- France is a country located in Western Europe.
- Clockwise from the north, France borders Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Spain.
- The Mediterranean Sea lies to the south of France. France also has a long Atlantic Ocean coastline, while to the north lays the English Channel.
- France has been the world’s most popular tourist destination for over twenty years and it’s geographically one of the most diverse countries in Europe.
- The country is renowned for its gastronomy (particularly wines and cheeses), history, culture and fashion.
- France is about 80% the size of Texas.
- In the Alps near the Italian and Swiss borders is Western Europe’s highest point—Mont Blanc (15,781 ft; 4,810 m).
Notable Cities in France
Paris — the “City of Light”, romance and the Eiffel Tower
Bordeaux — city of wine, traditional stone mansions and smart terraces
Bourges — gardens, canals and a cathedral listed as a UNESCO heritage site
Lille — a dynamic northern city known for its handsome center and active cultural life
Lyon — France’s second city with a history from Roman times to the Resistance
Marseille — big harbor and the heart of the Provence
Nantes — the “Greenest City” and according to some the best place to live in Europe
Strasbourg — famous for its historical center, and home to many European institutions
Toulouse — the “Pink City”, for its distinctive brick architecture
- 1,500 BC – Prehistoric populations, cave art and stone monuments.
- 1200 BC – Settlement by the Gauls
- 59-52 BC – Conquest of Gaul by Julius Caesar and the beginning of Gallo-Roman civilization.
- 11th-13th centuries Middle Ages – flourishing of Romanesque and Gothic art. Crusades.
- 14th-15th centuries – French-English rivalry culminates in the Hundred Years War triggering a new wave of nationalism. France is also plagued by the Black Death and famines.
- 1539 – French replaces Latin as the official language.
- 1789 French Revolution – Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen. End of the monarchy.
- 1804-1815 – Napoleon is named Emperor
- 1848 – Slavery abolished.
- 1914-1918 – World War I (1,350,000 killed).
- 1939-1945 – World War II (700,000 killed). Germany occupies France.
- 1944-1945 – Normandy and Provence landings. Liberation of France.
Eiffel Tower, Paris
- France is apparently the sixth largest economy in the world and is a developed country as well. The capital city is Paris. France is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world.
- One of the most famous symbols of France, the Eiffel Tower stands at a staggering height of 984 feet, almost the height of a 70 storey building. Today, the tower has 2 restaurants, observing desk, a post office, etc and has elevators that take people up on the first three platforms.
- One of the largest art museums in the world, the Louvre, boasts of having some of the most prized artifacts. This includes Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and also the works of French artists like Monet, Cezanne, and Renoir.
- One of the most beautiful churches in France, the Cathedral of Notre Dame is a classic example of a church built in the ancient Gothic style. It is located on a small island on the Seine River. The construction began in the 12th century and was completed in the 13th century.
- French cuisine and cooking is considered to be the best in the world.
- France is said to have been the birthplace of Gothic art as well as Baroque architectural style. Gothic art was previously known as French Art.
- During the 18th and the 20th century, French literature and poetry reached its peak. Some of the most famous literary works and stories that are popular till date were penned by acclaimed French writers like Charles Pennaut, Gaston Leroux, etc. Examples of famous stories are ‘Cinderella’, ‘Sleeping Beauty’, and ‘The Phantom of the Opera’.
- Although only the size of Texas, France has seven mountain ranges and five major river systems.
- France is home to 29 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- It is also referred to as L’Hexagone, which means the hexagon, due to the geometrical shape of the country.
- French wine is immensely popular all over the world. The country is one of the largest wine producing nations in the world. There are 17 distinct wine producing regions like Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Loire and Provence that continue with the tradition of wine making in France.
- In France beer is considered a luxury drink saved for special occasions, wine is free with most meals.
- April Fool’s Day is believed to have originated in France, in 1564, when the country started following the Gregorian Calendar. Those that did not know about the switch in the calendars, were mocked on this day as they continued to believe that April 1st was the first day of the French new year.