France

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"La France" redirects here. France_sentence_0

For other uses of "La France", see Lafrance. France_sentence_1

For other uses of "France", see France (disambiguation). France_sentence_2

Not to be confused with Francia. France_sentence_3

France_table_infobox_0

French Republic

République française (French)France_header_cell_0_0_0

Capital

and largest cityFrance_header_cell_0_1_0

ParisFrance_cell_0_1_1
Official language

and national languageFrance_header_cell_0_2_0

FrenchFrance_cell_0_2_1
Nationality (2018)France_header_cell_0_3_0 France_cell_0_3_1
Religion (2019 )France_header_cell_0_4_0 France_cell_0_4_1
Demonym(s)France_header_cell_0_5_0 FrenchFrance_cell_0_5_1
GovernmentFrance_header_cell_0_6_0 Unitary semi-presidential constitutional republicFrance_cell_0_6_1
PresidentFrance_header_cell_0_7_0 Emmanuel MacronFrance_cell_0_7_1
Prime MinisterFrance_header_cell_0_8_0 Jean CastexFrance_cell_0_8_1
President of the SenateFrance_header_cell_0_9_0 Gérard LarcherFrance_cell_0_9_1
President of the National AssemblyFrance_header_cell_0_10_0 Richard FerrandFrance_cell_0_10_1
LegislatureFrance_header_cell_0_11_0 ParliamentFrance_cell_0_11_1
Upper houseFrance_header_cell_0_12_0 SenateFrance_cell_0_12_1
Lower houseFrance_header_cell_0_13_0 National AssemblyFrance_cell_0_13_1
EstablishmentFrance_header_cell_0_14_0
Reign of Clovis I as King of the FranksFrance_header_cell_0_15_0 500France_cell_0_15_1
Treaty of VerdunFrance_header_cell_0_16_0 August 843France_cell_0_16_1
Republic establishedFrance_header_cell_0_17_0 22 September 1792France_cell_0_17_1
Founded the EECFrance_header_cell_0_18_0 1 January 1958France_cell_0_18_1
Current constitutionFrance_header_cell_0_19_0 4 October 1958France_cell_0_19_1
Area France_header_cell_0_20_0
TotalFrance_header_cell_0_21_0 640,679 km (247,368 sq mi)​ (42nd)France_cell_0_21_1
Water (%)France_header_cell_0_22_0 0.86 (as of 2015)France_cell_0_22_1
Metropolitan France (IGN)France_header_cell_0_23_0 551,695 km (213,011 sq mi)​ (50th)France_cell_0_23_1
Metropolitan France (Cadastre)France_header_cell_0_24_0 543,940.9 km (210,016.8 sq mi)​​ (50th)France_cell_0_24_1
PopulationFrance_header_cell_0_25_0
June 2020 estimateFrance_header_cell_0_26_0 67,081,000 (20th)France_cell_0_26_1
DensityFrance_header_cell_0_27_0 104.1875/km (106th)France_cell_0_27_1
Metropolitan France, estimate as of June 2020France_header_cell_0_28_0 64,910,000 (22nd)France_cell_0_28_1
DensityFrance_header_cell_0_29_0 116/km (300.4/sq mi) (89th)France_cell_0_29_1
GDP (PPP)France_header_cell_0_30_0 2020 estimateFrance_cell_0_30_1
TotalFrance_header_cell_0_31_0 US$2.954 trillion (10th)France_cell_0_31_1
Per capitaFrance_header_cell_0_32_0 US$45,454 (26th)France_cell_0_32_1
GDP (nominal)France_header_cell_0_33_0 2020 estimateFrance_cell_0_33_1
TotalFrance_header_cell_0_34_0 US$2.551 trillion (7th)France_cell_0_34_1
Per capitaFrance_header_cell_0_35_0 US$39,257 (20th)France_cell_0_35_1
Gini (2018)France_header_cell_0_36_0 28.5

lowFrance_cell_0_36_1

HDI (2018)France_header_cell_0_37_0 0.891

very high · 26thFrance_cell_0_37_1

CurrencyFrance_header_cell_0_38_0 France_cell_0_38_1
Time zoneFrance_header_cell_0_39_0 UTC+1 (Central European Time)France_cell_0_39_1
Summer (DST)France_header_cell_0_40_0 UTC+2 (Central European Summer Time)France_cell_0_40_1
France_header_cell_0_41_0 Note: various other time zones are observed in overseas France.
Although France is in Western European Time/UTC (Z) zone, since 25 February 1940, upon WW2 German occupation, Central European Time/UTC+01:00 was enforced as standard time, with a +0:50:39 offset (and +1:50:39 during DST) from Paris LMT (UTC+0:09:21).France_cell_0_41_1
Date formatFrance_header_cell_0_42_0 dd/mm/yyyy (AD)France_cell_0_42_1
Mains electricityFrance_header_cell_0_43_0 230 V–50 HzFrance_cell_0_43_1
Driving sideFrance_header_cell_0_44_0 rightFrance_cell_0_44_1
Calling codeFrance_header_cell_0_45_0 +33France_cell_0_45_1
ISO 3166 codeFrance_header_cell_0_46_0 FRFrance_cell_0_46_1
Internet TLDFrance_header_cell_0_47_0 .frFrance_cell_0_47_1

France (French: [fʁɑ̃s ), officially the French Republic (French: République française), is a country, primarily located in Western Europe, consisting of metropolitan France and several overseas regions and territories. France_sentence_4

The metropolitan area of France extends from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean and from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea. France_sentence_5

It borders Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland, Monaco and Italy to the east and Andorra and Spain to the south. France_sentence_6

The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. France_sentence_7

The country's 18 integral regions (five of which are situated overseas) span a combined area of 643,801 km (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.07 million (as of June 2020). France_sentence_8

France is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. France_sentence_9

Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice. France_sentence_10

France, including its overseas territories, has the most time zones of any country, with a total of 12. France_sentence_11

During the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by the Gauls, a collection of Celtic tribes. France_sentence_12

The area was annexed by Rome in 51 BC, developing a distinct Gallo-Roman culture that laid the foundation of the French language. France_sentence_13

The Germanic Franks arrived in 476 and formed the Kingdom of Francia, which became the heartland of the Carolingian Empire. France_sentence_14

The Treaty of Verdun of 843 partitioned the empire, with West Francia becoming the Kingdom of France in 987. France_sentence_15

For much of the High Middle Ages, France was a highly decentralized feudal kingdom in which the authority of the king was barely felt. France_sentence_16

King Philip Augustus achieved remarkable success in the strengthening of royal power and the expansion of his realm, doubling its size and defeating his rivals. France_sentence_17

By the end of his reign, France had emerged as the most powerful state in Europe. France_sentence_18

In the mid-14th century, French monarchs were embroiled in a series of dynastic conflicts with their English counterparts, which lasted over 100 years. France_sentence_19

Emerging victorious from said conflicts, disputes with Spain and the Holy Roman Empire soon followed during the Renaissance but were ultimately less successful. France_sentence_20

However, French culture flourished and a global colonial empire was established, which by the 20th century would become the second largest in the world. France_sentence_21

The second half of the 16th century was dominated by religious civil wars between Catholics and Protestants (Huguenots), which severely weakened the country. France_sentence_22

But France once again emerged as Europe's dominant cultural, political, and military power in the 17th century under Louis XIV following the Thirty Years' War. France_sentence_23

An inadequate financial model and inequitable taxation system as well as endless and costly wars to maintain its predominant position, the Seven Years' War and American War of Independence among them, left the heavily indebted kingdom in a precarious situation by the end of the 18th century. France_sentence_24

The French Revolution in 1789 saw the fall of the absolute monarchy that characterized the Ancien Régime and from its ashes, rose one of modern history's earliest republics, which drafted the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. France_sentence_25

The declaration expresses the nation's ideals to this day. France_sentence_26

Following the revolution, France reached its political and military zenith in the early 19th century under Napoleon Bonaparte, subjugating much of continental Europe and establishing the First French Empire. France_sentence_27

The French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of European and world history. France_sentence_28

After the collapse of the empire and a relative decline, France endured a tumultuous succession of governments culminating in the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870 in the midst of the Franco-Prussian War. France_sentence_29

France was one of the prominent participants of World War I, from which it emerged victorious, and was one of the Allied powers in World War II, but came under occupation by the Axis in 1940. France_sentence_30

Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and later dissolved in the course of the Algerian War. France_sentence_31

The Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, was formed in 1958 and remains to this day. France_sentence_32

Algeria and nearly all other French colonies became independent in the 1960s, with most retaining close economic and military connections with France. France_sentence_33

France retains its centuries-long status as a global centre of art, science, and philosophy. France_sentence_34

It hosts the world's fifth-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is the leading tourist destination, receiving over 89 million foreign visitors in 2018. France_sentence_35

France is a developed country with the world's seventh-largest economy by nominal GDP, and the tenth-largest by PPP. France_sentence_36

In terms of aggregate household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France_sentence_37

France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, and human development. France_sentence_38

It remains a great power in global affairs, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and an official nuclear-weapon state. France_sentence_39

France is a founding and leading member 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. France_sentence_40

Etymology and pronunciation France_section_0

Main article: Name of France France_sentence_41

Originally applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name France comes from the Latin Francia, or "realm of the Franks". France_sentence_42

Modern France is still named today Francia in Italian and Spanish, while Frankreich in German, Frankrijk in Dutch and Frankrike in Swedish all mean "Land/realm of the Franks". France_sentence_43

The name of the Franks is related to the English word frank ("free"): the latter stems from the Old French franc ("free, noble, sincere"), ultimately from Medieval Latin francus ("free, exempt from service; freeman, Frank"), a generalization of the tribal name that emerged as a Late Latin borrowing of the reconstructed Frankish endonym *Frank. France_sentence_44

It has been suggested that the meaning "free" was adopted because, after the conquest of Gaul, only Franks were free of taxation, or more generally because they had the status of freemen in contrast to servants or slaves. France_sentence_45

The etymology of *Frank is uncertain. France_sentence_46

It is traditionally derived from the Proto-Germanic word *frankōn, which translates as "javelin" or "lance" (the throwing axe of the Franks was known as the francisca), although these weapons may have been named because of their use by the Franks, not the other way around. France_sentence_47

In English, 'France' is pronounced /fræns/ FRANSS in American English and /frɑːns/ FRAHNSS or /fræns/ FRANSS in British English. France_sentence_48

The pronunciation with /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 /frɑːns/ is in free variation with /fræns/. France_sentence_49

History France_section_1

Main article: History of France France_sentence_50

Prehistory (before the 6th century BC) France_section_2

Main article: Prehistory of France France_sentence_51

The oldest traces of human life in what is now France date from approximately 1.8 million years ago. France_sentence_52

