims (especially in the larger cities) living in subsidized public housing and suffering from very high unemployment rates.Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad and Michael J. Balz, "The October Riots in France: A Failed Immigration Policy or the Empire Strikes Back?" International Migration (2006) 44#2 pp. 23–34. Simultaneously France renounced the assimilation of immigrants, where they were expected to adhere to French traditional values and cultural norms. They were encouraged to retain their distinctive cultures and traditions and required merely to integrate.Sylvia Zappi, "French Government Revives Assimilation Policy", in Migration Policy Institute WEB,weblink Archived copy, 30 January 2015, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 30 January 2015, Since the 1995 Paris Métro and RER bombings, France has been sporadically targeted by Islamist organisations, notably the Charlie Hebdo attack in January 2015 which provoked the largest public rallies in French history, gathering 4.4 million people,NEWS, Hinnant, Lori, Adamson, Thomas, Officials: Paris Unity Rally Largest in French History,weblink 11 January 2015, Associated Press, 11 January 2015, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 11 January 2015, NEWS, Paris attacks: Millions rally for unity in France,weblink 12 January 2015, BBC News, 12 January 2015, the November 2015 Paris attacks which resulted in 130 deaths, the deadliest attack on French soil since World War II,NEWS,weblink Parisians throw open doors in wake of attacks, but Muslims fear repercussions, The Guardian, 14 November 2015, 19 November 2015, NEWS,weblink Yes, Parisians are traumatised, but the spirit of resistance still lingers, Nafeesa, Syeed, The Irish Independent, 15 November 2015, 19 November 2015, and the deadliest in the European Union since the Madrid train bombings in 2004NEWS,weblink Europe's open-border policy may become latest victim of terrorism, The Irish Times, 19 November 2015, 19 November 2015, and the 2016 Nice attack which caused 87 deaths during Bastille Day celebrations. Opération Chammal, France's military efforts to contain ISIS, killed over 1,000 ISIS troops between 2014 and 2015.WEB, French policies provoke terrorist attacks,weblink 14 December 2015, The Matador,


Location and borders

(File:France cities.png|thumb|alt=see description|upright=1.1|A relief map of Metropolitan France, showing cities with over 100,000 inhabitants)File:Massif du Mont-Blanc (hiver panoramique).jpg|thumb|alt=Panorama of Mont Blanc mountain range above gray clouds under a blue sky|upright=1.1The vast majority of France's territory and population is situated in Western Europe and is called Metropolitan France, to distinguish it from the country's various overseas polities. It is bordered by the North Sea in the north, the English Channel in the northwest, the Atlantic Ocean in the west and the Mediterranean sea in the southeast. Its land borders consist of Belgium and Luxembourg in the northeast, Germany and Switzerland in the east, Italy and Monaco in the southeast, and Andorra and Spain in the south and southwest. With the exception of the northeast, most of France's land borders are roughly delineated by natural boundaries and geographic features: to the south and southeast, the Pyrenees and the Alps and the Jura, respectively, and to the east, the Rhine river. Due to its shape, France is often referred to as ("The Hexagon"). Metropolitan France includes various coastal islands, of which the largest is Corsica. Metropolitan France is situated mostly between latitudes 41° and 51° N, and longitudes 6° W and 10° E, on the western edge of Europe, and thus lies within the northern temperate zone. Its continental part covers about 1000 km from north to south and from east to west.France has several overseas regions across the world, which are organized as follows: France has land borders with Brazil and Suriname via French Guiana and with the Kingdom of the Netherlands through the French portion of Saint Martin.Metropolitan France covers {{convert|551500|km2|sqmi|0}}, the largest among European Union members.WEB,weblink Europa Official Site â€“ France, 28 October 2014, EU, France's total land area, with its overseas departments and territories (excluding Adélie Land), is {{convert|643801|km2|sqmi|0|abbr=on}}, 0.45% of the total land area on Earth. France possesses a wide variety of landscapes, from coastal plains in the north and west to mountain ranges of the Alps in the southeast, the Massif Central in the south central and Pyrenees in the southwest.Due to its numerous overseas departments and territories scattered across the planet, France possesses the second-largest Exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the world, covering 11,035,000 km2 (4,260,000 mi2), just behind the EEZ of the United States, which covers 11,351,000 km2 (4,383,000 mi2), but ahead of the EEZ of Australia, which covers 8,148,250 km2 (4,111,312 mi2). Its EEZ covers approximately 8% of the total surface of all the EEZs of the world.

Geology, topography and hydrography

File:Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil - Grotte du Grand Roc 13.JPG|thumb|left|Caves in Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil, part of the UNESCO Prehistoric Sites and Decorated Caves of the VézèreVézèreFile:2013.07.05 roussillon - roque anthéron 172.JPG|thumb|Geological formations near Roussillon, Vaucluse dating back to Post-classical historyPost-classical historyMetropolitan France has a wide variety of topographical sets and natural landscapes. Large parts of the current territory of France were raised during several tectonic episodes like the Hercynian uplift in the Paleozoic Era, during which the Armorican Massif, the Massif Central, the Morvan, the Vosges and Ardennes ranges and the island of Corsica were formed. These massifs delineate several sedimentary basins such as the Aquitaine basin in the southwest and the Paris basin in the north, the latter including several areas of particularly fertile ground such as the silt beds of Beauce and Brie. Various routes of natural passage, such as the Rhône valley, allow easy communications. The Alpine, Pyrenean and Jura mountains are much younger and have less eroded forms. At {{convert|4810.45|m|ft|0}}NEWS,weblink Mont Blanc shrinks by {{convert, 45, cm, 2, on, in two years |work=The Sydney Morning Herald |date=6 November 2009 |accessdate=9 August 2010}} above sea level, Mont Blanc, located in the Alps on the French and Italian border, is the highest point in Western Europe. Although 60% of municipalities are classified as having seismic risks, these risks remain moderate. File:Roselière de Pauillac et carrelets sur l'estuaire de la Gironde, France.jpg|thumb|Reed bed on the Gironde estuaryGironde estuaryThe coastlines offer contrasting landscapes: mountain ranges along the French Riviera, coastal cliffs such as the Côte d'Albâtre, and wide sandy plains in the Languedoc. Corsica lies off the Mediterranean coast. France has an extensive river system consisting of the four major rivers Seine, the Loire, the Garonne, the Rhône and their tributaries, whose combined catchment includes over 62% of the metropolitan territory. The Rhône divides the Massif Central from the Alps and flows into the Mediterranean Sea at the Camargue. The Garonne meets the Dordogne just after Bordeaux, forming the Gironde estuary, the largest estuary in Western Europe which after approximately 100 kilometres (62 mi) empties into the Atlantic Oceanweblink Other water courses drain towards the Meuse and Rhine along the north-eastern borders. France has {{convert|11|e6km2}} of marine waters within three oceans under its jurisdiction, of which 97% are overseas.


File:Koppen-Geiger Map FRA present.svg|thumb|Köppen climateKöppen climateMost of the low-lying areas of metropolitan France are located in the oceanic climate zone, Cfb and Cfc in the Köppen classification. Corsica and a small part of the territory bordering the Mediterranean basin lies in the Csa and Csb zones. As the French metropolitan territory is relatively large, the climate is not uniform, giving rise to the following climate nuances:
  • The west of France has strictly oceanic climate (Cfb) â€“ it extends from Flanders to the Basque Country in a coastal strip several tens of kilometers wide, narrower to the north and south but wider in Brittany, which is almost entirely in this climate zone.
    • The climate of the Southwest is also oceanic but warmer.
    • The climate of the Northwest is oceanic but cooler and windier.
    • Away from the coast, the climate is oceanic throughout but its characteristics change somewhat. The Paris sedimentary basin and, more so, the basins protected by mountain chains show a stronger seasonal temperature variability and less rainfall during autumn and winter. Therefore, most of the territory has a semi-oceanic climate and forms a transition zone between strictly oceanic climate near the coasts and other climate zones.
  • The semi-continental climate (Dfa) of the north and centre-east (Alsace, plains of the Saône, the middle part of the Rhône, Dauphiné, Auvergne and Savoy).
  • The Mediterranean and the lower Rhône valley experience a Mediterranean climate (Csa and Csb) due to the effect of mountain chains isolating them from the rest of the country and the resulting Mistral and Tramontane winds.
  • The mountain (or alpine) climates (Dfc and ET) are confined to the Alps, the Pyrenees and the summits of the Massif Central, the Jura and the Vosges.
  • In the overseas regions, there are three broad types of climate:


{{See also|Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy|National parks of France|Regional natural parks of France}}(File:Parcs naturels français.svg|thumb|alt=color map showing Regional natural parks of France|Marine (blue), regional (green) and national (red) parks in France)France was one of the first countries to create an environment ministry, in 1971.WEB,weblink Protection of the Environment, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 25 April 2011, Although it is one of the most industrialized countries in the world, France is ranked only 17th by carbon dioxide emissions, behind less populous nations such as Canada or Australia. This is due to the country's heavy investment in nuclear power following the 1973 oil crisis,WEB,weblink Nuclear Power in France, World Nuclear Association, July 2011, 17 July 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 19 July 2011, which now accounts for 75 percent of its electricity productionENCYCLOPEDIA, Eia,weblink Energy profile of France, Environmental Information Coalition, National Council for Science and the Environment, 17 July 2011, Topic editor: Langdon D. Clough, Encyclopedia of Earth, Cutler J. Cleveland, Washington, D.C., First published: 23 April 2010, 10 September 2010,weblink" title="">weblink 29 April 2011, and results in less pollution.WEB, fr, Morgane Remy,weblink CO2 : la France moins pollueuse grâce au nucléaire, CO2: France less polluting thanks to nuclear, L'Usine Nouvelle, 18 June 2010, live,weblink" title="">weblink 21 June 2010, WEB, fr,weblink L'énergie nucléaire en France, 7 January 2008, Nuclear energy in France, La France en Chine,weblink" title="">weblink 1 July 2010, According to the 2018 Environmental Performance Index conducted by Yale and Columbia, France was the second-most environmentally-conscious country in the world (after Switzerland), compared to tenth place in 2016 and 27th in 2014.WEB,weblink 2018 EPI Results {{!, Environmental Performance Index||access-date=20 August 2019}}WEB, Hsu, A., etal, 2016,weblink 2016 Environmental Performance Index, New Haven, CT, Yale University, 14 December 2017, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 4 October 2017, File:Foret de Rambouillet P1060602.JPG|thumb|left|The forest of Rambouilletforest of RambouilletLike all European Union state members, France agreed to cut carbon emissions by at least 20% of 1990 levels by the year 2020,NEWS, Ian Traynor and David Gow,weblink EU promises 20% reduction in carbon emissions by 2020, The Guardian, London, 21 February 2007, 21 July 2011, compared to the United States plan to reduce emissions by 4% of 1990 levels.WEB, Marie Verdier, 6 December 2009,weblink Les quatre enjeux de Copenhague, live,weblink" title="">weblink 11 January 2012, La Croix, {{As of|2009}}, French carbon dioxide emissions per capita were lower than that of China's.NEWS, Kanter, James,weblink Per-Capita Emissions Rising in China, The New York Times, 1 July 2010, 21 July 2011, The country was set to impose a carbon tax in 2009 at 17 euros per tonne of carbon emitted,NEWS, Reuters,weblink France Sets Carbon Tax at 17 Euros a Ton, France, The New York Times, 10 September 2009, 21 July 2011, which would have raised 4 billion euros of revenue annually.NEWS,weblink France set to impose carbon tax, BBC News, 10 September 2009, 21 July 2011, However, the plan was abandoned due to fears of burdening French businesses.NEWS, Saltmarsh, Matthew,weblink France Abandons Plan for Carbon Tax, The New York Times, 23 March 2010, 21 July 2011, File:France - Marseille (29878897633).jpg|thumb|Calanques National ParkCalanques National ParkForests account for 31 percent of France's land area—the fourth-highest proportion in Europe—representing an increase of 7 percent since 1990.NEWS,weblink Why France's forests are getting bigger, 18 July 2019, The Economist, 20 August 2019, 0013-0613, WEB,weblink Countries Compared by Environment > Forest area > % of land area,, International Statistics, 7 January 2018, WEB,weblink Evolution of the French forest from 1984 to 1996,weblink" title="">weblink 13 May 2011, Inventaire Forestier National [National Forest Inventory], French forests are some of the most diverse in Europe, comprising more than 140 species of trees.WEB,weblink La forêt en France et dans le monde, The forest in France and in the world, fr,, live,weblink" title="">weblink 27 July 2010, There are nine national parksWEB,weblink Parks and other protected areas in France,, and 46 natural parks in France,WEB, fr,weblink Fédération des parcs naturels régionaux de France, Federation of Regional Natural Parks of France,weblink" title="">weblink 12 July 2010, with the government planning to convert 20% of its Exclusive economic zone into a Marine protected area by 2020.WEB, fr, 25 August 2009,, France wants to create an Exclusive Economic Zone in the Mediterranean,weblink La France veut créer une Zone Économique Exclusive en Méditérannée,weblink" title="">weblink 13 May 2011, A regional nature parkWEB,weblink The regional nature Parks of France, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 22 July 2013, Fédération des Parcs naturels régionaux de France [Federation of the regional nature Parks of France], 22 June 2014, 22 July 2013, ( or PNR) is a public establishment in France between local authorities and the French national government covering an inhabited rural area of outstanding beauty, to protect the scenery and heritage as well as setting up sustainable economic development in the area.BOOK, William M. Lafferty, Sustainable communities in Europe, 181, 2001, Earthscan, 978-1-85383-791-3, A PNR sets goals and guidelines for managed human habitation, sustainable economic development, and protection of the natural environment based on each park's unique landscape and heritage. The parks foster ecological research programs and public education in the natural sciences.WEB,weblink France Guide, Regional Natural Parks, Maison de la France, 2008, 27 October 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 5 April 2012, {{As of|2019}} there are 54 PNRs in Franceweblink

Administrative divisions

The French Republic is divided into 18 regions (located in Europe and overseas), five overseas collectivities, one overseas territory, one special collectivity – New Caledonia and one uninhabited island directly under the authority of the Minister of Overseas France – Clipperton.
{{France Regions Labelled Map}}Since 2016 France is mainly divided into 18 administrative regions: 13 regions in metropolitan France (including the territorial collectivity of Corsica),WEB, La réforme territoriale, fr,weblink Government of France, 18 December 2015, 1 January 2016, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 30 December 2015, and five located overseas. The regions are further subdivided into 101 departments,WEB,weblink Departments of France, fr,, 21 July 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 14 July 2011, which are numbered mainly alphabetically. This number is used in postal codes and was formerly used on vehicle number plates. Among the 101 departments of France, five (French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, and Réunion) are in overseas regions (ROMs) that are also simultaneously overseas departments (DOMs), enjoy exactly the same status as metropolitan departments and are an integral part of the European Union.The 101 departments are subdivided into 335 arrondissements, which are, in turn, subdivided into 2,054 cantons.WEB,weblink Circonscriptions administratives au 1er janvier 2015 : comparaisons régionales, Administrative constituencies of 1 January 2015: regional comparisons, fr, Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques, INSEE, 5 July 2015, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 30 April 2014, These cantons are then divided into 36,658 communes, which are municipalities with an elected municipal council. Three communes—Paris, Lyon and Marseille—are subdivided into 45 municipal arrondissements.The regions, departments and communes are all known as territorial collectivities, meaning they possess local assemblies as well as an executive. Arrondissements and cantons are merely administrative divisions. However, this was not always the case. Until 1940, the arrondissements were territorial collectivities with an elected assembly, but these were suspended by the Vichy regime and definitely abolished by the Fourth Republic in 1946.
Overseas territories and collectivities
In addition to the 18 regions and 101 departments, the French Republic has five overseas collectivities (French Polynesia, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, and Wallis and Futuna), one sui generis collectivity (New Caledonia), one overseas territory (French Southern and Antarctic Lands), and one island possession in the Pacific Ocean (Clipperton Island).Overseas collectivities and territories form part of the French Republic, but do not form part of the European Union or its fiscal area (with the exception of St. Bartelemy, which seceded from Guadeloupe in 2007). The Pacific Collectivities (COMs) of French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna, and New Caledonia continue to use the CFP francWEB,weblink Currency and Exchange Rate,, 21 July 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 17 July 2011, whose value is strictly linked to that of the euro. In contrast, the five overseas regions used the French franc and now use the euro.WEB,weblink 2085rank, The World Factbook, CIA, File:France-Constituent-Lands.png|thumb|alt=diagram of the overseas territories of France showing map shapes|The lands making up the French Republic, shown at the same geographic scale ]]{| class="wikitable" style="font-size:90%;"! Name! Constitutional status! CapitalClipperton Island}}Minister of Overseas France>French government! UninhabitedFrench Polynesia}}| Designated as an overseas land (pays d'outre-mer or POM), the status is the same as an overseas collectivity.! PapeeteFrench Southern and Antarctic Lands}}| Overseas territory (territoire d'outre-mer or TOM)! Port-aux-FrançaisNew Caledonia}}| Sui generis collectivity! NouméaSaint Barthélemy|local}}| Overseas collectivity (collectivité d'outre-mer or COM)! GustaviaSaint Martin}}| Overseas collectivity (collectivité d'outre-mer or COM)! MarigotSaint Pierre and Miquelon|local}}| Overseas collectivity (collectivité d'outre-mer or COM). Still referred to as a collectivité territoriale.! Saint-PierreWallis and Futuna|local}}| Overseas collectivity (collectivité d'outre-mer or COM). Still referred to as a territoire.! Mata-Utu



