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Early hominids led a nomadic hunter-gatherer life. At the end of the last glacial period 10, BC , the climate became milder; [27] from approximately 7, BC, this part of Western Europe entered the Neolithic era and its inhabitants became sedentary.

After strong demographic and agricultural development between the 4th and 3rd millennia, metallurgy appeared at the end of the 3rd millennium, initially working gold , copper and bronze , and later iron.

This makes it France's oldest city. The concept of Gaul emerged at that time; it corresponds to the territories of Celtic settlement ranging between the Rhine , the Atlantic Ocean , the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean.

The borders of modern France are roughly the same as those of ancient Gaul, which was inhabited by Celtic Gauls. Gaul was then a prosperous country, of which the southernmost part was heavily subject to Greek and Roman cultural and economic influences.

The Gauls mixed with Roman settlers and eventually adopted Roman culture and Roman speech Latin , from which the French language evolved.

The Roman polytheism merged with the Gallic paganism into the same syncretism. From the s to the s AD, Roman Gaul suffered a serious crisis with its fortified borders being attacked on several occasions by barbarians.

Subsequently, Christians, who had been persecuted until then, increased rapidly across the entire Roman Empire.

At the end of the Antiquity period, ancient Gaul was divided into several Germanic kingdoms and a remaining Gallo-Roman territory, known as the Kingdom of Syagrius.

Simultaneously, Celtic Britons , fleeing the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain , settled the western part of Armorica. As a result, the Armorican peninsula was renamed Brittany , Celtic culture was revived and independent petty kingdoms arose in this region.

The pagan Franks, from whom the ancient name of "Francie" was derived, originally settled the north part of Gaul , but under Clovis I conquered most of the other kingdoms in northern and central Gaul.

The Germanic Franks adopted Romanic languages , except in northern Gaul where Roman settlements were less dense and where Germanic languages emerged.

Clovis made Paris his capital and established the Merovingian dynasty , but his kingdom would not survive his death. The Franks treated land purely as a private possession and divided it among their heirs, so four kingdoms emerged from Clovis's: The last Merovingian kings lost power to their mayors of the palace head of household.

One mayor of the palace, Charles Martel , defeated an Islamic invasion of Gaul at the Battle of Tours and earned respect and power within the Frankish kingdoms.

His son, Pepin the Short , seized the crown of Francia from the weakened Merovingians and founded the Carolingian dynasty.

Pepin's son, Charlemagne , reunited the Frankish kingdoms and built a vast empire across Western and Central Europe. Charlemagne's son, Louis I Emperor — , kept the empire united; however, this Carolingian Empire would not survive his death.

West Francia approximated the area occupied by, and was the precursor to, modern France. During the 9th and 10th centuries, continually threatened by Viking invasions , France became a very decentralised state: Thus was established feudalism in France.

Over time, some of the king's vassals would grow so powerful that they often posed a threat to the king.

For example, after the Battle of Hastings in , William the Conqueror added "King of England" to his titles, becoming both the vassal to as Duke of Normandy and the equal of as king of England the king of France, creating recurring tensions.

The French nobility played a prominent role in most Crusades in order to restore Christian access to the Holy Land. 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. The French Renaissance saw a spectacular cultural development and the first standardisation of the French language, which would become the official language of France and the language of Europe's aristocracy.

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.

Bartholomew's Day massacre of 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. By turning powerful feudal lords into courtiers at the Palace of Versailles , Louis XIV's personal power became unchallenged.

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 An unpopular king, Louis XV's weak rule, his ill-advised financial, political and military decisions — as well as the debauchery of his court— discredited the monarchy, which arguably paved the way for the French Revolution 15 years after his death.

The financial crisis that followed France's involvement in the American Revolutionary War was one of many contributing factors to the French Revolution.

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.

Fearing that the king would suppress the newly created National Assembly, insurgents stormed the Bastille on 14 July , a date which would become France's National Day.

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.

In the newly established Legislative Assembly October , enmity developed and deepened between a group, later called the ' Girondins ', who favored war with Austria and Prussia , and a group later called ' Montagnards ' or ' Jacobins ', who opposed such a war.