Over the ensuing millennia, Humans were confronted by a harsh and variable climate, marked by several glacial eras. France_sentence_53

Early hominids led a nomadic hunter-gatherer life. France_sentence_54

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). France_sentence_55

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. France_sentence_56

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. France_sentence_57

France has numerous megalithic sites from the Neolithic period, including the exceptionally dense Carnac stones site (approximately 3,300 BC). France_sentence_58

Antiquity (6th century BC–5th century AD) France_section_3

Main articles: Gaul, Celts, and Roman Gaul France_sentence_59

In 600 BC, Ionian Greeks from Phocaea founded the colony of Massalia (present-day Marseille), on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. France_sentence_60

This makes it France's oldest city. France_sentence_61

At the same time, some Gallic Celtic tribes penetrated parts of eastern and northern France, gradually spreading through the rest of the country between the 5th and 3rd century BC. France_sentence_62

The concept of Gaul emerged during this period, corresponding to the territories of Celtic settlement ranging between the Rhine, the Atlantic Ocean, the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean. France_sentence_63

The borders of modern France roughly correspond to ancient Gaul, which was inhabited by Celtic Gauls. France_sentence_64

Gaul was then a prosperous country, of which the southernmost part was heavily subject to Greek and Roman cultural and economic influences. France_sentence_65

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. France_sentence_66

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. France_sentence_67

But the Romans and the Gauls would remain adversaries for the next centuries, and the Gauls would continue to be a threat in Italy. France_sentence_68

Around 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. France_sentence_69

Julius Caesar conquered the remainder of Gaul and overcame a revolt carried out by the Gallic chieftain Vercingetorix in 52 BC. France_sentence_70

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. France_sentence_71

Gaul was divided by Augustus into Roman provinces. France_sentence_72

Many cities were founded during the Gallo-Roman period, including Lugdunum (present-day Lyon), which is considered the capital of the Gauls. France_sentence_73

These cities were built in traditional Roman style, with a forum, a theatre, a circus, an amphitheatre and thermal baths. France_sentence_74

The Gauls mixed with Roman settlers and eventually adopted Roman culture and Roman speech (Latin, from which the French language evolved). France_sentence_75

The Roman polytheism merged with the Gallic paganism into the same syncretism. France_sentence_76

From the 250s to the 280s AD, Roman Gaul suffered a serious crisis with its fortified borders being attacked on several occasions by barbarians. France_sentence_77

Nevertheless, the situation improved in the first half of the 4th century, which was a period of revival and prosperity for Roman Gaul. France_sentence_78

In 312, Emperor Constantin I converted to Christianity. France_sentence_79

Subsequently, Christians, who had been persecuted until then, increased rapidly across the entire Roman Empire. France_sentence_80

But, from the beginning of the 5th century, the Barbarian Invasions resumed. France_sentence_81

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. France_sentence_82

Early Middle Ages (5th–10th century) France_section_4

Main articles: Francia, Merovingian dynasty, and Carolingian dynasty France_sentence_83

See also: List of French monarchs and France in the Middle Ages France_sentence_84

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. France_sentence_85

Simultaneously, Celtic Britons, fleeing the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain, settled the western part of Armorica. France_sentence_86

As a result, the Armorican peninsula was renamed Brittany, Celtic culture was revived and independent petty kingdoms arose in this region. France_sentence_87

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. France_sentence_88

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. France_sentence_89

Clovis regained the southwest from the Visigoths, was baptized in 508, and made himself master of what is now western Germany. France_sentence_90

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" (French: La fille aînée de l'Église) by the papacy, and French kings would be called "the Most Christian Kings of France" (Rex Christianissimus). France_sentence_91

The Franks embraced the Christian Gallo-Roman culture and ancient Gaul was eventually renamed Francia ("Land of the Franks"). France_sentence_92

The Germanic Franks adopted Romanic languages, except in northern Gaul where Roman settlements were less dense and where Germanic languages emerged. France_sentence_93

Clovis made Paris his capital and established the Merovingian dynasty, but his kingdom would not survive his death. France_sentence_94

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. France_sentence_95

The last Merovingian kings lost power to their mayors of the palace (head of household). France_sentence_96

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. France_sentence_97

His son, Pepin the Short, seized the crown of Francia from the weakened Merovingians and founded the Carolingian dynasty. France_sentence_98

Pepin's son, Charlemagne, reunited the Frankish kingdoms and built a vast empire across Western and Central Europe. France_sentence_99

Proclaimed Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Leo III and thus establishing in earnest the French Government's longtime historical association with the Catholic Church, Charlemagne tried to revive the Western Roman Empire and its cultural grandeur. France_sentence_100

Charlemagne's son, Louis I (Emperor 814–840), kept the empire united; however, this Carolingian Empire would not survive his death. France_sentence_101

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. France_sentence_102

West Francia approximated the area occupied by, and was the precursor to, modern France. France_sentence_103

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. France_sentence_104

Thus was established feudalism in France. France_sentence_105

Over time, some of the king's vassals would grow so powerful that they often posed a threat to the king. France_sentence_106

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. France_sentence_107

High and Late Middle Ages (10th–15th century) France_section_5

Main articles: Kingdom of France, Capetian dynasty, Valois dynasty, and Bourbon dynasty France_sentence_108

See also: List of French monarchs and France in the Middle Ages France_sentence_109

The Carolingian dynasty ruled France until 987, when Hugh Capet, Duke of France and Count of Paris, was crowned King of the Franks. France_sentence_110

His descendants—the Capetians, the House of Valois, and the House of Bourbon—progressively unified the country through wars and dynastic inheritance into the Kingdom of France, which was fully declared in 1190 by Philip II of France (Philippe Auguste). France_sentence_111

Later kings would expand their directly possessed domaine royal to cover over half of modern continental France by the 15th century, including most of the north, centre and west of France. France_sentence_112

During this process, the royal authority became more and more assertive, centered on a hierarchically conceived society distinguishing nobility, clergy, and commoners. France_sentence_113

The French nobility played a prominent role in most Crusades to restore Christian access to the Holy Land. France_sentence_114

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. France_sentence_115

The French Crusaders also imported the French language into the Levant, making French the base of the lingua franca (litt. France_sentence_116

"Frankish language") of the Crusader states. France_sentence_117

French knights also made up the majority in both the Hospital and the Temple orders. France_sentence_118

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. France_sentence_119

The Albigensian Crusade was launched in 1209 to eliminate the heretical Cathars in the southwestern area of modern-day France. France_sentence_120

In the end, the Cathars were exterminated and the autonomous County of Toulouse was annexed into the crown lands of France. France_sentence_121

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. France_sentence_122

Tensions between the kingdom of France and the Plantagenet empire would last a hundred years, until Philip II of France conquered, between 1202 and 1214 most of the continental possessions of the empire, leaving England and Aquitaine to the Plantagenets. France_sentence_123

Following the Battle of Bouvines, the Angevin court retreated to England, but persistent Capetian–Plantagenet rivalry would pave the way for another conflict, the Hundred Years' War. France_sentence_124

Charles IV the Fair died without an heir in 1328. France_sentence_125

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. France_sentence_126

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. France_sentence_127

During the reign of Philip of Valois, the French monarchy reached the height of its medieval power. France_sentence_128

Philip's seat on the throne was contested by Edward III of England in 1337, on the eve of the first wave of the Black Death, and England and France went to war in what would become known as the Hundred Years' War. France_sentence_129

The exact boundaries changed greatly with time, but French landholdings of the English Kings remained extensive for decades. France_sentence_130

With charismatic leaders, such as Joan of Arc and La Hire, strong French counterattacks won back most English continental territories. France_sentence_131

Like the rest of Europe, France was struck by the Black Death; half of the 17 million population of France died. France_sentence_132

Early modern period (15th century–1789) France_section_6

France_description_list_0

The 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. France_sentence_133

It also saw a long set of wars, known as the Italian Wars, between France and the House of Habsburg. France_sentence_134

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. France_sentence_135

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. France_sentence_136

Bartholomew's Day massacre of 1572. France_sentence_137

The Wars of Religion were ended by Henry IV's Edict of Nantes, which granted some freedom of religion to the Huguenots. France_sentence_138

Spanish troops, the terror of Western Europe, assisted the Catholic side during the Wars of Religion in 1589–1594, and invaded northern France in 1597; after some skirmishing in the 1620s and 1630s, Spain and France returned to all-out war between 1635 and 1659. France_sentence_139

The war cost France 300,000 casualties. France_sentence_140

Under Louis XIII, the energetic Cardinal Richelieu promoted the centralisation of the state and reinforced the royal power by disarming domestic power holders in the 1620s. France_sentence_141

He systematically destroyed castles of defiant lords and denounced the use of private violence (dueling, carrying weapons, and maintaining private army). France_sentence_142

By the end of the 1620s, Richelieu established "the royal monopoly of force" as the doctrine. France_sentence_143

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. France_sentence_144

This rebellion was driven by the great feudal lords and sovereign courts as a reaction to the rise of royal absolute power in France. France_sentence_145

The monarchy reached its peak during the 17th century and the reign of Louis XIV. France_sentence_146

By turning powerful feudal lords into courtiers at the Palace of Versailles, Louis XIV's personal power became unchallenged. France_sentence_147

Remembered for his numerous wars, he made France the leading European power. France_sentence_148

France became the most populous country in Europe and had tremendous influence over European politics, economy, and culture. France_sentence_149

French became the most-used language in diplomacy, science, literature and international affairs, and remained so until the 20th century. France_sentence_150

France obtained many overseas possessions in the Americas, Africa and Asia. France_sentence_151

Louis XIV also revoked the Edict of Nantes, forcing thousands of Huguenots into exile. France_sentence_152

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). France_sentence_153

Its European territory kept growing, however, with notable acquisitions such as Lorraine (1766) and Corsica (1770). France_sentence_154

An unpopular king, Louis XV's weak rule, his ill-advised financial, political and military decisions – as well as the debauchery of his court– discredited the monarchy, which arguably paved the way for the French Revolution 15 years after his death. France_sentence_155

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)). France_sentence_156

The financial crisis aggravated by France's involvement in the American Revolutionary War was one of many contributing factors to the French Revolution. France_sentence_157

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. France_sentence_158

French explorers, such as Bougainville and Lapérouse, took part in the voyages of scientific exploration through maritime expeditions around the globe. France_sentence_159

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. France_sentence_160

Revolutionary France (1789–1799) France_section_7

Main articles: History of France § Revolutionary France (1789–1799), and French Revolution France_sentence_161

Facing 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. France_sentence_162

