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France was one of the four European teams that participated in the inaugural World Cup in and, although having been eliminated in the qualification stage six times, is one of only three teams that have entered every World Cup qualifying cycle.
This was the second time they had won the tournament after winning it on home soil in Since , Argentina after the Olympics and Brazil after the Olympics are the other two national teams that have won these three titles.
The match was played at the Parc des Princes in front of supporters. Conversely, France also became the first team to not score in a match after losing 1—0 to fellow group stage opponents Argentina.
Another loss to Chile resulted in the team bowing out in the group stage. The following year saw the first selection of a black player to the national team.
Raoul Diagne , who was of Senegalese descent, earned his first cap on 15 February in a 2—1 defeat to Czechoslovakia.
Diagne later played with the team at the World Cup , alongside Larbi Benbarek , who was one of the first players of North African origin to play for the national team.
At the World Cup , France suffered elimination in the opening round, losing 3—2 to Austria. France hosted the World Cup and reached the quarter-finals, losing 3—1 to defending champions Italy.
At the World Cup , France reached the semi-finals losing to Brazil. In the third place match, France defeated West Germany 6—3 with Fontaine recording four goals, which brought his goal tally in the competition to 13, a World Cup record.
The record still stands today. France hosted the inaugural UEFA European Football Championship in and, for the second straight international tournament, reached the semi-finals.
In the round, France faced Yugoslavia and were shocked 5—4 despite being up 4—2 heading into the 75th minute. In the third-place match, France were defeated 2—0 by the Czechoslovakians.
The s and 70s saw France decline significantly playing under several managers and failing to qualify for numerous international tournaments.
The team did return to major international play following qualification for the World Cup. The team lost in the group stage portion of the tournament.
The two only lasted four matches and were replaced by former international Just Fontaine , who only lasted two. Louis Dugauguez succeeded Fontaine and, following his early struggles in qualification for the World Cup , was fired and replaced by Georges Boulogne , who could not get the team to the competition.
After two years in charge, he was sacked and replaced with Michel Hidalgo. The semi-final match-up is considered one of the greatest matches in World Cup history and was marred with controversy.
Under the leadership of Platini, who scored a tournament-high nine goals, France defeated Spain 2—0 in the final.
Platini and Bruno Bellone scored the goals. Following the Euro triumph, Hidalgo departed the team and was replaced by former international Henri Michel.
France later completed the hat-trick when they won gold at the Summer Olympics football tournament and, a year later, defeated Uruguay 2—0 to win the Artemio Franchi Trophy , an early precursor to the FIFA Confederations Cup.
In a span of a year, France were holders of three of the four major international trophies. At the World Cup , France were favorites to win the competition, and, for the second consecutive World Cup, reached the semi-finals where they faced West Germany.
Again, however, they lost. A 4—2 victory over Belgium gave France third place. Platini did lead the team to Euro and, despite going on a match unbeaten streak prior to the competition, suffered elimination in the group stage.
Under Houllier, France and its supporters experienced a heartbreaking meltdown after having qualification to the World Cup all but secured with two matches to go, which were against last place Israel and Bulgaria.
In the match against Israel, France were upset 3—2 and, in the Bulgaria match, suffered an astronomical 2—1 defeat. The subsequent blame and public outcry to the firing of Houllier and departure of several players from the national team fold.
Under Jacquet, the national team experienced its triumphant years. The team started off well reaching the semi-finals of Euro , where they lost 6—5 on penalties to the Czech Republic.
David Trezeguet scored the golden goal in extra time. The victory gave the team the distinction of being the first national team to hold both the World Cup and Euro titles since West Germany did so in , and it was also the first time that a reigning World Cup winner went on to capture the Euro.
France failed to maintain that pace in subsequent tournaments. One of the greatest shocks in World Cup history saw France condemned to a 1—0 defeat to debutantes Senegal in the opening game of the tournament.
France became the second nation to be eliminated in the first round while holding the World Cup crown, the first one being Brazil in After the , , and World Cups , Italy, Spain, and Germany were also added to this list.
A full strength team started out strongly at Euro , but they were upset in the quarter-finals by the eventual winners Greece.
Santini resigned as coach and Raymond Domenech was picked as his replacement. France struggled in the early qualifiers for the World Cup. This prompted Domenech to persuade several past members out of international retirement to help the national team qualify, which they accomplished following a convincing 4—0 win over Cyprus on the final day of qualifying.
In the World Cup final stages, France finished undefeated in the group stage portion and advanced all the way to the final defeating the likes of Spain , Brazil and Portugal en route.
France played Italy in the final and, in part down to controversial disruptions in extra time that lead to captain Zinedine Zidane being sent off, failed to find a winning goal, Italy winning 5—3 on penalties to be crowned World Cup champions.