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. A factionalist feud in the National Convention, smoldering ever since October , came to a climax with the group of the ' Girondins ' on 2 June being forced to resign and leave the Convention.

Paris' Convention government between October and December with brutal measures managed to subdue most internal uprisings, at the cost of tens of thousands of lives.

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.

Meanwhile, France's external wars in were going prosperous, for example in Belgium. 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.

Until , politicians, apart from inventing a new parliamentary system the ' Directory ' , busied themselves with dissuading the people from Catholicism and from royalism.

Napoleon Bonaparte seized control of the Republic in becoming First Consul and later Emperor of the French Empire —; As a continuation of the wars sparked by the European monarchies against the French Republic, changing sets of European Coalitions declared wars on Napoleon's 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.

In that year, French troops conquered Algeria , establishing the first colonial presence in Africa since Napoleon's abortive invasion of Egypt in 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 , [77] 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.

To this end, he withdrew from NATO 's military integrated command, he launched a nuclear development programme and made France the fourth nuclear power.

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. The vast majority of France's territory and population is situated in Western Europe and is called Metropolitan France , to distinguish it from the country's various overseas polities.

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.

With the exception of the northeast, most of France's land borders are roughly delineated by natural boundaries and geographic features: Due to its shape, France is often referred to as l'Hexagone "The Hexagon ".

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. Most of the low-lying areas of metropolitan France are located in the oceanic climate zone, Cfb and Cfc in the Köppen classification.

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.

According to the Environmental Performance Index conducted by Yale and Columbia , France was the tenth-most environmentally-conscious country in the world.

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 The Senate's legislative powers are limited; in the event of disagreement between the two chambers, the National Assembly has the final say.

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; [90] 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.

However, as a result of Nicolas Sarkozy's pro-American politics much criticised in France by the leftists and by a part of the right , France rejoined the NATO joint military command on 4 April 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.

When acting as general purpose police force, the Gendarmerie encompasses the counter terrorist units of the Parachute Intervention Squadron of the National Gendarmerie Escadron Parachutiste d'Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale , the National Gendarmerie Intervention Group Groupe d'Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale , the Search Sections of the National Gendarmerie Sections de Recherche de la Gendarmerie Nationale , responsible for criminal enquiries, and the Mobile Brigades of the National Gendarmerie Brigades mobiles de la Gendarmerie Nationale , or in short Gendarmerie mobile which have the task to maintain public order.

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. France is a major arms seller, [] [] with most of its arsenal's designs available for the export market with the notable exception of nuclear-powered devices.

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. A member of the Group of Seven formerly Group of Eight leading industrialised countries, as of [update] , it is ranked as the world's ninth largest and the EU's second largest economy by purchasing power parity.

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.

As of [update] , the World Trade Organization WTO reported France was the world's sixth largest exporter and the fourth largest importer of manufactured goods.

Financial services, banking and the insurance sector are an important part of the economy. The Paris stock exchange French: 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: AXA is the world's largest insurance company.

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.

Agriculture is an important sector of France's economy: It is third in income from tourism due to shorter duration of visits. France, especially Paris, has some of the world's largest and renowned museums, including the Louvre , which is the most visited art museum in the world 5.

Disneyland Paris is Europe's most popular theme park, with 15 million combined visitors to the resort's Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park in 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: France has 37 sites inscribed in UNESCO's World Heritage List and features cities of high cultural interest, beaches and seaside resorts, ski resorts, and rural regions that many enjoy for their beauty and tranquillity green tourism.

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.

Around the beginning of the 11th century, Pope Sylvester II , born Gerbert d'Aurillac, reintroduced the abacus and armillary sphere , and introduced Arabic numerals and clocks to Northern and Western Europe.

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. It also owns Minatec , Europe's leading nanotechnology research center.

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. Romanesque art in France.

Gothic art in France. Renaissance art in France. Baroque art in France. Art Nouveau in France. Modern movement architecture in France.

Venus of Brassempouy July Column place de la Bastille , Paris. Voltaire Naked Louvre Museum, Paris. Equestrian statue of Vercingetorix place de Jaude , Clermont-Ferrand.