Government{| class"wikitable" style"text-align:left; float:left; margin-right:9px; margin-left:2px;" (File:Emmanuel Macron in 2019.jpg|119px)

(File:Edouard Philippe MSC 2018 (cropped).jpg|119px)Emmanuel MacronPresidentÉdouard PhilippePrime MinisterThe French Republic is a unitary semi-presidential representative democratic republic with strong democratic traditions.WEB,weblink Democracy Web: Comparative studies in Freedom, Constitutional Limits on Government: Country Studies – France, 30 September 2013, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 28 August 2013, The Constitution of the Fifth Republic was approved by referendum on 28 September 1958.BOOK, Contemporary France, 95, Helen Drake, 2011, Palgrave Macmillan, 10.1007/978-0-230-36688-6, 978-0-333-79243-8, 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 Emmanuel Macron, who is head of state and is elected directly by universal adult suffrage for a 5-year term (formerly 7 years),WEB, The 5-year term: referendum of 24 September 2000, fr,weblink Le quinquennat : le référendum du 24 Septembre 2000,weblink" title="">weblink 12 August 2010, live, and the Government, led by the president-appointed Prime Minister.(File:Vote solennel loi mariage 23042013 12.jpg|thumb|The National Assembly is the lower house of the French Parliament.)The French Parliament is a bicameral legislature comprising a National Assembly (Assemblée nationale) and a Senate.WEB, dead, 5 December 2008,weblink" title="">weblink The National Assembly and the Senate â€“ General Characteristics of the Parliament, Assemblée Nationale,weblink The National Assembly deputies represent local constituencies and are directly elected for 5-year terms.WEB, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 4 July 2011, Election of deputies, Assemblée Nationale,weblink The Assembly has the power to dismiss the government, 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.WEB,weblink The senatorial elections, Sénate, The Senate's legislative powers are limited; in the event of disagreement between the two chambers, the National Assembly has the final say.WEB,weblink Le role du Sénat, What is the purpose of the Senate?, 18 August 2007,weblink" title="">weblink 18 June 2010, live, fr, The Government has a strong influence in shaping the agenda of Parliament.Until World War II, Radicals were a strong political force in France, embodied by the Republican, Radical and Radical-Socialist Party which was the most important party of the Third Republic. Since World War II, they were marginalized while French politics became characterized by two politically opposed groupings: one left-wing, centred on the French Section of the Workers' International and its successor the Socialist Party (since 1969); and the other right-wing, centred on the Gaullist Party, whose name changed over time to the Rally of the French People (1947), the Union of Democrats for the Republic (1958), the Rally for the Republic (1976), the Union for a Popular Movement (2007) and The Republicans (since 2015). In the 2017 presidential and legislative elections, radical centrist party En Marche! became the dominant force, overtaking both Socialists and Republicans.As of 2017, voter turnout was 75 percent during recent elections, higher than the OECD average of 68 percent.WEB,weblink OECD Better Life Index,, 20 August 2019,


France uses a civil legal system, wherein law arises primarily from written statutes; judges are not to make law, but merely to interpret it (though the amount of judicial interpretation in certain areas makes it equivalent to case law in a common law system). Basic principles of the rule of law were laid in the Napoleonic Code (which was, in turn, largely based on the royal law codified under Louis XIV). 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 prisons: Freedom is the rule, and its restriction is the exception; any restriction of Freedom must be provided for by Law and must follow the principles of necessity and proportionality. That is, Law should lay out prohibitions only if they are needed, and if the inconveniences caused by this restriction do not exceed the inconveniences that the prohibition is supposed to remedy.File:Declaration of Human Rights.jpg|thumb|upright|alt=color drawing of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen from 1789|The basic principles that the French Republic must respect are found in the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the CitizenDeclaration of the Rights of Man and of the CitizenFrench law is 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, administrative law and constitutional law. However, in practical terms, French law comprises three principal areas of law: civil law, criminal law, and administrative law. Criminal laws can only address the future and not the past (criminal ex post facto laws are prohibited).In European countries, legal doctrine has long faced the question of succession of criminal laws in time: JOURNAL, Buonomo, Giampiero, La rivendicazione di Gallo, Mondoperaio Edizione Online, 2015,weblink {{Subscription required |via=Questia}} While administrative law is often a subcategory of civil law in many countries, it is completely separated in France and each body of law is headed by a specific supreme court: ordinary courts (which handle criminal and civil litigation) are headed by the Court of Cassation and administrative courts are headed by the Council of State.To be applicable, every law must be officially published in the Journal officiel de la République française.France does not recognise religious law as a motivation for the enactment of prohibitions; it has long abolished blasphemy laws and sodomy laws (the latter in 1791). However, "offences against public decency" (contraires aux bonnes mÅ“urs) or disturbing public order (trouble à l'ordre public) have been used to repress public expressions of homosexuality or street prostitution. Since 1999, civil unions for homosexual couples are permitted, and since 2013, same-sex marriage and LGBT adoption are legal.NEWS, François Hollande signs same-sex marriage into law,weblink 27 June 2013, France 24, 18 May 2013, Laws prohibiting discriminatory speech in the press are as old as 1881. Some consider hate speech laws in France to be too broad or severe, undermining freedom of speech."France: Strict Defamation and Privacy Laws Limit Free Expression â€“ Index on Censorship | Index on Censorship." France: Strict Defamation and Privacy Laws Limit Free Expression â€“ Index on Censorship | Index on Censorship. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 February 2014. WEB,weblink Archived copy, 18 February 2014, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 22 September 2013, .France has laws against racism and antisemitism,{{fr icon}} weblink" title="">La lutte contre le racisme et l'antisémintisme en France. AmbaFrance while the 1990 Gayssot Act prohibits Holocaust denial.Freedom of religion is constitutionally guaranteed by the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. The 1905 French law on the Separation of the Churches and the State is the basis for laïcité (state secularism): the state does not formally recognize any religion, except in Alsace-Moselle. Nonetheless, it does recognize religious associations. The Parliament has listed many religious movements as dangerous cults since 1995, and has banned wearing conspicuous religious symbols in schools since 2004. In 2010, it banned the wearing of face-covering Islamic veils in public; human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch described the law as discriminatory towards Muslims.WEB, Kenneth Roth Executive Director,weblink Human Rights Watch, Human Rights Watch, 26 February 2004, 31 January 2009, NEWS, France votes to ban full-face veils,weblink Amnesty International, 13 July 2010, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 7 December 2014, However, it is supported by most of the population.WEB, L'image de l'islam en France,weblink, IFOP, 16 January 2017, 22, French, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 12 March 2014,

Foreign relations

File:Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F076314-0006, Manching, Manöver Frankreich-Deutschland.jpg|thumb|right|alt=François Mitterrand Chancellor Helmut Kohl, 24 September 1987 at press conference with microphones|French President François Mitterrand and West German Chancellor Helmut KohlHelmut KohlFrance is a founding member of the United Nations and serves as one of the permanent members of the UN Security Council with veto rights.WEB,weblink Membership of the Security Councils of the UN, 6 July 2010, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 6 July 2010, In 2015, France was described as being "the best networked state in the world", because it is a country that "is member of more multi-lateral organisations than any other country".WEB,weblink The Soft Power 30, Monocle (media company), Monocle, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 20 November 2015, France is a member of the G8, World Trade Organization (WTO),WEB, World Trade Organization,weblink Members and Observers, 30 October 2010, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC)WEB,weblink History, 12 February 2010, Secretariate of the Pacific Community, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 28 August 2010, and the Indian Ocean Commission (COI).WEB,weblink Les pays membres de la COI, fr, IOC member countries, Commission de l'Océan Indien {{!, Indian Ocean Commission |url-status=dead |archive-url= |archive-date=2 April 2012}} It is an associate member of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS)WEB,weblink About the Association of Caribbean States, Association of Caribbean States, 24 July 1994, 22 June 2012, live, 22 August 2012,weblink" title="">weblink and a leading member of the International Francophone Organisation (OIF) of 84 fully or partly French-speaking countries.WEB,weblink 84 États et gouvernements, 84 states and governments, Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, As a significant hub for international relations, France hosts the second largest assembly of diplomatic missions in the world and the headquarters of international organisations including the OECD, UNESCO, Interpol, the International Bureau of Weights and Measures, and la Francophonie.WEB,weblink Embassies and consulates, France Diplomatie, The French Ministry of Foreign affairs, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 8 September 2010, Postwar French foreign policy has been largely shaped by membership of the European Union, of which it was a founding member. Since the 1960s, France has developed close ties with reunified Germany to become the most influential driving force of the EU.WEB, fr,weblink L'alliance Franco-allemande au coeur de la puissance européenne, The Franco-German alliance at the heart of European power, Institut Montaigne, 12 November 2009, Pierre-Louis Germain,weblink" title="">weblink 23 January 2010, In the 1960s, France sought to exclude the British from the European unification process,NEWS,weblink De Gaulle says 'non' to Britain â€“ again, BBC News, 27 November 1967, 21 July 2011, seeking to build its own standing in continental Europe. However, since 1904, France has maintained an "Entente cordiale" with the United Kingdom, and there has been a strengthening of links between the countries, especially militarily.File:Inauguration EYE2014 Parlement européen Strasbourg 9 mai 2014.jpg|thumb|left|alt=European Parliament opening in Strasbourg with crowd and many countries' flags on flagpoles|The European Parliament in StrasbourgStrasbourgFrance is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), but under President de Gaulle, it excluded itself from the joint military command to protest the Special Relationship between the United States and Britain and to preserve the independence of French foreign and security policies. However, as a result of Nicolas Sarkozy's pro-American politics (much criticised in France by the leftists and by a part of the right), France re-joined the NATO joint military command on 4 April 2009.WEB, Isabelle Lasserre,weblink Quand Mitterrand, déjà, négociait le retour de la France dans l'Otan, fr, Mitterrand already negotiated the return of France to NATO, 11 March 2009, Le Figaro, NEWS,weblink France ends four-decade Nato rift, BBC News, 12 March 2009, 21 July 2011, NEWS, Le retour de la France dans l'OTAN suscite un malaise dans les rangs de la Droite, Patrick, Roger,weblink Le Monde, Paris, 11 March 2009, fr, The return of France to NATO causes discomfort in the ranks of the right, In the early 1990s, the country drew considerable criticism from other nations for its underground nuclear tests in French Polynesia.NEWS,weblink Fifth French nuclear test sparks international outrage, CNN, 28 December 1995, 21 July 2011, France vigorously opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq,NEWS, China adds voice to Iraq war doubts, 23 January 2003,weblink CNN, 21 July 2011, NEWS, EU allies unite against Iraq war,weblink BBC News, 22 January 2003, 21 July 2011, straining bilateral relations with the United StatesWEB, Foreign Policy Implications of the Iraq War,weblink 11 March 2004, Keith Porter, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 25 February 2010, Foreign Policy, 9 August 2010, NEWS, Sean Loughlin,weblink House cafeterias change names for 'french' fries and 'french' toast, CNN, 12 March 2003, 21 July 2011, and the United Kingdom.France retains strong political and economic influence in its former African colonies (Françafrique)WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink dead, L'empire colonial français, 25 April 2011, and has supplied economic aid and troops for peacekeeping missions in Ivory Coast and Chad.WEB,weblink France involvement in peace-keeping operations,, 9 August 2010, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 25 April 2011, Recently, after the unilateral declaration of independence of Northern Mali by the Tuareg MNLA and the subsequent regional Northern Mali conflict with several Islamist groups including Ansar Dine and MOJWA, France and other African states intervened to help the Malian Army to retake control.In 2017, France was the fourth-largest donor (in absolute terms) of development aid in the world, behind the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom.WEB,weblink Official development assistance (ODA) – Net ODA – OECD Data, theOECD, 20 August 2019, This represents 0.43% of its GNP, the 12th highest among the OECD.WEB,weblink Aid to developing countries rebounds in 2013 to reach an all-time high, OECD, 3 March 2016, The organisation managing the French help is the French Development Agency, which finances primarily humanitarian projects in sub-Saharan Africa. The main goals of this support are "developing infrastructure, access to health care and education, the implementation of appropriate economic policies and the consolidation of the rule of law and democracy".France priorities {{webarchive|url= |date=22 July 2010 }} â€“ France Diplomatie


