France Map

Explore the map of France, officially known as the French Republic and located in Western Europe. France is a very popular destination among travelers from around the world for its scenic beauty, fashion hubs, and cuisines. Paris, the capital of France, has a wide range of attractions including the iconic Eiffel Tower.
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France Map

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Humans have been living in France for an estimated 1.8 million years. There are many cave drawings in France left from the Paleolithic era. The first colony in France was founded by Greeks in 600 BC in the modern city Marseille, then known as Massalia.

The spread of Gallic Celtic tribes in France occurred between the fifth and third century BC, when the borders of modern-day France were mostly defined. This territory was known as Gaul, the Gauls had continued conflict with the Romans until the Romans took over southern Gaul (Provence) in 125 BC.

The Franks, a Germanic pagan tribe that gave France its name, settled in Gaul and took it over, dividing the region into four regions for the sons of Frankish King Clovis I. These kingdoms were later reunited by Charlemagne (Charles the Great).

France played a major role during the Crusades from 1095 and 1291.

From 1337 to 1453, the Hundred Years' War was fought between France and England. Between the years 1648 and 1653, France witnessed a series of civil wars. Known as Fronde, these civil wars were fought in the midst of the France Spanish War, which began in 1635 and lasted till 1659.

During the period of European exploration, France established colonies in the New World. The Seven Years War (1756-1763) in the New World resulted in the loss of the New France territories to Britain, under the rule of Louis XV. As a result, France was a major ally of American colonists seeking independence from Britain during the American Revolution, leading to the 1783 Treaty of Paris.

The French Revolution took place from around 1789 to 1799, culminating in the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789; which ended France's absolute monarchy and replaced it with a constitutional monarchy. The French Revolutionary wars began in 1792, the same year France became a republic. King Louis XVI was executed in 1793 for treason, as was his wife Marie Antoinette.

Napoleon Bonaparte took over the Republic in 1799, eventually becoming Emperor. The French empire began conquering Europe, led by Napoleon; until his defeat in 1815.

During the nineteenth century, France became the second largest colonial power of all time, with colonies in North America, Southeast Asia, North, West and Central Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Islands. Many of these colonies are still part of the Republic of France. France was an integral part in both World War I and World War II and was a founding member of NATO in 1949.

France is the largest country in western Europe, bordering Belgium, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Spain, Monaco, and Andorra. The major bodies of water around France are the Mediterranean Sea, English Channel, North Sea, Atlantic Ocean, and the Rhine River. Other major geographic features of France are the Alps, the Pyrenees Mountains, and the Massif Central.

France's other five territories are considered part of the Republic of France and vary in geographical primarily featuring islands.

Because France takes up a large area, the climate varies from one place to another. Areas closer to the Mediterranean have a Mediterranean climate, while the inland climate is a typical continental climate, and the Alps have much more extreme temperatures.

France has been under the Fifth Republic's constitution since September 28, 1958. The government is headed by a President, who is elected by the people and the Prime Minister, who is appointed by the President. France has a parliament with a National Assembly and a Senate.

France is divided into twenty-seven regions, which are further divided into 101 departments, then further into arrondissements (341), cantons and finally communes or municipalities. Paris, Lyon and Marseille are three of the major communes in France and these communes are divided into municipal arrondissements.

Five departments of France are overseas, away from the main or metropolitan part of France. These five departments are French Guiana, Guadaloupe, Martinique, Mayotte and Réunion are treated similarly to the departments of metropolitan France. France also has other overseas territories like French Polynesia that are considered collectivities.

Travel to France
Paris, Alsace and Lorraine, Normandy, Brittany, the Loire, Burgundy, the Pyrenees, Languedoc, the Alps, the Cote d’Azur, Provence, and the Rhone Valley are perhaps the most visited regions of the country. Each boast of its quintessential brasseries and bistros, its festive revelries, its mind-blowing cuisine and its rich history. A vacation in France assures you of unbridled fun, excellent learning and a lifetime of memories. While the Eiffel Tower needs no introduction, Bastille Day celebrations attract visitors to the country by the hoards. Connoisseurs of French wine come here to cherish the luscious wine straight from the breweries while historians and architects visit the Châteaux on the Loire to study the advanced engineering techniques of old world France. The old world culture and a history of crusades, World Wars, and the French Revolution add to the mystique of a vacation in France.

