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About France

About France

France is about 80% the size of Texas. In the Alps near the Italian and Swiss borders is western Europe\'s highest point—Mont Blanc (15,781 ft; 4,810 m). The forest-covered Vosges Mountains are in the northeast, and the Pyrénées are along the Spanish border. Except for extreme northern France, the country may be described as four river basins and a plateau. Three of the streams flow west—the Seine into the English Channel, the Loire into the Atlantic, and the Garonne into the Bay of Biscay. The Rhône flows south into the Mediterranean. For about 100 mi (161 km), the Rhine is France\'s eastern border. In the Mediterranean, about 115 mi (185 km) east-southeast of Nice, is the island of Corsica (3,367 sq mi; 8,721 sq km).
Archeological excavations indicate that France has been continuously settled since Paleolithic times. The Celts, who were later called Gauls by the Romans, migrated from the Rhine valley into what is now France. In about 600 B.C. , Greeks and Phoenicians established settlements along the Mediterranean, most notably at Marseille. Julius Caesar conquered part of Gaul in 57–52 B.C. , and it remained Roman until Franks invaded in the 5th century A.D.
The Treaty of Verdun (843) divided the territories corresponding roughly to France, Germany, and Italy among the three grandsons of Charlemagne. Charles the Bald inherited Francia Occidentalis, which became an increasingly feudalized kingdom. By 987, the crown passed to Hugh Capet, a princeling who controlled only the Ile-de-France, the region surrounding Paris. For 350 years, an unbroken Capetian line added to its domain and consolidated royal authority until the accession in 1328 of Philip VI, first of the Valois line. France was then the most powerful nation in Europe, with a population of 15 million.
The average temperatures in France can be quite different from city to city, with Northern French cities and mountain areas much colder than the Southern France cities along the Mediterranean. Here are the average temperatures throughout France, showing which cities are warmest or coldest. 
Also keep in mind these are 24-hour averages, so these are not the typical daytime temperatures. These are a mean average taking into account both the nighttime lows and the daytimes highs.


French Education System - Schools in France
The French education system: one of the best in the world
France is renowned for having one of the world\'s best education systems, which most people attribute to the high standards expected, the rigorous teaching methods and the discipline instilled in the children. For some people hoping to live abroad in the long-term, their children\'s ability to integrate successfully into French life and French school life in particular, is one of the deciding factors. The good news is that there are lots of options available so parents can choose the one that they feel will work best for their child. A child that has grown up in another country is likely not only to become bilingual but also have advanced personal skills for his or her age at every stage. It is important to remember these significant long-term advantages whilst coping with the short-term traumas that moving your family abroad will inevitably entail.

Culture                      

The culture of France and of the French people has been shaped by geography, by profound historical events, and by foreign and internal forces and groups. France, and in particular Paris, has played an important role as a center of high culture and ofdecorative arts since the 17th century, first in Europe, and from the 19th century on, world wide. From the late 19th century, France has also played an important role incinemafashion and cuisine. The importance of French culture has waxed and waned over the centuries, depending on its economic, political and military importance. French culture today is marked both by great regional and socioeconomic differences and by strong unifying tendencies.

Population

Population: 65,312,249 (July 2011 est.) 
note: the above figure is for metropolitan France and five overseas regions; the metropolitan France population is 62,814,233
65,350,000 in Jan 2012 (mainland France plus 4 oversea departments) 

(updated Jan. 18, 2012) 

According to government estimates, on Jan 1, 2012: 

63,500,000 people live in mainland France; 
1,850,000 people live in oversea departments (not including Mayotte) 
These two figures are usually added to get the overall, standard figure of the French population (65,350,000). However, that does not take into account the further 850,000 people living in oversea territories (smaller lands of different status). The total population of France is then numbered at 66,200,000 people. 



These people are not all French; in 2007, 5.9 million foreign born-immigrants lived in France, but about 2,000,000 French nationals lived abroad. 
figures for the previous years: 

2009 - 64,304,500 
2008 - 64,057,790 
2007 - 63,713,926 
2006 - 60,876,136 
2005 - 60,656,178 
2004 - 60,424,213 
2003 - 60,180,529 
2002 - 59,765,983 
2001 - 59,551,227 
2000 - 59,329,691

Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_population_of_France#ixzz20OPUudf9