Plafonds de la chapelle baroque du couvent Sainte-Marie-d'en-Haut Grenoble. Maurice Quentin de La Tour. Jean le Rond D'Alembert. Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon.

Biscuit rose de Reims. The feast of the main stream. Festival Interceltique de Lorient. Henry IV of France. Louis XIV of France.

Louis XV of France. Storming of the Bastille. Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette. Louis Antoine de Saint-Just.

The Coronation of Napoleon. Patrice de Mac-Mahon, Duke of Magenta. Heads of state of France. Charles de Gaulle - , - Georges Pompidou - Jacques Chirac - , - Nicolas Sarkozy - Emmanuel Macron - 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. Five months after Clairefontaine's opening, manager Henri Michel was fired and was replaced by Michel Platini, who failed to get the team to the World Cup.

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.

In the team's next major tournament at the World Cup at home, Jacquet led France to glory defeating Brazil 3—0 in the final at the Stade de France in Paris.

Jacquet stepped down after the country's World Cup triumph and was succeeded by assistant Roger Lemerre who guided them through Euro 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.

Midway through the competition, striker Nicolas Anelka was dismissed from the national team after reportedly having a dispute, in which obscenities were passed, with team manager Raymond Domenech during half-time of the team's loss to Mexico.

The day after the team's elimination, it was reported by numerous media outlets that then President of France Nicolas Sarkozy would meet with team captain Thierry Henry to discuss the issues associated with the team's meltdown at the World Cup, at Henry's request.

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, [47] although their two draws were against considerably weaker nations, drawing 0—0 with Belarus in their opening match [48] 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. In , the Stade de France was inaugurated as France's national stadium ahead of the World Cup.

Located in Saint-Denis , a Parisian suburb, the stadium has an all-seater capacity of 81, France's first match at the stadium was played on 28 January against Spain.

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.

The team's three colours originate from the national flag of France , known as the tricolore. France have brandished the colors since their first official international match against Belgium in Since the team's inception, France normally wear blue shirts, white shorts and red socks at home similar setup to Japan , while, when on the road, the team utilizes an all-white combination or wear red shirts, blue shorts, and blue socks with the former being the most current.

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 In , France reached an agreement with German sports apparel manufacturer Adidas to be the team's kit provider.

Over the next 38 years, the two would maintain a healthy relationship with France winning Euro , the World Cup and Euro while wearing Adidas' famous tricolour three stripes.

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.

In advance of France's hosting of Euro , Nike unveiled a new, unconventional kit set: 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.

France is often referred to by the media and supporters as Les Bleus The Blues , which is the nickname associated with all of France's international sporting teams due to the blue shirts each team incorporates.

The team is also referred to as Les Tricolores or L'Equipe Tricolore The Tri-color Team due to the team's utilization of the country's national colors: 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.

At the World Cup , France suffered elimination in the opening round, losing 3—2 to Austria. On the team's return to Paris, they were greeted as heroes by a crowd of over 4, supporters.

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. Five months after Clairefontaine's opening, manager Henri Michel was fired and was replaced by Michel Platini, who failed to get the team to the World Cup.

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.

In the team's next major tournament at the World Cup at home, Jacquet led France to glory defeating Brazil 3—0 in the final at the Stade de France in Paris.

Jacquet stepped down after the country's World Cup triumph and was succeeded by assistant Roger Lemerre who guided them through Euro 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.

Midway through the competition, striker Nicolas Anelka was dismissed from the national team after reportedly having a dispute, in which obscenities were passed, with team manager Raymond Domenech during half-time of the team's loss to Mexico.

The day after the team's elimination, it was reported by numerous media outlets that then President of France Nicolas Sarkozy would meet with team captain Thierry Henry to discuss the issues associated with the team's meltdown at the World Cup, at Henry's request.

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, [47] although their two draws were against considerably weaker nations, drawing 0—0 with Belarus in their opening match [48] 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. In , the Stade de France was inaugurated as France's national stadium ahead of the World Cup.