France offers a myriad variety of travel opportunities. From ecotourism to art and culture travel, from religious pilgrimages to romantic honeymoons, wine and cuisine festivals to skiing or beach holidays, nature trials to business travel France tops the choices of tourists worldwide. The hospitality industry has grown tremendously to keep pace with this stupendous influx of visitors.

Paris Métro is the best transport to getting around Paris. Other preferred modes of public transport in the city are the bus, the tram, and RER suburban trains. Mobilis tickets, valid for a day's worth of travel within the city make sightseeing in the city inexpensive. Trams and excellent bus services are a great way of getting around other French cities.

Tip: Tourists are required to pay a Tourism Tax during their stay in France. The tax is usually added to the hotel bill or apartment rent. Do check with your hotel while confirming arrangements.

Air, Land and Sea links: Excellent bus links make getting to France from various European cities easy. The bus services connect Paris, Nice and Avignon with over 36 European cities. Discounted passes are best for those with 'Europe in a shoestring' plans. Affordable car rentals and motorcycles on rent are also available for tourists wanting to take the road connect. But do ensure that the vehicles you hire have the necessary permits to enter the country. The Channel Tunnel passes underneath the English Channel and connects France with the UK. Eurotunnel shuttle trains carry cars and bikes and their passengers across the Channel. Other train services connect France with countries such as Belgium, Austria, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, and Switzerland. Eurostar is a preferred train service that connects London and Paris. France has air links with virtually every major city in the world. All major airlines fly to and from the Paris Charles De Gaulle airport and the Paris-Orly airport. The ACI World Airport Traffic Report 2009 pegs the traffic handled by both these airports at over 57,900, 000 (passengers handled) and 26,000,000 (boardings) respectively. Air France KLM flies to over 240 destinations internationally and is part of the SkyTeam network that offers global connectivity. The first European airline to provide passengers a flight on their A380 crafts, Air France KLM boast of an impressive fleet for their long, medium, short and regional haul flights. Calais, Dunkerque, Le Havre, Marseille, Nantes, Paris, and Rouen are the major ports of the country. Ferry services across the English Channel and from Ireland are a slower but inexpensive way to get to France. Italian ferries take about half a day to get to France from Italy. Cargo ships carrying passengers connect France with USA and Canada.

Culture of France
Culture is an important part of the French experience, with food and wine playing a central role. The French are known for being proud of their language and often expect tourists to make some effort in speaking the language during their visit, so it's a good idea to study some commonly used expressions before traveling to France.

Art and Architecture
France is known as the cultural capital of Europe. Fine arts and architecture thrived in France under the patronage of the French monarchs. Art in France was heavily influenced by the neighboring Italy. Pissarro, Manet, Renoir and Monet are among the best known French painters of the world. Their paintings are assets collected by art collectors the world over. Some of the renowned painters of the world lived in and worked out of France. Picasso, Vincent van Gogh and Leonardo da Vinci spent very fruitful years in the country and produced some fine pieces of art in. France.

A map of France is dotted with the most beautiful Gothic and Romanesque architectural marvels of Europe. The Cathédrale St-Lazare in Autun and the Saint Sernin Basilica in Toulouse are classic examples. The Châteaus in the Loire valley are some of the best palace-residences in Europe. Most of these have been converted to luxury hotels and yet their distinct grace and splendor have been retained. The Château de Chambord and the Château d'Amboise are exemplary architectural marvels. The Baroque era saw the construction of Palace of Versailles and Arc de Triomphe represents post Revolution French architecture. The Eiffel Tower was designed by Gustave Eiffel and was built in 1889 to be the tallest structure in the world. French architecture has in current years been recognized as the perfect blend of innovative design and great structural engineering.

Trivia: Leonardo da Vinci, the renowned Italian painter, spent his last years at Château de Cloux, in Le Clos Luce by the Loire. Francis I brought him to France and assigned him a generous pension. Francis and Leonardo are said to have enjoyed a cordial relationship. Francis often referred to the artist as his father. Leonardo brought with him the famous Mona Lisa, which is still on display in the Musée du Louvre in Paris. He spent his last years in peace, teaching French artists many art techniques and enjoyed great respect in France.