France started its qualifying round for Euro strong and qualified for the tournament, despite two defeats to Scotland.
France bowed out during the group stage portion of the tournament after having been placed in the group of death which included Netherlands and Italy.
In the first leg, France defeated the Irish 1—0 and in the second leg procured a 1—1 draw, via controversial circumstances , to qualify for the World Cup.
In the World Cup final stages, the team continued to perform under expectations and were eliminated in the group stage, while the negative publicity the national team received during the competition led to further repercussions back in France.
Domenech, whose contract already expired, was succeeded as head coach by former international Laurent Blanc.
At Euro in Poland and Ukraine, France reached the quarter-finals, where they were beaten by eventual champions Spain. France automatically qualified as hosts for Euro A brace from Antoine Griezmann , however, helped France to win the match 2—1 and qualify for the quarter-finals , where they beat a resilient Iceland 5—2 to set up a semi-final clash against world champions and tournament co-favourites Germany.
Griezmann was named the Player of the Tournament and was also awarded the Golden Boot in addition to being named in the Team of the Tournament , alongside Dimitri Payet.
The defeat meant that France became the second nation to have lost the final on home soil, after Portugal lost the final to Greece in In FIFA World Cup qualifying , France topped their group with 23 points; winning 7 wins, drawing 2 and losing once,  although their two draws were against considerably weaker nations, drawing 0—0 with Belarus in their opening match  and against Luxembourg, failing to secure a win against the latter since , nearly years.
Following the renovation of the Parc des Princes in , which gave the stadium the largest capacity in Paris, France moved into the venue permanently.
Both matches were friendlies. Located in Saint-Denis , a Parisian suburb, the stadium has an all-seater capacity of 81, France won the match 1—0, with Zinedine Zidane scoring the lone goal.
Since that match, France has used the stadium for almost every major home game, including the World Cup final.
Prior to matches, home or away, the national team trains at the INF Clairefontaine academy in Clairefontaine-en-Yvelines. The center drew media spotlight following its usage as a base camp by the team that won the World Cup.
In the 20th and 23rd minute of an international friendly on 13 November , against Germany, three groups of terrorists attempted to detonate bomb vests, at three entrances of Stade de France, and two explosions occurred.
Play would continue, until the 94th minute, in order to keep the crowd from panicking. Consequently, the stadium was evacuated through the unaffected gates of the stadium away from the players benches.
Due to the blocked exits, spectators who could not leave the stadium had to go down to the pitch and wait until it was safer.
The current agreement was set to expire following the World Cup. On 18 December , the Federal Council of the FFF agreed to extend its exclusive broadcasting agreement with the channel.
The new deal grants the channel exclusive broadcast rights for the matches of national team, which include friendlies and international games for the next four seasons beginning in August and ending in June After France wins the second world championship in , M6 together with TF1 broadcast all international fixtures featuring France respectively until The France national team utilizes a three colour system composed of blue, white and red.
France have brandished the colors since their first official international match against Belgium in Between —, France wore a white shirt with blue stripes, white shorts, and red socks.
Beginning in , France had its shirts made by Le Coq Sportif until During the World Cup, France wore an all-white change strip in all four of its knockout matches , including the final.
The first France kit worn in a major tournament produced by Nike was the Euro strip, which was all dark blue and used gold as an accent colour.
The away shirt as worn in pre-Euro friendlies and released to the public also featured one blue sleeve and one red sleeve in reference to the "tricolore".
However, due to UEFA regulations, France was forced to wear a modified version with the sleeve colours almost desaturated in their Euro group stage game against Switzerland, which continued to be worn during World Cup qualifying.
Led by coach Michel Hidalgo , France exhibited an inspiring, elegant, skillful and technically advanced offensive style of football, which was strikingly similar to their South American counterparts.
The France national team has long reflected the ethnic diversity of the country. Already in its first decades, there were in the France national team players that were considered of non-"genuinely" French origin, being descendants of immigrants of former colonies of the French Colonial Empire or of European countries neighboring France.
The first black player to play in the national team was Raoul Diagne in During the s, the team was widely celebrated as an example of the modern multicultural French ideal.
The multiracial makeup of the team has, at times, provoked controversy. In recent years, critics on the far right of the French political spectrum have taken issue with the proportional under-representation of ethnic white Frenchmen within the team.
In , led by Ghanaian-born Marcel Desailly , the French team unanimously and publicly appealed to the French voting public to reject the presidential candidacy of Le Pen and, instead, return President Jacques Chirac to office.
In , Le Pen resumed his criticism charging that coach Raymond Domenech had selected too many black players.
