The French have been known to be vibrant and true connoisseurs of art. It is the first tourist destination of the world. France is officially known as the French Republic. Its chief territory is located in Western Europe. It has other islands and territories in separate continents. The area in the Western Europe is termed as the metropolitan France, commonly referred to as the 'Hexagon', due to its hexagonal shape. Metropolitan France comprises territories from the Mediterranean Sea to the North Sea, via the English Channel. Metropolitan France also extends from the Rhine to the Atlantic Sea. The French Republic comprises about 220,000 square miles.
Facts About France
★ The Republic of France is surrounded by Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium, Italy, Monaco, Spain and Andorra. France shares its borders with Surinam, Brazil and the Netherlands Antilles due to the overseas departments.
★ The capital of France is Paris. Other famous cities in France are Lyon, Toulouse, Nice, Rennes, Lille, Marseille and Bordeaux. The name for the world-famous wine, 'Bordeaux' has been taken after this city. Bordeaux has many wine regions.
★ Wine has been made in France since the Roman times. France is famous for producing a wide range of wines from different grape varieties. The world's most famous liqueurs, such as Bénédictine, Chartreuse, Grand Marnier, Triple Sec, Cognac, Armagnac, Crème de Cassis, Pastis, are produced in France.
★ France was the first country to adopt the International System of Units.
★ France is the sixth largest economy in the world and is a developed country. It is the sixth largest importer and the fifth largest exporter of manufactured goods. France is also the second largest receiver of foreign direct investments as compared to other countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). France is the leader of the G7 countries in terms of productivity.
★ France is also a member of the WTO, United Nations, Secretariat of the Pacific Community and the Indian Ocean Commission. France is a partial member of the NATO and an associate member of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS). The headquarters of UNESCO, OECD, Interpol and the International Bureau of Weights and Measures are housed in France.
★ France uses the civil legal system. The rules of law were laid in Napoleonic code. The Law in France can be mainly divided in two areas, public law and private law. Private law mainly deals with criminal and civil law, whereas public law deals with constitutional and administrative law. French laws do not recognize blasphemy laws.
★ The military of France is divided into four departments, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force and the Military Police. France has at least 359,000 military personnel. France spends almost 2.5 percent of its GDP on defense. Most of French military instruments are made in France, notably the Charles De Gaulle aircraft carrier, the Exocet missile and the Rafale fighter.
★ Gothic Art as well as Baroque architecture is said to have been born in France. The earlier name for Gothic art was French Art. France is therefore home to many world-famous and prestigious Gothic art in basilicas and cathedrals.
★ French literature is very rich and widely known. French poetry and literature blossomed during the eighteenth and twentieth century. Charles Perrault was an acclaimed French writer who wrote many popular books like 'Cinderalla', 'Sleeping Beauty' and 'Bluebeard'.
★ Other important contributions by France to the world of literature and heritage are 'The Three Musketeers', 'The Count of Monte Cristo', 'The Hunchback of Notre dame' and 'Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea'. 'The Phantom of the Opera', written by the French author Gaston Leroux during the twentieth century is considered to be one of the most famous pieces of French literature in modern times. Today, the Prix Goncourt is the most important award in French literature.
★ Sport plays an important role in France with football and rugby union being the most-watched sports in the country.
★ The annual sports events held in France are the Tour de France, which is the best known bicycle race in the world and the French Open, the most prestigious tennis tournament held over two weeks between late May and early June in Paris, France, at the Stade Roland Garros.
★ The Eiffel Tower is France's most iconic symbol and one of the tallest structures in Paris, France. It is also the most visited monument in the world. Besides, the Louvre, the Cathedral of Notre Dame, the Latin Quarter, Montmartre and the Georges Pompidou Center are the major attractions in Paris.
★ The Notre Dame Cathedral is a Gothic Roman Catholic Cathedral in Paris. It is one of the finest examples of the Gothic architecture.
★ The French are known for their fine cuisine. Breads, charcuterie items and desserts form a part of the French food.
★ The Bastille Day is the French National Day, which is celebrated on the 14th of July every year and is a national holiday in France.
As mentioned, France is a popular tourist destination. Its comfortable climate, beautiful countryside and a rich culture with food and wines are loved by people from all over the world.