As it came to an impasse, the representatives of the Third Estate formed into a National Assembly, signalling the outbreak of the French Revolution. France_sentence_163

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. France_sentence_164

In early August 1789, the National Constituent Assembly abolished the privileges of the nobility such as personal serfdom and exclusive hunting rights. France_sentence_165

Through the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (27 August 1789) France established fundamental rights for men. France_sentence_166

The Declaration affirms "the natural and imprescriptible rights of man" to "liberty, property, security and resistance to oppression". France_sentence_167

Freedom of speech and press were declared, and arbitrary arrests outlawed. France_sentence_168

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. France_sentence_169

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. France_sentence_170

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. France_sentence_171

This fueled much discontent in parts of France, which would contribute to the civil war breaking out some years later. France_sentence_172

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. France_sentence_173

His credibility was so deeply undermined that the abolition of the monarchy and establishment of a republic became an increasing possibility. France_sentence_174

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. France_sentence_175

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. France_sentence_176

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. France_sentence_177

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. France_sentence_178

On 20 April 1792, therefore, they declared war on Austria. France_sentence_179

On 10 August 1792, an angry crowd threatened the palace of King Louis XVI, who took refuge in the Legislative Assembly. France_sentence_180

A Prussian army invaded France later in August 1792. France_sentence_181

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. France_sentence_182

The Assembly and the Paris city council seemed unable to stop that bloodshed. France_sentence_183

The National Convention, chosen in the first elections under male universal suffrage, on 20 September 1792 succeeded the Legislative Assembly and on 21 September abolished the monarchy by proclaiming the French First Republic. France_sentence_184

Ex-King Louis XVI was convicted of treason and guillotined in January 1793. France_sentence_185

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". France_sentence_186

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. France_sentence_187

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. France_sentence_188

The counter-revolution, begun in March 1793 in the Vendée, by July had spread to Brittany, Normandy, Bordeaux, Marseilles, Toulon, and Lyon. France_sentence_189

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. France_sentence_190

Some historians consider the civil war to have lasted until 1796 with a toll of possibly 450,000 lives. France_sentence_191

By the end of 1793 the allies had been driven from France. France_sentence_192

France in February 1794 abolished slavery in its American colonies, but would reintroduce it later. France_sentence_193

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. France_sentence_194

Meanwhile, France's external wars in 1794 were going prosperous, for example in Belgium. France_sentence_195

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. France_sentence_196

Until 1799, politicians, apart from inventing a new parliamentary system (the 'Directory'), busied themselves with dissuading the people from Catholicism and from royalism. France_sentence_197

Napoleon and 19th century (1799–1914) France_section_8

Main articles: History of France § Napoleonic France (1799–1815); History of France § Long 19th century, 1815–1914; First French Empire; Second French Empire; and French colonial empire France_sentence_198

See also: France in the 19th century and France in the 20th century France_sentence_199

Napoleon Bonaparte seized control of the Republic in 1799 becoming First Consul and later Emperor of the French Empire (1804–1814; 1815). France_sentence_200

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. France_sentence_201

His armies conquered most of continental Europe with swift victories such as the battles of Jena-Auerstadt or Austerlitz. France_sentence_202

Members of the Bonaparte family were appointed as monarchs in some of the newly established kingdoms. France_sentence_203

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. France_sentence_204

In June 1812, Napoleon attacked Russia, reaching Moscow. France_sentence_205

Thereafter his army disintegrated through supply problems, disease, Russian attacks, and finally winter. France_sentence_206

After the catastrophic Russian campaign, and the ensuing uprising of European monarchies against his rule, Napoleon was defeated and the Bourbon monarchy restored. France_sentence_207

About a million Frenchmen died during the Napoleonic Wars. France_sentence_208

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. France_sentence_209

The discredited Bourbon dynasty was overthrown by the July Revolution of 1830, which established the constitutional July Monarchy. France_sentence_210

In that year, French troops conquered Algeria, establishing the first colonial presence in Africa since Napoleon's abortive invasion of Egypt in 1798. France_sentence_211

In 1848 general unrest led to the February Revolution and the end of the July Monarchy. France_sentence_212

The abolition of slavery and introduction of male universal suffrage, which were briefly enacted during the French Revolution, were re-enacted in 1848. France_sentence_213

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. France_sentence_214

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. France_sentence_215

Napoleon III was unseated following defeat in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 and his regime was replaced by the Third Republic. France_sentence_216

By 1875, the French conquest of Algeria was complete and approximately 825,000 Algerians were killed as a result. France_sentence_217

France 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. France_sentence_218

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. France_sentence_219

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. France_sentence_220

In 1905, state secularism was officially established. France_sentence_221

Contemporary period (1914–present) France_section_9

Main article: France in the twentieth century France_sentence_222

France was a member of the Triple Entente when World War I broke out. France_sentence_223

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. France_sentence_224

World War I left 1.4 million French soldiers dead, 4% of its population. France_sentence_225

Between 27 and 30% of soldiers conscripted from 1912 to 1915 were killed. France_sentence_226

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). France_sentence_227

In 1940, France was invaded and occupied by Nazi Germany and Italy. France_sentence_228

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. France_sentence_229

From 1942 to 1944, about 160,000 French citizens, including around 75,000 Jews, were deported to death camps and concentration camps in Germany and occupied Poland. France_sentence_230

In September 1943, Corsica was the first French metropolitan territory to liberate itself from the Axis. France_sentence_231

On 6 June 1944, the Allies invaded Normandy and in August they invaded Provence. France_sentence_232

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). France_sentence_233

This interim government, established by de Gaulle, aimed to continue to wage war against Germany and to purge collaborators from office. France_sentence_234

It also made several important reforms (suffrage extended to women, creation of a social security system). France_sentence_235

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_sentence_236

France was one of the founding members of NATO (1949). France_sentence_237

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. France_sentence_238

Only months later, France faced another anti-colonialist conflict in Algeria. France_sentence_239

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, wracked the country and nearly led to a coup and civil war. France_sentence_240

In 1958, the weak and unstable Fourth Republic gave way to the Fifth Republic, which included a strengthened Presidency. France_sentence_241

In the latter role, Charles de Gaulle managed to keep the country together while taking steps to end the Algerian War. France_sentence_242

The war was concluded with the Évian Accords in 1962 that led to Algerian independence. France_sentence_243

The Algerian independence came at a high price; the large toll on the Algerian population. France_sentence_244

It resulted in half million to a million deaths and over 2 million internally displaced Algerians. France_sentence_245

A vestige of the colonial empire are the French overseas departments and territories. France_sentence_246

In the context of the Cold War, de Gaulle pursued a policy of "national independence" towards the Western and Eastern blocs. France_sentence_247

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. France_sentence_248

He restored cordial Franco-German relations to create a European counterweight between the American and Soviet spheres of influence. France_sentence_249

However, he opposed any development of a supranational Europe, favouring a Europe of sovereign nations. France_sentence_250

In the wake of the series of worldwide protests of 1968, the revolt of May 1968 had an enormous social impact. France_sentence_251

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). France_sentence_252

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. France_sentence_253

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. France_sentence_254

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. France_sentence_255

France has also gradually but fully reintegrated into NATO and has since participated in most NATO sponsored wars. France_sentence_256

Since the 19th century France has received many immigrants. France_sentence_257

These have been mostly male foreign workers from European Catholic countries who generally returned home when not employed. France_sentence_258

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. France_sentence_259

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. France_sentence_260

Simultaneously France renounced the assimilation of immigrants, where they were expected to adhere to French traditional values and cultural norms. France_sentence_261

They were encouraged to retain their distinctive cultures and traditions and required merely to integrate. France_sentence_262

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, the November 2015 Paris attacks which resulted in 130 deaths, the deadliest attack on French soil since World War II, and the deadliest in the European Union since the Madrid train bombings in 2004 and the 2016 Nice truck attack, which caused 87 deaths during Bastille Day celebrations. France_sentence_263

Opération Chammal, France's military efforts to contain ISIS, killed over 1,000 ISIS troops between 2014 and 2015. France_sentence_264

Geography France_section_10

Main article: Geography of France France_sentence_265

Location and borders France_section_11

The vast majority of France's territory and population is situated in Western Europe and is called Metropolitan France, to distinguish it from the country's various overseas polities. France_sentence_266

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. France_sentence_267

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. France_sentence_268

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. France_sentence_269

Due to its shape, France is often referred to as l'Hexagone ("The Hexagon"). France_sentence_270

Metropolitan France includes various coastal islands, of which the largest is Corsica. France_sentence_271

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. France_sentence_272

Its continental part covers about 1000 km from north to south and from east to west. France_sentence_273

France has several overseas regions across the world, which are organized as follows: France_sentence_274

France_unordered_list_1

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. France_sentence_275

Metropolitan France covers 551,500 square kilometres (212,935 sq mi), the largest among European Union members. France_sentence_276

France's total land area, with its overseas departments and territories (excluding Adélie Land), is 643,801 km (248,573 sq mi), 0.45% of the total land area on Earth. France_sentence_277

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. France_sentence_278

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 km (4,260,000 mi), just behind the EEZ of the United States, which covers 11,351,000 km (4,383,000 mi), but ahead of the EEZ of Australia, which covers 8,148,250 km (4,111,312 mi). France_sentence_279

Its EEZ covers approximately 8% of the total surface of all the EEZs of the world. France_sentence_280

Geology, topography and hydrography France_section_12

Metropolitan France has a wide variety of topographical sets and natural landscapes. France_sentence_281

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. France_sentence_282

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. France_sentence_283

Various routes of natural passage, such as the Rhône valley, allow easy communications. France_sentence_284

The Alpine, Pyrenean and Jura mountains are much younger and have less eroded forms. France_sentence_285

At 4,810.45 metres (15,782 ft) above sea level, Mont Blanc, located in the Alps on the French and Italian border, is the highest point in Western Europe. France_sentence_286

Although 60% of municipalities are classified as having seismic risks, these risks remain moderate. France_sentence_287

The coastlines offer contrasting landscapes: mountain ranges along the French Riviera, coastal cliffs such as the Côte d'Albâtre, and wide sandy plains in the Languedoc. France_sentence_288

Corsica lies off the Mediterranean coast. France_sentence_289

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. France_sentence_290

The Rhône divides the Massif Central from the Alps and flows into the Mediterranean Sea at the Camargue. France_sentence_291

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 Ocean. France_sentence_292

Other water courses drain towards the Meuse and Rhine along the north-eastern borders. France_sentence_293

France has 11 million square kilometres (4.2×10^ sq mi) of marine waters within three oceans under its jurisdiction, of which 97% are overseas. France_sentence_294