The socio-ethnic divide between the public and the team reached a climax during the World Cup. Once in South Africa, the team did not manage to score a goal in their first two matches, leaving almost no chance of going through save an exceptional win over hosts South Africa.
Thereafter, the players went on strike because of what they saw as mismanagement of the Nicolas Anelka case.
Anelka had been forced to depart after a slur that leaked to the press. Players said he was misquoted, and complained of the alleged leaker from the staff, the media, and the federation.
In , France played a friendly match at the Stade de France, the site of its World Cup triumph, against Algeria. It was never resumed. In April , the French investigative website Mediapart released a story which claimed that the FFF had been attempting to secretly put in place a quota system in order to limit the number of dual-citizenship players in its national academies.
The French government also weighed in on the issue, as then President Nicolas Sarkozy was quoted as being "viscerally opposed to any form of quota", while adding "setting quotas would be the end of the Republic".
Following the investigation, Blanc was cleared of any wrongdoing. The following players have been called up for France squad within the past 12 months.
The France team won their first World Cup title in The tournament was played on home soil and France defeated Brazil 3—0 in the final match.
In , France finished as runners-up losing 5—3 on penalties to Italy. The team has also finished in third place on two occasions in and and in fourth place once in In , the team suffered an unexpected loss to Senegal and departed the tournament without scoring a goal, while in , a French team torn apart by conflict between the players and staff lost two of three matches and drew the other.
In , France advanced to the quarterfinal before losing to the eventual champion, Germany, 1—0. 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.
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 The Albigensian Crusade was launched in to eliminate the heretical Cathars in the southwestern area of modern-day France.
In the end, the Cathars were exterminated and the autonomous County of Toulouse was annexed into the crown lands of France.
Meanwhile, the royal authority became more and more assertive, centred on a hierarchically conceived society distinguishing nobility , clergy, and commoners.
Charles IV the Fair died without an heir in During the reign of Philip of Valois , the French monarchy reached the height of its medieval power.
With charismatic leaders, such as Joan of Arc and La Hire , strong French counterattacks won back English continental territories.
Like the rest of Europe, France was struck by the Black Death; half of the 17 million population of France died.
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.
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 s.
He systematically destroyed castles of defiant lords and denounced the use of private violence dueling , carrying weapons, and maintaining private army.
By the end of s, Richelieu established "the royal monopoly of force" as the doctrine. The war cost France , casualties. This rebellion was driven by the great feudal lords and sovereign courts as a reaction to the rise of royal absolute power in France.
The monarchy reached its peak during the 17th century and the reign of Louis XIV. Remembered for his numerous wars, he made France the leading European power.
France became the most populous country in Europe and had tremendous influence over European politics, economy, and culture.
French became the most-used language in diplomacy, science, literature and international affairs, and remained so until the 20th century.
Its European territory kept growing, however, with notable acquisitions such as Lorraine and Corsica Much of the Enlightenment occurred in French intellectual circles, and major scientific breakthroughs and inventions, such as the discovery of oxygen and the first hot air balloon carrying passengers , were achieved by French scientists.
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.
As it came to an impasse, the representatives of the Third Estate formed into a National Assembly , signalling the outbreak of the French Revolution.
In early August , the National Constituent Assembly abolished the privileges of the nobility such as personal serfdom and exclusive hunting rights.
Through the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen 27 August France established fundamental rights for men.
The Declaration affirms "the natural and imprescriptible rights of man" to "liberty, property, security and resistance to oppression". Freedom of speech and press were declared, and arbitrary arrests outlawed.
It called for the destruction of aristocratic privileges and proclaimed freedom and equal rights for all men, as well as access to public office based on talent rather than birth.
In November , the Assembly decided to nationalize and sell all property of the Roman Catholic Church which had been the largest landowner in the country.
In July , a Civil Constitution of the Clergy reorganised the French Catholic Church, cancelling the authority of the Church to levy taxes, et cetera.
This fueled much discontent in parts of France, which would contribute to the civil war breaking out some years later. While King Louis XVI still enjoyed popularity among the population, his disastrous flight to Varennes June seemed to justify rumours he had tied his hopes of political salvation to the prospects of foreign invasion.
His credibility was so deeply undermined that the abolition of the monarchy and establishment of a republic became an increasing possibility.
In August , 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.
A majority in the Assembly in however saw a war with Austria and Prussia as a chance to boost the popularity of the revolutionary government, and thought that France would win a war against those gathered monarchies.
On 20 April , therefore, they declared war on Austria. In early September, Parisians, infuriated by the Prussian army capturing Verdun and counter-revolutionary uprisings in the west of France, murdered between 1, and 1, prisoners by raiding the Parisian prisons.
