France Information | France Tourism | Paris France

France Information | France Tourism | Paris France

France, officially the French Republic, is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is often referred to as l’Hexagone ("The Hexagon") because of the geometric shape of its territory. It is the largest western European country and it possesses the second-largest Exclusive Economic Zone in the world, covering 11,035,000 km2 (4,260,000 sq mi), just behind that of the United States (11,351,000 km2 / 4,383,000 sq mi).

Over the past 500 years, France has been a major power with strong cultural, economic, military and political influence in Europe and around the world. During the 17th and 18th centuries, France colonized great parts of North America and Southeast Asia; during the 19th and early 20th centuries, France built the second largest empire of the time, including large portions of North, West and Central Africa, Southeast Asia, and many Caribbean and Pacific Islands.

France has its main ideals expressed in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. The French Republic is defined as indivisible, secular, democratic and social by its constitution. France is one of the world's most developed countries and possesses the world's fifth largest and Europe's second largest economy by nominal GDP. France is the wealthiest European (and the world's 4th) nation in aggregate household wealth. France enjoys a high standard of living as well as a high public education level, and has also one of the world's highest life expectancies. France has been listed as the world's "best overall health care" provider by the World Health Organization. It is the most visited country in the world, receiving 82 million foreign tourists annually.

France has the world's third largest nominal military budget, the third largest military in NATO and EU's largest army. France also possesses the third largest nuclear weapons stockpile in the world – with ~300 active warheads as of 25 May 2010 (2010 -05-25) – and the world's second largest diplomatic corps (second only to that of the United States).

France is a founding member of the United Nations, one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, and a member of the Francophonie, the G8, G20, NATO, OECD, WTO, and the Latin Union. It is also a founding and leading member state of the European Union and the largest one by area. In 2010, France was listed 14th on the Human Development Index and 24th on the Corruption Perceptions Index. Find the most exciting Paris Vacation Holiday packages at affordable rates at

Facts About France:

Capital of France:

Paris is the capital of France

France Currency:

The currency of France is Euro.

France Official Language:


France Language:


Area of France:

674,843 km2

Population of France (2011 estimate):

Total - 65,821,885
Metropolitan France - 63,136,180
Density - 116/km2
301/sq mi

Time zone of France:

Summer (DST) - CEST (UTC+2)

Calling code of France:


Flag of France:


Activities in Franch:

General Classes:

  • Families
  • Seniors
  • Wine Regions / Vineyards
  • Cooking Classes
  • Wine Tasting Classes
  • Wedding/Honeymoon


  • Biking
  • Golf
  • Ski

French Waterways:

  • Barging
  • Boat Rentals
  • Cruises

Geography of France:

Metropolitan France is situated mostly between latitudes 41° and 51° N (Dunkirk is just north of 51°), and longitudes 6° W and 10° E, on the western edge of Europe, and thus lies within the northern temperate zone

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

Metropolitan France covers 547,030 square kilometres (211,209 sq mi), having the largest area among European Union members. France possesses a wide variety of landscapes, from coastal plains in the north and west to mountain ranges of the Alps in the south-east, the Massif Central in the south-central and Pyrenees in the south-west.

At 4,810.45 metres (15,782 ft) above sea level, the highest point in Western Europe, Mont Blanc, is situated in the Alps on the border between France and Italy. Metropolitan France also has extensive river systems such as the Seine, the Loire, the Garonne, and the Rhone, which divides the Massif Central from the Alps and flows into the Mediterranean Sea at the Camargue. Corsica lies off the Mediterranean coast.

France's total land area, with its overseas departments and territories (excluding Adélie Land), is 674,843 km2 (260,558 sq mi), 0.45% of the total land area on Earth. However, France possesses the second-largest Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the world, covering 11,035,000 km2 (4,260,637 sq mi), approximately 8% of the total surface of all the EEZs of the world, just behind the United States (11,351,000 km2/4,382,646 sq mi) and ahead of Australia (8,232,000 km2/3,178,393 sq mi). The north and northwest have a temperate climate, while a combination of maritime influences, latitude and altitude produce a varied climate in the rest of Metropolitan France.

In the south-east a Mediterranean climate prevails. In the west, the climate is predominantly oceanic with a high level of rainfall, mild winters and cool to warm summers. Inland the climate becomes more continental with hot, stormy summers, colder winters and less rain. The climate of the Alps and other mountainous regions is mainly alpine, with the number of days with temperatures below freezing over 150 per year and snow cover lasting for up to six months.

France Climates and Landscapes:

Paris France Weather:

French Wine:

French wine is produced in several regions throughout France, in quantities between 50 and 60 million hectolitres per year, or 7–8 billion bottles. France has the world's second-largest total vineyard area, behind Spain, and is in the position of being the world's largest wine producer losing it once (in 2008) to Italy. You can know more about French Wine at

Transport in France:

Transportation in France relies on one of the densest networks in the world with 146 km of road and 6.2 km of rail lines per 100 km2. It is built as a web with Paris at its center.

Rail transport in France:

There is a total of 31,939 miles (51,401 km) of railway in France, mostly operated by SNCF, the French national railway company. However, the railway system is a small portion of total travel, accounting for less than 10% of passenger travel.

From 1981 onwards, a newly-constructed set of high-speed LGV (Lignes à Grande Vitesse) lines linked France's most populous areas with the capital, starting with Paris-Lyon. In 1994, the Channel Tunnel opened, connecting France and Great Britain by rail under the English Channel. The TGV has set many world speed records, the most recent on 3 April 2007, when a new version of the TGV dubbed the V150 with larger wheels than the usual TGV, and a stronger 25,000 hp (18,600 kW) engine, broke the world speed record for conventional rail trains, reaching 574.8 km/h (357.2 mph).