Climate France_section_13

Administrative divisions France_section_14

Main article: Administrative divisions of France France_sentence_295

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_sentence_296

Regions France_section_15

Since 2016 France is mainly divided into 18 administrative regions: 13 regions in metropolitan France (including the territorial collectivity of Corsica), and five located overseas. France_sentence_297

The regions are further subdivided into 101 departments, which are numbered mainly alphabetically. France_sentence_298

This number is used in postal codes and was formerly used on vehicle number plates. France_sentence_299

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. France_sentence_300

The 101 departments are subdivided into 335 arrondissements, which are, in turn, subdivided into 2,054 cantons. France_sentence_301

These cantons are then divided into 36,658 communes, which are municipalities with an elected municipal council. France_sentence_302

Three communes—Paris, Lyon and Marseille—are subdivided into 45 municipal arrondissements. France_sentence_303

The regions, departments and communes are all known as territorial collectivities, meaning they possess local assemblies as well as an executive. France_sentence_304

Arrondissements and cantons are merely administrative divisions. France_sentence_305

However, this was not always the case. France_sentence_306

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. France_sentence_307

Overseas territories and collectivities France_section_16

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). France_sentence_308

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). France_sentence_309

The Pacific Collectivities (COMs) of French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna, and New Caledonia continue to use the CFP franc whose value is strictly linked to that of the euro. France_sentence_310

In contrast, the five overseas regions used the French franc and now use the euro. France_sentence_311

France_table_general_1

NameFrance_header_cell_1_0_0 Constitutional statusFrance_header_cell_1_0_1 CapitalFrance_header_cell_1_0_2
Clipperton IslandFrance_cell_1_1_0 State private property under the direct authority of the French governmentFrance_cell_1_1_1 UninhabitedFrance_header_cell_1_1_2
French PolynesiaFrance_cell_1_2_0 Designated as an overseas land (pays d'outre-mer or POM), the status is the same as an overseas collectivity.France_cell_1_2_1 PapeeteFrance_header_cell_1_2_2
French Southern and Antarctic LandsFrance_cell_1_3_0 Overseas territory (territoire d'outre-mer or TOM)France_cell_1_3_1 Port-aux-FrançaisFrance_header_cell_1_3_2
New CaledoniaFrance_cell_1_4_0 Sui generis collectivityFrance_cell_1_4_1 NouméaFrance_header_cell_1_4_2
Saint BarthélemyFrance_cell_1_5_0 Overseas collectivity (collectivité d'outre-mer or COM)France_cell_1_5_1 GustaviaFrance_header_cell_1_5_2
Saint MartinFrance_cell_1_6_0 Overseas collectivity (collectivité d'outre-mer or COM)France_cell_1_6_1 MarigotFrance_header_cell_1_6_2
Saint Pierre and MiquelonFrance_cell_1_7_0 Overseas collectivity (collectivité d'outre-mer or COM). Still referred to as a collectivité territoriale.France_cell_1_7_1 Saint-PierreFrance_header_cell_1_7_2
Wallis and FutunaFrance_cell_1_8_0 Overseas collectivity (collectivité d'outre-mer or COM). Still referred to as a territoire.France_cell_1_8_1 Mata-UtuFrance_header_cell_1_8_2

Politics France_section_17

Main article: Politics of France France_sentence_312

Government France_section_18

France_table_general_2

France_cell_2_0_0 France_cell_2_0_1
Emmanuel Macron

PresidentFrance_cell_2_1_0

Jean Castex

Prime MinisterFrance_cell_2_1_1

The French Republic is a unitary semi-presidential representative democratic republic with strong democratic traditions. France_sentence_313

The Constitution of the Fifth Republic was approved by referendum on 28 September 1958. France_sentence_314

It greatly strengthened the authority of the executive in relation to Parliament. France_sentence_315

The executive branch itself has two leaders. France_sentence_316

The President of the Republic, currently Emmanuel Macron, is the head of state, elected directly by universal adult suffrage for a 5-year term (formerly 7 years). France_sentence_317

The Prime Minister, currently Jean Castex, is the head of government, appointed by the President of the Republic to lead the Government of France. France_sentence_318

The French Parliament is a bicameral legislature comprising a National Assembly (Assemblée nationale) and a Senate. France_sentence_319

The National Assembly deputies represent local constituencies and are directly elected for 5-year terms. France_sentence_320

The Assembly has the power to dismiss the government; thus the majority in the Assembly determines the choice of government. France_sentence_321

Senators are chosen by an electoral college for 6-year terms (originally 9-year terms); one half of the seats are submitted to election every 3 years. France_sentence_322

The Senate's legislative powers are limited; in the event of disagreement between the two chambers, the National Assembly has the final say. France_sentence_323

The Government has a strong influence in shaping the agenda of Parliament. France_sentence_324

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. France_sentence_325

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). France_sentence_326

In the 2017 presidential and legislative elections, radical centrist party En Marche! France_sentence_327

became the dominant force, overtaking both Socialists and Republicans. France_sentence_328

As of 2017, voter turnout was 75 percent during recent elections, higher than the OECD average of 68 percent. France_sentence_329

Law France_section_19

Main article: Law of France France_sentence_330

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). France_sentence_331

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). France_sentence_332

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. France_sentence_333

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. France_sentence_334

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. France_sentence_335

French law is divided into two principal areas: private law and public law. France_sentence_336

Private law includes, in particular, civil law and criminal law. France_sentence_337

Public law includes, in particular, administrative law and constitutional law. France_sentence_338

However, in practical terms, French law comprises three principal areas of law: civil law, criminal law, and administrative law. France_sentence_339

Criminal laws can only address the future and not the past (criminal ex post facto laws are prohibited). France_sentence_340

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. France_sentence_341

To be applicable, every law must be officially published in the Journal officiel de la République française. France_sentence_342

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). France_sentence_343

However, "offences against public decency" (contraires aux bonnes mœurs) or disturbing public order (trouble à l'ordre public) have been used to repress public expressions of homosexuality or street prostitution. France_sentence_344

Since 1999, civil unions for homosexual couples are permitted, and since 2013, same-sex marriage and LGBT adoption are legal. France_sentence_345

Laws prohibiting discriminatory speech in the press are as old as 1881. France_sentence_346

Some consider hate speech laws in France to be too broad or severe, undermining freedom of speech. France_sentence_347

France has laws against racism and antisemitism, while the 1990 Gayssot Act prohibits Holocaust denial. France_sentence_348

Freedom of religion is constitutionally guaranteed by the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. France_sentence_349

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. France_sentence_350

Nonetheless, it does recognize religious associations. France_sentence_351

The Parliament has listed many religious movements as dangerous cults since 1995, and has banned wearing conspicuous religious symbols in schools since 2004. France_sentence_352

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. France_sentence_353

However, it is supported by most of the population. France_sentence_354

Foreign relations France_section_20

Main article: Foreign relations of France France_sentence_355

France is a founding member of the United Nations and serves as one of the permanent members of the UN Security Council with veto rights. France_sentence_356

In 2015, France was described as being "the best networked state in the world", because it is a country that "is member of more multi-lateral organisations than any other country". France_sentence_357

France is a member of the G8, World Trade Organization (WTO), the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Indian Ocean Commission (COI). France_sentence_358

It is an associate member of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) and a leading member of the International Francophone Organisation (OIF) of 84 fully or partly French-speaking countries. France_sentence_359

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. France_sentence_360

Postwar French foreign policy has been largely shaped by membership of the European Union, of which it was a founding member. France_sentence_361

Since the 1960s, France has developed close ties with reunified Germany to become the most influential driving force of the EU. France_sentence_362

In the 1960s, France sought to exclude the British from the European unification process, seeking to build its own standing in continental Europe. France_sentence_363

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. France_sentence_364

France is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), but under President de Gaulle, it excluded itself from the joint military command to protest the Special Relationship between the United States and Britain and to preserve the independence of French foreign and security policies. France_sentence_365

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. France_sentence_366

In the early 1990s, the country drew considerable criticism from other nations for its underground nuclear tests in French Polynesia. France_sentence_367

France vigorously opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq, straining bilateral relations with the United States and the United Kingdom. France_sentence_368

France retains strong political and economic influence in its former African colonies (Françafrique) and has supplied economic aid and troops for peacekeeping missions in Ivory Coast and Chad. France_sentence_369

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. France_sentence_370

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. France_sentence_371

This represents 0.43% of its GNP, the 12th highest among the OECD. France_sentence_372

The organisation managing the French help is the French Development Agency, which finances primarily humanitarian projects in sub-Saharan Africa. France_sentence_373

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_sentence_374

Military France_section_21

Main article: French Armed Forces France_sentence_375

The French Armed Forces (Forces armées françaises) are the military and paramilitary forces of France, under the President of the Republic as supreme commander. France_sentence_376

They consist of the French Army (Armée de Terre), French Navy (Marine Nationale, formerly called Armée de Mer), the French Air and Space Force (Armée de l'Air et de l’Espace), and the Military Police called National Gendarmerie (Gendarmerie nationale), which also fulfils civil police duties in the rural areas of France. France_sentence_377

Together they are among the largest armed forces in the world and the largest in the EU. France_sentence_378

According to Crédit Suisse, the French Armed Forces are ranked as the world's sixth-most powerful military, and the most powerful in Europe, only behind Russia. France_sentence_379

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. France_sentence_380

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. France_sentence_381

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. France_sentence_382

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. France_sentence_383

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. France_sentence_384

There has been no national conscription since 1997. France_sentence_385

France has a special military corps, the French Foreign Legion, founded in 1830, which consists of foreign nationals from over 140 countries who are willing to serve in the French Armed Forces and become French citizens after the end of their service period. France_sentence_386

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_sentence_387

France is a permanent member of the Security Council of the UN, and a recognised nuclear state since 1960. France_sentence_388

France has signed and ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and acceded to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. France_sentence_389

France's annual military expenditure in 2018 was US$63.8 billion, or 2.3% of its GDP, making it the fifth biggest military spender in the world after the United States, China, Saudi Arabia, and India. France_sentence_390

French nuclear deterrence, (formerly known as "Force de Frappe"), relies on complete independence. France_sentence_391

The current French nuclear force consists of four Triomphant class submarines equipped with submarine-launched ballistic missiles. France_sentence_392

In addition to the submarine fleet, it is estimated that France has about 60 ASMP medium-range air-to-ground missiles with nuclear warheads, of which around 50 are deployed by the Air and Space 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. France_sentence_393

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_sentence_394

France has major military industries with one of the largest aerospace industries in the world. France_sentence_395

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. France_sentence_396

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_sentence_397

France is a major arms seller, with most of its arsenal's designs available for the export market with the notable exception of nuclear-powered devices. France_sentence_398