The Assembly and the Paris city council seemed unable to stop that bloodshed. Some historians consider the civil war to have lasted until with a toll of possibly , lives.
Political disagreements and enmity in the National Convention between October and July reached unprecedented levels, leading to dozens of Convention members being sentenced to death and guillotined.
In , 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.
Napoleon Bonaparte seized control of the Republic in becoming First Consul and later Emperor of the French Empire —; His armies conquered most of continental Europe with swift victories such as the battles of Jena-Auerstadt or Austerlitz.
Members of the Bonaparte family were appointed as monarchs in some of the newly established kingdoms. After the catastrophic Russian campaign , and the ensuing uprising of European monarchies against his rule, Napoleon was defeated and the Bourbon monarchy restored.
About a million Frenchmen died during the Napoleonic Wars. The discredited Bourbon dynasty was overthrown by the July Revolution of , which established the constitutional July Monarchy.
According to historian Ben Kiernan , the French conquest and pacification of Algeria from until the early twentieth century slaughtered , Algerian people.
French losses from —51 were 92, dead in the hospital and only 3, killed in action. In general unrest led to the February Revolution and the end of the July Monarchy.
The abolition of slavery and male universal suffrage , both briefly enacted during the French Revolution were re-enacted in 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 had colonial possessions , in various forms, since the beginning of the 17th century, but in the 19th and 20th centuries, its global overseas colonial empire extended greatly and became the second largest in the world behind the British Empire.
Including metropolitan France , the total area of land under French sovereignty almost reached 13 million square kilometres in the s and s, 8.
In , state secularism was officially established. The French conquest of Morocco was one of the longest and toughest in the annals of European colonialism.
French historian Daniel Rivet puts the casualty rate among Moroccans who resisted the French occupation at , A small part of Northern France was occupied, but France and its allies emerged victorious against the Central Powers at a tremendous human and material cost.
World War I left 1. In , France was invaded and occupied by Nazi Germany. Metropolitan France was divided into a German occupation zone in the north 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.
This interim government, established by de Gaulle, aimed to continue to wage war against Germany and to purge collaborators from office.
It also made several important reforms suffrage extended to women, creation of a social security system.
The GPRF laid the groundwork for a new constitutional order that resulted in the Fourth Republic , which saw spectacular economic growth les Trente Glorieuses.
France was one of the founding members of NATO More than 40, Algerian fell victim to the shooting and strafing, from planes, and armed cars.
Between March and September , the electoral victory of the proponents of independence in Madagascar was followed by a savage repression by the French army 18,, mostly Senegalese , troops , resulting in some 90, deaths.
Estimates of the number of Vietnamese military and civilian casualties during the war of independence from France range from , dead and , wounded to half a million dead and 1 million wounded.
Only months later, France faced another anti-colonialist conflict in Algeria. Torture and illegal executions were perpetrated by both sides and 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 a coup and civil war.
Despite its military victory, France granted independence to Algerians. The war exacted a heavy human toll among the Algerian population. It resulted in some , deaths and 2,, internally displaced Algerians.
In the context of the Cold War , de Gaulle pursued a policy of "national independence" towards the Western and Eastern blocs. He restored cordial Franco-German relations in order to create a European counterweight between the American and Soviet spheres of influence.
However, he opposed any development of a supranational Europe , favouring a Europe of sovereign nations. In the wake of the series of worldwide protests of , the revolt of May had an enormous social impact.
In France, it is considered to be the watershed moment when a conservative moral ideal religion, patriotism, respect for authority shifted towards a more liberal moral ideal secularism , individualism , sexual revolution.
Although the revolt was a political failure as the Gaullist party emerged even stronger than before it announced a split between the French people and de Gaulle who resigned shortly after.
In the post-Gaullist era, France remained one of the most developed economies in the world , but faced several economic crises that resulted in high unemployment rates and increasing public debt.
In the late 20th and early 21st centuries France has been at the forefront of the development of a supranational European Union , notably by signing the Maastricht Treaty which created the European Union in , establishing the Eurozone in , and signing the Lisbon Treaty in Since the 19th century France has received many immigrants.
These have been mostly male foreign workers from European Catholic countries who generally returned home when not employed. It resulted in hundreds of thousands of Muslims especially in the larger cities living in subsidised public housing and suffering from very high unemployment rates.
They were encouraged to retain their distinctive cultures and traditions and required merely to integrate. 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.
It 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.
Metropolitan France includes various coastal islands, of which the largest is Corsica. France has several overseas regions across the world, which are organised along different:.
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.
Metropolitan France has a wide variety of topographical sets and natural landscapes. Large parts of the current territory of France were raised during several tectonic episodes like the Hercynian uplift in the Paleozoic Era, during which the Armorican Massif , the Massif Central , the Morvan , the Vosges and Ardennes ranges and the island of Corsica were formed.