Trains, unlike road traffic, drive on the left (except in Alsace-Moselle). Metro and tramway services are not thought of as trains and usually follow road traffic in driving on the right (except the Lyon Metro).

Trams in France:

In spite of the closure of most of France's tram systems in earlier years, a fast growing number of France's major cities have modern tram or light rail networks, including Paris, Lyon (Lyon having the biggest one), Toulouse, Montpellier, Saint-Étienne, Strasbourg and Nantes . Recently the tram has seen a very big revival with many experiments such as ground level power supply in Bordeaux, or trolleybuses pretending to be trams in Nancy.

This way of travelling started disappearing in France at the end of the 1930s. Only Lille, Marseille and Saint-Étienne have never given up their tram systems. Since the 1980s, several cities have re-introduced it.

Light rail and tram systems are under construction in Angers, Dijon.

Systems are planned in Brest, Le Havre, Reims, Tours, Besançon and Fort-de-France.

The revival of tram networks in France has brought about a number of technical developments both in the traction systems and in the styling of the cars:

APS third rail:

The ground-level power supply system known as APS or Alimentation par le sol uses a third rail placed between the running rails, divided electrically into eight-metre segments with three metre neutral sections between. Each tram has two power collection skates, next to which are antennas that send radio signals to energise the power rail segments as the tram passes over them. At any one time no more than two consecutive segments under the tram should actually be live. Alstrom developed the system primarily to avoid intrusive power supply cables in sensitive area of the old city of Bordeaux.

Modern styling:

The Eurotram, used in Strasbourg has a modern design that makes it look almost as much like a train as a tram, and has large windows along its entire length.

Modular design: The Citadis tram, flagship of the French manufacturer Alstom, enjoys an innovative design combining lighter bogies with a modular concept for carriages providing more choices in the types of windows and the number of cars and doors. The recent Citadis-Dualis, intended to run at up to 100 km/h, is suitable for stop spacings ranging from 500 m to 5 km. Dualis is a strictly modular partial low-floor car, with all doors in the low-floor sections.


There are 1,000,960 km of roads in France. The French motorway network or autoroute system consists largely of toll roads, except around large cities and in parts of the north. It is a network totalling 12,000 km (7,500 mi) of motorways operated by private companies such as Sanef (Société des autoroutes du Nord et de l'Est de la France). It has the fourth largest highway network in the world, trailing only the United States, Canada and Germany.

France currently counts 30,500 km of major trunk roads or routes nationales and state-owned motorways. By way of comparison, the routes départementales cover a total distance of 365,000 km. The main trunk road network reflects the centralising tradition of France: the majority of them leave the gates of Paris. Indeed, trunk roads begin on the parvis of Notre-Dame of Paris at Kilometre Zero. To ensure an effective road network, new roads not serving Paris were created.

France is believed to be the most car dependent country in Europe. In 2005, 937 billion vehicle kilometres were travelled in France (85% by car)


The French natural and man-made waterways network is the largest in Europe extending to over 8,500 kilometres (5,300 mi) of which (VNF, English: Navigable Waterways of France), the French navigation authority, manages the navigable setions. The assets managed by VNF comprise 6,700 kilometres (4,200 mi) of waterways, made up of 3,800 kilometres (2,400 mi) of canals and 2,900 kilometres (1,800 mi) of navigable rivers, 494 dams, 1595 locks, 74 aqueducts, 65 reservoirs, 35 tunnels and a land area of 800 km2 (310 sq mi). Two significant waterways not under VNF's control are the navigable sections of the River Somme and the Brittany Canals, which are both under local management.

Approximately 20% of the network is suitable for commercial boats of over 1000 tonnes and the VNF has an ongoing programme of maintenance and modernisation to increase depth of waterways, widths of locks and headroom under bridges to support France's stategy of encouraging freight onto water.

Marine transport:

France has an extensive merchant marine, including 55 ships of size GRT|1,000 and above. The country also maintains a captive register for French-owned ships in Iles Kerguelen (French Southern and Antarctic Lands).

French companies operate over 1,400 ships of which 700 are registered in France. France's 110 shipping firms employ 12,500 personnel at sea and 15,500 on shore. Each year, 305 million tonnes of goods and 15 million passengers are transported by sea. Marine transport is responsible for 72% of France's imports and exports.

France also boasts a number of seaports and harbours, including Bayonne, Bordeaux, Boulogne-sur-Mer, Brest, Calais, Cherbourg-Octeville, Dunkerque, Fos-sur-Mer, La Pallice, Le Havre, Lorient, Marseille, Nantes, Nice, Paris, Port-la-Nouvelle, Port-Vendres, Roscoff, Rouen, Saint-Nazaire, Saint-Malo, Sète, Strasbourg and Toulon.

Air Travel:

There are approximately 478 airports in France (1999 est.) and by a 2005 estimate, there are three heliports. 288 of the airports have paved runways, with the remaining 199 being unpaved.

Among the airspace governance authorities active in France, one is Aéroports de Paris, which has authority over the Paris region, managing 14 airports including the two busiest in France, Charles de Gaulle Airport and Orly Airport. The former, located in Roissy near Paris, is the fifth busiest airport in the world with 60 million passenger movements in 2008, and France's primary international airport, serving over 100 airlines.

The national carrier of France is Air France, a full service global airline which flies to 20 domestic destinations and 150 international destinations in 83 countries (including Overseas departments and territories of France) across all 6 major continents.