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. France_sentence_399

Other smaller parades are organised across the country. France_sentence_400

Government finance France_section_22

See also: Taxation in France France_sentence_401

The Government of France has run a budget deficit each year since the early 1970s. France_sentence_402

As of 2016, French government debt levels reached 2.2 trillion euros, the equivalent of 96.4% of French GDP. France_sentence_403

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. France_sentence_404

However, in July 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the French government issued 10-years bonds which had negative interest rates, for the first time in its history. France_sentence_405

France also possesses in 2020 the fourth-largest gold reserves in the world. France_sentence_406

Economy France_section_23

Main article: Economy of France France_sentence_407

A member of the Group of Seven (formerly Group of Eight) leading industrialized countries, as of 2018, it is ranked as the world's tenth largest and the EU's second largest economy by purchasing power parity. France_sentence_408

France joined 11 other EU members to launch the euro in 1999, with euro coins and banknotes completely replacing the French franc (₣) in 2002. France_sentence_409

France has a mixed economy that combines extensive private enterprise with substantial state enterprise and government intervention. France_sentence_410

The government retains considerable influence over key segments of infrastructure sectors, with majority ownership of railway, electricity, aircraft, nuclear power and telecommunications. France_sentence_411

It has been relaxing its control over these sectors since the early 1990s. France_sentence_412

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. France_sentence_413

France has an important aerospace industry led by the European consortium Airbus, and has its own national spaceport, the Centre Spatial Guyanais. France_sentence_414

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. France_sentence_415

As of 2016, the World Factbook ranked France seventh largest exporter. France_sentence_416

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). France_sentence_417

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). France_sentence_418

Financial services, banking and the insurance sector are an important part of the economy. France_sentence_419

Three largest financial institutions cooperatively owned by their customers are located in France. France_sentence_420

The Paris stock exchange (French: La Bourse de Paris) is an old institution, created by Louis XV in 1724. France_sentence_421

In 2000, the stock exchanges of Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels merged into Euronext. France_sentence_422

In 2007, Euronext merged with the New York stock exchange to form NYSE Euronext, the world's largest stock exchange. France_sentence_423

Euronext Paris, the French branch of the NYSE Euronext group is Europe's 2nd largest stock exchange market, behind the London Stock Exchange. France_sentence_424

France is a member of the Eurozone (around 330 million consumers) which is part of the European Single Market (more than 500 million consumers). France_sentence_425

Several domestic commercial policies are determined by agreements among European Union (EU) members and by EU legislation. France_sentence_426

France introduced the common European currency, the Euro in 2002. France_sentence_427

French companies have maintained key positions in the insurance and banking industries: AXA is the world's largest insurance company. France_sentence_428

The leading French banks are BNP Paribas and the Crédit Agricole, ranking as the world's first and sixth largest banks in 2010 (by assets), while the Société Générale group was ranked the world's eighth largest in 2009. France_sentence_429

Agriculture France_section_24

France has historically been a large producer of agricultural products. France_sentence_430

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 Europe (representing 20% of the EU's agricultural production) and the world's third biggest exporter of agricultural products. France_sentence_431

Wheat, poultry, dairy, beef, and pork, as well as internationally recognized processed foods are the primary French agricultural exports. France_sentence_432

Rosé wines are primarily consumed within the country, but Champagne and Bordeaux wines are major exports, being known worldwide. France_sentence_433

EU agriculture subsidies to France have decreased in recent years but still amounted to $8 billion in 2007. France_sentence_434

That same year, France sold 33.4 billion euros of transformed agricultural products. France_sentence_435

France produces rum via sugar cane-based distilleries almost all of which are located in overseas territories such as Martinique, Guadeloupe and La Réunion. France_sentence_436

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. France_sentence_437

Tourism France_section_25

Main article: Tourism in France France_sentence_438

With 89 million international tourist arrivals in 2018, France is ranked as the first tourist destination in the world, ahead of Spain (83 million) and the United States (80 million). France_sentence_439

It is third in income from tourism due to shorter duration of visits. France_sentence_440

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-Kœnigsbourg (549,000), Puy de Dôme (500,000), Musée Picasso (441,000), and Carcassonne (362,000). France_sentence_441

Paris France_section_26

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. France_sentence_442

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. France_sentence_443

French Riviera France_section_27

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. France_sentence_444

It benefits from 300 days of sunshine per year, 115 kilometres (71 mi) of coastline and beaches, 18 golf courses, 14 ski resorts and 3,000 restaurants. France_sentence_445

Each year the Côte d'Azur hosts 50% of the world's superyacht fleet. France_sentence_446

Châteaux France_section_28

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; 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. France_sentence_447

The Château de Chantilly, Versailles and Vaux-le-Vicomte, all three located near Paris, are also visitor attractions. France_sentence_448

UNESCO World Heritage Sites and protected areas France_section_29

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). France_sentence_449

Small and picturesque French villages are promoted through the association Les Plus Beaux Villages de France (literally "The Most Beautiful Villages of France"). France_sentence_450

The "Remarkable Gardens" label is a list of the over 200 gardens classified by the French Ministry of Culture. France_sentence_451

This label is intended to protect and promote remarkable gardens and parks. France_sentence_452

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. France_sentence_453

Energy France_section_30

Further information: Energy in France France_sentence_454

Électricité de France (EDF), the main electricity generation and distribution company in France, is also one of the world's largest producers of electricity. France_sentence_455

In 2003, it produced 22% of the European Union's electricity, primarily from nuclear power. France_sentence_456

France is the smallest emitter of carbon dioxide among the G8, due to its heavy investment in nuclear power. France_sentence_457

As of 2016, 72% of the electricity produced by France is generated by 58 nuclear power plants. France_sentence_458

In this context, renewable energies are having difficulty taking off. France_sentence_459

France also uses hydroelectric dams to produce electricity, such as the Eguzon dam, Étang de Soulcem and Lac de Vouglans. France_sentence_460

Transport France_section_31

Main article: Transport in France France_sentence_461

The railway network of France, which as of 2008 stretches 29,473 kilometres (18,314 mi) is the second most extensive in Western Europe after that of Germany. France_sentence_462

It is operated by the SNCF, and high-speed trains include the Thalys, the Eurostar and TGV, which travels at 320 km/h (199 mph) in commercial use. France_sentence_463

The Eurostar, along with the Eurotunnel Shuttle, connects with the United Kingdom through the Channel Tunnel. France_sentence_464

Rail connections exist to all other neighboring countries in Europe, except Andorra. France_sentence_465

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. France_sentence_466

There are approximately 1,027,183 kilometres (638,262 mi) of serviceable roadway in France, ranking it the most extensive network of the European continent. France_sentence_467

The Paris region is enveloped with the most dense network of roads and highways that connect it with virtually all parts of the country. France_sentence_468

French roads also handle substantial international traffic, connecting with cities in neighboring Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Andorra and Monaco. France_sentence_469

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. France_sentence_470

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%). France_sentence_471

Over 70% of new cars sold in 2004 had diesel engines, far more than contained petrol or LPG engines. France_sentence_472

France possesses the Millau Viaduct, the world's tallest bridge, and has built many important bridges such as the Pont de Normandie. France_sentence_473

There are 464 airports in France. France_sentence_474

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. France_sentence_475

Air France is the national carrier airline, although numerous private airline companies provide domestic and international travel services. France_sentence_476

There are ten major ports in France, the largest of which is in Marseille, which also is the largest bordering the Mediterranean Sea. France_sentence_477

12,261 kilometres (7,619 mi) of waterways traverse France including the Canal du Midi, which connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean through the Garonne river. France_sentence_478

Science and technology France_section_32

Main articles: Science and technology in France and List of French inventions and discoveries France_sentence_479

Since the Middle Ages, France has been a major contributor to scientific and technological achievement. France_sentence_480

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. France_sentence_481

The University of Paris, founded in the mid-12th century, is still one of the most important universities in the Western world. France_sentence_482

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. France_sentence_483

They were both key figures of the Scientific Revolution, which blossomed in Europe during this period. France_sentence_484

The Academy of Sciences was founded by Louis XIV to encourage and protect the spirit of French scientific research. France_sentence_485

It was at the forefront of scientific developments in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. France_sentence_486

It is one of the earliest academies of sciences. France_sentence_487

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. France_sentence_488

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. France_sentence_489

Other eminent French scientists of the 19th century have their names inscribed on the Eiffel Tower. France_sentence_490

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. France_sentence_491

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. France_sentence_492

Telesurgery was developed by Jacques Marescaux and his team on 7 September 2001 across the Atlantic Ocean (New-York-Strasbourg, Lindbergh Operation). France_sentence_493

A face transplant was first done on 27 November 2005 by Dr. Bernard Devauchelle. France_sentence_494

France was the fourth country to achieve nuclear capability and has the third largest nuclear weapons arsenal in the world. France_sentence_495

It is also a leader in civilian nuclear technology. France_sentence_496

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). France_sentence_497

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_sentence_498

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. France_sentence_499

It also owns Minatec, Europe's leading nanotechnology research center. France_sentence_500

The SNCF, the French national railroad company, has developed the TGV, a high speed train which holds a series of world speed records. France_sentence_501

The TGV has been the fastest wheeled train in commercial use since reaching a speed of 574.8 km/h (357.2 mph) on 3 April 2007. France_sentence_502

Western Europe is now serviced by a network of TGV lines. France_sentence_503

As of 2018, 69 French people have been awarded a Nobel Prize and 12 have received the Fields Medal. France_sentence_504

Demographics France_section_33

Main articles: Demographics of France and French people France_sentence_505

With an estimated 2020 population of 67.08 million people, 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_sentence_506

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. France_sentence_507

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. France_sentence_508

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. France_sentence_509

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. France_sentence_510

France's fertility rate and crude birth rate nonetheless remain among the highest in the EU. France_sentence_511

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. France_sentence_512

Average life expectancy at birth is 82.2 years, the ninth highest in the world. France_sentence_513

From 2006 to 2011 population growth averaged 0.6 percent per year; since 2011, annual growth has been between 0.4 and 0.5 percent annually. France_sentence_514

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). France_sentence_515

Ethnic groups France_section_34

Most French people are of Celtic (Gauls) origin, with an admixture of Italic (Romans) and Germanic (Franks) groups. France_sentence_516

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. France_sentence_517

Large-scale immigration over the last century and a half has led to a more multicultural society. France_sentence_518

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%). France_sentence_519

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. France_sentence_520

In 2008, the TeO ("Trajectories and origins") poll conducted jointly by INED and the French National Institute of Statistics estimated that 5 million people were of Italian ancestry (the largest immigrant community), followed by 3 million to 6 million of Northwest African ancestry, 2.5 million of Sub-Saharan African origin, 500,000 ethnic Armenian, and 200,000 people of Turkish ancestry. France_sentence_521