These massifs delineate several sedimentary basins such as the Aquitaine basin in the southwest and the Paris basin in the north, the latter including several areas of particularly fertile ground such as the silt beds of Beauce and Brie.
The Alpine, Pyrenean and Jura mountains are much younger and have less eroded forms. The coastlines offer contrasting landscapes: Corsica lies off the Mediterranean coast.
Other water courses drain towards the Meuse and Rhine along the north-eastern borders. Corsica and a small part of the territory bordering the mediterranean basin lies in the Csa and Csb zones.
As the French metropolitan territory is relatively large, the climate is not uniform, giving rise to the following climate nuances:.
France was one of the first countries to create an environment ministry, in The parks foster ecological research programmes and public education in the natural sciences.
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.
Since France is mainly divided into 18 administrative regions: This number is used in postal codes and was formerly used on vehicle number plates.
The departments are subdivided into arrondissements , which are, in turn, subdivided into 2, cantons. 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 , 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 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 In contrast, the five overseas regions used the French franc and now use the euro. The French Republic is a unitary semi-presidential representative democratic republic with strong democratic traditions.
The executive branch itself has two leaders: Senators are chosen by an electoral college for 6-year terms originally 9-year terms , and one half of the seats are submitted to election every 3 years starting in September Since World War II, they were marginalized while French politics became characterised by two politically opposed groupings: In the presidential and legislative elections, radical centrist party En Marche!
France uses a civil legal system;  that is, 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.
Basic principles of the rule of law were laid in the Napoleonic Code which was, in turn, largely based on the royal law codified under Louis XIV.
In agreement with the principles of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, law should only prohibit actions detrimental to society.
As Guy Canivet , first president of the Court of Cassation , wrote about the management of prisons: Freedom is the rule, and its restriction is the exception; any restriction of Freedom must be provided for by Law and must follow the principles of necessity and proportionality.
That is, Law should lay out prohibitions only if they are needed, and if the inconveniences caused by this restriction do not exceed the inconveniences that the prohibition is supposed to remedy.
French law is divided into two principal areas: Private law includes, in particular, civil law and criminal law. Public law includes, in particular, administrative law and constitutional law.
However, in practical terms, French law comprises three principal areas of law: Criminal laws can only address the future and not the past criminal ex post facto laws are prohibited.
France does not recognise religious law as a motivation for the enactment of prohibitions. France has long had neither blasphemy laws nor sodomy laws the latter being abolished in Since , civil unions for homosexual couples are permitted, and since May , same-sex marriage and LGBT adoption are legal in France.
Some consider however that hate speech laws in France are too broad or severe and damage freedom of speech. Freedom of religion is constitutionally guaranteed by the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.
Nonetheless, it does recognize religious associations. The Parliament has listed many religious movements as dangerous cults since , and has banned wearing conspicuous religious symbols in schools since In , 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 is a founding member of the United Nations and serves as one of the permanent members of the UN Security Council with veto rights.
Postwar French foreign policy has been largely shaped by membership of the European Union, of which it was a founding member. Since the s , France has developed close ties with reunified Germany to become the most influential driving force of the EU.
However, since , France has maintained an " Entente cordiale " with the United Kingdom , and there has been a strengthening of links between the countries, especially militarily.
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.
In the early s, the country drew considerable criticism from other nations for its underground nuclear tests in French Polynesia. In , France was the fourth-largest in absolute terms donor of development aid in the world, behind the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany.
Together they are among the largest armed forces in the world and the largest in the EU. While the Gendarmerie is an integral part of the French armed forces gendarmes are career soldiers , and therefore under the purview of the Ministry of the Armed Forces , it is operationally attached to the Ministry of the Interior as far as its civil police duties are concerned.
The following special units are also part of the Gendarmerie: There has been no national conscription since France has a special military corps, the French Foreign Legion , founded in , which consists of foreign nationals from over countries who are willing to serve in the French Armed Forces and become French citizens after the end of their service period.
The only other countries having similar units are Spain the Spanish Foreign Legion, called Tercio , was founded in and Luxembourg foreigners can serve in the National Army provided they speak Luxembourgish.
France is a permanent member of the Security Council of the UN , and a recognised nuclear state since French nuclear deterrence, formerly known as " Force de Frappe " , relies on complete independence.
The current French nuclear force consists of four Triomphant class submarines equipped with submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
France has major military industries with one of the largest aerospace industries in the world. Other smaller parades are organised across the country.
The Government of France has run a budget deficit each year since the early s. As of [update] , French government debt levels reached 2.
France has a mixed economy that combines extensive private enterprise   with substantial state enterprise and government intervention.