File:French military images.jpg|thumb|upright=1.3|left|alt=see description|Examples of France's military. Clockwise from top left: nuclear aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle; a Dassault Rafale fighter aircraft; French Chasseurs Alpins patrolling the valleys of Kapisa province in Afghanistan; a Leclerc tank.]]The French Armed Forces (Forces armées françaises) are the military and paramilitary forces of France, under the President of the Republic as supreme commander. They consist of the French Army (Armée de Terre), French Navy (Marine Nationale, formerly called Armée de Mer), the French Air Force (Armée de l'Air), the French Strategic Nuclear Force (Force Nucléaire Stratégique, nicknamed Force de Frappe or "Strike Force") and the Military Police called National Gendarmerie (Gendarmerie nationale), which also fulfils civil police duties in the rural areas of France. Together they are among the largest armed forces in the world and the largest in the EU.While the Gendarmerie is an integral part of the French armed forces (gendarmes are career soldiers), and therefore under the purview of the Ministry of the Armed Forces, it is operationally attached to the Ministry of the Interior as far as its civil police duties are concerned.When acting as general purpose police force, the Gendarmerie encompasses the counter terrorist units of the Parachute Intervention Squadron of the National Gendarmerie (Escadron Parachutiste d'Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale), the National Gendarmerie Intervention Group (Groupe d'Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale), the Search Sections of the National Gendarmerie (Sections de Recherche de la Gendarmerie Nationale), responsible for criminal enquiries, and the Mobile Brigades of the National Gendarmerie (Brigades mobiles de la Gendarmerie Nationale, or in short Gendarmerie mobile) which have the task to maintain public order.The following special units are also part of the Gendarmerie: the Republican Guard (Garde républicaine) which protects public buildings hosting major French institutions, the Maritime Gendarmerie (Gendarmerie maritime) serving as Coast Guard, the Provost Service (Prévôté), acting as the Military Police branch of the Gendarmerie.{{multiple image
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| header = Bastille Day in Paris
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| image1 = EOGM cadets Bastille Day 2008.jpg
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}}As far as the French intelligence units are concerned, the Directorate-General for External Security (Direction générale de la sécurité extérieure) is considered to be a component of the Armed Forces under the authority of the Ministry of Defense. The other, the Central Directorate for Interior Intelligence (Direction centrale du renseignement intérieur) is a division of the National Police Force (Direction générale de la Police Nationale), and therefore reports directly to the Ministry of the Interior. There has been no national conscription since 1997.{{fr icon}} La fin du service militaire obligatoire {{webarchive|url= |date=8 August 2010 }} â€“ La documentation françaiseFrance has a special military corps, the French Foreign Legion, founded in 1830, which consists of foreign nationals from over 140 countries who are willing to serve in the French Armed Forces and become French citizens after the end of their service period. The only other countries having similar units are Spain (the Spanish Foreign Legion, called Tercio, was founded in 1920) and Luxembourg (foreigners can serve in the National Army provided they speak Luxembourgish).France is a permanent member of the Security Council of the UN, and a recognised nuclear state since 1960. France has signed and ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT)WEB,weblink Status of signature and ratification, CTBTO Preparatory Commission, 26 May 2010, 27 May 2010, and acceded to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. France's annual military expenditure in 2011 was US$62.5 billion, or 2.3% of its GDP, making it the fifth biggest military spender in the world after the United States, China, Russia, and the United Kingdom.WEB,weblink The 15 countries with the highest military spending worldwide in 2012 (in billion U.S. dollars),, French nuclear deterrence, (formerly known as "Force de Frappe"), relies on complete independence. The current French nuclear force consists of four Triomphant class submarines equipped with submarine-launched ballistic missiles. In addition to the submarine fleet, it is estimated that France has about 60 ASMP medium-range air-to-ground missiles with nuclear warheads,{{fr icon}} Centre de Documentation et de Recherche sur la Paix et les Conflits, Etat des forces nucléaires françaises au 15 août 2004 {{webarchive|url= |date=25 July 2011 }} of which around 50 are deployed by the Air Force using the Mirage 2000N long-range nuclear strike aircraft, while around 10 are deployed by the French Navy's Super Étendard Modernisé (SEM) attack aircraft, which operate from the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. The new Rafale F3 aircraft will gradually replace all Mirage 2000N and SEM in the nuclear strike role with the improved ASMP-A missile with a nuclear warhead.France has major military industries with one of the largest aerospace industries in the world.WEB,weblink 90.07.06: The Aerospace Industry: Its History and How it Affects the U.S. Economy, Yale, 21 July 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 20 September 2011, WEB, Aerospace industry of France,weblinkweblink dead, 18 February 2016, The Translation Company, 6 January 2016, Its industries have produced such equipment as the Rafale fighter, the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier, the Exocet missile and the Leclerc tank among others. Despite withdrawing from the Eurofighter project, France is actively investing in European joint projects such as the Eurocopter Tiger, multipurpose frigates, the UCAV demonstrator nEUROn and the Airbus A400M. France is a major arms seller,WEB, En 2001, la France a vendu pour 1,288 milliard de dollars d'équipements militaires, ce qui la met au troisième rang mondial des exportateurs derrière les États-Unis et la Russie. [In 2001, France sold $1,288 billion of military equipment, ranking 3rd in the world for arms exportations behind the USA and Russia,weblink La France demeure un fournisseur d'armes de premier plan, France stays one of the biggest arms supplier], L'express, 13 June 2002, Thierry Gadault, fr,weblink" title="">weblink 11 March 2012, WEB, La France est au 4ème rang mondial des exportateurs d'armes, derrière les Etats-Unis, le Royaume-Uni et la Russie, et devant Israël, selon un rapport du ministère de la Défense publié l'an dernier. [France is 4th biggest arms exporter, behind the United States, the United Kingdom and Russia, and ahead of Israel, according to a report of the Ministry of Defense published a year ago.], Les ventes d'armes explosent en 2009, 8 February 2010, 20 minutes,weblink Sales of weapons explode in 2009, fr, 6 January 2017, with most of its arsenal's designs available for the export market with the notable exception of nuclear-powered devices.The Bastille Day military parade held in Paris each 14 July for France's national day, called Bastille Day in English-speaking countries (referred to in France as Fête nationale), is the oldest and largest regular military parade in Europe.Other smaller parades are organised across the country.

Government finance

{{See also|Taxation in France}}The Government of France has run a budget deficit each year since the early 1970s. {{as of|2016}}, French government debt levels reached 2.2 trillion euros, the equivalent of 96.4% of French GDP.WEB,weblink Country Comparison :: Public Debt, The World Factbook, CIA, 10 January 2018, In late 2012, credit rating agencies warned that growing French Government debt levels risked France's AAA credit rating, raising the possibility of a future downgrade and subsequent higher borrowing costs for the French authorities.NEWS, John, Mark,weblink Analysis: Low French borrowing costs risk negative reappraisal, Reuters, 26 October 2012, 27 November 2012,


File:BlueEurozone.svg|thumb|alt=European map of Eurozone monetary union|France is part of a monetary union, the Eurozone (dark blue), and of the European Single MarketEuropean Single MarketA member of the Group of Seven (formerly Group of Eight) leading industrialized countries, {{As of|2018|lc=y|}}, it is ranked as the world's tenth largest and the EU's second largest economy by purchasing power parity. France joined 11 other EU members to launch the euro in 1999, with euro coins and banknotes completely replacing the French franc (â‚£) in 2002.NEWS,weblink History of the Euro, BBC News, 30 October 2010, France has a mixed economy that combines extensive private enterpriseWEB,weblink Entreprises selon le nombre de salariés et l'activité, INSEE, July 2008, fr,weblink" title="">weblink 15 November 2009, dead, Companies by number of employees and activity, WEB,weblink Entreprises publiques selon l'activité économique, Public enterprises by economic activity, INSEE, March 2009, fr, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 2 December 2009, with substantial state enterprise and government intervention. The government retains considerable influence over key segments of infrastructure sectors, with majority ownership of railway, electricity, aircraft, nuclear power and telecommunications.{{failed verification|date=February 2016}} It has been relaxing its control over these sectors since the early 1990s.{{failed verification|date=February 2016}} The government is slowly corporatising the state sector and selling off holdings in France Télécom, Air France, as well as in the insurance, banking, and defense industries.{{failed verification|date=February 2016}} France has an important aerospace industry led by the European consortium Airbus, and has its own national spaceport, the Centre Spatial Guyanais.(File:French economy 2016 - expenditures.png|thumb|left|Composition of the French economy (GDP) in 2016 by expenditure type){{as of|2009}}, the World Trade Organization (WTO) reported France was the world's sixth largest exporter and the fourth largest importer of manufactured goods.WEB,weblink International Trade Statistics 2008, 12, 2009, WTO, 5 July 2011, dead, 5 June 2011,weblink" title="">weblink {{as of|2016}}, the World Factbook ranked France seventh largest exporter.WEB, Country Comparison :: Exports,weblink The World Factbook, CIA, 14 July 2017, In 2008, France was the third largest recipient of foreign direct investment among OECD countries at $118 billion, ranking behind Luxembourg (where foreign direct investment was essentially monetary transfers to banks located there) and the United States ($316 billion), but above the United Kingdom ($96.9 billion), Germany ($25 billion), or Japan ($24 billion). In the same year, French companies invested $220 billion outside France, ranking France as the second largest outward direct investor in the OECD, behind the United States ($311 billion), and ahead of the UK ($111 billion), Japan ($128 billion) and Germany ($157 billion).WEB, Country fact sheet: France, World Investment Report 2009, UNCTAD, 7 October 2010,weblink live, 4 July 2010,weblink" title="">weblink WEB, Country fact sheet: Japan, World Investment Report 2009, UNCTAD, 7 October 2010,weblink live, 4 July 2010,weblink" title="">weblink Financial services, banking and the insurance sector are an important part of the economy. Three largest financial institutions cooperatively owned by their customers are located in France.WEB, Gould, Charles, Global300 Report 2010, International Co-operative Alliance. The world's major co-operatives and mutual businesses,weblink, The Paris stock exchange () is an old institution, created by Louis XV in 1724.WEB, fr, Audrey Vautherot,weblink La Bourse de Paris : une institution depuis 1724, The Paris Stock Exchange: an institution since 1724, Gralon, 19 November 2007, In 2000, the stock exchanges of Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels merged into Euronext.WEB, Embassy of France,weblink Embassy of France in Washington: Economy of France,, 16 July 2011, dead, 9 October 2011,weblink" title="">weblink In 2007, Euronext merged with the New York stock exchange to form NYSE Euronext, the world's largest stock exchange. Euronext Paris, the French branch of the NYSE Euronext group is Europe's 2nd largest stock exchange market, behind the London Stock Exchange.France is a member of the Eurozone (around 330 million consumers) which is part of the European Single Market (more than 500 million consumers). Several domestic commercial policies are determined by agreements among European Union (EU) members and by EU legislation. France introduced the common European currency, the Euro in 2002.NEWS, Germans Say Goodbye to the Mark, a Symbol of Strength and Unity, Edmund L., Andrews, The New York Times, 18 March 2011,weblink 1 January 2002, NEWS, On Jan. 1, out of many arises one Euro, St. Petersburg Times, Susan, Taylor Martin, 28 December 1998, National, 1.A, French companies have maintained key positions in the insurance and banking industries: AXA is the world's largest insurance company. The leading French banks are BNP Paribas and the Crédit Agricole, ranking as the world's first and sixth largest banks in 2010WEB,weblink The 10 Largest Banks in the World,, 15 June 2010, 16 July 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 12 July 2011, (by assets), while the Société Générale group was ranked the world's eighth largest in 2009.


File:Glass of champagne.jpg|thumb|left|upright=0.5|alt=Champagne wine in a flute|Champagne, widely regarded as a luxury good, originates from the Champagne regionChampagne regionFrance has historically been a large producer of agricultural products.WEB, Nations Encyclopedia,weblink France â€“ Agriculture, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 4 January 2011, Extensive tracts of fertile land, the application of modern technology, and EU subsidies have combined to make France the leading agricultural producer and exporter in EuropeWEB,weblink France Diplomatie, Minister of Foreign Affairs (France), French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Key figures of the French economy, France is the world's fifth largest exporter of goods (mainly durables). The country ranks fourth in services and third in agriculture (especially in cereals and the agri-food sector). It is the leading producer and exporter of farm products in Europe.,weblink" title="">weblink 14 January 2010, live, (representing 20% of the EU's agricultural production)WEB,weblink A Panorama of the agriculture and agri-food industries, live,weblink" title="">weblink 21 September 2010, Ministère de l'Alimentation, de l'Agriculture et de la Pêche, and the world's third biggest exporter of agricultural products.WEB, fr,weblink Un ministère au service de votre alimentation, A ministry serving your food, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 6 August 2010, 29 July 2010, Ministère de l'Alimentation, de l'Agriculture et de la Pêche, Wheat, poultry, dairy, beef, and pork, as well as internationally recognized processed foods are the primary French agricultural exports. Rosé wines are primarily consumed within the country, but Champagne and Bordeaux wines are major exports, being known worldwide. EU agriculture subsidies to France have decreased in recent years but still amounted to $8 billion in 2007.WEB,weblink Annex 1: Indicative Figures on the Distribution of Aid, by Size-Class of Aid, Received in the Context of Direct Aid Paid to the Producers According to Council Regulation (EC) No 1782/2003 (Financial Year 2007), European Commission, 22 April 2009, 7 October 2010, dead, 30 April 2011,weblink" title="">weblink That same year, France sold 33.4 billion euros of transformed agricultural products.WEB, fr,weblink Les enjeux des industries agroalimentaires françaises, The stakes of the French agri-food industries, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 29 December 2011, Panorama des Industries Agroalimentaires, France produces rum via sugar cane-based distilleries almost all of which are located in overseas territories such as Martinique, Guadeloupe and La Réunion. Agriculture is an important sector of France's economy: 3.8% of the active population is employed in agriculture, whereas the total agri-food industry made up 4.2% of French GDP in 2005.


File:Tour eiffel at sunrise from the trocadero.jpg|thumb|upright|alt=Tour Eiffel at sunrise from the trocadero|The Eiffel TowerEiffel TowerFile:2015 Jardins de Marqueyssac (1).jpg|thumb|upright|The Château de Marqueyssac, featuring a French formal garden, is one of the Remarkable Gardens of FranceRemarkable Gardens of FranceWith 83 million foreign tourists in 2012, France is ranked as the first tourist destination in the world, ahead of the United States (67 million) and China (58 million). This 83 million figure excludes people staying less than 24 hours, such as North Europeans crossing France on their way to Spain or Italy. It is third in income from tourism due to shorter duration of visits.NEWS, Sarah, Dilorenzo, France learns to speak 'touriste',weblink Associated Press, 18 July 2013, 20 July 2013, dead, 22 August 2013,weblink" title="">weblink The most popular tourist sites include (annual visitors): Eiffel Tower (6.2 million), Château de Versailles (2.8 million), Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle (2 million), Pont du Gard (1.5 million), Arc de Triomphe (1.2 million), Mont Saint-Michel (1 million), Sainte-Chapelle (683,000), Château du Haut-KÅ“nigsbourg (549,000), Puy de Dôme (500,000), Musée Picasso (441,000), and Carcassonne (362,000).WEB, Fréquentation des musées et des bâtiments historiques, fr,weblink Frequentation of museums and historic buildings, 2003,weblink" title="">weblink dead, 24 December 2007,


France, especially Paris, has some of the world's largest and most renowned museums, including the Louvre, which is the most visited art museum in the world (5.7 million), the Musée d'Orsay (2.1 million), mostly devoted to Impressionism, and Centre Georges Pompidou (1.2 million), dedicated to contemporary art. Disneyland Paris is Europe's most popular theme park, with 15 million combined visitors to the resort's Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park in 2009.WEB,weblink TEA/AECOM Attraction Attendance Report for 2009, 2009, Judith Rubin, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 2 June 2010, Themed Entertainment Association, 7 October 2010,

French Riviera

With more than 10 millions tourists a year, the French Riviera (French: Côte d'Azur), in Southeast France, is the second leading tourist destination in the country, after the Paris region.WEB,weblink The French Riviera Tourist Board, CÔTE D'AZUR, 23 January 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 25 April 2011, It benefits from 300 days of sunshine per year, {{convert|115|km}} of coastline and beaches, 18 golf courses, 14 ski resorts and 3,000 restaurants.{{rp|31}} Each year the Côte d'Azur hosts 50% of the world's superyacht fleet.WEB, Côte d'Azur Economic Development Agency, fr, Présentation de la Côte d'Azur, Presentation of the French Riviera,weblink dead, 4 July 2010,weblink" title="">weblink {{rp|66}}


With 6 millions tourists a year, the castles of the Loire Valley (French: châteaux) and the Loire Valley itself are the third leading tourist destination in France;NEWS,weblink Tourism: The Loire Valley, an intoxicating destination for visitors, Foucher, Editors translated by Joséphine,, 1er journal des professionnels du tourisme francophone, 10 October 2018, fr, NEWS,weblink Chateaux deluxe: 5 best Loire Valley castles, 12 July 2017, CNN, 10 October 2018, this World Heritage site is noteworthy for its architectural heritage, in its historic towns but in particular its castles, such as the Châteaux d'Amboise, de Chambord, d'Ussé, de Villandry, Chenonceau and Montsoreau. The Château de Chantilly, Versailles and Vaux-le-Vicomte, all three located near Paris, are also visitor attractions.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites and protected areas

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


{{Further|Energy in France}}File:Nuclear Power Plant Cattenom.jpg|thumb|left|alt=Nuclear power plant in Cattenom, France four large cooling towers expelling white water vapor against a blue sky|France derives most of its electricity from nuclear power, the highest percentage in the world. Photo of Cattenom Nuclear Power PlantCattenom Nuclear Power PlantÉlectricité de France (EDF), the main electricity generation and distribution company in France, is also one of the world's largest producers of electricity. In 2003, it produced 22% of the European Union's electricity,{{citation needed|date=January 2018}} primarily from nuclear power. France is the smallest emitter of carbon dioxide among the G8, due to its heavy investment in nuclear power.WEB,weblink Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Environmental Indicators, United Nations, July 2010, 8 January 2017, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 10 March 2010, ♦ Archived: 10 March 2010♦ Archived: 11 July 2017
{{as of|2016}}, 72% of the electricity produced by France is generated by 58 nuclear power plants.WEB,weblink Nuclear share figures, 2006–2016, World Nuclear Association, April 2017, 8 January 2018, WEB, France, IAEA {{!, PRIS Power Reactor Information System |publisher=International Atomic Energy Agency |url= |access-date=8 January 2018}} In this context, renewable energies are having difficulty taking off. France also uses hydroelectric dams to produce electricity, such as the Eguzon dam, Étang de Soulcem, and Lac de Vouglans.