France Map:

France Tourism:

France attracted 78.95 million foreign tourists in 2010, making it the most popular tourist destination in the world. France offers mountain ranges, coastlines such as in Brittany or along the Mediterranean Sea, cities with a rich cultural heritage, châteaux (castles) like Versailles, and vineyards. Tourism is accountable for 6% of the country's income (4% from French tourists travelling inside France and 2% from foreign tourists), and contributes significantly to the balance of payments.

France features cities of high cultural interest (Paris being the foremost, but also Toulouse, Strasbourg, Bordeaux, Lyon...), beaches and seaside resorts, ski resorts, and rural regions that many enjoy for their beauty and tranquillity (green tourism). Small and picturesque French villages of quality heritage (such as Collonges-la-Rouge or Locronan) are promoted through the association Les Plus Beaux Villages de France (litt. "The Most Beautiful Villages of France"). The "Remarkable Gardens" label is a list of the over two hundred gardens classified by the French Ministry of Culture. This label is intended to protect and promote remarkable gardens and parks. France also attracts many religious pilgrims on their way to St. James, or to Lourdes, a town in the Hautes-Pyrénées that hosts a few million visitors a year.

France, and especially Paris, have some of the world's largest and renowned museums, including the Louvre, which is the most visited art museum in the world, but also the Musée d'Orsay, mostly devoted to impressionism, and Beaubourg, dedicated to Contemporary art.

Disneyland Paris is France's and indeed Europe's most popular theme park, with 15,405,000 combined visitors to the resort's Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park in 2009. The historical theme park Puy du Fou in Vendée is the second most visited park of France. Other popular theme parks are the Futuroscope of Poitiers and the Parc Astérix.

With more than 10 millions tourists a year, the French Riviera (or Côte d'Azur), in south-eastern France, is the second leading tourist destination in the country, after the Parisian region. According to the Côte d'Azur Economic Development Agency, 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.[191] Each year the Côte d'Azur hosts 50% of the world's superyacht fleet, with 90% of all superyachts visiting the region's coast at least once in their lifetime.

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

The most popular tourist sites include: (according to a 2003 ranking visitors per year): Eiffel Tower (6.2 million), Louvre Museum (5.7 million), Palace of Versailles (2.8 million), Musée d'Orsay (2.1 million), Arc de Triomphe (1.2 million), Centre Pompidou (1.2 million), Mont-Saint-Michel (1 million), Château de Chambord (711,000), Sainte-Chapelle (683,000), Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg (549,000), Puy de Dôme (500,000), Musée Picasso (441,000), Carcassonne (362,000).

National Parks in France:

The national parks of France is a system of nine national parks throughout metropolitan France and its overseas departments, coordinated by the government agency Parcs Nationaux de France. The French national parks protect a total area of 3,710 km² in core area and 9,162 km² in buffer zones in metropolitan France. This puts over 2% of the total area of metropolitan France under some level of protection. French national parks draw over seven million visitors every year.

Vanoise National Park:

Vanoise National Park, is a French national park in the Tarentaise Valley in the French Alps, created in 1963 after mobilization from the environmentalist movement against a touristic project. It was the first French national park. This park is in the département of Savoie. Little villages like Champagny-le-Haut, Champagny-le-Bas, La Chiserette, La Cuaz, Le Bois, Friburge and Séez are near this park.

The park is bordered by several large French ski resorts (Les Trois Vallées, Tignes, Val-d'Isère, Les Arcs, La Plagne). On the Italian side of the border, the park is continued by the Gran Paradiso National Park. Together, these two parks cover over 1250 km².

The park is well-known for its population of Alpine ibex (Capra ibex), bouquetins in French. Other than Alpine ibex there are Chamois, Alpine Marmot, Eurasian Lynx, Mountain Hare and Stoat. Birds include Bearded Vulture, Golden Eagle and Black Grouse.

Port-Cros National Park:

Port-Cros National Park (French: Parc national de Port-Cros) is a French national park established on the Mediterranean island of Port-Cros, east of Toulon. It also administers natural areas in some surrounding locales.

It was founded in 1963 after the island of Port-Cros was bequeathed to the state. The state is the sole land owner on the island, which is a natural protected area.

Pyrénées National Park:

The Pyrénées National Park (French: Parc National des Pyrénées) is a national park located within the French départements of Hautes-Pyrénées and Pyrénées-Atlantiques.

Located along the border of France and Spain is a scenic and mountainous landscape offering a variety of outdoor activities including hiking, skiing, mountain climbing and observing wildlife.

According to the Pyrénées National Park website, the park, created in 1967, is a natural heritage without barriers or fences where animals are totally free.Devoted to preserving biodiversity and landscapes, studying wildlife and plant species, the park is home to 70 different species of animals.

The eastern portion of the national park forms part of the French section of the Pyrénées - Mont Perdu World Heritage Site that straddles the border between France and Spain.

Cévennes National Park:

The Cévennes National Park (French: Parc national des Cévennes) is a national park located in southern France, in the mountainous area of Cévennes.

Created in 1970, the park has its administrative seat in Florac at Florac Castle. It is located mainly in the départements of Lozère and Gard, and covers some parts of Ardèche and Aveyron. The Aven Armand cave is located in the park.

The park includes several mountains and plateaus, including: Mont Lozère, Mont Aigoual, Causse Méjean, France.

Points of interest:

* Arboretum de Cazebonne
* Aven Armand

Écrins National Park:

Écrins National Park (French: Parc national des Écrins) is one of the nine French national parks. It is located in the south-eastern part of France and consists in a mountainous region of the Dauphiné Alps, south of Grenoble and north of Gap, shared between the départements of Isère and Hautes-Alpes.

It rises up to 4,102 m (13,458 ft) at the Barre des Ecrins and covers 918 km² (354 mi²) of high mountain areas, with high peaks, glacier fields, glacier valleys, alpine pastures, subalpine woodlands and lakes.