The government retains considerable influence over key segments of infrastructure sectors, with majority ownership of railway, electricity, aircraft, nuclear power and telecommunications.
Financial services, banking and the insurance sector are an important part of the economy. Three largest financial institutions cooperatively owned by their customers are located in France.
France is a member of the Eurozone around million consumers which is part of the European Single Market more than million consumers. Several domestic commercial policies are determined by agreements among European Union EU members and by EU legislation.
France introduced the common European currency, the Euro in French companies have maintained key positions in the insurance and banking industries: France has historically been a large producer of agricultural products.
Wheat, poultry, dairy, beef, and pork, as well as internationally recognised processed foods are the primary French agricultural exports.
It is third in income from tourism due to shorter duration of visits. With more than 10 millions tourists a year, the French Riviera French: With 6 millions tourists a year, the castles of the Loire Valley French: The " Remarkable Gardens " label is a list of the over gardens classified by the French Ministry of Culture.
This label is intended to protect and promote remarkable gardens and parks. France attracts many religious pilgrims on their way to St.
France is the smallest emitter of carbon dioxide among the G8 , due to its heavy investment in nuclear power. Rail connections exist to all other neighbouring countries in Europe, except Andorra.
French roads also handle substantial international traffic, connecting with cities in neighbouring Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Andorra and Monaco.
There is no annual registration fee or road tax ; however, usage of the mostly privately owned motorways is through tolls except in the vicinity of large communes.
There are airports in France. Air France is the national carrier airline, although numerous private airline companies provide domestic and international travel services.
There are ten major ports in France, the largest of which is in Marseille ,  which also is the largest bordering the Mediterranean Sea.
Since the Middle Ages , France has been a major contributor to scientific and technological achievement. They were both key figures of the Scientific revolution , which blossomed in Europe during this period.
It was at the forefront of scientific developments in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. It is one of the earliest academies of sciences.
Other eminent French scientists of the 19th century have their names inscribed on the Eiffel Tower. Hand transplantation was developed on 23 September 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 was the fourth country to achieve nuclear capability  and has the third largest nuclear weapons arsenal in the world.
The TGV has been the fastest wheeled train in commercial use since reaching a speed of As of [update] , 69 French people have been awarded a Nobel Prize  and 12 have received the Fields Medal.
With an estimated total population of France is also second most populous country in the European Union after Germany. France is an outlier among developed countries in general, and European countries in particular, in having a fairly high rate of natural population growth: This was the highest rate since the end of the baby boom in , and coincides with the rise of the total fertility rate from a nadir of 1.
As of January [update] the fertility rate was 1. Large-scale immigration over the last century and a half has led to a more multicultural society.
A law originating from the revolution and reaffirmed in the French Constitution makes it illegal for the French state to collect data on ethnicity and ancestry.
There are also sizeable minorities of other European ethnic groups , namely Spanish , Portuguese , Polish , and Greek. France has a significant Gypsy Gitan population, numbering between 20, and , France remains a major destination for immigrants, accepting about , legal immigrants annually.
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 is a highly urbanized country, with its largest cities in terms of metropolitan area population in  being Paris 12,, inh.
There are significant differences between the metropolitan population figures just cited and those in the following table, which only include the core population.
Rural flight was a perennial political issue throughout most of the 20th century. According to Article 2 of the Constitution, the official language of France is French,  a Romance language derived from Latin.
The French government does not regulate the choice of language in publications by individuals but the use of French is required by law in commercial and workplace communications.
In addition to mandating the use of French in the territory of the Republic, the French government tries to promote French in the European Union and globally through institutions such as La Francophonie.
The perceived threat from anglicisation has prompted efforts to safeguard the position of the French language in France.
Besides French, there exist 77 vernacular minority languages of France, eight spoken in French metropolitan territory and 69 in the French overseas territories.
From the 17th to the midth 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.
For most of the time in which French served as an international lingua franca, it was not the native language of most Frenchmen: French is the second most studied foreign language in the world after English,  and is a lingua franca in some regions, notably in Africa.
The legacy of French as a living language outside Europe is mixed: On the other hand, many former French colonies have adopted French as an official language, and the total number of French speakers is increasing, especially in Africa.
It is estimated that between million  and million  people worldwide can speak French, either as a mother tongue or a second language. According to the 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, persons, French was the first mother tongue of People who had other languages as their mother tongue made up the 5.
Religion in France . France is a secular country, and freedom of religion is a constitutional right.
Catholicism has been the predominant religion in France for more than a millennium, though it is not as actively practised today as it was.
In some cases clergy and churches were attacked, with iconoclasm stripping the churches of statues and ornament. It recognises religious organisations according to formal legal criteria that do not address religious doctrine.