Language, Literature and Media
French is the official language of the country, however, European languages including German and Italian are also spoken quite frequently. English is also spoken in most tourist centers. The French are very courteous people. A few greetings in French and a warm smile help tourists in most cities. While the origin of French literature can be traced as far back as the Middle Ages, the use of regional dialects was pronounced in the literature of this time. While Langues d'oïl was more popular with court poets and scribes, Langue d'Oc was preferred by the troubadours who immortalized the love stories in their works. The 16th and 17th centuries saw the rise of great thinkers such as Rene Descartes, Blaise Pascal, and Jean de La Fontaine. Descartes mathematical and philosophical treatises are studied the world over. Later critiques by Voltaire and JJ Rousseau were clear expositions in popular political philosophy. Here’s a list of 10 famous books by authors either born or based in France:
  • Les Miserables Victor Hugo
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame Victor Hugo
  • The Three Musketeers Alexandre Dumas
  • The Count of Monte-Cristo Alexandre Dumas
  • Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea Jules Verne
  • Around The World In 80 Days Jules Verne
  • Madame Bovary Gustave Flauber
  • Being and Nothingness Jean-Paul Sartre
  • Little Prince Antoine de Saint Exupery
  • All Things Are Lights Robert Shea

The most popular French daily is the Le Monde. Other dailies that enjoy a high circulation in France are the Le Figaro, Liberation (founded by Jean-Paul Sartre), L’Humanite and Aujourd’hui. English newspapers such as Washington Post, New York Times, and the European are available in most cities. Radio France is the public radio service available and owns seven stations in the country. British, Canadian and American radio stations also operate in France.

Trivia: Although written by American author, Robert Shea, ‘All Things Are Lights’ is believed to be one of the best fictional accounts of the fall of Montségur. The book describes Cartharism, the forbidden religion of 13th century France. The novel builds around the legend of alchemical books and the chalice popularly known as the 'Holy Grail', being whisked away before the Carthar Perfectii, singing, entered a fire to escape conversion. It also describes graphically, the intrigues, politics and l'amour courtois of the French courts in the early 13th century.

French Music and Cinema
Music in France originated from the rich tradition of troubadours. Renaissance France saw a number of court musicians such as François Couperin, Marc-Antoine Charpentier and Jean-Baptiste Lully enjoy stature and wealth. Classical music flourished in France and maestros such as Jean-Philippe Rameau, Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Pierre Boulez and Francis Poulenc are known for their exceptional contribution to music. Opera thrived in France and operatic music became famous in the 19th century. The late 20th and the 21st centuries have seen an upsurge in pop, jazz and rock culture in keeping with the rest of the world. France hosts a number of pop and jazz festivals every year and these are very popular with the country’s youth.

The history of cinema in France is as old as the history of cinema itself. The Lumière brothers are credited with screening the earliest cinema at the Grand Cafe on Boulevard des Capucines in Paris. This event in December 1895 marks the advent of movie screenings in history. The launch of Cinémathèque Française (1936) and Les Cahiers du Cinéma are significant events that mark the evolution of French cinema.

L’exception Culturelle allows for French cinema to be treated differently from cinema of other countries. Such a cultural exception was negotiated by France as part of the GATT. France advocated the exclusion of culture from the WTO designated liberalized sectors. France won a huge mandate in favor of such cultural exception in the UNESCO in 2005.

Trivia: The Le Festival de Cannes (The Cannes Film Festival) was scheduled to be launched in the year 1939. The outbreak of World War II halted the launch. The determined French patiently waited and launched the festival on September 20, 1946 marking the indomitable spirit of cultural victory over warfare. The much coveted Palme d'Or was first given away in 1955.

  • France is the most visited country in the world - an estimated 82 million tourists travel to France every year.
  • Almost one-fifth of France's territory is not in Europe.
  • About one-fifth of France's population resides near Paris.
  • The French greet each other with a kiss on the cheek, but the number of kisses exchanged varies by region, and range from one kiss to five.
  • The French have one of the highest life expectancies in the EU.
  • French toast and French fries did not originate in France. More Facts...
Facts About France
Official Name French Republic
Continent Europe
Lat Long 48.866667, 2.333056
Capital Paris
Largest City Paris
Official Language French
Major Religion Catholic Church, Islam
National day Fete de la Federation - July 14 (1790)
Form of Government Unitary semi-presidential republic
President Francois Hollande
Prime Minister Manuel Valls
Currency Euro & CFP franc
GDP $2.613 Trillions (2012)
Calling code 33
Time Zone (UTC+1) ,(UTC+2)
Internet TLD .fr

Regions in France
AquitaineCorse (special status)Midi-Pyrénées
AuvergneFranche-ComtéNord-Pas de Calais
Normandie BasseHaute-NormandiePays de la Loire
Cote D AzurLimousinRhone-Alpes

Last Updated on: October 13th, 2017

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