Climate

Four climactic types prevail in France. A true temperate maritime climate is found in the west, near the coasts, and is exemplified at BREST, where winters are mild (7 deg C/45 deg F in January), summers are cool (16 deg C/61 deg F in July), and rainfall is frequent (800 mm/32 in) during 180 days of the year. A mid-latitude continental climate prevails in the interior of the country, with hotter summers \"Sun(average July temperature of 18 deg C/64 deg F in PARIS) and more rigorous winters (average January temperature of 2 deg C/36 deg F in Paris), and rain falls on fewer days of the year.
A mountain climate prevails at high elevations, where temperatures are influenced mainly by altitude, and winters are generally bitterly cold and prolonged. Precipitation increases with elevation and occurs in the form of snow in winter, many villages in the high valleys receiving more than 50 days of snow each year. Briancon, in the Alps, has a mean temperature of -2 deg C (28 deg F) in January, and 17 deg C (63 deg F) in July; annual precipitation averages 587 mm (23 in). A Mediterranean type of climate is found in a zone about 20 to 60 km (12 to 35 mi) wide along the Mediterranean coast. It is characterized by hot, dry summers, mild and humid winters, and a small number of rainy days during the year. In MARSEILLE, 550 mm (22 in) of rain falls during 60 days of the year, and the sun shines for more than 3,000 hours each year. The average temperature is 7 deg C (45 deg F) in January and 23 deg C (73 deg F) in July.

Geography

The French often refer to their nation as a hexagon to describe its six-sided shape, and this term is also a symbol for the country. Metropolitan France has an area of over 200,000 square miles (518,000 square kilometers), making it the largest Western European nation. It covers 5 percent of the European continent. Paris is the capital and cultural center, long dominating the rest of the nation. The older provinces, now reconfigured in what are officially called regions, have played an important role in the nation\'s history. There are currently twenty-two regions. The French Republic includes four overseas departments ( départements d\' outre-mer DOMs): French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Réunion. These DOMs operate primarily as departments within the national system. There are two territorial collectives: Mayotte and Saint Pierre-et-Miquelon. Overseas territories ( territoires d\'outre-mer ) include French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Wallis, and Futuna.
France borders Andorra, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Spain, and Switzerland. While tied to the mainland of Europe, the country is open to the Atlantic to the west. It also has coasts on the Mediterranean Sea to the south and the English Channel to the north. France has a large range of terrain and a varied climate and geography. The major mountain ranges are the Alps in the east and the Pyrenees in the southwest. Each forms a natural boundary with other nations. The Massif Central is a large mountainous plateau in the central area, which includes the ancient volcanoes of the Auvergne region. While most of the country is in a temperate zone, the Mediterranean area is considered to have a subtropical climate. The four main rivers are the Seine, the Loire, the Garonne, and the Rhône. The winds that sweep across the territory have regional names and are connected to regional identity, the most famous being le Mistral in the Rhône valley.


Read more: Culture of France - history, people, clothing, traditions, women, beliefs, food, customs, family http://www.everyculture.com/Cr-Ga/France.html#b#ixzz20OLfyT00History and History 
 The emergence of the modern nation took place over several centuries and resulted from a combination of the cultural influences of Gauls, Romans, and Franks. France was inhabited mainly by the Gauls, a Celtic-language group, when the Roman conquest of the territory began in the first century B.C.E. : The Gallo-Roman period ended when the Frankish peoples began to enter the territory from the Germanic east during the fifth century, led by Clovis.
The term \"France\" comes from the Franks and has had three historical meanings. It referred to the area around Paris; the Île-de-France region, which was originally a duchy; and the area known as the kingdom of France, ruled by Hugh Capet and his descendants. The Treaty of Verdun in 843 established the kingdom of \"Western Francia\" when land was divided between the heirs of Charlemagne\'s son, Louis the Pious. The medieval period was one of political fragmentation even as the state administrative bureaucracy grew. The Church supported the various monarchs, who claimed divine rule. After a long series of wars, France achieved political unity in the sixteenth century under Louis XIV. French became the official language, replacing Latin in official documents, in 1539. The revolution of 1789 established the First Republic and abolished the monarchy. Attempts to form the First and Second Empires by Napoleon and his nephew eventually were over-turned by the Third Republic (1870–1940). This period involved a heightened sense of national identity, with a return to the republican values of the revolution. It was also a period of heightened colonial expansion into Africa and Asia. During World War II, with the German occupation and the Vichy regime under Pétain, there was a crisis of national identity and a move toward rejection of the ideals of the revolution. A Fourth Republic was reconstituted after liberation at the end of the war, and this led to the current Fifth Republic, whose first president was Charles de Gaulle, elected in 1958.