Conversely, religious organisations are expected to refrain from intervening in policy-making. Secte is considered a pejorative term in France.
The French health care system is one of universal health care largely financed by government national health insurance.
In its assessment of world health care systems, the World Health Organization found that France provided the "close to best overall health care" in the world.
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.
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.
Rates of childhood obesity are slowing in France, while continuing to grow in other countries. Nowadays, the schooling system in France is centralised, and is composed of three stages, primary education, secondary education, and higher education.
In France, education is compulsory from six to sixteen years old, and the public school is secular and free. While training and remuneration of teachers and the curriculum are the responsibility of the state centrally, the management of primary and secondary schools is overseen by local authorities.
Nursery school aims to stimulate the minds of very young children and promote their socialisation and development of a basic grasp of language and number.
Around the age of six, children transfer to elementary school, whose primary objectives are learning about writing, arithmetic and citizenship. Secondary education also consists of two phases.
France has been a centre of Western cultural development for centuries. Many French artists have been among the most renowned of their time, and France is still recognised in the world for its rich cultural tradition.
The successive political regimes have always promoted artistic creation, and the creation of the Ministry of Culture in helped preserve the cultural heritage of the country and make it available to the public.
The Ministry of Culture has been very active since its creation, granting subsidies to artists, promoting French culture in the world, supporting festivals and cultural events, protecting historical monuments.
The French government also succeeded in maintaining a cultural exception to defend audiovisual products made in the country. France receives the highest number of tourists per year, largely thanks to the numerous cultural establishments and historical buildings implanted all over the territory.
The 43, buildings protected as historical monuments include mainly residences many castles and religious buildings cathedrals , basilicas , churches , but also statutes, memorials and gardens.
The origins of French art were very much influenced by Flemish art and by Italian art at the time of the Renaissance.
Jean Fouquet , the most famous medieval French painter, is said to have been the first to travel to Italy and experience the Early Renaissance at first hand.
The Renaissance painting School of Fontainebleau was directly inspired by Italian painters such as Primaticcio and Rosso Fiorentino , who both worked in France.
The 17th century was the period when French painting became prominent and individualised itself through classicism. Many museums in France are entirely or partly devoted to sculptures and painting works.
During the Middle Ages, many fortified castles were built by feudal nobles to mark their powers. During this era, France had been using Romanesque architecture like most of Western Europe.
Some of the greatest examples of Romanesque churches in France are the Saint Sernin Basilica in Toulouse , the largest romanesque church in Europe,  and the remains of the Cluniac Abbey.
The kings were crowned in another important Gothic church: Following the renaissance and the end of the Middle Ages, Baroque architecture replaced the traditional Gothic style.
However, in France, baroque architecture found a greater success in the secular domain than in a religious one. 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.
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.
After the Revolution, the Republicans favoured Neoclassicism although neoclassicism was introduced in France prior to the revolution with such building as the Parisian Pantheon or the Capitole de Toulouse.
Under Napoleon III , a new wave of urbanism and architecture was given birth; extravagant buildings such as the neo-baroque Palais Garnier were built.
The architecture associated to this era is named Second Empire in English, the term being taken from the Second French Empire.
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.
More recently, French architects have combined both modern and old architectural styles. The Louvre Pyramid is an example of modern architecture added to an older building.
The most difficult buildings to integrate within French cities are skyscrapers, as they are visible from afar.
For instance, in Paris, since , new buildings had to be under 37 meters feet. The earliest French literature dates from the Middle Ages , when what is now known as modern France did not have a single, uniform language.
There were several languages and dialects and writers used their own spelling and grammar. 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.
Michel de Montaigne was the other major figure of the French literature during that century. His most famous work, Essais , created the literary genre of the essay.
Generations of French pupils had to learn his fables, that were seen as helping teaching wisdom and common sense to the young people. French literature and poetry flourished even more in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The 19th century saw the writings of many renowned French authors. Victor Hugo is sometimes seen as "the greatest French writer of all times"  for excelling in all literary genres.
The preface of his play Cromwell is considered to be the manifesto of the Romantic movement. The Prix Goncourt is a French literary prize first awarded in Medieval philosophy was dominated by Scholasticism until the emergence of Humanism in the Renaissance.
Descartes revitalised Western philosophy , which had been declined after the Greek and Roman eras. French philosophers produced some of the most important political works of the Age of Enlightenment.
In The Spirit of the Laws , Baron de Montesquieu theorised the principle of separation of powers , which has been implemented in all liberal democracies since it was first applied in the United States.
Voltaire came to embody the Enlightenment with his defence of civil liberties, such as the right to a free trial and freedom of religion.