Located in Saint-Denis , a Parisian suburb, the stadium has an all-seater capacity of 81, France's first match at the stadium was played on 28 January against Spain.

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.

The team's three colours originate from the national flag of France , known as the tricolore. France have brandished the colors since their first official international match against Belgium in Since the team's inception, France normally wear blue shirts, white shorts and red socks at home similar setup to Japan , while, when on the road, the team utilizes an all-white combination or wear red shirts, blue shorts, and blue socks with the former being the most current.

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 In , France reached an agreement with German sports apparel manufacturer Adidas to be the team's kit provider.

Over the next 38 years, the two would maintain a healthy relationship with France winning Euro , the World Cup and Euro while wearing Adidas' famous tricolour three stripes.

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. In advance of France's hosting of Euro , Nike unveiled a new, unconventional kit set: 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.

France is often referred to by the media and supporters as Les Bleus The Blues , which is the nickname associated with all of France's international sporting teams due to the blue shirts each team incorporates.

The team is also referred to as Les Tricolores or L'Equipe Tricolore The Tri-color Team due to the team's utilization of the country's national colors: 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.

Instead of training, coach Raymond Domenech read the players' petition live on television to the stunned journalists.

The national team's overall impact on France's efforts to integrate its minorities and come to terms with its colonial past has been mixed.

In , France played a friendly match at the Stade de France, the site of its World Cup triumph, against Algeria.

It was the country's first meeting with its former colony, with whom it had fought a war from to , and it proved controversial.

France's national anthem, La Marseillaise , was booed by Algerian supporters before the game, and following a French goal that made the score 4—1 in the second half, spectators ran onto the field of play, which caused play to be suspended.

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.

I'm so stunned I don't know what to say," while Patrick Vieira declared that comments allegedly made by manager Laurent Blanc at the meeting were "serious and scandalous".

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 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 The team's worst results in the competition were first-round eliminations in and 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. In , France defeated Croatia 4—2 in the final match and won the World Cup for the second time.

France is one of the most successful nations at the UEFA European Championship having won two titles in and The team is just below Spain and Germany who have won three titles each.

France hosted the inaugural competition in and have appeared in nine UEFA European Championship tournaments, tied for fourth-best.

The team won their first title on home soil in and were led by Ballon d'Or winner Michel Platini. The team's worst result in the competition was a first-round elimination in and The famous west portal of the Strasbourg Cathedral is in the Gothic style and has hundreds of figures sculpted into it.

Rose windows, such as this one in Strasbourg Cathedral, are a common feature of Gothic architecture. Grande Ile is in the Ill River, which runs through Strasbourg.

The entire island has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its buildings showing developing stages of architecture - beginning in the medieval period and working up to the classical period.

Besides Strasbourg Cathedral there are four other venerable churches, as well as the Palais Rohan, a former residence of the prince-bishops of the area.

Constructed in , the structure housed the port and tax authorities, and was used to store and transform goods and merchandise going up and down the Rhine River.

Today the building houses a restaurant. A view of the western side of Strasbourg Cathedral. Only one spire was ever completed.

View of the Strasbourg Cathedral roof from its spire. Some of the flying buttresses supporting the cathedral walls can be clearly seen.

Looking down on Strasbourg from the Cathedral. Strasbourg is the capital of the Alsace region and the Bas-Rhin department.

It is the ninth largest city in France and is the home of the Council of Europe, the European Parliament, and Eurocorps the European Union's military forces.

It is an important center of manufacturing and engineering, and has a port on the Rhine River. The Celts first settled the site in about B.

It became a part of the Roman Empire in 12 B. The University of Strasbourg is the largest university in France. The square, constructed between and , was the brainchild of Stanislas Leszczynski, Duke of Lorraine and former King of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

Nancy became a French province on the death of Stanislas in In , the heads of three countries - Germany, Poland, and France - met here to inaugurate the renovated Place Stanislas.

A statue of Stanislas Leszczynski stands in front of the Town Hall. The Neptune Fountain is one of four waterworks erected by Barthelemy Guibal in Stanislas Square in Nancy; this one was completed in The Graffe Gate is one of the oldest remaining parts of Nancy's fortifications.