There are also sizable minorities of other European ethnic groups, namely Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Greek. France_sentence_522

France has a significant Gypsy (Gitan) population, numbering between 20,000 and 400,000. France_sentence_523

Many foreign Romani people are expelled back to Bulgaria and Romania frequently. France_sentence_524

It is currently estimated that 40% of the French population is descended at least partially from the different waves of immigration the country has received since the early 20th century; between 1921 and 1935 alone, about 1.1 million net immigrants came to France. France_sentence_525

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. France_sentence_526

They were joined by numerous former colonial subjects from North and West Africa, as well as numerous European immigrants from Spain and Portugal. France_sentence_527

France remains a major destination for immigrants, accepting about 200,000 legal immigrants annually. France_sentence_528

In 2005, it was Western Europe's leading recipient of asylum seekers, with an estimated 50,000 applications (albeit 15% decrease from 2004). France_sentence_529

In 2010, France received about 48,100 asylum applications—placing it among the top five asylum recipients in the world and in subsequent years it saw the number of applications increase, ultimately doubling to 100,412 in 2017. France_sentence_530

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. France_sentence_531

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. France_sentence_532

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. France_sentence_533

In 2008, France granted citizenship to 137,000 persons, mostly from Morocco, Algeria and Turkey. France_sentence_534

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. France_sentence_535

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. France_sentence_536

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. France_sentence_537

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. France_sentence_538

Major cities France_section_35

See also: Urban area (France) and Urban unit France_sentence_539

France is a highly urbanized country, with its largest cities (in terms of metropolitan area population in 2016) being Paris (12,568,755 inh. France_sentence_540

), 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). France_sentence_541

(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). France_sentence_542

Rural flight was a perennial political issue throughout most of the 20th century. France_sentence_543

Language France_section_36

Main articles: French language, Languages of France, and Organisation internationale de la Francophonie France_sentence_544

According to Article 2 of the Constitution, the official language of France is French, a Romance language derived from Latin. France_sentence_545

Since 1635, the Académie française has been France's official authority on the French language, although its recommendations carry no legal weight. France_sentence_546

There are also regional languages spoken in France, such as Occitan, Breton, Catalan, Flemish (Dutch dialect), Alsatian (German dialect), Basque, and Corsican. France_sentence_547

Italian was the official language of Corsica until 9 May 1859. France_sentence_548

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. France_sentence_549

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. France_sentence_550

The perceived threat from anglicisation has prompted efforts to safeguard the position of the French language in France. France_sentence_551

Besides French, there exist 77 vernacular minority languages of France, eight spoken in French metropolitan territory and 69 in the French overseas territories. France_sentence_552

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. France_sentence_553

The dominant position of French language in international affairs was overtaken by English, since the emergence of the United States as a major power. France_sentence_554

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. France_sentence_555

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. France_sentence_556

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. France_sentence_557

French is the second most studied foreign language in the world after English, and is a lingua franca in some regions, notably in Africa. France_sentence_558

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). France_sentence_559

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. France_sentence_560

It is estimated that between 300 million and 500 million people worldwide can speak French, either as a mother tongue or a second language. France_sentence_561

According to the 2007 Adult Education survey, part of a project by the European Union and carried in France by the INSEE and based on a sample of 15,350 persons, French was the native language of 87.2% of the total population, or roughly 55.81 million people, followed by Arabic (3.6%, 2.3 million), Portuguese (1.5%, 960,000), Spanish (1.2%, 770,000) and Italian (1.0%, 640,000). France_sentence_562

Native speakers of other languages made up the remaining 5.2% of the population. France_sentence_563

Religion France_section_37

Main article: Religion in France France_sentence_564

France is a secular country in which freedom of religion is a constitutional right. France_sentence_565

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. France_sentence_566

According to a survey held in 2016 by Institut Montaigne and Institut français d'opinion publique (IFOP), 51.1% of the total population of France was Christian, 39.6% had no religion (atheism or agnosticism), 5.6% were Muslims, 2.5% were followers of other faiths, and the remaining 0.4% were undecided about their faith. France_sentence_567

Estimates of the number of Muslims in France vary widely. France_sentence_568

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%). France_sentence_569

The current Jewish community in France is the largest in Europe and the third-largest in the world after Israel and the United States, ranging between 480,000 and 600,000, about 0.8% of the population as of 2016. France_sentence_570

Catholicism has been the predominant religion in France for more than a millennium, though it is not as actively practised today as it was. France_sentence_571

Among the 47,000 religious buildings in France, 94% are Roman Catholic. France_sentence_572

During the French Revolution, activists conducted a brutal campaign of de-Christianisation, ending the Catholic Church as the state religion. France_sentence_573

In some cases clergy and churches were attacked, with iconoclasm stripping the churches of statues and ornaments. France_sentence_574

After alternating between royal and secular republican governments during the 19th century, in 1905 France passed the 1905 law on the Separation of the Churches and the State, which established the principle of laïcité. France_sentence_575

To this day, the government is prohibited from recognizing any specific right to a religious community (except for legacy statutes like those of military chaplains and the local law in Alsace-Moselle). France_sentence_576

It recognizes religious organisations according to formal legal criteria that do not address religious doctrine. France_sentence_577

Conversely, religious organisations are expected to refrain from intervening in policy-making. France_sentence_578

Certain groups, such as Scientology, Children of God, the Unification Church, and the Order of the Solar Temple are considered cults ("sectes" in French), and therefore do not have the same status as recognized religions in France. France_sentence_579

Secte is considered a pejorative term in France. France_sentence_580

Health France_section_38

Main article: Health in France France_sentence_581

The French health care system is one of universal health care largely financed by government national health insurance. France_sentence_582

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. France_sentence_583

The French healthcare system was ranked first worldwide by the World Health Organization in 1997. France_sentence_584

In 2011, France spent 11.6% of GDP on health care, or US$4,086 per capita, a figure much higher than the average spent by countries in Europe but less than in the United States. France_sentence_585

Approximately 77% of health expenditures are covered by government funded agencies. France_sentence_586

Care is generally free for people affected by chronic diseases (affections de longues durées) such as cancer, AIDS or cystic fibrosis. France_sentence_587

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. France_sentence_588

There are 3.22 physicians for every 1000 inhabitants in France, and average health care spending per capita was US$4,719 in 2008. France_sentence_589

As of 2007, approximately 140,000 inhabitants (0.4%) of France are living with HIV/AIDS. France_sentence_590

Even if the French have the reputation of being one of the thinnest people in developed countries, 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_sentence_591

The French obesity rate is still far below that of the United States—currently equal to American rate in the 1970s—and is still the lowest of Europe. France_sentence_592

Authorities now regard obesity as one of the main public health issues and fight it fiercely. France_sentence_593

Nevertheless, rates of childhood obesity are slowing in France, while continuing to grow in other countries. France_sentence_594

Education France_section_39

Main article: Education in France France_sentence_595

In 1802, Napoleon created the lycée, the second and final stage of secondary education that prepares students for higher education studies or a profession. France_sentence_596

Nevertheless, Jules Ferry is considered the father of the French modern school, leading reforms in the late 19th century that established free, secular, and compulsory education (currently mandatory until the age of 16) France_sentence_597

French education is centralized and divided into three stages: Primary, secondary, and higher education. France_sentence_598

The Programme for International Student Assessment, coordinated by the OECD, ranked France's education as about the OECD average in 2015. France_sentence_599

Primary and secondary education are predominantly public, run by the Ministry of National Education. France_sentence_600

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. France_sentence_601

Primary education comprises two phases, nursery school (école maternelle) and elementary school (école élémentaire). France_sentence_602

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. France_sentence_603

Around the age of six, children transfer to elementary school, whose primary objectives are learning about writing, arithmetic and citizenship. France_sentence_604

Secondary education also consists of two phases. France_sentence_605

The first is delivered through colleges (collège) and leads to the national certificate (Diplôme national du brevet). France_sentence_606

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). France_sentence_607

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, the École des hautes études en sciences sociales for Social studies and the École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris that produce high-profile engineers, or the École nationale d'administration for careers in the Grands Corps of the state. France_sentence_608

The Grandes écoles have been criticized for alleged elitism, producing many if not most of France's high-ranking civil servants, CEOs, and politicians. France_sentence_609

Culture France_section_40

Main article: Culture of France France_sentence_610

France has been a center of Western cultural development for centuries. France_sentence_611

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. France_sentence_612

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. France_sentence_613

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. France_sentence_614

The French government also succeeded in maintaining a cultural exception to defend audiovisual products made in the country. France_sentence_615

France receives the highest number of tourists per year, largely thanks to the numerous cultural establishments and historical buildings implanted all over the territory. France_sentence_616

It counts 1,200 museums welcoming more than 50 million people annually. France_sentence_617

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. France_sentence_618

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. France_sentence_619

The UNESCO inscribed 45 sites in France on the World Heritage List. France_sentence_620

Art France_section_41

Main article: French art France_sentence_621

The origins of French art were very much influenced by Flemish art and by Italian art at the time of the Renaissance. France_sentence_622

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. France_sentence_623

The Renaissance painting School of Fontainebleau was directly inspired by Italian painters such as Primaticcio and Rosso Fiorentino, who both worked in France. France_sentence_624

Two of the most famous French artists of the time of Baroque era, Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain, lived in Italy. France_sentence_625

The 17th century was the period when French painting became prominent and individualised itself through classicism. France_sentence_626

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. France_sentence_627

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. France_sentence_628

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. France_sentence_629

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. France_sentence_630

In the second part of the 19th century, France's influence over painting became even more important, with the development of new styles of painting such as Impressionism and Symbolism. France_sentence_631

The most famous impressionist painters of the period were Camille Pissarro, Édouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet and Auguste Renoir. France_sentence_632

The second generation of impressionist-style painters, Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec and Georges Seurat, were also at the avant-garde of artistic evolutions, as well as the fauvist artists Henri Matisse, André Derain and Maurice de Vlaminck. France_sentence_633

At the beginning of the 20th century, Cubism was developed by Georges Braque and the Spanish painter Pablo Picasso, living in Paris. France_sentence_634

Other foreign artists also settled and worked in or near Paris, such as Vincent van Gogh, Marc Chagall, Amedeo Modigliani and Wassily Kandinsky. France_sentence_635

Many museums in France are entirely or partly devoted to sculptures and painting works. France_sentence_636

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. France_sentence_637

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). France_sentence_638

Modern works are presented in the Musée National d'Art Moderne, which moved in 1976 to the Centre Georges Pompidou. France_sentence_639

These three state-owned museums welcome close to 17 million people a year. France_sentence_640