File:SNCF TGV Duplex Viaduc de Cize - Bolozon.jpg|thumb|A TGV Duplex crossing the 360|km/h}}.The railway network of France, which {{as of|lc=y|2008}} stretches {{convert|29473|km|mi|0}}WEB,weblink Chiffres clés du transport Édition 2010, 7 October 2010, fr, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 1 June 2010, Ministry of Ecology, Ministère de l'Écologie, de l'Énergie, du Développement Durable et de la Mer, is the second most extensive in Western Europe after that of Germany.WEB,weblink The World Factbook, Country comparison :: railways, CIA, It is operated by the SNCF, and high-speed trains include the Thalys, the Eurostar and TGV, which travels at {{convert|320|km/h|mph|0|abbr=on}} in commercial use.WEB,weblink h2g2 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Earth Edition,weblink" title="">weblink live, 16 July 2012, TGV â€“ The French High-speed Train Service, 21 July 2011, The Eurostar, along with the Eurotunnel Shuttle, connects with the United Kingdom through the Channel Tunnel. Rail connections exist to all other neighboring countries in Europe, except Andorra. Intra-urban connections are also well developed with both underground services (Paris, Lyon, Lille, Marseille, Toulouse, Rennes) and tramway services (Nantes, Strasbourg, Bordeaux, Grenoble, Montpellier...) complementing bus services.There are approximately {{convert|1027183|km|mi|0}} of serviceable roadway in France, ranking it the most extensive network of the European continent.WEB,weblink The World Factbook, Country comparison :: roadways, CIA, The Paris region is enveloped with the most dense network of roads and highways that connect it with virtually all parts of the country. French roads also handle substantial international traffic, connecting with cities in neighboring Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Andorra and Monaco. There is no annual registration fee or road tax; however, usage of the mostly privately owned motorways is through tolls except in the vicinity of large communes. The new car market is dominated by domestic brands such as Renault (27% of cars sold in France in 2003), Peugeot (20.1%) and Citroën (13.5%).{{fr icon}} 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.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 6 October 2008, Guide pratique de l' ADEME, la voiture,, 22 October 2008, France possesses the Millau Viaduct, the world's tallest bridge,NEWS, Bockman, Chris,weblink France builds world's tallest bridge, BBC News, 4 November 2003, 21 July 2011, and has built many important bridges such as the Pont de Normandie.File:Air France Airbus A380 landing at LAX.jpg|thumb|Air FranceAir FranceThere are 464 airports in France. Charles de Gaulle Airport, located in the vicinity of Paris, is the largest and busiest airport in the country, handling the vast majority of popular and commercial traffic and connecting Paris with virtually all major cities across the world. Air France is the national carrier airline, although numerous private airline companies provide domestic and international travel services. There are ten major ports in France, the largest of which is in Marseille,WEB, 23 April 2008, Strikes block French ports, The Journal of Commerce Online, BDP International,weblink dead, 17 May 2008,weblink" title="">weblink which also is the largest bordering the Mediterranean Sea.WEB, La Provence,weblink Marseille : un grand port maritime qui ne demande qu'à se montrer, fr, Marseille: a grand seaport just waiting to show, 27 June 2009, WEB, Dave Emery, Marseille – A French Pearl in the Mediterranean Sea, HotelClub Blog, 22 February 2010, 21 July 2011, dead,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 24 February 2010, {{convert|12261|km|mi|0}} of waterways traverse France including the Canal du Midi, which connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean through the Garonne river.

Science and technology

File:Ariane4.jpg|thumb|upright|left|alt=Ariane four rocket taking off past the tower|France is one of the biggest contributors to the European Space Agency, which conceived the Ariane rocket family, launched from French Guiana.]]Since the Middle Ages, France has been a major contributor to scientific and technological achievement. Around the beginning of the 11th century, Pope Sylvester II, born Gerbert d'Aurillac, reintroduced the abacus and armillary sphere, and introduced Arabic numerals and clocks to Northern and Western Europe.WEB,weblink Lives of the Necromancers, William Godwin, 1876, 232, The University of Paris, founded in the mid-12th century, is still one of the most important universities in the Western world.André Thuilier, Histoire de l'université de Paris et de la Sorbonne, Paris, Nouvelle librairie de France, 1994 In the 17th century, mathematician René Descartes defined a method for the acquisition of scientific knowledge, while Blaise Pascal became famous for his work on probability and fluid mechanics. They were both key figures of the Scientific Revolution, which blossomed in Europe during this period. The Academy of Sciences was founded by Louis XIV to encourage and protect the spirit of French scientific research. It was at the forefront of scientific developments in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. It is one of the earliest academies of sciences.The Age of Enlightenment was marked by the work of biologist Buffon and chemist Lavoisier, who discovered the role of oxygen in combustion, while Diderot and D'Alembert published the Encyclopédie, which aimed to give access to "useful knowledge" to the people, a knowledge that they can apply to their everyday life.Burke, Peter, A social history of knowledge: from Gutenberg to Diderot, Malden: Blackwell Publishers Inc., 2000, p. 17 With the Industrial Revolution, the 19th century saw spectacular scientific developments in France with scientists such as Augustin Fresnel, founder of modern optics, Sadi Carnot who laid the foundations of thermodynamics, and Louis Pasteur, a pioneer of microbiology. Other eminent French scientists of the 19th century have their names inscribed on the Eiffel Tower.Famous French scientists of the 20th century include the mathematician and physicist Henri Poincaré, physicists Henri Becquerel, Pierre and Marie Curie, who remained famous for their work on radioactivity, the physicist Paul Langevin and virologist Luc Montagnier, co-discoverer of HIV AIDS. Hand transplantation was developed on 23 September 1998 in Lyon by a team assembled from different countries around the world including Jean-Michel Dubernard who, shortly thereafter, performed the first successful double hand transplant.JOURNAL, Lanzetta M, Second report (1998–2006) of the International Registry of Hand and Composite Tissue Transplantation, Transpl Immunol., 18, 1, 1–6, July 2007, 17584595, 10.1016/j.trim.2007.03.002, Petruzzo P, Dubernard JM, 3, Margreiter, Raimund, Schuind, Frederic, Breidenbach, Warren, Nolli, Roberta, Schneeberger, Stephan, Van Holder, Carlo, Telesurgery was developed by Jacques Marescaux and his team on 7 September 2001 across the Atlantic Ocean (New-York-Strasbourg, Lindbergh Operation).WEB, Ghodoussi, Dr., Media Collection,weblink Interface Surgical Technologies, LLC, 14 November 2011, A face transplant was first done on 27 November 2005NEWS, My face transplant saved me,weblink 25 November 2007, BBC News, 17 October 2006, Naomi, Austin, WEB,weblink BBC News, Woman has first face transplant, 30 November 2005, by Dr. Bernard Devauchelle.File:ESRF img 0852.jpg|thumb|right|alt=Top view of the ring of European Synchrotron Radiation Facility|European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in GrenobleGrenobleFrance was the fourth country to achieve nuclear capabilityBOOK, Pascal Boniface, Barthélémy Courmont, Le monde nucléaire: Arme nucléaire et relations internationales depuis 1945,weblink 22 November 2006, Armand Colin, 978-2-200-35687-3, 120–, and has the third largest nuclear weapons arsenal in the world.WEB,weblink Status of World Nuclear Forces, Federation Of American Scientists, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 18 June 2015, It is also a leader in civilian nuclear technology.WEB,weblink Study France's Nuclear-Power Success,, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 22 May 2015, WEB,weblink Stanford Journal of International Relations, "The French Connection: Comparing French and American Civilian Nuclear Energy Programs", dead,weblink" title="">weblink 22 May 2015, WEB,weblink Countries Generating The Most Nuclear Energy â€“ Business Insider, 6 March 2014, Business Insider, France was the third nation, after the former USSR and the United States, to launch its own space satellite and remains the biggest contributor to the European Space Agency (ESA).BOOK, Muriel Gargaud, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Encyclopedia of Astrobiology,weblink 2011, Springer Science & Business Media, 978-3-642-11271-3, 322–, WEB,weblink France,, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 4 October 2015, WEB,weblink France at the heart of the Rosetta space mission: a unique technological challenge, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, France Diplomatie, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 22 May 2015, The European Airbus, formed from the French group Aérospatiale along with DaimlerChrysler Aerospace AG (DASA) and Construcciones Aeronáuticas SA (CASA), designs and develops civil and military aircraft as well as communications systems, missiles, space rockets, helicopters, satellites, and related systems. France also hosts major international research instruments such as the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility or the Institut Laue–Langevin and remains a major member of CERN. It also owns Minatec, Europe's leading nanotechnology research center.The SNCF, the French national railroad company, has developed the TGV, a high speed train which holds a series of world speed records. The TGV has been the fastest wheeled train in commercial use since reaching a speed of {{convert|574.8|km/h|abbr=on}} on 3 April 2007.WEB,weblink BBC News, French set new rail speed record, Western Europe is now serviced by a network of TGV lines.{{As of|2018}}, 69 French people have been awarded a Nobel PrizeWEB,weblink All Nobel Prizes, 10 October 2012, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 3 November 2013, and 12 have received the Fields Medal.WEB,weblink List of Fields Medallists, International Mathematical Union, 10 October 2012,


(File:France population density 40pc.png|thumb|alt=map of population in France|Population density in the French Republic at the 1999 census)With an estimated 2017 population of 67.15 million people,WEB, Démographie – Population au début du mois – France (inclus Mayotte à partir de 2014), Insee, fr,weblink Demography – Population at the beginning of the month – France (including Mayotte since 2014), France is the 20th most populous country in the world, the third-most populous in Europe (after Russia and Germany), and the second most populous in the European Union (after Germany).France is an outlier among developed countries in general, and European countries in particular, in having a relatively high rate of natural population growth: by birth rates alone, it was responsible for almost all natural population growth in the European Union in 2006.WEB,weblink Bilan démographique 2006 : un excédent naturel record, Insee, fr, Between 2006 and 2016, France saw the second highest overall increase in population in the EU, and was one of only four EU countries where natural births accounted for most population growth.WEB,weblink People in the EU – statistics on demographic changes – Statistics Explained, European Commission, 21 August 2019, This was the highest rate since the end of the baby boom in 1973, and coincides with the rise of the total fertility rate from a nadir of 1.7 in 1994 to 2.0 in 2010.{{as of|January 2017}} the fertility rate declined slightly to 1.93 children per woman, below the replacement rate of 2.1, and considerably below the high of 4.41 in 1800.{{citation|url=|title=Total Fertility Rate around the world over the last centuries|author=Max Roser|year=2014|work=Our World in Data, Gapminder Foundation}}WEB, Bilan démographique 2016,weblink Insee, 19 January 2017, fr, WEB,weblink Bilan démographique 2010, Insee, 20 January 2011, fr, WEB,weblink Tableau 44 â€“ Taux de fécondité générale par âge de la mère, Insee, 20 January 2011, fr, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 27 April 2011, France's fertility rate and crude birth rate nonetheless remain among the highest in the EU. However, like many developed nations, France's population is aging; the average age is 42.6 years, while close to a fifth of French people are 65 or over.{{citation|url=|title=World Factbook EUROPE : FRANCE|work=The World Factbook|date=12 July 2018}} Average life expectancy at birth is 82.2 years, the ninth highest in the world.From 2006 to 2011 population growth averaged 0.6 percent per year;WEB,weblink Évolution générale de la situation démographique, France, Insee, 20 January 2011, fr, since 2011, annual growth has been between 0.4 and 0.5 percent annually.WEB,weblink WDI – Home, World Bank, 27 August 2019, Immigrants are major contributors to this trend; in 2010, 27 percent of newborns in metropolitan France had at least one foreign-born parent and 24 percent had at least one parent born outside of Europe (excluding French overseas territories).WEB,weblink Naissances selon le pays de naissance des parents 2010, Insee, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 27 September 2013,

Ethnic groups

Most French people are of Celtic (Gauls) origin, with an admixture of Italic (Romans) and Germanic (Franks) groups.BOOK, Jean-Louis Brunaux, Nos ancêtres les Gaulois, Our ancestors the Gauls, Seuil, 2008, 261, Different regions reflect this diverse heritage, with notable Breton elements in western France, Aquitanian in the southwest, Scandinavian in the northwest, Alemannic in the northeast and Ligurian in the southeast.Large-scale immigration over the last century and a half has led to a more multicultural society. In 2004, the Institut Montaigne estimated that within Metropolitan France, 51 million people were White (85% of the population), 6 million were Northwest African (10%), 2 million were Black (3.3%), and 1 million were Asian (1.7%).BOOK, Yazid Sabeg, Laurence Méhaignerie, Yazid Sabeg, fr,weblink Les oubliés de l'égalité des chances, The forgotten of equal opportunities, Institut Montaigne, January 2004, NEWS,weblink France's ethnic minorities: To count or not to count, The Economist, 26 March 2009, 25 April 2013, Since the French Revolution, and as codified in the 1958 French Constitution, it is illegal for the French state to collect data on ethnicity and ancestry. In 2008, the TeO ("Trajectories and origins") poll conducted jointly by INED and the French National Institute of StatisticsWEB,weblink 'Trajectories and Origins' Survey, Ined, 2008, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 2 December 2011, ♦JOURNAL, Oppenheimer, David B., 2008, Why France needs to collect data on racial a French way, Hastings International and Comparative Law Review, 31, 2, 735–752, 1236362, estimated that 5 million people were of Italian ancestry (the largest immigrant community), followed by 3 million to 6 millionBOOK, Robin Cohen, The Cambridge Survey of World Migration,weblink 1995, Cambridge University Press, 978-0-521-44405-7, NEWS,weblink London, The Independent, France's crisis of national identity, 25 November 2009, "Les personnes d'origine maghrébine y sont également au nombre de 5 à 6 millions; 3,5 millions ont la nationalité française (don't 500 000 harkis)", Évelyne Perrin, Identité Nationale, Amer Ministère, L'Harmattan, 2010, p. 112 {{ISBN|2-296-10839-3}} of Northwest African ancestry, 2.5 million of Sub-Saharan African origin, 500,000 ethnic Armenian, and 200,000 people of Turkish ancestry.WEB, Falila Gbadamassi,weblink Les personnes originaires d'Afrique, des Dom-Tom et de la Turquie sont 5,5 millions dans l'Hexagone,, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 2 October 2013, There are also sizable minorities of other European ethnic groups, namely Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Greek.NEWS, Europe's Minority Politicians in Short Supply, Keith B., Richburg,weblink The Washington Post, 24 April 2005, NEWS, In officially colorblind France, blacks have a dream â€“ and now a lobby, Susan, Sachs,weblink The Christian Science Monitor, Boston, 12 January 2007, France has a significant Gypsy (Gitan) population, numbering between 20,000 and 400,000.WEB,weblink National strategy for Roma integration – European Commission – DG Justiceunknown label, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 6 March 2016, Many foreign Romani people are expelled back to Bulgaria and Romania frequently.WEB,weblink France's unwanted Roma, Henri, Astier, 13 February 2014, BBC, It is currently estimated that 40% of the French population is descended at least partially from the different waves of immigration the country has received since the early 20th century;NEWS, Paris Riots in Perspective,weblink ABC News, New York, 4 November 2005, between 1921 and 1935 alone, about 1.1 million net immigrants came to France.BOOK, 22, Volume 81, Part 7: Russian Refugees in France and the United States Between the World Wars, Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, III. French Government and the Refugees, American Philosophical Society, James E. Hassell, 1991, 978-0-87169-817-9, The next largest wave came in the 1960s, when around 1.6 million pieds noirs returned to France following the independence of its Northwest African possessions, Algeria and Morocco.NEWS, For Pieds-Noirs, the Anger Endures, James M., Markham,weblink The New York Times, 6 April 1988, BOOK, Raimondo Cagiano De Azevedo, 1994, 25, Migration and development co-operation, 978-92-871-2611-5, They were joined by numerous former colonial subjects from North and West Africa, as well as numerous European immigrants from Spain and Portugal.France remains a major destination for immigrants, accepting about 200,000 legal immigrants annually.WEB,weblink Flux d'immigration par continent d'origine, Immigration flow by continent of origin, fr, Ined, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 23 May 2012, ♦ 3 November 2010: In 2005, it was Western Europe's leading recipient of asylum seekers, with an estimated 50,000 applications (albeit 15% decrease from 2004).BOOK, UNHCR,weblink UNHCR Global Report 2005, Western Europe, 14 December 2006, live,weblink" title="">weblink 14 June 2007, In 2010, France received about 48,100 asylum applications—placing it among the top five asylum recipients in the worldJOURNAL, Kalt, Anne, Hossain, Mazeda, Kiss, Ligia, Zimmerman, Cathy, March 2013, Asylum Seekers, Violence and Health: A Systematic Review of Research in High-Income Host Countries, American Journal of Public Health, 103, 3, e30–e42, 10.2105/AJPH.2012.301136, 0090-0036, 3673512, 23327250, and in subsequent years it saw the number of applications increase, ultimately doubling to 100,412 in 2017.WEB,weblink aida – Asylum Information Database – Country Report: France, 2017, The European Union allows free movement between the member states, although France established controls to curb Eastern European migration, and immigration remains a contentious political issue.In 2008, the INSEE (National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies) estimated that the total number of foreign-born immigrants was around 5 million (8% of the population), while their French-born descendants numbered 6.5 million, or 11% of the population. Thus, nearly a fifth of the country's population were either first or second-generation immigrants, of which more than 5 million were of European origin and 4 million of Maghrebi ancestry.WEB, 30 March 2010,weblink Être né en France d'un parent immigré, To be born in France of an immigrant parent, fr, live,weblink" title="">weblink 3 February 2012, Insee, Catherine Borrel, Bertrand Lhommeau, WEB,weblink Répartition des immigrés par pays de naissance, 2008, Distribution of immigrants by country of birth, Insee, fr, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 26 October 2011, WEB,weblink Enquêtes annuelles de recensement 2004 et 2005, August 2006, Catherine Borrel, Insee, 14 December 2006,weblink" title="">weblink 12 December 2006, dead, fr, Annual census surveys 2004 and 2005, In 2008, France granted citizenship to 137,000 persons, mostly from Morocco, Algeria and Turkey.NEWS, Turks and Moroccans top list of new EU citizens, Andrea, Swalec,weblink Reuters, 6 July 2010, live,weblink" title="">weblink 12 January 2012, In 2014, the INSEE published a study which reported doubling of the number of Spanish immigrants, Portuguese and Italians in France between 2009 and 2012.According to the French Institute, this increase resulting from the financial crisis that hit several European countries in that period, has pushed up the number of Europeans installed in France.WEB,weblink Qui sont les nouveaux immigrés qui vivent en France ?, fr, Who are the new immigrants living in France?, SudOuest, 2 December 2014, Statistics on Spanish immigrants in France show a growth of 107 percent between 2009 and 2012, i.e. in this period went from 5300 to 11,000 people.Of the total of 229,000 foreigners who were in France in 2012, nearly 8% were Portuguese, 5% British, 5% Spanish, 4% Italians, 4% Germans, 3% Romanians, and 3% Belgians.