Its borders mostly correspond to these of the Massif des Ecrins, delimited by the main valleys of rivers Drac, Romanche and Durance (with its Guisane dependency).

It attracts up to 800,000 tourists each year.

The park has been awarded the European Diploma of Protected Areas.

Mercantour National Park:

Mercantour National Park is one of the nine national parks of France. Since it was created in 1979, the Mercantour Park has proven popular, with 800,000 visitors every year enjoying the 600 km of marked footpaths and visiting its villages.

Flora and Fauna of Mercantour National Park:

In addition to the holm oak, the Mediterranean olive tree, rhododendrons, firs, spruces, swiss pines and above all larches, the Mercantour is also endowed with more than 2,000 species of flowering plants, 200 of which are very rare: edelweiss and martagon lily are the best known, but there is also saxifrage with multiple flowers, houseleek, moss campion and gentian offering a multi-coloured palette in the spring. The Mercantour is the site of a large-scale All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory and Monitoring programme to identify all its living species, organised by the European Distributed Institute of Taxonomy (EDIT).

Walkers may easily glimpse a chamois, several thousand of which live in the park and may often hear the whistling of marmots. The ermine is rarer (and more furtive), as is the ibex and the mouflon, although with a little luck you may be able to observe them during the coolest parts of the day in the summer. There is a tremendous variety of wildlife in the Mercantour: Red Deer and Roe Deer in the undergrowth, hares and wild boars, partridges, Golden Eagles and Buzzards, numerous species of butterflies and even about 50 Italian Wolves (which migrated there at the beginning of the nineties). A Wolves Centre welcomes visitors in Saint-Martin-Vésubie.

Guiana Amazonian Park:

Guiana Amazonian Park is one of the nine national parks of France, aiming at protecting part of the amazonian forest located in French Guiana.

It cannot be accessed from the sea-shore or by any other means other than by airplane or pirogue.

The protected area covers some 20,300 square kilometres (7,840 sq mi) for the central area (where full protection is enforced) and 13,600 square kilometres (5,250 sq mi) for the secondary area. Thus, the overall protected area represents some 33,900 square kilometres (13,090 sq mi) of rain forest.

The park has been built upon territories belonging to the communes of Camopi, Maripasoula, Papaïchton, Saint-Élie and Saül.

Réunion National Park:

Réunion National Park (French: Parc national de La Réunion) is a national park on the island of Réunion, an overseas department of France located in the western Indian Ocean region. Established on 5 March 2007, the park protects the endemic ecosystems of Les Hauts, Réunion's mountainous interior.

Guadeloupe National Park:

Guadeloupe National Park is a national park in Guadeloupe, an overseas department of France located in the Leeward Islands of the eastern Caribbean region. The Grand Cul-de-Sac Marin Nature Reserve (French: Réserve Naturelle du Grand Cul-de-Sac Marin) is a marine protected area adjacent to the park and administered in conjunction with it. Together, these protected areas comprise the Guadeloupe Archipelago biosphere reserve.

Tourist attractions at Guadeloupe National Park:

Among the interesting visitor sites in Guadeloupe National Park are:

* La Soufrière
* Carbet Falls
* the two Mamelles and the Traversée road
* Grand Cul-de-Sac Marin Nature Reserve
* numerous hiking trails throughout the park

World Heritage Sites in France:

There are 30 sites in France that are of such importance that UNESCO has designated them as World Heritage Sites. Covering a wide range of sites and places, they all share one common feature: they offer something beyond the ordinary.

Most of the French heritage sites are covered in more detail this guide, see the list and map below to see if there are any to visit near your planned destination in France.

  • Decorated Grottoes of the Vézère Valley  - 1979
  • Vézelay, Church and Hill  - 1979
  • Palace and Park of Versailles - 1979
  • Chartres Cathedral  - 1979
  • Mont-Saint-Michel and its Bay - 1979
  • Cistercian Abbey of Fontenay  - 1981
  • Arles, Roman and Romanesque Monuments -  1981
  • Roman Theatre and its Surroundings and the "Triumphal Arch" of Orange - 1981
  • Amiens Cathedral  - 1981
  • Palace and Park of Fontainebleau - 1981
  • From the Great Saltworks of Salins-les-Bains to the Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans, the production of open-pan salt  - 1982
  • Gulf of Porto: Calanche of Piana, Gulf of Girolata, Scandola Reserve  - 1983
  • Abbey Church of Saint-Savin sur Gartempe  - 1983
  • Place Stanislas, Place de la Carrière, and Place d'Alliance in Nancy -  1983
  • Pont du Gard (Roman Aqueduct) - 1985
  • Strasbourg-Grande Ile  -  1988
  • Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Former Abbey of Saint-Remi and Palace of Tau, Reims  - 1991
  • Paris, Banks of the Seine  - 1991
  • Bourges Cathedral  - 1992
  • Historic Centre of Avignon: Papal Palace, Episcopal Ensemble and Avignon Bridge - 1995
  • Canal du Midi  - 1996
  • Historic Fortified City of Carcassonne  - 1997
  • Pyrénées - Mount Perdu  - 1997
  • Historic Site of Lyon  - 1998
  • Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France  - 1998
  • Belfries of Belgium and France  - 1999
  • Jurisdiction of Saint-Emilion  - 1999
  • The Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes -  2000
  • Provins, Town of Medieval Fairs  - 2001
  • Le Havre, the city rebuilt by Auguste Perret -  2005
  • Bordeaux, Port of the Moon  - 2007
  • The Lagoons of New Caledonia: Reef Diversity and Associated Ecosystems - 2008
  • Fortifications of Vauban  - 2008
  • Pitons, cirques and remparts of Reunion Island  - 2010
  • Episcopal City of Albi  - 2010
  • The Causses and the Cévennes, Mediterranean agro-pastoral Cultural Landscape  - 2011
  • Prehistoric Pile Dwellings around the Alps  - 2011