It was erected in the 14th century, and its towers were used as prisons for many years. Its bell also formerly tolled the curfew.

The facade displays a distinctive Lorraine Cross, since the city was the former capital of the Duchy of Lorraine.

The Chateau d'Azay-le-Rideau was built on an island in the Indre River between and and is one of the earliest of French Renaissance chateaux.

The Chateau d'Usse was rebuilt in the 15th century on a stronghold site dating back to the 11th century. By tradition, this is the castle Charles Perrault had in mind when he wrote the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale.

The mansion of Clos Luce in Amboise is connected to the nearby royal Chateau by an underground passageway.

It served as the residence of Leonardo da Vinci for the last three years of his life The mansion currently is the museum for the surrounding region and displays 40 models of machines developed by Leonardo.

The Chateau de Chenonceau in the Loire Valley was built in the early 16th century. It is one of France's most popular tourist attractions.

The royal Chateau d'Amboise in the Loire Valley was rebuilt in the late 15th century over a stronghold dating back to the 11th century.

Statue of Dom Perignon in the town of Epernay. The Benedictine monk made many important contributions to the production and quality of champagne wines.

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Page last updated on October 23, The Gordes Castle in Provence dates to The village square in Gordes is adjacent to the Castle. World War I memorial in the Gordes village square.

Fields of lavender in Provence near Roussillon. A Roman bridge still in use in Provence near Roussillon. View of an alley in the village of Roussillon in Provence.

Village church in Roussillon, Provence. Altar in the church of Saint-Ferdinand-des-Ternes in Paris. Flower festooned boat on the Seine River in Paris.

A street scene on a rainy day in the fortified town of Carcassone. Half timbered houses along a shopping street in old Colmar.

Street scene in the Alsatian town of Colmar. The road into Ingersheim on the Alsatian Wine Route. Vineyards along the Alsatian Wine Route.

Street scene in Eguisheim along the Alsace Wine Trail. Old wine press along the streets of Eguisheim.

Strolling through the streets of Eguisheim. Street scene along the flower-lined streets of Eguisheim. A sightseeing boat along the Ill River in Strasbourg.

Walkway along the Ill River in Strasbourg. France today is one of the most modern countries in the world and is a leader among European nations.

Since , it has constructed a hybrid presidential-parliamentary governing system resistant to the instabilities experienced in earlier, more purely parliamentary administrations.

In recent decades, its reconciliation and cooperation with Germany have proved central to the economic integration of Europe, including the introduction of a common currency, the euro, in January In the early 21st century, five French overseas entities - French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, and Reunion - became French regions and were made part of France proper.

Southern Indian Ocean, island in the Mozambique Channel, about halfway between northern Madagascar and northern Mozambique.

Southern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar. Central America and the Caribbean. Brazil km, Suriname km. Basse-Terre is volcanic in origin with interior mountains; Grande-Terre is low limestone formation; most of the seven other islands are volcanic in origin.

Rhone River delta -2 m. Montagne Pelee 1, m on the island of Martinique in the Caribbean is the most active volcano of the Lesser Antilles arc, it last erupted in ; a catastrophic eruption in May destroyed the city of St.

Pierre, killing an estimated 30, people; La Soufriere 1, m on the island of Guadeloupe in the Caribbean last erupted from July to March ; these volcanoes are part of the volcanic island arc of the Lesser Antilles that extends from Saba in the north to Grenada in the south.

Environment - current issues: Environment - international agreements: Frenchman men , Frenchwoman women. French, Creole patois, Mahorian a Swahili dialect.

France maintains a tradition of secularism and has not officially collected data on religious affiliation since the national census, which complicates assessments of France's religious composition; an law prohibiting state authorities from collecting data on individuals' ethnicity or religious beliefs was reaffirmed by a law emphasizing the prohibition of the collection or exploitation of personal data revealing an individual's race, ethnicity, or political, philosophical, or religious opinions; a law codified France's separation of church and state.

A population pyramid illustrates the age and sex structure of a country's population and may provide insights about political and social stability, as well as economic development.

