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France Overview

During the nineteenth century, the French had colonized a large number of countries. These became independent nations after the second world war. France is one of the five permanent member countries of the United Nations Security Council. Along with Germany, France is the main leader of the European Union. France is the largest Western European nation.

France is a developed nation with the fifth largest economy in the World. France is the third most populous country of Europe, after Russia and Germany France was also the world's top destination for asylum-seekers in 2004.

Personalities | Tourist Spots | France States | Links

NameFrance Population60,656,178
CapitalParis CurrencyFranc
Area547,030 sq km per capita GDP$28,700
ContinentEurope Life Expectancy79.6 years
Head of statePresident Jacques CHIRAC Official Language(s)French

French Personalities

Napoleon Bonaparte is one of the most ambitious and powerful kings in the history of Europe. Napoleon Bonaparte seized control of France in 1799. His armies engaged in several wars across Europe, conquered many countries and established new kingdoms with Napoleon's family members at the helm. Napoleon was however defeated in 1815.


Abbé Pierre is France’s most renowned social activist. Abbé Pierre devoted his entire life to the poor and became famous in the early 1950s by launching a huge campaign to find shelter for the thousands of homeless people in post-war France. He founded the Compagnons d'Emmaüs, an association which gives a job (collecting abandoned furniture and clothes) and a place to sleep to the poorest. Abbé Pierre was awarded a higher order of the Legion of Honor in 2001.

Alexandre Dumas is one of the most famous French authors of the nineteenth century. Dumas is known for his adventure classics - "The Three Musketeers" and "The Count of Monte Cristo". Although France has produced many great writers, none has been as widely read as Alexandre Dumas. His stories have been translated into almost a hundred languages, and have inspired more than 200 motion pictures.

Victor Hugo was a poet, novelist, and dramatist and the most important French Romantic writer of the 19th Century. Victor Hugo is remembered for classics like "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and "Les Miserables".

Zinedine Zidane is a French soccer icon. Zidane is best known as the man who scored the winning goal for France in the World Cup in 1998. In 2000, Zidane led France to a second major championship, winning Euro 2000. Zidane has been elected three times as FIFA World Player of the Year (1998, 2000, 2003).

Louis Braille invented the system of raised dots which form letters for the visually impaired to read. Today Braile has been adapted to almost every known language, and is used in most of the countries.

Joan of Arc was born in 1412, as a village girl, daughter of a farmer. Joan of Arc is a national heroine of France and a Saint of the Catholic Church. Citing a mandate from God to drive the English out of France, she met King Charles VII. She was granted command of an army which defeated an English army at Patay on June 18.

Charles de Gaulle was a French military leader and statesman. Général de Gaulle was the leader of Free France in World War II and head of the provisional government in 1944–1946. In 1958, he formed a Government that inspired a new constitution. Gaule was the president from 1958 to 1969.

Gustave Eiffel designed the famous Eiffel Tower for the World Fair in 1889. At the time, the Eiffel Tower was the tallest structure in the world. In the first year, 1889, two million visitors each paid five francs each to climb to the top. Eiffel also created the design for Statue of Liberty.

Louis Pasteur is considered one of the greatest scientists of all times. He developed the process of pasteurization, a method of killing the microbes in milk products. In 1885, Pasteur discovered the first successful vaccine for human use. Pasteur developed successful vaccine to prevent anthrax and Rabies Pasteur's work became the foundation for the science of microbiology, and a cornerstone of modern medicine.

Marie and Pierre Curie were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, 1903 for their researches on the radiation phenomena. Marie discovered the mysterious element radium. It opened the door to deep changes in the way scientists think about matter and energy. She also led the way to a new era for medical knowledge and the treatment of diseases. She was the first person to win or share two Nobel Prizes. Her elder daughter, Irène Joliot-Curie, won a Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1935. In 1995, Madame Curie was the first woman laid to rest under the famous dome of The Panthéon in Paris on her own merits.

Tourist spots in France

Paris is the world capital of art and culture. It gathers some of the most famous museums and monuments in the world. Some of the best are - The Louvre and the Musée d'Orsay. Paris is also well known for its famous monuments - the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame cathedral, the Arc de Triomphe and the Grande Arche de la Défense.

Louvre Museum (Musée du Louvre) is one of the largest and most famous museums in the world. Among the thousands of priceless paintings at Louvre is the Mona Lisa, perhaps the most famous painting in the world.

Musée d'Orsay is a famous French museum situated on the left bank of the River Seine. It holds mainly French art from 1848 to 1914.

Eiffel Tower is one of the most popular tourist spots in the World. It gets 6 million visitors a year. The Eiffel Tower is the monument that best symbolizes Europe.

Notre-Dame cathedral is the Paris Catholic cathedral since the Middle Ages. Maurice de Sully, the Paris bishop at the time, started its construction in 1163.

Arc de Triomphe is a monument in Paris. The monument stands over 50 meters (165 feet) in height and is 45 meters wide. It is the second largest triumphal arch in existence.

French States

Given below is the list of French regions their area, and their population.

Click on the title to sort.

RegionCapitalAreaPopulation
AlsaceStrasbourg 82801793000
AquitaineBordeaux 413093049000
AuvergneClermont-Ferrand 260131327000
Lower NormandyCaen 175891443000
BurgundyDijon 315821616000
BrittanyRennes 272093011000
CentreOrléans 391512480000
Champagne-ArdenneChâlons-en-Champagne 256061330000
CorsicaAjaccio 8680272000
Franche-ComtéBesançon 162021133000
Upper NormandyRouen 123181805000
Île-de-FranceParis 1201111264000
Languedoc-RoussillonMontpellier 273762458000
LimousinLimoges 16942712000
LorraineToulouse 235472329000
Midi-PyrénéesToulouse 453482687000
Nord-Pas-de-CalaisLille 124144026000
Pays de la LoireNantes 320823344000
PicardyAmiens 193991875000
Poitou-CharentesPoitiers 258091687000
Provence-Alpes-Côte d’AzurMarseille 314004666000
Rhône-AlpesLyon 436985893000

CIA Fact book - the France page provides most authentic information about the people, geography, government and economy of France.
FranceGuide is the official site of French Government Tourist office.
Le Monde is a popular French NewsPaper.

Wikipedia's France page has an overview of French culture, history and economics.
Air France - official site of France's national carrier.
Tour de France - official site of cycle sports top event.

AFP is one of the Worlds three largest news agencies.


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