Tentative list of France:

* Sites mégalithiques de Carnac, 1996
* Cathédrale de Saint-Denis, 1996
* Rouen : ensemble urbain à pans de bois, cathédrale, église Saint-Ouen, église Saint Maclou, 1996
* Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, 1996
* Les villes bastionnées des Pays-Bas du nord-ouest de l'Europe, 1996
* Le massif forestier de Fontainebleau, 1996
* Montagne Sainte-Victoire et sites cézaniens, 1996
* Ensemble de grottes à concrétions du Sud de la France, 2000
* Vanoise National Park, 2000
* Massif du Mont Blanc, 2000
* Le vignoble Champenois, 2002
* La Camargue, 2002
* Bouches de Bonifacio, 2002
* Mercantour / Alpi Marittime, 2002
* Parc national des Écrins, 2002
* Parc national de Port-Cros, 2002
* Marais salants de Guérande, 2002
* Vignoble des côtes de Côte de Nuits et de Côte de Beaune, 2002
* Le rivage méditerranéen des Pyrénées, 2002
* Bassin minier du Nord-Pas-de-Calais, 2002
* Rade de Marseille, 2002
* Les villes antiques de la Narbonnaise et leur territoire : Nîmes, Arles, Glanum, aqueducs, via Domitia, 2002
* Le chemin de fer de Cerdagne, 2002
* Office National d'Études et de Recherches Aérospatiales, Meudon, 2002
* Hangar Y, 2002
* Ancienne chocolaterie Menier à Noisiel, 2002
* Phare de Cordouan, 2002
* Centre ancien de Sarlat, 2002
* Arsenal de Rochefort et fortifications de l'estuaire de la Charente, 2002
* L’œuvre architecturale et urbaine de Le Corbusier, 2006
* La Grotte ornée Chauvet-Pont d'Arc, 2007
* Les Iles Marquises, 2010
* Le site sacré de Tapu-tapu-atea / Te Po, vallée de O-po-ä, 2010

France Food:

The Rivera shares its cuisine with Provence enjoying the same vegetable and fish dishes prepared with vivid seasonings. the most famous are bouillabaisse, a fish soup, anchoyade, soupe au pistou, pissaladière, ratatouille and salade Niçoise. Anise flavored pastis is the Riviera's favorite drink.

Paris Tourism / Sightseeing in Paris:

Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region (or Paris Region, French: Région parisienne). The city of Paris, within its administrative limits largely unchanged since 1860, has an estimated population of 2,211,297 (January 2008), but the Paris metropolitan area has a population of 11,899,544 (January 2008), and is one of the most populated metropolitan areas in Europe. Paris was the largest city in the Western world for about 1,000 years, prior to the 19th century, and the largest in the entire world between the 16th and 19th centuries. You can know much more about Paris Tourism, Sightseeing in Paris at

Best Luxury Hotels in Paris:

  • Castille Paris
  • Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris
  • Hilton Arc de Triomphe Paris
  • Hotel Daniel Paris
  • Hotel de Crillon
  • Hotel du Louvre
  • Hotel Fouquet's Barriere
  • Hotel Francois 1er
  • Hotel Keppler
  • Hotel Lancaster
  • Hotel Le Bristol Paris
  • Hotel Le Meurice
  • Hotel Lutetia
  • Hotel Plaza Athenee
  • Hotel Pont Royal
  • Hotel Prince De Galles
  • Hotel San Regis
  • Hotel Scribe Paris
  • Hyatt Regency Madeleine
  • InterContinental Paris le Grand Hotel
  • L'Hotel
  • La Reserve Paris
  • La Tremoille
  • Le Burgundy Paris
  • Le Pavillon des Lettres
  • Le Royal Monceau Raffles Paris
  • Mandarin Oriental Paris
  • Mon Hotel Paris
  • Park Hyatt Paris Vendome
  • Pavillon de la Reine
  • Raphael
  • Relais Christine
  • Ritz Paris
  • Saint James Paris
  • Shangri-La Hotel Paris
  • Sofitel Paris La Defense
  • Sofitel Paris le Faubourg
  • The Westin Paris
  • Tiara Chateau Hotel Mont Royal
  • Trianon Palace Versailles
  • W Hotel Paris Opera

Cheap Hotels in Paris:

  • Absolute Hotel Paris
  • Ascot Opera
  • Au Royal-Cardinal
  • Beaubourg
  • Delhy's Hotel

Paris Hotels:

» Hotel Austerlitz
» Hotel Bastille
» Hotel Bercy
» Hotel Champs Elysées
» Hotel Clichy
» Hotel Concorde
» Hotel Eiffel Tower
» Hotel Etoile Monceau
» Hotel Eurodisney
» Hotel Eurostar
» Hotel Republique
» Hotel Vincennes
» Hotel Porte Versailles
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Regions of France:

France is divided into 27 administrative regions. 22 are in metropolitan France (21 are on the continental part of metropolitan France; one is the territorial collectivity of Corsica), and five are overseas regions. The regions are further subdivided into 101 departments which are numbered (mainly alphabetically). This number is used in postal codes and vehicle number plates amongst others.