France has a long and varied musical history. It experienced a golden age in the 17th century thanks to Louis XIV, who employed a number of talented musicians and composers in the royal court.
After the death of the "Roi Soleil", French musical creation lost dynamism, but in the next century the music of Jean-Philippe Rameau reached some prestige, and today he is still one of the most renowned French composers.
Rameau became the dominant composer of French opera and the leading French composer for the harpsichord. 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.
Romantic music emphasised a surrender to nature, a fascination with the past and the supernatural, the exploration of unusual, strange and surprising sounds, and a focus on national identity.
This period was also a golden age for operas. French composers from the Romantic era included: Later came precursors of modern classical music.
Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy are the most prominent figures associated with Impressionist music. Debussy was among the most influential composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and his use of non-traditional scales and chromaticism influenced many composers who followed.
The two composers invented new musical forms     and new sounds. More recently, the middle of the 20th century, Maurice Ohana , Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Boulez contributed to the evolutions of contemporary classical music.
French music then followed the rapid emergence of pop and rock music at the middle of the 20th century. In the s and s decade , electronic duos Daft Punk , Justice and Air also reached worldwide popularity and contributed to the reputation of modern electronic music in the world.
Among current musical events and institutions in France, many are dedicated to classical music and operas. It is noted for having a strong film industry, due in part to protections afforded by the French government.
France remains a leader in filmmaking, as of [update] producing more films than any other European country. Apart from its strong and innovative film tradition, France has also been a gathering spot for artists from across Europe and the world.
For this reason, French cinema is sometimes intertwined with the cinema of foreign nations. 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.
Until recently, France had for centuries been the cultural center of the world,  although its dominant position has been surpassed by the United States.
Subsequently, France takes steps in protecting and promoting its culture, becoming a leading advocate of the cultural exception. S and Israel, voted against it.
Fashion has been an important industry and cultural export of France since the 17th century, and modern "haute couture" originated in Paris in the s.
The expression Haute couture is, in France, a legally protected name, guaranteeing certain quality standards. The association of France with fashion and style French: But France renewed its dominance of the high fashion French: The French perfume industry is world leader in its sector and is centered on the town of Grasse.
The s saw a conglomeration of many French couture houses under luxury giants and multinationals such as LVMH. Like in most industrialised nations, the print media have been affected by a severe crisis in the past decade.
In , the government launched a major initiative to help the sector reform and become financially independent,   but in it had to give , euros to help the print media cope with the economic crisis , in addition to existing subsidies.
In , 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.
It was only in that the government allowed free broadcasting in the territory, ending state monopoly on radio. In , the government created global news channel France According to a poll in , 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.
In addition, Bastille Day , the national holiday, commemorates the storming of the Bastille on 14 July A common and traditional symbol of the French people is the Gallic rooster.
Its origins date back to Antiquity, since the Latin word Gallus meant both " rooster " and "inhabitant of Gaul". Then this figure gradually became the most widely shared representation of the French, used by French monarchs, then by the Revolution and under the successive republican regimes as representation of the national identity, used for some stamps and coins.
French cuisine is renowned for being one of the finest in the world. There are more than different varieties. The plat principal could include a pot au feu or steak frites.
French cuisine is also regarded as a key element of the quality of life and the attractiveness of France.
By , the Michelin Guide had awarded 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 , Japan was awarded as many Michelin stars as France, despite having half the number of Michelin inspectors working there.
In addition to its wine tradition, France is also a major producer of beer and rum. Since , France hosts the annual Tour de France , the most famous road bicycle race in the world.
French martial arts include Savate and Fencing. Football is the most popular sport in France, with over 1,, registered players, and over 18, registered clubs.
The top national football club competition is Ligue 1. It is the premier clay court tennis championship event in the world and the second of four annual Grand Slam tournaments.
Rugby union is popular, particularly in Paris and the southwest of France. Stemming from a strong domestic league , the French rugby team has won 16 Six Nations Championships, including 8 grand slams ; and has reached the semi-final of the Rugby World Cup 6 times, going on to the final 3 times.
Rugby league in France is mostly played and followed in the South of France, in cities such as Perpignan and Toulouse. The Elite One Championship is the professional competition for rugby league clubs in France.
In recent decades, France has produced world-elite basketball players, most notably Tony Parker. The national team has won two Olympic Silver Medals: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories. Great Seal of France. Show map of Europe. Source gives area of metropolitan France as , km2 , sq mi and lists overseas regions separately, whose areas sum to 89, km 2 34, sq mi.
Adding these give the total shown here for the entire French Republic. The CIA reports the total as , km2 , sq mi. Gaul , Celts , and Roman Gaul.
Francia , Merovingian dynasty , and Carolingian dynasty. List of French monarchs and France in the Middle Ages.
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