Major cities

{{See also|Urban area (France)|Urban unit}}France is a highly urbanized country, with its largest cities (in terms of metropolitan area population in 2016WEB, Urban areas,weblink Aires urbaines, Insee, 15 May 2019, dead,weblink 6 February 2019, fr, ) being Paris (12,568,755 inh.), Lyon (2,310,850), Marseille (1,756,296), Toulouse (1,345,343), Bordeaux (1,232,550), Lille (1,187,824), Nice (1,006,402), Nantes (961,521), Strasbourg (785,839) and Rennes (727,357). (Note: There are significant differences between the metropolitan population figures just cited and those in the following table, which indicates the population of the communes). Rural flight was a perennial political issue throughout most of the 20th century.{{Largest cities of France}}


File:New-Map-Francophone World.PNG|thumb|upright=1.5|alt=world map of French speaking countries|A map of the FrancophoneFrancophoneAccording to Article 2 of the Constitution, the official language of France is French,{{fr icon}} weblink" title="">La Constitution- La Constitution du 4 Octobre 1958 â€“ Légifrance. a Romance language derived from Latin. Since 1635, the Académie française has been France's official authority on the French language, although its recommendations carry no legal weight. There are also regional languages spoken in France, such as Occitan, Breton, Catalan, Flemish (Dutch dialect), Alsatian (German dialect), Basque, and Corsican. Italian was the official language of Corsica until 9 May 1859.Abalain, Hervé, (2007) Le français et les langues historiques de la France, Éditions Jean-Paul Gisserot, p. 113.The Government of France does not regulate the choice of language in publications by individuals but the use of French is required by law in commercial and workplace communications. In addition to mandating the use of French in the territory of the Republic, the French government tries to promote French in the European Union and globally through institutions such as the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie. The perceived threat from anglicisation has prompted efforts to safeguard the position of the French language in France. Besides French, there exist 77 vernacular minority languages of France, eight spoken in French metropolitan territory and 69 in the French overseas territories.From the 17th to the mid-20th century, French served as the pre-eminent international language of diplomacy and international affairs as well as a lingua franca among the educated classes of Europe.Joffre Agnes ls the French obsession with "cultural exception" declining? {{webarchive|url= |date=17 October 2011 }}. France in London. 5 October 2008 The dominant position of French language in international affairs was overtaken by English, since the emergence of the United States as a major power.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 19 July 2011, Language and Diplomacy â€“ Translation and Interpretation,, 10 September 2010, WEB,weblink Why Is French Considered the Language of Diplomacy?,, 23 January 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 30 December 2010, For most of the time in which French served as an international lingua franca, it was not the native language of most Frenchmen: a report in 1794 conducted by Henri Grégoire found that of the country's 25 million people, only three million spoke French natively; the rest spoke one of the country's many regional languages, such as Alsatian, Breton or Occitan.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink dead, Rapport Grégoire an II, 5 April 2008, Through the expansion of public education, in which French was the sole language of instruction, as well as other factors such as increased urbanisation and the rise of mass communication, French gradually came to be adopted by virtually the entire population, a process not completed until the 20th century.As a result of France's extensive colonial ambitions between the 17th and 20th centuries, French was introduced to the Americas, Africa, Polynesia, South-East Asia, as well as the Caribbean. French is the second most studied foreign language in the world after English,WEB,weblink The International Education Site,, 23 January 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 27 February 2011, and is a lingua franca in some regions, notably in Africa. The legacy of French as a living language outside Europe is mixed: it is nearly extinct in some former French colonies (The Levant, South and Southeast Asia), while creoles and pidgins based on French have emerged in the French departments in the West Indies and the South Pacific (French Polynesia). On the other hand, many former French colonies have adopted French as an official language, and the total number of French speakers is increasing, especially in Africa.It is estimated that between 300 millionWEB,weblink French: one of the world's main languages,, 21 July 2011, dead,weblink 16 May 2016, and 500 million{{fr icon}} Qu'est-ce que la Francophonie ? {{webarchive |url= |date=23 June 2011 }} â€“ Organisation internationale de la Francophonie people worldwide can speak French, either as a mother tongue or a second language.According to the 2007 Adult Education survey, part of a project by the European Union and carried in France by the INSEE and based on a sample of 15,350 persons, French was the first mother tongue of 87.2% of the total population, or roughly 55.81 million people, followed by Arabic (3.6%, 2.30 million), Portuguese (1.5%, 0.96 million), Spanish (1.2%, 0.77 million) and Italian (1.0%, 0.64 million). People who had other languages as their mother tongue made up the 5.2% of the population.WEB,weblink GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences,, 24 April 2018,


{{Pie chart|thumb = right|caption = Religion in France (2016)|label1 = Christianity|value1 = 51.1|color1 = goldIrreligion>No religion|value2 = 39.6|color2 = grey|label3 = Islam|value3 = 5.6|color3 = black|label4 = Judaism|value4 = 0.8|color4 = blue|label5 = Other religion|value5 = 2.5|color5 = red|label6 = Undecided|value6 = 0.4|color6 = green}}France is a secular country, and freedom of religion is a constitutional right. French religious policy is based on the concept of laïcité, a strict separation of church and state under which public life is kept completely secular.According to a survey held in 2016 by Institut Montaigne and Institut français d'opinion publique (IFOP), 51.1% of the total population of France was Christian as of that year; at the same time 39.6% of the population had no religion (atheism or agnosticism), 5.6% were Muslims, 2.5% were followers of other faiths, and the remaining 0.4% were undecided about their faith. Estimates of the number of Muslims in France vary widely. In 2003, the French Ministry of the Interior estimated the total number of people of Muslim background to be between 5 and 6 million (8–10%).NEWS, Jon Henley, 22 April 2004,weblink France to train imams in 'French Islam', The Guardian, WEB,weblink France â€“ International Religious Freedom Report 2005, U.S. State Department, 30 October 2010, The current Jewish community in France ({{as of|lc=y|2016}}, about 0.8% of the population are religious Jews) is the largest in Europe and the third-largest in the world, after those in Israel and the United States.File:Cathédrale10.jpg|thumb|left|alt=Notre-Dame de Reims façade, gothic stone cathedral against blue sky|Notre-Dame de Reims is the Roman Catholic cathedral where the kings of France were crowned until 1825.{{efn-ur|The last sacre was that of Charles X, 29 May 1825.}}]]Catholicism has been the predominant religion in France for more than a millennium, though it is not as actively practised today as it was. Among the 47,000 religious buildings in France, 94% are Roman Catholic.WEB, Observatoire du patrimoine religieux,weblink 1 February 2012, 94% des édifices sont catholiques (dont 50% églises paroissiales, 25% chapelles, 25% édifices appartenant au clergé régulier), dead,weblink" title="">weblink 26 November 2013, During the French Revolution, activists conducted a brutal campaign of de-Christianisation, ending the Catholic Church as the state religion. In some cases clergy and churches were attacked, with iconoclasm stripping the churches of statues and ornament. After the back and forth of Catholic royal and secular republican governments during the 19th century, France established laïcité by passage of the 1905 law on the Separation of the Churches and the State.WEB,weblink France, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, 14 December 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 6 February 2011, Since 1905 the French Government has followed the principle of laïcité, in which it is prohibited from recognizing any specific right to a religious community (except for legacy statutes like those of military chaplains and the local law in Alsace-Moselle). It recognizes religious organisations according to formal legal criteria that do not address religious doctrine. Conversely, religious organisations are expected to refrain from intervening in policy-making.Joy of Sects, Sam Jordison, 2006, p. 166 Certain groups, such as Scientology, Children of God, the Unification Church, or the Order of the Solar Temple, are considered cults ("sectes" in French),WEB,weblink Commission d'enquête sur les sectes,, 30 October 2010, and therefore do not have the same status as recognized religions in France. Secte is considered a pejorative term in France.WEB,weblink Society2; religion in France; beliefs; secularism (laicité),, 20 September 2009, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 16 September 2009, {{Self-published source|date=June 2016}}{{clear left}}


File:La Pitie-Salpetriere under snow 2013-03-12.jpg|thumb|alt=Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris, stone building with slate dome|The (Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital]], a teaching hospital in Paris, is one of Europe's largest hospitals.weblink" title="">How to conduct European clinical trials from the Paris Region ? Clinical Trials. Paris. February 2003)The French health care system is one of universal health care largely financed by government national health insurance. In its 2000 assessment of world health care systems, the World Health Organization found that France provided the "close to best overall health care" in the world.WEB,weblink World Health Organization Assesses the World's Health Systems,, 8 December 2010, 6 January 2012, The French healthcare system was ranked first worldwide by the World Health Organization in 1997.The ranking, see spreadsheet details for a whole analysis photius.comWEB,weblink Measuring Overall Health System Performance for 191 Countries, 21 July 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 5 August 2011, In 2011, France spent 11.6% of GDP on health care, or US$4,086 per capita,WEB,weblink WHO country facts: France,, 11 November 2013, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 11 November 2013, a figure much higher than the average spent by countries in Europe but less than in the United States. Approximately 77% of health expenditures are covered by government funded agencies.The World Health Report 2000: WHOCare is generally free for people affected by chronic diseases (affections de longues durées) such as cancer, AIDS or cystic fibrosis. Average life expectancy at birth is 78 years for men and 85 years for women, one of the highest of the European Union and the World.WEB, fr,weblink Espérance de vie, taux de mortalité et taux de mortalité infantile dans le monde, Insee, WEB, fr,weblink Evolution de l'espérance de vie à divers âges, Insee, There are 3.22 physicians for every 1000 inhabitants in France,WEB, fr,weblink Nombre de médecins pour 1000 habitants,weblink" title="">weblink 5 March 2010, Statistiques mondiales, and average health care spending per capita was US$4,719 in 2008.WEB, fr,weblink Dépenses de santé par habitants,weblink" title="">weblink 12 December 2009, Statistiques mondiales, {{As of|2007}}, approximately 140,000 inhabitants (0.4%) of France are living with HIV/AIDS.Even if the French have the reputation of being one of the thinnest people in developed countries,Even the French are fighting obesity â€“ The New York TimesWEB, Wahlgren, Eric,weblink 14 November 2009, France's obesity crisis: All those croissants really do add up, after all,, 21 July 2011,weblink" title="">weblink 8 July 2011, dead, NEWS, Lambert, Victoria,weblink The French children learning to fight obesity, The Daily Telegraph, London, 8 March 2008, 9 August 2010, Why So Few French Are Fat {{webarchive|url= |date=25 January 2010 }} â€“ Bloomberg BusinessweekNEWS, Mimi Spencer,weblink Let them eat cake, The Guardian, London, 7 November 2004, 21 July 2011, WEB,weblink The French Diet – Eat, Drink, and be Thin,, 9 August 2010, France—like other rich countries—faces an increasing and recent epidemic of obesity, due mostly to the replacement in French eating habits of traditional healthy French cuisine by junk food.France heading for US obesity levels says study â€“ Food Navigator The French obesity rate is still far below that of the United States (the obesity rate in France is the same as the United States had in the 1970s), and is still the lowest of Europe. Authorities now regard obesity as one of the main public health issuesWEB,weblink New French food guidelines aimed at tackling obesity,, 14 September 2006, 9 August 2010, and fight it fiercely. Rates of childhood obesity are slowing in France, while continuing to grow in other countries.WEB, Petah Marian,weblink France urged to get tough on child obesity,, 23 May 2008, 9 August 2010,


File:Absolute BNUS 01.JPG|thumb|alt=Bibliothèque nationale et universitaire at Strasbourg, stone building with portico by a park|The National and University Library on the campus of the University of StrasbourgUniversity of StrasbourgIn 1802, Napoleon created the lycée.WEB,weblink Lycée, Encyclopædia Britannica, 22 July 2011, Nevertheless, it is Jules Ferry who is considered to be the father of the French modern school, which is free, secular, and compulsory until the age of 13 since 1882{{fr icon}} weblink" title="">1881–1882 : Lois Ferry École publique gratuite, laïque et obligatoire. Assemblé Nationale (school attendance in France is now compulsory until the age of 16{{fr icon}} II. L'évolution du contenu de l'obligation scolaire. Sé, the schooling system in France is centralized, and is composed of three stages, primary education, secondary education, and higher education. The Programme for International Student Assessment, coordinated by the OECD, ranked France's education as about the OECD average in 2015.WEB,weblink Compare your country – PISA 2015, Primary and secondary education are predominantly public, run by the Ministry of National Education. In France, education is compulsory from six to sixteen years old, and the public school is secular and free. While training and remuneration of teachers and the curriculum are the responsibility of the state centrally, the management of primary and secondary schools is overseen by local authorities. Primary education comprises two phases, nursery school (école maternelle) and elementary school (école élémentaire). Nursery school aims to stimulate the minds of very young children and promote their socialization and development of a basic grasp of language and number. Around the age of six, children transfer to elementary school, whose primary objectives are learning about writing, arithmetic and citizenship. Secondary education also consists of two phases. The first is delivered through colleges (collège) and leads to the national certificate (Diplôme national du brevet). The second is offered in high schools (lycée) and finishes in national exams leading to a baccalaureate (baccalauréat, available in professional, technical or general flavors) or certificate of professional competence (certificat d'aptitude professionelle).Higher education is divided between public universities and the prestigious and selective Grandes écoles, such as Sciences Po Paris for Political studies, HEC Paris for Economics, Polytechnique and the École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris that produce high-profile engineers, or the École nationale d'administration for careers in the Grands Corps of the state. The Grandes écoles have been criticized for alleged elitism;{{fr icon}} Les grandes écoles dans la tourmente â€“ Le Figaro they have produced many if not most of France's high-ranking civil servants, CEOs, and politicians.