The 101 departments are subdivided into 341 arrondissements which are, in turn, subdivided into 4,051 cantons. These cantons are then divided into 36,697 communes, which are municipalities with an elected municipal council. There also exist 2,588 intercommunal entities grouping 33,414 of the 36,697 communes (i.e. 91.1% of all the communes). Three communes, Paris, Lyon and Marseille are also subdivided into 45 municipal arrondissements.

The regions, departments and communes are all known as territorial collectivities, meaning they possess local assemblies as well as an executive. Arrondissements and cantons are merely administrative divisions. However, this was not always the case. Until 1940, the arrondissements were also territorial collectivities with an elected assembly, but these were suspended by the Vichy regime and definitely abolished by the Fourth Republic in 1946. Historically, the cantons were also territorial collectivities with their elected assemblies.

History of France:

Prehistory and antiquity:

The oldest traces of human life, in what is now France, date from approximately 1,800,000 years ago. Men were then confronted by a hard and variable climate, marked by several glacial eras which modified their framework of life and led them to a nomadic life of hunters-gatherers. France counts a large number of decorated caves from the upper Paleolithic era, including one of the most famous and best preserved: Lascaux (Dordogne, approximately 18,000 BC).

At the end of the Last glacial period (10.000 BC), the climate softened and from approximately 7,000 BC, this part of Western Europe entered the Neolithic era and its inhabitants became sedentary. After a strong demographic and agricultural development between the 4th and 3rd millennia, metallurgy appeared at the end of the 3rd millennium, initially with the work of gold, copper and bronze, and later with iron. France counts numerous megalithic sites from the Neolithic period, including the exceptionally dense Carnac stones site in Brittany (c. 3,300 BC).

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

Gallic tribes before the Roman conquest (58 BC to 51 BC). Note that Southern Gaul was already under Roman control (yellow) in 59 BC.

The concept of Gaul emerged at that time; it corresponds to the territories of Celtic settlement ranging between the Rhine, the Atlantic Ocean, the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean Sea. The borders of modern France are approximately the same as those of ancient Gaul, which was inhabited by Celtic Gauls. Gaul was then a prosperous country of which the southernmost part was heavily subject to Greek and Roman influences. However, around 390 BC, the Gallic chieftain Brennus made his own way through the Alps, defeated the Romans in the Battle of the Allia and besieged and ransomed Rome.

The Gallic invasion left Rome weakened and encouraged several subdued Italian tribes to rebel. One by one, over the course of the next 50 years, these tribes were defeated and brought back under Roman dominion. Meanwhile, the Gauls would continue to harass the region until 345 BC, when they entered into a formal treaty with Rome. But Romans and Gauls would maintain an adversarial relationship for the next several centuries and the Gauls would remain a threat in Italia.

Around 125 BC, the south of Gaul was conquered by the Romans who called this region Provincia Romana ("Roman Province"), which evolved into the name Provence in French. Brennus' siege of Rome was still remembered by Romans, when Julius Caesar conquered the remainder of Gaul, and overcame a revolt carried out by the Gallic chieftain Vercingetorix in 52 BC.

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

Gaul was divided by Augustus into Roman provinces, the principal ones being Gallia Narbonensis in the south, Gallia Aquitania in the south-west, Gallia Lugdunensis in the center and Gallia Belgica in the north. Many cities were founded during the Gallo-Roman period, including Lugdunum (present-day Lyon), which is considered to be the capital of the Gauls. These cities were built in the traditional Roman style, with a forum, a theatre, a circus, an amphitheatre and thermal baths. The Gauls mixed with Roman settlers and eventually adopted Roman speech (Latin, from which the French language evolved) and Roman culture. The Roman polytheism merged with the Gallic paganism into the same syncretism.

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

Nevertheless, the situation improved in the first half of the 4th century AD, which was a period of revival and prosperity for Roman Gaul. In 312, the emperor Constantin I converted to Christianity. Christians, persecuted until then, multiplied across the entire Roman Empire. But, from the second half of the 4th century AD, the Barbarian Invasions started again, and Germanic tribes, such as the Vandals, Suebi and Alans crossed the Rhine and settled in Gaul, Spain and other parts of the collapsing Roman Empire.

At the end of the Antiquity period, ancient Gaul was divided into several Germanic kingdoms (Early Francia (North), Alamannia (North-East), Burgundia (East), Septimania (South), Visigothic Aquitania (South East)) and a remaining Gallo-Roman territory, known as the Kingdom of Syagrius (West). Simultaneously, Celtic Britons, fleeing the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britannia, settled the western part of Armorica (far West of Gaul). As a result, the Armorican peninsula was renamed Brittany, Celtic culture was revived and independent petty kingdoms arose in this region.

Middle Age to Revolution:

The pagan Franks, from whom the ancient name of “Francie” was derived, originally settled the North-East of Gaul but conquered most of the other Kingdoms in northern and central Gaul, under Clovis I. The Frankish King Clovis I was the first Germanic conqueror after the fall of the Roman Empire to convert, in 498, to Catholic Christianity, rather than Arianism; thus France obtained the title “Eldest daughter of the Church” (La fille aînée de l’Église) from the papacy, and the French kings would be called “the Most Christian Kings of France” (Rex Christianissimus).

The Franks embraced the Christian Gallo-Roman heritage, and ancient Gaul was progressively renamed Francia ("Land of the Franks"). The Germanic Franks adopted Romanic languages, except in northern Gaul where Roman settlements were less dense and where Germanic languages emerged. Clovis made Paris his capital and established the Merovingian dynasty but his kingdom would not survive his death. The Franks treated land purely as a private possession and divided it among their heirs, so four kingdoms emerged around Paris, Orléans, Soissons, and Rheims. The last Merovingian kings, sometimes referred as Rois fainéants ("lazy kings"), lost effective power to their mayors of the palace.