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. France_sentence_641

Outside Paris, all the large cities have a Museum of Fine Arts with a section dedicated to European and French painting. France_sentence_642

Some of the finest collections are in Lyon, Lille, Rouen, Dijon, Rennes and Grenoble. France_sentence_643

Architecture France_section_42

Main article: French architecture France_sentence_644

During the Middle Ages, many fortified castles were built by feudal nobles to mark their powers. France_sentence_645

Some French castles that survived are Chinon, Château d'Angers, the massive Château de Vincennes and the so-called Cathar castles. France_sentence_646

During this era, France had been using Romanesque architecture like most of Western Europe. France_sentence_647

Some of the greatest examples of Romanesque churches in France are the Saint Sernin Basilica in Toulouse, the largest romanesque church in Europe, and the remains of the Cluniac Abbey. France_sentence_648

The Gothic architecture, originally named Opus Francigenum meaning "French work", was born in Île-de-France and was the first French style of architecture to be copied in all Europe. France_sentence_649

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. France_sentence_650

The kings were crowned in another important Gothic church: Notre-Dame de Reims. France_sentence_651

Aside from churches, Gothic Architecture had been used for many religious palaces, the most important one being the Palais des Papes in Avignon. France_sentence_652

The final victory in the Hundred Years' War marked an important stage in the evolution of French architecture. France_sentence_653

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. France_sentence_654

Such residential castles were the Château de Chambord, the Château de Chenonceau, or the Château d'Amboise. France_sentence_655

Following the renaissance and the end of the Middle Ages, Baroque architecture replaced the traditional Gothic style. France_sentence_656

However, in France, baroque architecture found a greater success in the secular domain than in a religious one. France_sentence_657

In the secular domain, the Palace of Versailles has many baroque features. France_sentence_658

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. France_sentence_659

Some of the most impressive provincial baroque architecture is found in places that were not yet French such as the Place Stanislas in Nancy. France_sentence_660

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. France_sentence_661

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. France_sentence_662

Built during the first French Empire, the Arc de Triomphe and Sainte Marie-Madeleine represent the best example of Empire style architecture. France_sentence_663

Under Napoleon III, a new wave of urbanism and architecture was given birth; extravagant buildings such as the neo-baroque Palais Garnier were built. France_sentence_664

The urban planning of the time was very organised and rigorous; for example, Haussmann's renovation of Paris. France_sentence_665

The architecture associated to this era is named Second Empire in English, the term being taken from the Second French Empire. France_sentence_666

At this time there was a strong Gothic resurgence across Europe and in France; the associated architect was Eugène Viollet-le-Duc. France_sentence_667

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. France_sentence_668

In the 20th century, French-Swiss architect Le Corbusier designed several buildings in France. France_sentence_669

More recently, French architects have combined both modern and old architectural styles. France_sentence_670

The Louvre Pyramid is an example of modern architecture added to an older building. France_sentence_671

The most difficult buildings to integrate within French cities are skyscrapers, as they are visible from afar. France_sentence_672

For instance, in Paris, since 1977, new buildings had to be under 37 meters (121 feet). France_sentence_673

France's largest financial district is La Defense, where a significant number of skyscrapers are located. France_sentence_674

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. France_sentence_675

Some famous modern French architects include Jean Nouvel, Dominique Perrault, Christian de Portzamparc or Paul Andreu. France_sentence_676

Literature France_section_43

Main article: French literature France_sentence_677

The earliest French literature dates from the Middle Ages, when what is now known as modern France did not have a single, uniform language. France_sentence_678

There were several languages and dialects, and writers used their own spelling and grammar. France_sentence_679

Some authors of French medieval texts are unknown, such as Tristan and Iseult and Lancelot-Grail. France_sentence_680

Other authors are known, for example Chrétien de Troyes and Duke William IX of Aquitaine, who wrote in Occitan. France_sentence_681

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. France_sentence_682

The Roman de Renart, written in 1175 by Perrout de Saint Cloude, tells the story of the medieval character Reynard ('the Fox') and is another example of early French writing. France_sentence_683

An important 16th-century writer was François Rabelais, whose novel Gargantua and Pantagruel has remained famous and appreciated until now. France_sentence_684

Michel de Montaigne was the other major figure of the French literature during that century. France_sentence_685

His most famous work, Essais, created the literary genre of the essay. France_sentence_686

French poetry during that century was embodied by Pierre de Ronsard and Joachim du Bellay. France_sentence_687

Both writers founded the La Pléiade literary movement. France_sentence_688

During the 17th century, Madame de La Fayette published anonymously La Princesse de Clèves, a novel that is considered to be one of the first psychological novels of all times. France_sentence_689

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. France_sentence_690

Generations of French pupils had to learn his fables, that were seen as helping teaching wisdom and common sense to the young people. France_sentence_691

Some of his verses have entered the popular language to become proverbs, such as "À l'œuvre, on connaît l'artisan. France_sentence_692

"[A workman is known by his chips]. France_sentence_693

Jean Racine, whose incredible mastery of the alexandrine and of the French language has been praised for centuries, created plays such as Phèdre or Britannicus. France_sentence_694

He is, along with Pierre Corneille (Le Cid) and Molière, considered as one of the three great dramatists of France's golden age. France_sentence_695

Molière, who is deemed to be one of the greatest masters of comedy of the Western literature, wrote dozens of plays, including Le Misanthrope, L'Avare, Le Malade imaginaire, as well as Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme. France_sentence_696

His plays have been so popular around the world that French language is sometimes dubbed as "the language of Molière" (la langue de Molière), just like English is considered as "the language of Shakespeare". France_sentence_697

French literature and poetry flourished even more in the 18th and 19th centuries. France_sentence_698

Denis Diderot's best-known works are Jacques the Fatalist and Rameau's Nephew. France_sentence_699

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. France_sentence_700

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. France_sentence_701

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. France_sentence_702

The 19th century saw the writings of many renowned French authors. France_sentence_703

Victor Hugo is sometimes seen as "the greatest French writer of all times" for excelling in all literary genres. France_sentence_704

The preface of his play Cromwell is considered to be the manifesto of the Romantic movement. France_sentence_705

Les Contemplations and La Légende des siècles are considered as "poetic masterpieces", Hugo's verse having been compared to that of Shakespeare, Dante and Homer. France_sentence_706

His novel Les Misérables is widely seen as one of the greatest novel ever written and The Hunchback of Notre Dame has remained immensely popular. France_sentence_707

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. France_sentence_708

The Prix Goncourt is a French literary prize first awarded in 1903. France_sentence_709

Important writers of the 20th century include Marcel Proust, Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Albert Camus, and Jean-Paul Sartre. France_sentence_710

Antoine de Saint Exupéry wrote Little Prince, which has remained popular for decades with children and adults around the world. France_sentence_711

As of 2014, French authors had more Literature Nobel Prizes than those of any other nation. France_sentence_712

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. France_sentence_713

Jean-Paul Sartre was also the first nominee in the committee's history to refuse the prize in 1964. France_sentence_714

Philosophy France_section_44

Main article: French philosophy France_sentence_715

Medieval philosophy was dominated by Scholasticism until the emergence of Humanism in the Renaissance. France_sentence_716

Modern philosophy began in France in the 17th century with the philosophy of René Descartes, Blaise Pascal, and Nicolas Malebranche. France_sentence_717

Descartes revitalised Western philosophy, which had been declined after the Greek and Roman eras. France_sentence_718

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. France_sentence_719

French philosophers produced some of the most important political works of the Age of Enlightenment. France_sentence_720

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. France_sentence_721

Voltaire came to embody the Enlightenment with his defence of civil liberties, such as the right to a free trial and freedom of religion. France_sentence_722

19th-century French thought was targeted at responding to the social malaise following the French Revolution. France_sentence_723

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. France_sentence_724

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. France_sentence_725

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. France_sentence_726

Meanwhile, French epistemology became a prominent school of thought with Jules Henri Poincaré, Gaston Bachelard, Jean Cavaillès and Jules Vuillemin. France_sentence_727

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_sentence_728

Music France_section_45

Main article: Music of France France_sentence_729

France has a long and varied musical history. France_sentence_730

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. France_sentence_731

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. France_sentence_732

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. France_sentence_733

Rameau became the dominant composer of French opera and the leading French composer for the harpsichord. France_sentence_734

French composers played an important role during the music of the 19th and early 20th century, which is considered to be the Romantic music era. France_sentence_735

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. France_sentence_736

This period was also a golden age for operas. France_sentence_737

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. France_sentence_738 3). France_sentence_739

Later came precursors of modern classical music. France_sentence_740

Érik Satie was a key member of the early-20th-century Parisian avant-garde, best known for his Gymnopédies. France_sentence_741

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. France_sentence_742

Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy are the most prominent figures associated with Impressionist music. France_sentence_743

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. France_sentence_744

Debussy's music is noted for its sensory content and frequent usage of atonality. France_sentence_745

The two composers invented new musical forms and new sounds. France_sentence_746

Ravel's piano compositions, such as Jeux d'eau, Miroirs, Le tombeau de Couperin and Gaspard de la nuit, demand considerable virtuosity. France_sentence_747

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). France_sentence_748

More recently, the middle of the 20th century, Maurice Ohana, Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Boulez contributed to the evolutions of contemporary classical music. France_sentence_749

French music then followed the rapid emergence of pop and rock music at the middle of the 20th century. France_sentence_750

Although English-speaking creations achieved popularity in the country, French pop music, known as chanson française, has also remained very popular. France_sentence_751

Among the most important French artists of the century are Édith Piaf, Georges Brassens, Léo Ferré, Charles Aznavour and Serge Gainsbourg. France_sentence_752

Although there are very few rock bands in France compared to English-speaking countries, bands such as Noir Désir, Mano Negra, Niagara, Les Rita Mitsouko and more recently Superbus, Phoenix and Gojira, or Shaka Ponk, have reached worldwide popularity. France_sentence_753

Other French artists with international careers have been popular in several countries, most notably female singers Dalida, Mireille Mathieu, Mylène Farmer, Alizée and Nolwenn Leroy, electronic music pioneers Jean-Michel Jarre, Laurent Garnier and Bob Sinclar, later Martin Solveig and David Guetta. France_sentence_754

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. France_sentence_755

Among current musical events and institutions in France, many are dedicated to classical music and operas. France_sentence_756

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. France_sentence_757

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. France_sentence_758

The Fête de la Musique, imitated by many foreign cities, was first launched by the French Government in 1982. France_sentence_759

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). France_sentence_760

Cinema France_section_46

Main article: Cinema of France France_sentence_761

France 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. France_sentence_762

The world's first female filmmaker, Alice Guy-Blaché, was also from France. France_sentence_763