File:Eugène Delacroix - La liberté guidant le peuple.jpg|thumb|250px|Eugène Delacroix's Liberty Leading the People (1830) portrays the July Revolution using the stylistic views of Romanticism. Since Liberty is part of the motto "Liberté, égalité, fraternitéLiberté, égalité, fraternitéFrance has been a center of Western cultural development for centuries. Many French artists have been among the most renowned of their time, and France is still recognized in the world for its rich cultural tradition.The successive political regimes have always promoted artistic creation, and the creation of the Ministry of Culture in 1959 helped preserve the cultural heritage of the country and make it available to the public. The Ministry of Culture has been very active since its creation, granting subsidies to artists, promoting French culture in the world, supporting festivals and cultural events, protecting historical monuments. The French government also succeeded in maintaining a cultural exception to defend audiovisual products made in the country.France receives the highest number of tourists per year, largely thanks to the numerous cultural establishments and historical buildings implanted all over the territory. It counts 1,200 museums welcoming more than 50 million people annually.Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, "Cultura statistics", Key figures The most important cultural sites are run by the government, for instance through the public agency Centre des monuments nationaux, which is responsible for approximately 85 national historical monuments.The 43,180 buildings protected as historical monuments include mainly residences (many castles) and religious buildings (cathedrals, basilicas, churches), but also statues, memorials and gardens. The UNESCO inscribed 41 sites in France on the World Heritage List.WEB,weblink Official properties inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in France, UNESCO, 9 July 2015,


The origins of French art were very much influenced by Flemish art and by Italian art at the time of the Renaissance. Jean Fouquet, the most famous medieval French painter, is said to have been the first to travel to Italy and experience the Early Renaissance at first hand. The Renaissance painting School of Fontainebleau was directly inspired by Italian painters such as Primaticcio and Rosso Fiorentino, who both worked in France. Two of the most famous French artists of the time of Baroque era, Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain, lived in Italy.File:Claude Monet 023.jpg|thumb|upright|alt=painting by Claude Monet of woman with parasol facing left in field from the Musée d'Orsay|Claude Monet founded the Impressionist movement (Femme avec un parasol, 1886, Musée d'OrsayMusée d'OrsayThe 17th century was the period when French painting became prominent and individualised itself through classicism. Louis XIV's prime minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert founded in 1648 the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture to protect these artists, and in 1666 he created the still-active French Academy in Rome to have direct relations with Italian artists.French artists developed the rococo style in the 18th century, as a more intimate imitation of old baroque style, the works of the court-endorsed artists Antoine Watteau, François Boucher and Jean-Honoré Fragonard being the most representative in the country. The French Revolution brought great changes, as Napoleon favoured artists of neoclassic style such as Jacques-Louis David and the highly influential Académie des Beaux-Arts defined the style known as Academism. At this time France had become a centre of artistic creation, the first half of the 19th century being dominated by two successive movements, at first Romanticism with Théodore Géricault and Eugène Delacroix, and Realism with Camille Corot, Gustave Courbet and Jean-François Millet, a style that eventually evolved into Naturalism.File:LE PENSEUR - Museo Rodin- PARIS.jpg|thumb|left|upright|alt=The Thinker bronze statue from 1902 from the Musée Rodin, Paris|Le Penseur by Auguste Rodin (1902), Musée RodinMusée RodinIn the second part of the 19th century, France's influence over painting became even more important, with the development of new styles of painting such as Impressionism and Symbolism. The most famous impressionist painters of the period were Camille Pissarro, Édouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet and Auguste Renoir.WEB,weblink Guide to Impressionism, National Gallery, 22 July 2011, The second generation of impressionist-style painters, Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec and Georges Seurat, were also at the avant-garde of artistic evolutions,{{fr icon}} RFI, Le néo-impressionnisme de Seurat à Paul Klee 15 March 2005 as well as the fauvist artists Henri Matisse, André Derain and Maurice de Vlaminck.National Gallery of Art (United States), The Fauves (dossier) {{webarchive|url= |date=5 November 2010 }}{{fr icon}} RFI, Vlaminck, version fauve, 25 February 2008At the beginning of the 20th century, Cubism was developed by Georges Braque and the Spanish painter Pablo Picasso, living in Paris. Other foreign artists also settled and worked in or near Paris, such as Vincent van Gogh, Marc Chagall, Amedeo Modigliani and Wassily Kandinsky.Many museums in France are entirely or partly devoted to sculptures and painting works. A huge collection of old masterpieces created before or during the 18th century are displayed in the state-owned Musée du Louvre, such as Mona Lisa, also known as La Joconde. While the Louvre Palace has been for a long time a museum, the Musée d'Orsay was inaugurated in 1986 in the old railway station Gare d'Orsay, in a major reorganisation of national art collections, to gather French paintings from the second part of the 19th century (mainly Impressionism and Fauvism movements).Musée d'Orsay (official website), History of the museum â€“ From station to museumWEB,weblink History of the painting collection,, 31 July 2007, 22 July 2011, 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.{{fr icon}} Ministry of Tourism, Sites touristiques en France {{webarchive|url= |date=11 May 2011 }} page 2 "Palmarès des 30 premiers sites culturels (entrées comptabilisées)" [Ranking of 30 most visited cultural sites in France] Other national museums hosting paintings include the Grand Palais (1.3 million visitors in 2008), but there are also many museums owned by cities, the most visited being the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (0.8 million entries in 2008), which hosts contemporary works. Outside Paris, all the large cities have a Museum of Fine Arts with a section dedicated to European and French painting. Some of the finest collections are in Lyon, Lille, Rouen, Dijon, Rennes and Grenoble.


File:Sainte Chapelle - Upper level 1.jpg|thumb|alt=Sainte Chapelle interior showing painted stonework vaulting and stained glass|Saint Louis' Sainte ChapelleSainte ChapelleDuring the Middle Ages, many fortified castles were built by feudal nobles to mark their powers. Some French castles that survived are Chinon, Château d'Angers, the massive Château de Vincennes and the so-called Cathar castles. During this era, France had been using Romanesque architecture like most of Western Europe. Some of the greatest examples of Romanesque churches in France are the Saint Sernin Basilica in Toulouse, the largest romanesque church in Europe,WEB,weblink Toulouse's Saint Sernin, Largest Romanesque Church in Europe,, 22 February 1999, 22 July 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 10 July 2011, and the remains of the Cluniac Abbey.The Gothic architecture, originally named Opus Francigenum meaning "French work",BOOK,weblink Opus francigenum, Oxford Art Online, Oxford University Press, 10.1093/gao/9781884446054.article.t063666, 13 January 2019, Oxford Art Online, 2003, Brodie, Allan M., was born in ÃŽle-de-France and was the first French style of architecture to be copied in all Europe.WEB,weblink The Gothic Period,, 22 July 2011, Northern France is the home of some of the most important Gothic cathedrals and basilicas, the first of these being the Saint Denis Basilica (used as the royal necropolis); other important French Gothic cathedrals are Notre-Dame de Chartres and Notre-Dame d'Amiens. The kings were crowned in another important Gothic church: Notre-Dame de Reims.{{fr icon}} Histoire et Architecture â€“ Site officiel de la Cathedrale de Notre-Dame de Reims Aside from churches, Gothic Architecture had been used for many religious palaces, the most important one being the Palais des Papes in Avignon.The final victory in the Hundred Years' War marked an important stage in the evolution of French architecture. It was the time of the French Renaissance and several artists from Italy were invited to the French court; many residential palaces were built in the Loire Valley, from 1450 with as a first reference the Château de Montsoreau.WEB,weblink Charles VII et Louis XI -Know -Val de Loire patrimoine mondial, Loire, Mission Val de,, 10 October 2018, Such residential castles were the Château de Chambord, the Château de Chenonceau, or the Château d'Amboise.File:Bordeaux place de la bourse with tram.JPG|thumb|Place de la Bourse in Bordeaux, an example of French baroque architectureFrench baroque architectureFollowing the renaissance 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.{{fr icon}} Claude Lébedel â€“ Les Splendeurs du Baroque en France: Histoire 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, parfois seulement étonnée, parfois franchement réprobatrice: Mais voyons, l'art baroque n'existe pas en France!" In the secular domain, the Palace of Versailles has many baroque features. Jules Hardouin Mansart, who designed the extensions to Versailles, was one of the most influential French architect of the baroque era; he is famous for his dome at Les Invalides.BOOK,weblink Architecture and the Politics of Gender in Early Modern Europe, Helen, Hills, 86, 978-0-7546-0309-2, Ashgate Publishing, 2003, Some of the most impressive provincial baroque architecture is found in places that were not yet French such as the Place Stanislas 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 result, imitations of his works can be found all over Europe, the Americas, Russia and Turkey.WEB,weblink Fortifications of Vauban, UNESCO, 8 July 2008, 9 August 2010, WEB,weblink Official site of the UNESCO, UNESCO, 9 August 2010, File:Palais Garnier's grand salon, 12 February 2008.jpg|thumb|alt=Opéra Garnier interior showing chandeliers and gilded decoration|Opéra Garnier, Paris, a symbol of the French Second Empire style]]After the Revolution, the Republicans favoured Neoclassicism although it was introduced in France prior to the revolution with such buildings as the Parisian Pantheon or the Capitole de Toulouse. Built during the first French Empire, the Arc de Triomphe and Sainte Marie-Madeleine represent the best example of Empire style architecture.BOOK, Paris: City Guide, 2008, Lonely Planet, 978-1-74059-850-7, 48,weblink Under Napoleon III, a new wave of urbanism and architecture was given birth; extravagant buildings such as the neo-baroque Palais Garnier were built. The urban planning of the time was very organised and rigorous; for example, Haussmann's renovation of Paris. The architecture associated to this era is named Second Empire in English, the term being taken from the Second French Empire. At this time there was a strong Gothic resurgence across Europe and in France; the associated architect was Eugène Viollet-le-Duc. In the late 19th century, Gustave Eiffel designed many bridges, such as Garabit viaduct, and remains one of the most influential bridge designers of his time, although he is best remembered for the iconic Eiffel Tower.In the 20th century, French-Swiss architect Le Corbusier designed several buildings in France. More recently, French architects have combined both modern and old architectural styles. The Louvre Pyramid is an example of modern architecture added to an older building. The most difficult buildings to integrate within French cities are skyscrapers, as they are visible from afar. For instance, in Paris, since 1977, new buildings had to be under 37 meters (121 feet).WEB,weblink Urbanisme : Des gratte-ciel à Paris : qu'en pensez-vous ?nbsp;– Posez vos questions, MYTF1News, Henri SECKEL, 8 July 2008, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 29 October 2010, France's largest financial district is La Defense, where a significant number of skyscrapers are located.In the heart of the main European Business area {{webarchive|url= |date=29 July 2010 }} â€“ NCI Business Center Other massive buildings that are a challenge to integrate into their environment are large bridges; an example of the way this has been done is the Millau Viaduct. Some famous modern French architects include Jean Nouvel, Dominique Perrault, Christian de Portzamparc or Paul Andreu.


The earliest French literature dates from the Middle Ages, when what is now known as modern France did not have a single, uniform language. There were several languages and dialects, and writers used their own spelling and grammar. Some authors of French mediaeval texts are unknown, such as Tristan and Iseult and Lancelot-Grail. Other authors are known, for example Chrétien de Troyes and Duke William IX of Aquitaine, who wrote in Occitan.Much medieval French poetry and literature were inspired by the legends of the Matter of France, such as The Song of Roland and the various chansons de geste. The Roman de Renart, written in 1175 by Perrout de Saint Cloude, tells the story of the mediaeval character Reynard ('the Fox') and is another example of early French writing. An important 16th-century writer was François Rabelais, whose novel Gargantua and Pantagruel has remained famous and appreciated until now. Michel de Montaigne was the other major figure of the French literature during that century. His most famous work, Essais, created the literary genre of the essay.WEB,weblink Montaigne,, 22 July 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 25 May 2011, French poetry during that century was embodied by Pierre de Ronsard and Joachim du Bellay. Both writers founded the La Pléiade literary movement.During the 17th century, Madame de La Fayette published anonymously La Princesse de Clèves, a novel that is considered to be one of the very first psychological novels of all times.WEB,weblink La Princesse de Cleves by Madame de Lafayette, adapted by Jo Clifford,, 28 February 2010, 22 July 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 10 August 2011, Jean de La Fontaine is one of the most famous fabulists of that time, as he wrote hundreds of fables, some being far more famous than others, such as The Ant and the Grasshopper. Generations of French pupils had to learn his fables, that were seen as helping teaching wisdom and common sense to the young people. Some of his verses have entered the popular language to become proverbs, such as "À l'Å“uvre, on connaît l'artisan."[A workman is known by his chips].Jean de La Fontaine, Fables (1668–1679), I., 21, Les Frelons et les Mouches à miel; reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 1.File:French literary figures.jpg|thumb|alt=see description|French literary figures. Clockwise from top left: Molière is the most played author in the Comédie-Française;{{fr icon}} Auteurs et répertoires {{webarchive|url= |date=19 September 2010 }} â€“ Official site of the Comédie Française Victor Hugo is one of the most important French novelists and poets; 19th-century poet, writer and translator Charles Baudelaire; 20th-century philosopher and novelist Jean-Paul SartreJean-Paul SartreJean Racine, whose incredible mastery of the alexandrine and of the French language has been praised for centuries, created plays such as Phèdre or Britannicus. He is, along with Pierre Corneille (Le Cid) and Molière, considered as one of the three great dramatists of France's golden age. Molière, who is deemed to be one of the greatest masters of comedy of the Western literature,"Author of some of the finest comedies in the history of the theater". Hartnoll, Phyllis (ed.). The Oxford Companion to the Theatre, 1983, Oxford University Press, p. 554. wrote dozens of plays, including Le Misanthrope, L'Avare, Le Malade imaginaire, as well as Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme. His plays have been so popular around the world that French language is sometimes dubbed as "the language of Molière" (la langue de Molière),NEWS, Randall, Colin,weblink France looks to the law to save the language of Molière, The Daily Telegraph, London, 25 October 2004, 22 July 2011, just like English is considered as "the language of Shakespeare".French literature and poetry flourished even more in the 18th and 19th centuries. Denis Diderot's best-known works are Jacques the Fatalist and Rameau's Nephew. He is however best known for being the main redactor of the Encyclopédie, whose aim was to sum up all the knowledge of his century (in fields such as arts, sciences, languages, and philosophy) and to present them to the people, to fight ignorance and obscurantism. During that same century, Charles Perrault was a prolific writer of famous children's fairy tales including Puss in Boots, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Bluebeard. At the start of the 19th century, symbolist poetry was an important movement in French literature, with poets such as Charles Baudelaire, Paul Verlaine and Stéphane Mallarmé.WEB,weblink Le Symbolisme français,, The 19th century saw the writings of many renowned French authors. Victor Hugo is sometimes seen as "the greatest French writer of all times"WEB, Victor Hugo est le plus grand écrivain français,weblink dead,weblink" title="">weblink 23 July 2013, for excelling in all literary genres. The preface of his play Cromwell is considered to be the manifesto of the Romantic movement. Les Contemplations and La Légende des siècles are considered as "poetic masterpieces",WEB,weblink Victor Hugo 1802–1885,, 16 July 2011, Hugo's verse having been compared to that of Shakespeare, Dante and Homer. His novel Les Misérables is widely seen as one of the greatest novel ever writtenWEB,weblink All-Time 100 Best Novels List,, 22 July 2011, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame has remained immensely popular.Other major authors of that century include Alexandre Dumas (The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte-Cristo), Jules Verne (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea), Émile Zola (Les Rougon-Macquart), Honoré de Balzac (La Comédie humaine), Guy de Maupassant, Théophile Gautier and Stendhal (The Red and the Black, The Charterhouse of Parma), whose works are among the most well known in France and the world. The Prix Goncourt is a French literary prize first awarded in 1903.{{fr icon}} La première Académie Goncourt {{webarchive|url= |date=25 April 2011 }} â€“ Site officiel de l'Académie Goncourt {{webarchive|url= |date=19 November 2008 }} Important writers of the 20th century include Marcel Proust, Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Albert Camus, and Jean-Paul Sartre. Antoine de Saint Exupéry wrote Little Prince, which has remained popular for decades with children and adults around the world.WEB,weblink The Little Prince,, 22 July 2011, {{As of|2014}}, French authors had more Literature Nobel Prizes than those of any other nation.Modiano strengthens France's literature Nobel dominance {{webarchive|url= |date=18 October 2014 }}, Global Post, 9 October 2014 The first Nobel Prize in Literature was a French author, while France's latest Nobel prize in literature is Patrick Modiano, who was awarded the prize in 2014. Jean-Paul Sartre was also the first nominee in the committee's history to refuse the prize in 1964.