The mayor of the palace, Charles Martel, defeated a Muslim invasion from Hispania at the Battle of Tours (732) and earned respect and power within the Frankish Kingdoms. His son Pepin the Short eventually seized the crown of Francia from the discredited Merovingians and founded the Carolingian dynasty. Pippin's son, Charlemagne reunited the Frankish Kingdoms and built a vast empire across Western and Central Europe.

Joan of Arc led the French army to several important victories during the Hundred Years' War which paved the way for the final victory.

Proclaimed "Roman Emperor" by Pope Leo III, Charlemagne tried to revive the Western Roman Empire and its cultural grandeur, from its Palace of Aachen. The efficient administration of this immense empire was ensured by high civil servants, carrying the, still non-hereditary, titles of counts (in charge of a County), marquis (in charge of a March), dukes (military commanders), etc.

Charlemagne's son Louis I (emperor 814–840) kept the empire united; however, this Carolingian Empire would not survive Louis I's death. The Empire was divided between Louis' three sons, with the Treaty of Verdun (843), into East Francia to Louis the German, Middle Francia to Lothair I and West Francia to Charles the Bald. Western Francia approximated the area occupied by modern France and was the precursor to modern France.

Continually threatened by Viking invasions, France became a very decentralised state: the nobility's titles and lands became hereditary, the authority of the king became more religious than effective and constantly challenged by powerful noblemen. Thus was established feudalism in France. Some of the king's vassals would grow so powerful that they would become a threat to the king. By example, after the Battle of Hastings, in 1066, the Duke of Normandy added "King of England" to his titles, becoming vassal (as Duke of Normandy) and equal (as king of England) to the king of France.

The Carolingian dynasty ruled France until 987, when Hugh Capet, Duke of France and Count of Paris, was crowned King of France. His descendants, the Direct Capetians, the House of Valois and the House of Bourbon, progressively unified the country through a series of wars, such as the Saintonge War, and dynastic inheritance into a Kingdom of France. Frankish knights took an active part in the various Crusades that were fought, between 1095 and 1291, to restore Christian control over the Holy Land. Crusaders were so predominantely French that the word "crusader" in the Arabic language is simply known as Al-Franj or "The Franks" and Old French became the lingua franca of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

The Albigensian Crusade was launched in 1209 to eliminate the heretical Cathars in the south-western area of modern-day France. In the end, the Cathars were exterminated and the autonomous County of Toulouse was annexed. Later Kings expanded their territory to cover over half of modern continental France, including most of the North, Centre and West of France. Meanwhile, the royal authority became more and more assertive, centred around a hierarchically conceived society distinguishing nobility, clergy, and commoners.

The St. Bartholomew's Day massacre (1572) was the climax of the French Wars of Religion which were brought to an end by the Edict of Nantes (1598).

Charles IV (The Fair) died without an heir in 1328. Under the rules of the Salic law adopted in 1316, the crown of France could not pass to a woman, nor could the line of kinship pass through the female line. Accordingly, the crown passed to the cousin of Charles, Philip of Valois, rather than through the female line to Charles' nephew, Edward, who would soon become Edward III of England. In the reign of Philip of Valois, the French monarchy reached the height of its medieval power.

However, Philip's seat on the throne was contested by Edward III of England and in 1337, on the eve of the first wave of the Black Death, England and France went to war in what would become known as the Hundred Years' War. The exact boundaries changed greatly with time, but French landholdings of the English Kings remained extensive for decades.

With charismatic leaders, such as Joan of Arc and La Hire, strong French counterattacks won back all English continental territories, except Calais which was captured in 1558 by the French. Like the rest of Europe, France was struck by the Black Death. Around 1340, France had a population of about 17 million, which by the end of the pandemic had declined by about one-half.

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

The French Renaissance saw a long set of wars, known as the Italian Wars, between the Kingdom of France and the powerful Holy Roman Empire. It saw also the first standardization of the French language, which would become the official language of France and the language of Europe's aristocracy. French explorers, such as Jacques Cartier or Samuel de Champlain, claimed lands in the Americas for France, paving the way for the expansion of the First French colonial empire.

The rise of Protestantism in Europe led France to a civil war known as the French Wars of Religion, where, in the most notorious incident, thousands of Huguenots were murdered in the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre of 1572. The wars of Religion were ended in France by Henry IV's Edict of Nantes which granted some freedom of religion to the Huguenots. Henry IV was eventually murdered by a Catholic fanatic and Huguenot rebellions persisted until the 18th century.

Under Louis XIII, the energetic actions of Cardinal Richelieu reinforced the centralization of the state, the royal power and French dominance in Europe, foreshadowing the reign of Louis XIV. 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, then at war with Spain. This rebellion was driven by the great feudal lords and sovereign courts in reaction to the rise of royal power in France.

The monarchy reached its height during the 17th century and the reign of Louis XIV. By turning powerful feudal lords into courtiers in Versailles, Louis XIV's personal power became unchallenged. Remembered for his numerous wars, he made France the leading European power. At this time, France possessed the largest population in Europe (see Demographics of France) and had tremendous influence over European politics, economy, and culture. French became the most used language in diplomacy, science, literature and international affairs, until the 20th century. In addition, France obtained many overseas possessions in the Americas, Africa and Asia. However Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes, forcing thousands of Huguenots to exile.

Under Louis XV, France lost New France and most of its Indian possessions after its defeat during the Seven Years' War, which ended in 1763. However its continental territory kept growing, with notable acquisitions such as Lorraine (1766) and Corsica (1770). An unpopular king, Louis XV's weak rule, his ill-advised financial, political and military decisions and his debauchery discredited the monarchy and arguably led to the French Revolution, 15 years after his death.

