France, Paris

Geographical Location of France

France can be divided into three main geological regions: the lowlands in the northwest, the highlands of the Massif Central in the south, and the Pyrenees and Alps mountain ranges in the southwest and southeast. The landscape is crossed by the great rivers Rhone, Loire and Seine. For many centuries these were important transport routes. The Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts are made up of cliffs and long sandy beaches and have many ports where large trading cities have grown.

France has a mild, humid climate with slight annual temperature fluctuations in the western and northern parts of the country. In the north of the country, the climate is typically North Atlantic, with high rainfall throughout the year. To the south of the country the climate is more Mediterranean, with less rainfall and warmer summers.

After years of unregulated industrial emissions, much of the country's drinking water supplies are heavily polluted. The emissions have also led to acid rain and deteriorating air quality in major cities. France is among the world's biggest CO2 emitters, but environmental efforts have made great progress over the past decade. Now the French authorities - in accordance with the Paris Agreement - have promised to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1.5% per year.
France is divided into 18 regions and 101 departments. At the beginning of the 21st century, five overseas territories of France - French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte and Reunion - were turned into French regions and subordinated to France itself. All overseas regions have a tropical climate, but with different rainy seasons and temperature changes as they are located in different parts of the world.

Brief History of France

For many French, the history of their country begins with the Gauls; Celtic people who lived around 1000 BC. migrated across the Rhine and into what we know today as France. The territory in which they lived was incorporated into the Roman Empire in 50 BC. After the fall of the Roman Empire in the fourth century, the Franks seized power in the area. This led to the formation of the Frankish Empire under Charlemagne in the 8th century. By the end of the 9th century, the empire was divided and France was divided into several small kingdoms that were in constant conflict with each other. For several hundred years there was a clear distinction between the southern and northern regions. Only after the Hundred Years' War against England did France unite into a more or less unified state.

After the Reformation of the 16th century, the country was engulfed in numerous religious wars, followed by the French Revolution of 1789, in which tens of thousands of people died. The revolution's ideas about freedom, equality and fraternity affected the whole of Europe and had global consequences. A few years later, Napoleon proclaimed himself Emperor of France. Napoleon fought a series of wars against other European powers until he was himself defeated at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

During the new revolution of 1870, the monarchy was abolished. At the same time, major social reforms were introduced and France became a leading industrial power with several colonies, especially in Africa. The country participated on the winning side in both world wars, although the human and economic losses were high. In the post-war period, France remained an important country in both European and international politics.

Society and Politics of France

France has a semi-presidential government, which is a mixture of presidential rule and parliamentarism. The president is the head of state and directs most of the government's policies and has the power to appoint and dissolve the government. Parliament can also overthrow the government, but not the president, who is directly elected by the people. Presidential elections are held every five years.

French politics has long been characterized by moderate right-wing and left-wing alliances that alternate between presidential and government power. In recent years the situation has changed. The two main opponents in the 2017 and 2022 elections were not the traditional parties, but the far-right National Samling party (formerly the National Front) and the new centrist Republic in March party led by Emmanuel Macron. Macron won the election in 2017 and was re-elected in 2022.
Macron's victory in the presidential election had consequences for French politics. Hoping to make opposition parties less dangerous during elections, Macron pushed them to the extremes of the political axis. This has led voters to turn to extremist parties to express their dissatisfaction with Macron's rule and has led to increased polarization among people and politics.

The state apparatus in France has traditionally played an important role, and the public sector is very large. This comes at a cost to the state, but also means that France has one of the best healthcare systems in the world. The country has one of the largest immigrant populations in Europe, and in several major cities authorities are struggling with integration. Terrorist attacks in 2015 and 2016 increased government control over the population, which was criticized by several human rights organizations. In recent years, far-right ideologies, xenophobia and growing hostility towards Muslim and Jewish groups have intensified.
France was one of the founders of the EU. France is also a member of the UN (with a permanent seat on the UN Security Council), a number of UN special organizations and the NATO defense alliance.

Economy and Trade of France

France is one of the largest economies in the world. Traditional industries such as textiles and steel mining have given way in recent years to high technology, the computer industry and space technology. In addition, tourism makes up a significant part of the economy. France is an important tourist destination, with Paris, the Alps, the Riviera and the Pyrenees especially attracting tourists.

France's diverse agriculture makes it one of the world's largest agricultural exporters. The country is the world's largest exporter of wine and one of the largest exporters of wheat, barley and sugar beets. France is also self-sufficient in most agricultural products, with the exception of tropical crops. The most important imported goods are machinery and transport equipment, raw materials and semi-finished products.

However, France has been experiencing economic difficulties since the early 2010s. Since the financial and euro crises, economic growth has stagnated and unemployment has risen. Some believe this is due to the highly regulated labor market. Therefore, in recent years, governments have invested in deregulating the labor market and trying to make the economy more competitive, especially under President Macron. France has also been hit particularly hard during the corona pandemic, which has led to hundreds of thousands of people losing their jobs.

French Cuisine and Culinary Traditions of France

French cuisine is one of the most famous national cuisines in the world, being today the trendsetter of culinary traditions throughout the world. French cuisine has influenced many national cuisines around the world, influencing many recipes for dishes cooked in different countries of the world. French dishes that fall under the category of French haute cuisine are distinguished by their sophistication, while the usual home-cooked dishes of this cuisine are quite simple, but at the same time they have a good taste and are usually very nutritious. Culinary professionals from all over the world come to France to study at the world-famous Le Cordon Bleu culinary school. Although, in fairness, it should be noted that the primacy in cooking for a long time belonged not to French, but to Italian cuisine, which is still one of the most interesting national cuisines in the whole world. But it so happens that it is French cuisine that is considered the leading world cuisine, and it is the recipes for French dishes that are most popular in leading restaurants around the world.

Flag of France
Coat of Arms of France

Basic Information About France

  • Full name - French Republic
  • Capital - Paris
  • Language - French
  • Population - 65,584,514
  • Form of government - republic
  • Area - 549,087 km2
  • Currency - euro
  • National Day – July 14