Medieval philosophy was dominated by Scholasticism until the emergence of Humanism in the Renaissance. Modern philosophy began in France in the 17th century with the philosophy of René Descartes, Blaise Pascal, and Nicolas Malebranche. Descartes revitalised Western philosophy, which had been declined after the Greek and Roman eras.WEB,weblink The Beginning of Modern Sciences,, 16 July 2011, His Meditations on First Philosophy changed the primary object of philosophical thought and raised some of the most fundamental problems for foreigners such as Spinoza, Leibniz, Hume, Berkeley, and Kant.File:Frans Hals - Portret van René Descartes.jpg|thumb|upright|alt=Frans Hals painting of René Descartes facing right in black coat and white collar|René DescartesRené DescartesFrench philosophers produced some of the most important political works of the Age of Enlightenment. In The Spirit of the Laws, Baron de Montesquieu theorised the principle of separation of powers, which has been implemented in all liberal democracies since it was first applied in the United States. Voltaire came to embody the Enlightenment with his defence of civil liberties, such as the right to a free trial and freedom of religion.19th-century French thought was targeted at responding to the social malaise following the French Revolution. Rationalist philosophers such as Victor Cousin and Auguste Comte, who called for a new social doctrine, were opposed by reactionary thinkers such as Joseph de Maistre, Louis de Bonald and Félicité Robert de Lamennais, who blamed the rationalist rejection of traditional order. De Maistre is considered, together with the Englishman Edmund Burke, one of the founders of European conservatism, while Comte is regarded as the founder of positivism, which Émile Durkheim reformulated as a basis for social research.In the 20th century, partly as a reaction to the perceived excesses of positivism, French spiritualism thrived with thinkers such as Henri Bergson and it influenced American pragmatism and Whitehead's version of process philosophy. Meanwhile, French epistemology became a prominent school of thought with Jules Henri Poincaré, Gaston Bachelard, Jean Cavaillès and Jules Vuillemin. Influenced by German phenomenology and existentialism, the philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre gained a strong influence after World War II, and late-20th-century-France became the cradle of postmodern philosophy with Jean-François Lyotard, Jean Baudrillard, Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault.


France has a long and varied musical history. It experienced a golden age in the 17th century thanks to Louis XIV, who employed a number of talented musicians and composers in the royal court. The most renowned composers of this period include Marc-Antoine Charpentier, François Couperin, Michel-Richard Delalande, Jean-Baptiste Lully and Marin Marais, all of them composers at the court. After the death of the "Roi Soleil", French musical creation lost dynamism, but in the next century the music of Jean-Philippe Rameau reached some prestige, and today he is still one of the most renowned French composers. Rameau became the dominant composer of French opera and the leading French composer for the harpsichord.Girdlestone p. 14: "It is customary to couple him with Couperin as one couples Haydn with Mozart or Ravel with Debussy."{{full citation needed |date=January 2018}}File:Berlioz Petit BNF Gallica-crop2.jpg|thumb|upright|left|Hector BerliozHector BerliozFrench composers played an important role during the music of the 19th and early 20th century, which is considered to be the Romantic music era. Romantic music emphasised a surrender to nature, a fascination with the past and the supernatural, the exploration of unusual, strange and surprising sounds, and a focus on national identity. This period was also a golden age for operas. French composers from the Romantic era included: Hector Berlioz (best known for his Symphonie fantastique), Georges Bizet (best known for Carmen, which has become one of the most popular and frequently performed operas), Gabriel Fauré (best known for his Pavane, Requiem, and nocturnes), Charles Gounod (best known for his Ave Maria and his opera Faust), Jacques Offenbach (best known for his 100 operettas of the 1850s–1870s and his uncompleted opera The Tales of Hoffmann), Édouard Lalo (best known for his Symphonie espagnole for violin and orchestra and his Cello Concerto in D minor), Jules Massenet (best known for his operas, of which he wrote more than thirty, the most frequently staged are Manon (1884) and Werther (1892)) and Camille Saint-Saëns (he has many frequently-performed works, including The Carnival of the Animals, Danse macabre, Samson and Delilah (Opera), Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso and his Symphony No. 3).File:Claude Debussy 1900 (cropped).jpg|thumb|upright|Claude DebussyClaude DebussyLater came precursors of modern classical music. Érik Satie was a key member of the early-20th-century Parisian avant-garde, best known for his Gymnopédies. Francis Poulenc's best known works are his piano suite Trois mouvements perpétuels (1919), the ballet Les biches (1923), the Concert champêtre (1928) for harpsichord and orchestra, the opera Dialogues des Carmélites (1957), and the Gloria (1959) for soprano, choir and orchestra. Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy are the most prominent figures associated with Impressionist music. Debussy was among the most influential composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and his use of non-traditional scales and chromaticism influenced many composers who followed.WEB,weblink Claude Debussy â€“ Biography â€“ AllMusic, Allen Schrott, AllMusic, Debussy's music is noted for its sensory content and frequent usage of atonality. The two composers invented new musical formsWEB, Huizenga, Tom,weblink Debussy's 'La Mer' Marks 100th Birthday, NPR, 14 October 2005, 22 July 2011, WEB,weblink Debussy's Musical Game of Deception, NPR, 12 July 2008, 22 July 2011, WEB,weblink Biography of Claude Debussy,, 22 July 2011, WEB,weblink Biography of Maurice Ravel,, 22 July 2011, and new sounds. Ravel's piano compositions, such as Jeux d'eau, Miroirs, Le tombeau de Couperin and Gaspard de la nuit, demand considerable virtuosity. His mastery of orchestration is evident in the Rapsodie espagnole, Daphnis et Chloé, his arrangement of Modest Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition and his orchestral work Boléro (1928). More recently, the middle of the 20th century, Maurice Ohana, Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Boulez contributed to the evolutions of contemporary classical music.WEB, Schwartz, Lloyd,weblink Composer-Conductor Pierre Boulez at 85, 24 May 2010, NPR, 22 July 2011, File:Serge Gainsbourg par Claude Truong-Ngoc 1981.jpg|thumb|left|alt=head shot of Serge Gainsbourg |Serge GainsbourgSerge GainsbourgFrench music then followed the rapid emergence of pop and rock music at the middle of the 20th century. Although English-speaking creations achieved popularity in the country, French pop music, known as chanson française, has also remained very popular. Among the most important French artists of the century are Édith Piaf, Georges Brassens, Léo Ferré, Charles Aznavour and Serge Gainsbourg.WEB, ローチケHMV [Roachke HMV], 21 April 2003,weblink ja, 100人の偉大なアーティスト - No. 62, The 100 Greatest Artists â€“ No. 62, Although there are very few rock bands in France compared to English-speaking countries,WEB, rfi Music, Radio France Internationale, RFI Musique,weblink Biography of Noir Désir, December 2010, 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: fury, excess, electricity., 11 January 2018, bands such as Noir Désir, Mano Negra, Niagara, Les Rita Mitsouko and more recently Superbus, Phoenix and Gojira,WEB, 22 June 2009, French music has the whole planet singing,weblink France Diplomatie, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 22 December 2010, or Shaka Ponk, have reached worldwide popularity.Other French artists with international careers have been popular in several countries, most notably female singers Dalida, Mireille Mathieu, Mylène Farmer, Alizée and Nolwenn Leroy,WEB, fr, Bureau Export â€“ Les certifications export 2012,weblink IRMA, 26, 7 March 2015, electronic music pioneers Jean-Michel Jarre, Laurent Garnier and Bob Sinclar, later Martin Solveig and David Guetta. In the 1990s and 2000s (decade), electronic duos Daft Punk, Justice and Air also reached worldwide popularity and contributed to the reputation of modern electronic music in the world.NEWS, The Telegraph,weblink Bernadette McNulty, Daft Punk: Behind the robot masks, 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., NEWS, Alex Webb,weblink The return of French pop music, BBC News, 20 December 2001, 22 July 2011, Among current musical events and institutions in France, many are dedicated to classical music and operas. The most prestigious institutions are the state-owned Paris National Opera (with its two sites Palais Garnier and Opéra Bastille), the Opéra National de Lyon, the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, the Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse and the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux. As for music festivals, there are several events organised, the most popular being Eurockéennes (a word play which sounds in French as "European"), Solidays and Rock en Seine. The Fête de la Musique, imitated by many foreign cities, was first launched by the French Government in 1982.WEB, French Ministry for Culture,weblink About "Fête de la Musique", dead, 15 May 2010,weblink" title="">weblink WEB, Fête de la Musique,weblink 21 June 2007, France Diplomatie, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 18 January 2012, Major music halls and venues in France include Le Zénith sites present in many cities and other places in Paris (Paris Olympia, Théâtre Mogador, Élysée Montmartre).


File:Palmed'or.jpg|thumb|alt=Palme d'Or award in presentation case|A Palme d'Or from the Cannes Film Festival, one of the "Big Three" film festivals alongside the Venice Film Festival and (Berlin International Film Festival]]NEWS,weblink Cannes International Film Festival, The New York Times, Manohla, Dargis, NEWS,weblink They'll Always Have Cannes, The New York Times, Dennis, Lim, 15 May 2012, NEWS,weblink In Pictures: Chic Cannes Hideaways, Forbes, Matt, Woolsey, )File:Louis de Funès — L'Homme orchestre (1970).jpg|thumb|Louis de FunèsLouis de FunèsFrance has historical and strong links with cinema, with two Frenchmen, Auguste and Louis Lumière (known as the Lumière Brothers) credited with creating cinema in 1895.WEB,weblink Encyclopédie Larousse en ligne – les frères Lumière, Éditions, Larousse,, The world's first female filmmaker, Alice Guy-Blaché, was also from France.WEB, Dargis, Manohla, A. O. Scott, Scott, A.O., You Know These 20 Movies. Now Meet the Women Behind Them,weblink The New York Times, 4 December 2018, 20 September 2018, Manohla Dargis, Several important cinematic movements, including the late 1950s and 1960s Nouvelle Vague, began in the country. It is noted for having a strong film industry, due in part to protections afforded by the Government of France. France remains a leader in filmmaking, {{As of|2015|lc=y}} producing more films than any other European country.WEB,weblink UIS Statistics, UIS, UNESCO, NEWS,weblink The Birthplace Celebrates Film's Big 1-0-0, The New York Times, 28 February 1995, Alan Riding, The nation also hosts the Cannes Festival, one of the most important and famous film festivals in the world.WEB,weblink Cannes â€“ a festival virgin's guide,, 15 February 2007, 22 July 2011, WEB,weblink Cannes Film Festival | Palais des Festivals, Cannes, France,, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 10 June 2012, Apart from its strong and innovative film tradition, France has also been a gathering spot for artists from across Europe and the world. For this reason, French cinema is sometimes intertwined with the cinema of foreign nations. Directors from nations such as Poland (Roman Polanski, Krzysztof KieÅ›lowski, Andrzej Å»uÅ‚awski), Argentina (Gaspar Noé, Edgardo Cozarinsky), Russia (Alexandre Alexeieff, Anatole Litvak), Austria (Michael Haneke) and Georgia (Géla Babluani, Otar Iosseliani) are prominent in the ranks of French cinema. Conversely, French directors have had prolific and influential careers in other countries, such as Luc Besson, Jacques Tourneur or Francis Veber in the United States.Although the French film market is dominated by Hollywood, France is the only nation in the world where American films make up the smallest share of total film revenues, at 50%, compared with 77% in Germany and 69% in Japan.{{fr icon}} Damien Rousselière Cinéma et diversité culturelle: le cinéma indépendant face à la mondialisation des industries culturelles. Horizons philosophiques Vol. 15 No. 2 2005 French films account for 35% of the total film revenues of France, which is the highest percentage of national film revenues in the developed world outside the United States, compared to 14% in Spain and 8% in the UK. France is in 2013 the 2nd exporter of films in the world after the United States.WEB,weblink Enquête sur l'image du cinéma français dans le monde,, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 13 December 2014, Until recently, France had for centuries been the cultural center of the world, although its dominant position has been surpassed by the United States. Subsequently, France takes steps in protecting and promoting its culture, becoming a leading advocate of the cultural exception.Joëlle Farchy (1999) La Fin de l'exception culturelle ? CNRS {{ISBN|978-2-271-05633-7}} The nation succeeded in convincing all EU members to refuse to include culture and audiovisuals in the list of liberalised sectors of the WTO in 1993.The cultural exception is not negotiable by Catherine Trautmann â€“ Ministry of Culture Moreover, this decision was confirmed in a voting in the UNESCO in 2005: the principle of "cultural exception" won an overwhelming victory with 198 countries voting for it and only 2 countries, the United States and Israel, voting against.{{fr icon}} La Convention UNESCO pour la diversité culturelle : vers un droit international culturel contraignant ? {{webarchive|url= |date=27 April 2011 }} â€“weblink


File:Channel headquarters bordercropped.jpg|thumb|upright|alt=Chanel's headquarters storefront window at the Place Vendôme Paris with awning|Chanel's headquarters on the Place VendômePlace VendômeFashion has been an important industry and cultural export of France since the 17th century, and modern "haute couture" originated in Paris in the 1860s. Today, Paris, along with London, Milan, and New York City, is considered one of the world's fashion capitals, and the city is home or headquarters to many of the premier fashion houses. The expression Haute couture is, in France, a legally protected name, guaranteeing certain quality standards.The association of France with fashion and style () dates largely to the reign of Louis XIVKelly, 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 ( haute couture}}) industry in the years 1860–1960 through the establishing of the great couturier houses such as Chanel, Dior, and Givenchy. The French perfume industry is world leader in its sector and is centered on the town of Grasse.WEB,weblink French perfume,, In the 1960s, the elitist "Haute couture" came under criticism from France's youth culture. In 1966, the designer Yves Saint Laurent broke with established Haute Couture norms by launching a prêt-à-porter ("ready to wear") line and expanding French fashion into mass manufacturing. With a greater focus on marketing and manufacturing, new trends were established by Sonia Rykiel, Thierry Mugler, Claude Montana, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Christian Lacroix in the 1970s and 1980s. The 1990s saw a conglomeration of many French couture houses under luxury giants and multinationals such as LVMH.