Louis XVI, Louis XV's grandson, actively supported the Americans seeking independence from Great Britain (realized in the 1783 Treaty of Paris). The example of the American Revolution and the financial crisis which followed France's involvement in the war were some of the many contributing factors to the French Revolution.

Much of the Enlightenment occurred in French intellectual circles, and major scientific breakthroughs and inventions, such as the discovery of oxygen (1778) and the first hot air balloon carrying passengers (1783), were achieved by French scientists in the 18th century. Famous French explorers, such as Bougainville and Lapérouse took part in the discovering of the world through maritime expeditions around the globe. The Enlightenment philosophy, in which reason was advocated as the primary source for legitimacy and authority, undermined the absolute monarchy and prepared the French Revolution.

Monarchy to republic:

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

Napoleon I, Empereur des Français, built a Great Empire across Europe. He helped to spread the French revolutionary ideals and his legal reforms had a major influence worldwide.

While Louis XVI, as a constitutional king, enjoyed broad popularity among the population, his disastrous flight to Varennes seemed to justify the rumors that the king tied his hopes of political salvation to the dubious prospects of foreign invasion. The credibility of the king was deeply undermined and the abolition of the monarchy and the establishment of a republic became an ever increasing possibility.

As European monarchies attacked the new régime, to restore the French absolute monarchy, the Duke of Brunswick, commanding general of the Austro–Prussian Army, issued a Manifesto, in which he threatened the destruction of Paris if any harm should come to the king or his family. The foreign threat exacerbated France's political turmoil and deepened the passion and sense of urgency among the various factions. Mob violences occurred during the insurrection of the 10 August 1792 and the following month. As a result of the spike in public violence and the political instability of the constitutional monarchy, the Republic was proclaimed on 22 September 1792.

Louis XVI (and later his wife Marie Antoinette) was convicted of treason and guillotined in 1793. Facing increasing pressures from European monarchies, internal guerrilla wars and counterrevolutions (like the War in the Vendée or the Chouannerie), the young Republic fell into the Reign of Terror. Between 1793 and 1794, 16,000 to 40,000 persons were executed. In Western France, the civil war between the Bleus (the "Blues", supporters of the Revolution) and the Blancs (the "Whites", supporters of the Monarchy) last from 1793 to 1796 and cost around 450,000 lives (200,000 Patriotes and 250,000 Vendéens). Both foreign armies and French counterrevolutionnaries were crushed and the French Republic survived. Furthermore, the French Republic extended greatly its boundaries and established "Sister Republics" in the surrounding countries. As the threat of a foreign invasion receded and that France became mostly pacified, the Thermidorian reaction put an end to the Terror and to Robespierre's dictature.

After a short-lived governmental scheme, Napoleon Bonaparte seized control of the Republic in 1799 and was appointed First Consul and later Emperor of the First Empire (1804–1814/1815). As a continuation of the wars sparked by the European monarchies against the French Republic, changing sets of European Coalitions declared wars to Napoleon's French Empire. His armies conquered most of continental Europe, with members of the Bonaparte family being appointed as monarchs in some of the newly established kingdoms. These victories led to the worldwide expansion of French revolutionary ideals and reforms, such as the Metric system, the Napoleonic Code or the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. After the catastrophic Russian campaign, Napoleon was finally defeated and the Bourbon monarchy restored. About a million Frenchmen died during the Napoleonic Wars.

After his brief return from exile, Napoleon was finally defeated in 1815 at the Battle of Waterloo, the monarchy was re-established (1815–1830), but with new constitutional limitations. The discredited Bourbon dynasty was overthrown by the civil uprising of 1830, which established the constitutional July Monarchy, which lasted until 1848, when the French Second Republic was proclaimed, in the wake of the 1848 European revolutions. In 1852, Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, Napoleon I’s nephew and president of the French Republic, was proclaimed emperor of the second Empire, as Napoleon III. He multiplied French interventions abroad, especially in Crimea, in Mexico and Italy, which resulted in the annexation of Savoy and Nice. Napoleon III was eventually unseated following defeat in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870 and his regime was replaced by the Third Republic.

France had colonial possessions, in various forms, since the beginning of the 17th century to the 18th century. But in the 19th and 20th centuries, its global overseas colonial empire extended greatly and culminated as the second largest in the world behind the British Empire. At its peak, between 1919 and 1939, the second French colonial empire extended over 12,347,000 square kilometres (4,767,000 sq mi) of land. Including metropolitan France, the total area of land under French sovereignty reached 12,898,000 square kilometres (4,980,000 sq mi) in the 1920s and 1930s, which is 8.6% of the world's land area.

France was a member of the Triple Entente when World War I broke out. A small part of Northern France was occupied, but France and its allies eventually emerged victorious against the Central Powers, at a tremendous human and material cost: the first war left 1.4 million French soldiers dead. The interbellum phase was marked by intense international tensions an a variety of social reforms introduced by the Popular Front government (Annual leave, working time reduction, women in Government...). Following the German Blitzkrieg campaign in World War II, metropolitan France was divided in an occupation zone in the north and Vichy France, a newly established authoritarian regime collaborating with Germany, in the south.[63] The Allies and the French Resistance eventually emerged victorious from the Axis powers and French sovereignty was restored.

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

In the wake of a worldwide series of protests, the May 1968 revolt, although a political failure for the protesters, had an enormous social impact. In France, it is considered to be the watershed moment when a conservative moral ideal (religion, patriotism, respect for authority) shifted towards a more liberal moral ideal.

France has been at the forefront of the European Union member states seeking to exploit the momentum of monetary union to create a more unified and capable European Union political, defence, and security apparatus.

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