Several important cinematic movements, including the late 1950s and 1960s Nouvelle Vague, began in the country. France_sentence_764

It is noted for having a strong film industry, due in part to protections afforded by the Government of France. France_sentence_765

France remains a leader in filmmaking, as of 2015 producing more films than any other European country. France_sentence_766

The nation also hosts the Cannes Festival, one of the most important and famous film festivals in the world. France_sentence_767

Apart from its strong and innovative film tradition, France has also been a gathering spot for artists from across Europe and the world. France_sentence_768

For this reason, French cinema is sometimes intertwined with the cinema of foreign nations. France_sentence_769

Directors from nations such as Poland (Roman Polanski, Krzysztof Kieślowski, Andrzej Żuławski), Argentina (Gaspar Noé, Edgardo Cozarinsky), Russia (Alexandre Alexeieff, Anatole Litvak), Austria (Michael Haneke) and Georgia (Géla Babluani, Otar Iosseliani) are prominent in the ranks of French cinema. France_sentence_770

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. France_sentence_771

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. France_sentence_772

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_sentence_773

France is in 2013 the 2nd exporter of films in the world after the United States. France_sentence_774

Until recently, France had for centuries been the cultural center of the world, although its dominant position has been surpassed by the United States. France_sentence_775

Subsequently, France takes steps in protecting and promoting its culture, becoming a leading advocate of the cultural exception. France_sentence_776

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. France_sentence_777

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. France_sentence_778

Fashion France_section_47

Main article: French fashion France_sentence_779

Fashion has been an important industry and cultural export of France since the 17th century, and modern "haute couture" originated in Paris in the 1860s. France_sentence_780

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. France_sentence_781

The expression Haute couture is, in France, a legally protected name, guaranteeing certain quality standards. France_sentence_782

The association of France with fashion and style (French: la mode) dates largely to the reign of Louis XIV when the luxury goods industries in France came increasingly under royal control and the French royal court became, arguably, the arbiter of taste and style in Europe. France_sentence_783

But France renewed its dominance of the high fashion (French: couture or haute couture) industry in the years 1860–1960 through the establishing of the great couturier houses such as Chanel, Dior, and Givenchy. France_sentence_784

The French perfume industry is world leader in its sector and is centered on the town of Grasse. France_sentence_785

In the 1960s, the elitist "Haute couture" came under criticism from France's youth culture. France_sentence_786

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. France_sentence_787

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. France_sentence_788

The 1990s saw a conglomeration of many French couture houses under luxury giants and multinationals such as LVMH. France_sentence_789

Media France_section_48

Main article: Telecommunications in France France_sentence_790

Best-selling daily national newspapers in France are Le Parisien Aujourd'hui en France (with 460,000 sold daily), Le Monde and Le Figaro, with around 300,000 copies sold daily, but also L'Équipe, dedicated to sports coverage. France_sentence_791

In the past years, free dailies made a breakthrough, with Metro, 20 Minutes and Direct Plus distributed at more than 650,000 copies respectively. France_sentence_792

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. France_sentence_793

The sector of weekly magazines is stronger and diversified with more than 400 specialized weekly magazines published in the country. France_sentence_794

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), 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. France_sentence_795

Influential weeklies also include investigative and satirical papers Le Canard Enchaîné and Charlie Hebdo, as well as Paris Match. France_sentence_796

Like in most industrialized nations, the print media have been affected by a severe crisis in the past decade. France_sentence_797

In 2008, the government launched a major initiative to help the sector reform and become financially independent, but in 2009 it had to give 600,000 euros to help the print media cope with the economic crisis, in addition to existing subsidies. France_sentence_798

In 1974, after years of centralised monopoly on radio and television, the governmental agency ORTF was split into several national institutions, but the three already-existing TV channels and four national radio stations remained under state-control. France_sentence_799

It was only in 1981 that the government allowed free broadcasting in the territory, ending state monopoly on radio. France_sentence_800

French television was partly liberalized in the next two-decade with the creation of several commercial channels, mainly thanks to cable and satellite television. France_sentence_801

In 2005 the national service Télévision Numérique Terrestre introduced digital television all over the territory, allowing the creation of other channels. France_sentence_802

The four existing national channels are owned by state-owned consortium France Télévisions, funded by advertising revenue and TV licence fees. France_sentence_803

Public broadcasting group Radio France run five national radio stations. France_sentence_804

Among these public media are Radio France Internationale, which broadcasts programs in French all over the world, and Franco-German TV channel TV5 Monde. France_sentence_805

In 2006, the government created global news channel France 24. France_sentence_806

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. France_sentence_807

Society France_section_49

See also: Human rights in France and LGBT rights in France France_sentence_808

According to a BBC poll in 2010, based on 29,977 responses in 28 countries, France is globally seen as a positive influence in the world's affairs: 49% have a positive view of the country's influence, whereas 19% have a negative view. France_sentence_809

The Nation Brand Index of 2008 suggested that France has the second best international reputation, only behind Germany. France_sentence_810

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. France_sentence_811

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. France_sentence_812

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. France_sentence_813

As of 2017, the favourable view of the United States had dropped to 46%. France_sentence_814

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. France_sentence_815

The OECD Better Life Index states that "France performs well in many measures of well-being relative to most other countries in the Better Life Index." France_sentence_816

The French Revolution continues to permeate the country's collective memory. France_sentence_817

The tricolour flag of France, 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. France_sentence_818

In addition, Bastille Day, the national holiday, commemorates the storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789. France_sentence_819

A common and traditional symbol of the French people is the Gallic rooster. France_sentence_820

Its origins date back to Antiquity, since the Latin word Gallus meant both "rooster" and "inhabitant of Gaul". France_sentence_821

Then this figure gradually became the most widely shared representation of the French, used by French monarchs, then by the Revolution and under the successive republican regimes as representation of the national identity, used for some stamps and coins. France_sentence_822

France is one of the world leaders of gender equality in the workplace: as of 2017, it has 36.8% of its corporate board seats held by women, which makes it the leader of the G20 for that metric; and was ranked in 2019 by the World Bank as one of the only 6 countries in the world where women have the same work rights as men. France_sentence_823

France 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). France_sentence_824

France legalized same-sex marriage and adoption in 2013. France_sentence_825

The government has used its diplomatic clout to support LGBT rights throughout the world, notably in the United Nations. France_sentence_826

France 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. France_sentence_827

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" (though the US, after the election of President Trump in 2016, then announced it will withdraw from the agreement). France_sentence_828

Cuisine France_section_50

Main article: French cuisine France_sentence_829

French cuisine is renowned for being one of the finest in the world. France_sentence_830

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. France_sentence_831

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, including Champagne, Bordeaux, Bourgogne, and Beaujolais as well as a large variety of different cheeses, such as Camembert, Roquefort and Brie. France_sentence_832

There are more than 400 different varieties. France_sentence_833

A meal often consists of three courses, hors d'œuvre or entrée (introductory course, sometimes soup), plat principal (main course), fromage (cheese course) or dessert, sometimes with a salad offered before the cheese or dessert. France_sentence_834

Hors d'œuvres could include terrine de saumon au basilic, lobster bisque, foie gras, French onion soup or a croque monsieur. France_sentence_835

The plat principal could include a pot au feu or steak frites. France_sentence_836

The dessert could be mille-feuille pastry, a macaron, an éclair, crème brûlée, mousse au chocolat, crêpes, or Café liégeois. France_sentence_837

French cuisine is also regarded as a key element of the quality of life and the attractiveness of France. France_sentence_838

A French publication, the Michelin guide, awards Michelin stars for excellence to a select few establishments. France_sentence_839

The acquisition or loss of a star can have dramatic effects on the success of a restaurant. France_sentence_840

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). France_sentence_841

In addition to its wine tradition, France is also a major producer of beer and rum. France_sentence_842

The three main French brewing regions are Alsace (60% of national production), Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Lorraine. France_sentence_843

France produces rum via distilleries located on islands such as Reunion Island in the southern Indian Ocean. France_sentence_844

Sports France_section_51

Main article: Sport in France France_sentence_845

France hosts "the world's biggest annual sporting event", the Tour de France, and other popular sports played in France include: football, judo, tennis, rugby and pétanque. France_sentence_846

France has hosted events such as the 1938 and 1998 FIFA World Cups, the 2007 Rugby World Cup, and will host the 2023 Rugby World Cup. France_sentence_847

The country also hosted the 1960 European Nations' Cup, UEFA Euro 1984, UEFA Euro 2016 and 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup. France_sentence_848

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. France_sentence_849

Since 1903, France is famous for its 24 Hours of Le Mans sports car endurance race. France_sentence_850

Several major tennis tournaments take place in France, including the Paris Masters and the French Open, one of the four Grand Slam tournaments. France_sentence_851

French martial arts include Savate and Fencing. France_sentence_852

France has a close association with the Modern Olympic Games; it was a French aristocrat, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who suggested the Games' revival, at the end of the 19th century. France_sentence_853

After Athens was awarded the first Games, in reference to the Olympics' Greek origins, Paris hosted the second Games in 1900. France_sentence_854

Paris was the first home of the International Olympic Committee, before it moved to Lausanne. France_sentence_855

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). France_sentence_856

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. France_sentence_857

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. France_sentence_858

Football is the most popular sport in France, with over 1,800,000 registered players, and over 18,000 registered clubs. France_sentence_859

The football team is among the most successful in the world, with two FIFA World Cup victories in 1998 and 2018, one FIFA World Cup second place in 2006, and two UEFA European Championships in 1984 and 2000. France_sentence_860

The top national football club competition is Ligue 1. France_sentence_861

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. France_sentence_862

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. France_sentence_863

It is the premier clay court tennis championship event in the world and the second of four annual Grand Slam tournaments. France_sentence_864

Rugby union is popular, particularly in Paris and the southwest of France. France_sentence_865

The national rugby union team has competed at every Rugby World Cup, and takes part in the annual Six Nations Championship. France_sentence_866

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. France_sentence_867

Rugby league in France is mostly played and followed in the South of France, in cities such as Perpignan and Toulouse. France_sentence_868

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. France_sentence_869

The Elite One Championship is the professional competition for rugby league clubs in France. France_sentence_870

Judo is an important sport in France. France_sentence_871

It is the second country, after Japan, to have the most gold medals. France_sentence_872

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. France_sentence_873

In recent decades, France has produced world-elite basketball players, most notably Tony Parker. France_sentence_874

The French National Basketball Team won gold at the FIBA EuroBasket 2013. France_sentence_875

The national team has won two Olympic silver medals: in 2000 and 1948. France_sentence_876

See also France_section_52

France_unordered_list_2


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/France.