The population is distributed along the horizontal axis, with males shown on the left and females on the right. The male and female populations are broken down into 5-year age groups represented as horizontal bars along the vertical axis, with the youngest age groups at the bottom and the oldest at the top.

The shape of the population pyramid gradually evolves over time based on fertility, mortality, and international migration trends. For additional information, please see the entry for Population pyramid on the Definitions and Notes page under the References tab.

Major urban areas - population: Mother's mean age at first birth: Life expectancy at birth: Obesity - adult prevalence rate: School life expectancy primary to tertiary education: Unemployment, youth ages France is divided into 13 metropolitan regions including the "collectivity" of Corse or Corsica and 5 overseas regions French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, and Reunion and is subdivided into 96 metropolitan departments and 5 overseas departments which are the same as the overseas regions.

Fete de la Federation, 14 July ; note - although often incorrectly referred to as Bastille Day, the celebration actually commemorates the holiday held on the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille on 14 July and the establishment of a constitutional monarchy; other names for the holiday are Fete Nationale National Holiday and quatorze juillet 14th of July.

International law organization participation: Council of Ministers appointed by the president at the suggestion of the prime minister.

Senate or Senat seats - for metropolitan France and overseas departments and regions of Guadeloupe, Martinque, French Guiana, Reunion, and Mayotte, 2 for New Caledonia, 2 for French Polynesia, 1 for Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, 1 for Saint-Barthelemy, 1 for Saint-Martin, 1 for Wallis and Futuna, and 12 for French nationals abroad; members indirectly elected by departmental electoral colleges using absolute majority vote in 2 rounds if needed for departments with members and proportional representation vote in departments with 4 or more members; members serve 6-year terms with one-half of the membership renewed every 3 years.

National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale seats - for metropolitan France, 10 for overseas departments, and 11 for citizens abroad; members directly elected by absolute majority vote in 2 rounds if needed to serve 5-year terms.

Senate - last held on 24 September next to be held on 24 September National Assembly - last held on 11 and 18 June next to be held in June National Assembly - percent of vote by party first round - REM Court of Cassation or Cour de Cassation consists of the court president, 6 divisional presiding judges, trial judges, and 70 deputy judges organized into 6 divisions - 3 civil, 1 commercial, 1 labor, and 1 criminal ; Constitutional Council consists of 9 members.

Court of Cassation judges appointed by the president of the republic from nominations from the High Council of the Judiciary, presided over by the Court of Cassation and 15 appointed members; judges appointed for life; Constitutional Council members - 3 appointed by the president of the republic and 3 each by the National Assembly and Senate presidents; members serve 9-year, non-renewable terms with one-third of the membership renewed every 3 years.

Political parties and leaders: Diplomatic representation in the US: Diplomatic representation from the US: Bordeaux, Lyon, Rennes, Toulouse.

Gallic rooster, fleur-de-lis, Marianne female personification ; national colors: The French economy is diversified across all sectors.

The government has partially or fully privatized many large companies, including Air France, France Telecom, Renault, and Thales. However, the government maintains a strong presence in some sectors, particularly power, public transport, and defense industries.

France is the most visited country in the world with 89 million foreign tourists in France's leaders remain committed to a capitalism in which they maintain social equity by means of laws, tax policies, and social spending that mitigate economic inequality.

France's real GDP grew by 1. The unemployment rate including overseas territories increased from 7. Youth unemployment in metropolitan France decreased from In , the budget deficit improved to 2.

Meanwhile, France's public debt rose from The government plans to gradually reduce corporate tax rate for businesses from GDP purchasing power parity: GDP official exchange rate: GDP - real growth rate: GDP - composition, by end use: GDP - composition, by sector of origin: Industrial production growth rate: Labor force - by occupation: Population below poverty line: Household income or consumption by percentage share: Distribution of family income - Gini index: Taxes and other revenues: Inflation rate consumer prices: Central bank discount rate: Commercial bank prime lending rate: Stock of narrow money: Stock of broad money: Stock of domestic credit: Market value of publicly traded shares: Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

Frankreich c -

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