File:AFP (Paris).jpg|thumb|Parisian headquarters of Agence France-Presse, one of the world's oldest and leading news agenciesAgence France-Presse, Encyclopædia BritannicaEncyclopædia BritannicaBest-selling daily national newspapers in France are Le Parisien Aujourd'hui en France (with 460,000 sold daily), Le Monde and Le Figaro, with around 300,000 copies sold daily, but also L'Équipe, dedicated to sports coverage.{{fr icon}} OJD, "Observatoire de la Presse", Presse Quotidienne Nationale {{webarchive|url= |date=7 May 2010 }} In the past years, free dailies made a breakthrough, with Metro, 20 Minutes and Direct Plus distributed at more than 650,000 copies respectively.{{fr icon}} OJD, Presse Gratuite d'Information {{webarchive|url= |date=4 December 2010 }}. November 2011 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.{{fr icon}} Observatoire de la Presse, Presse Quotidienne Régionale et Départementale {{webarchive|url= |date=7 May 2010 }}{{fr icon}} OJD, "Bureau Presse Payante Grand Public", Presse Quotidienne Régionale et Départementale {{Webarchive|url= |date=25 April 2011 }} The sector of weekly magazines is stronger and diversified with more than 400 specialized weekly magazines published in the country.{{fr icon}} Observatoire de la Presse, Presse Magazine â€“ Synthèse {{webarchive|url= |date=29 September 2010 }}The most influential news magazines are the left-wing Le Nouvel Observateur, centrist L'Express and right-wing Le Point (more than 400.000 copies),{{fr icon}} Observatoire de la Presse, Presse News {{webarchive|url= |date=29 September 2010 }} but the highest circulation for weeklies is reached by TV magazines and by women's magazines, among them Marie Claire and ELLE, which have foreign versions. Influential weeklies also include investigative and satirical papers Le Canard Enchaîné and Charlie Hebdo, as well as Paris Match. Like in most industrialized nations, the print media have been affected by a severe crisis in the past decade. In 2008, the government launched a major initiative to help the sector reform and become financially independent,The Telegraph, Nicolas Sarkozy: French media faces 'death' without reform 2 October 2008French government portal, Lancement des états généraux de la presse {{webarchive|url= |date=25 June 2010 }} 2 October 2008 [Launching of General State of written media] but in 2009 it had to give 600,000 euros to help the print media cope with the economic crisis, in addition to existing subsidies.NEWS, Angelique Chrisafis in Paris,weblink Sarkozy pledges €600m to newspapers, The Guardian, 23 January 2009, 21 June 2012, London, File:Le Figaro logo.png|thumb|left|alt=masthead of Le Figaro newspaper|Le Figaro was founded in 1826; many of France's most prominent authors have written in its columns over the decades, and it is still considered a newspaper of recordnewspaper of recordIn 1974, after years of centralised monopoly on radio and television, the governmental agency ORTF was split into several national institutions, but the three already-existing TV channels and four national radio stationsRadio France, "L'entreprise", weblink" title="">Repères. Landmarks of Radio France company{{fr icon}} Vie Publique, Chronologie de la politique de l'audiovisuel 20 August 2004 [Chronology of policy for audiovisual] remained under state-control. It was only in 1981 that the government allowed free broadcasting in the territory, ending state monopoly on radio. French television was partly liberalized in the next two-decade with the creation of several commercial channels, mainly thanks to cable and satellite television. In 2005 the national service Télévision Numérique Terrestre introduced digital television all over the territory, allowing the creation of other channels.The four existing national channels are owned by state-owned consortium France Télévisions, funded by advertising revenue and TV licence fees. Public broadcasting group Radio France run five national radio stations. Among these public media are Radio France Internationale, which broadcasts programs in French all over the world, and Franco-German TV channel TV5 Monde. In 2006, the government created global news channel France 24. Long-established TV channels TF1 (privatized in 1987), France 2 and France 3 have the highest shares, while radio stations RTL, Europe 1 and state-owned France Inter are the least listened to.


{{see also|Human rights in France|LGBT rights in France|Environment of France}}File:Paris, mairie du 10e arrdt, salle des mariages, Marianne 02.jpg|thumb|right|upright|Sculpture of MarianneMarianneAccording to a BBC poll in 2010, based on 29,977 responses in 28 countries, France is globally seen as a positive influence in the world's affairs: 49% have a positive view of the country's influence, whereas 19% have a negative view.NEWS,weblink World warming to US under Obama, BBC poll suggests, BBC News, 19 April 2010, 21 July 2011, NEWS,weblink Global Views of United States Improve While Other Countries Decline, 18 April 2010, BBC News, 26 December 2011, The Nation Brand Index of 2008 suggested that France has the second best international reputation, only behind Germany.WEB,weblink 24 September 2008, Germany on Top, U.S. Seventh in Nation Brands IndexSM, 9 August 2010, GfK Group,weblink" title="">weblink 25 August 2010, dead, A global opinion poll for the BBC saw France ranked the fourth most positively viewed nation in the world (behind Germany, Canada and the United Kingdom) in 2014.NEWS,weblink World Service Global Poll: Negative views of Russia on the rise, BBC, 4 June 2014, 17 February 2018, According to a poll in 2011, the French were found to have the highest level of religious tolerance and to be the country where the highest proportion of the population defines its identity primarily in term of nationality and not religion.WEB, Muslim-Western Tensions Persist,weblink 21 July 2011, Pew Research Center, 17 November 2011, {{as of|2011}}, 75% of French had a favourable view of the United States, making France one of the most pro-American countries in the world.WEB, Opinion of the United States (2011),weblink Pew Research Center, 9 January 2018, {{as of|2017}}, the favourable view of the United States had dropped to 46%.WEB, Opinion of the United States (2017),weblink Pew Research Center, 9 January 2018, In January 2010, the magazine International Living ranked France as "best country to live in", ahead of 193 other countries, for the fifth year running.NEWS, Daniela Deane,weblink Why France is best place to live in world, CNN, 11 February 2010, 1 October 2013, The French Revolution continues to permeate the country's collective memory. The tricolour flag of France,WEB,weblink France, Flags of the World, 12 December 2013, 9 January 2018, the anthem "La Marseillaise", and the motto Liberté, égalité, fraternité, defined in Title 1 of the Constitution as national symbols, all emerged during the cultural ferment of the early revolution, along with Marianne, a common national personification. In addition, Bastille Day, the national holiday, commemorates the storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789.WEB,weblink The Symbols of the French Republic, Cabinet of France, Government of France, 16 January 2014, dead, 7 January 2014,weblink" title="">weblink A common and traditional symbol of the French people is the Gallic rooster. Its origins date back to Antiquity, since the Latin word Gallus meant both "rooster" and "inhabitant of Gaul". Then this figure gradually became the most widely shared representation of the French, used by French monarchs, then by the Revolution and under the successive republican regimes as representation of the national identity, used for some stamps and coins.WEB, fr, The rooster, Élysée – Présidence de la République,weblink Le coq, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 1 April 2010, France is one of the world leaders of gender equality in the workplace: as of 2017, it has 36.8% of its corporate board seats held by women, which makes it the leader of the G20 for that metric;Women Leaders Index Gender Equality Case Study: France, Global Government Forum, 05 Septembre 2017 and was ranked in 2019 by the World Bank as one of the only 6 countries in the world where women have the same work rights as men.Only 6 countries give women the same work rights as men. The U.S. isn’t one of them., The Washington PostFrance is one of the most liberal countries in the world when it comes to LGBT rights: a 2013 Pew Research Center poll found that 77% of the French think that same-sex relationships should be accepted by society, one of the highest acceptance rates in the world (comparable to that of other Western European nations).The Global Divide on Homosexuality- Greater Acceptance in More Secular and Affluent Countries, Pew Research Center, 4 June 2019 France legalized same-sex marriage and adoption in 2013.France marks five-year anniversary of same-sex marriage, France 24, 23 April 2018 The government has used its diplomatic clout to support LGBT rights throughout the world, notably in the United Nations.Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, France Diplomatie. Retrieved 3 September 2019France is also committed to protecting the environment: in 2018, France was ranked 2nd in the Environmental Performance Index (behind neighboring Switzerland), out of 180 countries ranked by Yale University in that study. 2018 Environmental Performance Index. Retrieved 3 September 2019 Being the host country of the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference, the French government was instrumental in securing the 2015 Paris agreement, a success that has been credited to its"openness and experience in diplomacy"Paris climate change agreement: the world's greatest diplomatic success, The Guardian, 14 December 2019 (though the US, after the election of President Trump in 2016, then announced it will withdraw from the agreement).


File:French taste of wines.JPG|thumb| French winesFrench winesFrench cuisine is renowned for being one of the finest in the world.BOOK, Amy B. Trubek, Haute Cuisine: How the French Invented the Culinary Profession,weblink 2000, University of Pennsylvania Press, 978-0-8122-1776-6, BOOK, Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson, Accounting for Taste: The Triumph of French Cuisine,weblink 2006, University of Chicago Press, 978-0-226-24327-6, According to the regions, traditional recipes are different, the North of the country prefers to use butter as the preferred fat for cooking, whereas olive oil is more commonly used in the South.NEWS, Véronique MARTINACHE, 30 November 2009, France butter and olive oil maintain their positions,weblink La France du beurre et celle de l'huile d'olive maintiennent leurs positions, Agence France-Presse, dead,weblink 25 April 2011, Moreover, each region of France has iconic traditional specialities: Cassoulet in the Southwest, Choucroute in Alsace, Quiche in the Lorraine region, Beef bourguignon in the Bourgogne, provençal Tapenade, etc. France's most renowned products are wines,WEB, Walter's Web, 17 May 2008, Wines of France, 9 August 2010,weblink dead,weblink" title="">weblink 11 February 2010, including Champagne, Bordeaux, Bourgogne, and Beaujolais as well as a large variety of different cheeses, such as Camembert, Roquefort and Brie. There are more than 400 different varieties.WEB,weblink French Cheese, Goodcooking, 22 July 2011, WEB,weblink French Cheese, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 27 August 2010, A meal often consists of three courses, hors d'Å“uvre or entrée (introductory course, sometimes soup), plat principal (main course), fromage (cheese course) and/or dessert, sometimes with a salad offered before the cheese or dessert. Hors d'Å“uvres could include terrine de saumon au basilic, lobster bisque, foie gras, French onion soup or a croque monsieur. The plat principal could include a pot au feu or steak frites. The dessert could be mille-feuille pastry, a macaron, an éclair, crème brûlée, mousse au chocolat, crêpes, or Café liégeois.File:Fromages français (19387655209).jpg|thumb|left|Some French cheeseFrench cheeseFrench cuisine is also regarded as a key element of the quality of life and the attractiveness of France. A French publication, the Michelin guide, awards Michelin stars for excellence to a select few establishments.NEWS, Fairburn, Carolyn,weblink Fading stars â€“ Michelin Red Guide, The Times, 29 February 1992, NEWS, Beale, Victoria, Boxell, James,weblink Falling stars, Financial Times, 16 July 2011, The acquisition or loss of a star can have dramatic effects on the success of a restaurant. By 2006, the Michelin Guide had awarded 620 stars to French restaurants, at that time more than any other country, although the guide also inspects more restaurants in France than in any other country (by 2010, Japan was awarded as many Michelin stars as France, despite having half the number of Michelin inspectors working there).WEB,weblink Michelin 3 Star Restaurants around the world, Andy Hayler's 3 Star Restaurant Guide, 30 October 2010, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 24 July 2010, NEWS, Japan overtakes France with more Michelin-starred restaurants, Gilles Campion, Agence France-Presse, 25 November 2010, In addition to its wine tradition, France is also a major producer of beer and rum. The three main French brewing regions are Alsace (60% of national production), Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Lorraine. France produces rum via distilleries located on islands such as Reunion Island in the southern Indian Ocean.{{Clear}}


File:20150705 Tour onder de Dom-30.jpg|thumb|alt=Tour de France pelleton 9 July 2005 at the begin of the ascend to Cote de Bad Herrenalb|Starting in 1903, the Tour de France is the oldest and most prestigious of Grands Tours, and the world's most famous cycling race.WEB,weblink Union Cycliste Internationale, 19 May 2012,weblink" title="">weblink 14 November 2012, dead, ]]France hosts "the world's biggest annual sporting event", the Tour de FranceWEB,weblink 6 July 2019, Tour De France 2019: Everything you need to know, BBC, 15 July 2019, and other popular sports. Played in France to include: football, judo, tennis,{{fr icon}} Les licences sportives en France â€“ Insee rugbyWEB,weblink All you need to know about sport in France, 11 February 2012, and pétanque. France has hosted events such as the 1938 and 1998 FIFA World Cups,WEB,weblink History of the World Cup Final Draw, 22 July 2011, the 2007 Rugby World Cup,weblink" title="">France wins right to host the 2007 rugby world cup. Associated Press. 11 April 2003 and will host the 2023 Rugby World Cup. The country also hosted the 1960 European Nations' Cup, UEFA Euro 1984, UEFA Euro 2016 and 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup. The Stade de France in Saint-Denis is France's largest stadium and was the venue for the 1998 FIFA World Cup and 2007 Rugby World Cup finals. Since 1903, France is famous for its 24 Hours of Le Mans sports car endurance race.WEB,weblink Une course légendaire, fr,weblink" title="">weblink 16 January 2013,  â€“ Site officiel du 24 heures du Mans Several major tennis tournaments take place in France, including the Paris Masters and the French Open, one of the four Grand Slam tournaments. French martial arts include Savate and Fencing.File:Pierre de Coubertin Anefo2.jpg|thumb|upright|left|Pierre de CoubertinPierre de CoubertinFrance has a close association with the Modern Olympic Games; it was a French aristocrat, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who suggested the Games' revival, at the end of the 19th century.BOOK, Hill, Christopher R., Olympic Politics, 5, Manchester University Press ND, 1996,weblink 978-0-7190-4451-9, 5 July 2011, Olympic History â€“ World Atlas of Travel After Athens was awarded the first Games, in reference to the Olympics' Greek origins, Paris hosted the second Games in 1900.WEB,weblink Paris 1900 Summer Olympics. Official Site of the Olympic Movement, International Olympic Committee, Paris was the first home of the International Olympic Committee, before it moved to Lausanne.Lausanne, olympic capital â€“ Tourism in Lausanne {{webarchive |url= |date=6 October 2007 }} Since 1900, France has hosted the Olympics on 4 further occasions: the 1924 Summer Olympics, again in Paris and three Winter Games (1924 in Chamonix, 1968 in Grenoble and 1992 in Albertville).Similar to the Olympics, France introduced Olympics for the deaf people (Deaflympics) in 1924 with the idea of a French deaf car mechanic, Eugène Rubens-Alcais who paved the way to organise the inaugural edition of the Summer Deaflympics in Paris.NEWS,weblink Deaflympics lowdown, 29 December 2004, 8 July 2018, Both the national football team and the national rugby union team are nicknamed "Les Bleus" in reference to the team's shirt colour as well as the national French tricolour flag. Football is the most popular sport in France, with over 1,800,000 registered players, and over 18,000 registered clubs.WEB,weblink Licenses of the French Football Federation, The football team is among the most successful in the world, with two FIFA World Cup victories in 1998 and 2018,NEWS,weblink World Cup 2018: France beat Croatia 4-2 in World Cup final, BBC Sport, Phil, McNulty, 15 July 2018, 15 July 2018, one FIFA World Cup second place in 2006,NEWS, Stevenson, Jonathan,weblink Zidane off as Italy win World Cup, BBC News, 9 July 2006, 21 July 2011, and two UEFA European Championships in 19841984: Platini shines for flamboyant France. UEFA {{webarchive|url= |date= 7 May 2012}} and 2000.2000: Trezeguet strikes gold for France. UEFA {{webarchive|url= |date=28 October 2011}}File:Zidane Zizu.jpg|thumb|right|upright|Zinedine Zidane was named the best European footballer of the past 50 years in a 2004 (UEFA]] poll."Zidane voted Europe's best ever" The Guardian. Retrieved 17 November 2013)The top national football club competition is Ligue 1. France has produced some of the greatest players in the world, including three time FIFA World Player of the Year Zinedine Zidane, three time Ballon d'Or recipient Michel Platini, record holder for most goals scored at a World Cup Just Fontaine, first football player to receive the Légion d'honneur Raymond Kopa, and the record goalscorer for the French national team Thierry Henry."Thierry Henry calls end to France career". BBC Sport. Retrieved 29 October 2014.The French Open, also called Roland-Garros, is a major tennis tournament held over two weeks between late May and early June at the Stade Roland-Garros in Paris. It is the premier clay court tennis championship event in the world and the second of four annual Grand Slam tournaments.WEB,weblink Change Seems Essential to Escape Extinction: Wimbledon: World's Most Loved Dinosaur, Christopher, Clarey, International Herald Tribune, 30 June 2001, 26 February 2018,weblink" title="">weblink 16 October 2007, Rugby union is popular, particularly in Paris and the southwest of France.weblink" title="">Rugby. 123 Voyage The national rugby union team has competed at every Rugby World Cup, and takes part in the annual Six Nations Championship. Stemming from a strong domestic league, the French rugby team has won 16 Six Nations Championships, including 8 grand slams; and has reached the semi-final of the Rugby World Cup 6 times, going on to the final 3 times.Rugby league in France is mostly played and followed in the South of France, in cities such as Perpignan and Toulouse. The Catalans Dragons and Toulouse Olympique are the most notable clubs currently playing in the Super League and the RFL Championship is the top-tier rugby league competitions in Europe. The Elite One Championship is the professional competition for rugby league clubs in France.Judo is an important sport in France. It is the second country, after Japan, to have the most gold medals. Teddy Riner has won ten World Championships gold medals, the first and only judoka to do so, and David Douillet has won four, making them respectively the first and third top judokas in the world in terms of gold medals.In recent decades, France has produced world-elite basketball players, most notably Tony Parker. The French National Basketball Team won gold at the FIBA EuroBasket 2013. The national team has won two Olympic Silver Medals: in 2000 and 1948.

See also




External links

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