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France

FRANCE

By TAY


France is the third largest country in western Europe. The official name is Republique Francaise (French Republic). The current population of France is 67 million. The capital and largest city is Paris. 2.2 million people live in the capital city of Paris. The primary language in the country is French.


Geography


Paris, France is 9 hours ahead of California. As the third largest country in Europe, only Russia and Ukraine have more land. France shares borders with Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and Spain. The Mediterranean island of Corsica belongs to France. France also has some land in South America, the Caribbean, and Africa.


History


France has a long history. In 700-500 BC the Celtic Gauls arrive in France. In 58-50 BC Roman Emperor Julius Caesar defeated the Gauls and France became part of the Roman Empire until 476 AD. French was ruled by many kings for many centuries until the storming of the Bastille during the French Revolution in 1789. Then Napoleon became Emperor of the French Republic until he was sent to exile.


Government


The government of France is a democracy. It has an executive branch, a legislative branch, and a judicial branch. Executive power is led by the President of the Republic and the Government. The Government consists of the Prime Minister and ministers.


The national anthem is “La Marseillaise” and the national motto is Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite (Liberty, Equality, Fraternity). The currency used in France is the Euro. Currently, 1 euro equals 1.22 US dollars. The flag is white, red, and blue.


People and Culture


Similar to the United States, France is made up of many ethnic groups. The main religion in France is Christian (Roman Catholics 64%). French is the official language in France and is also the second major language in Europe.


Here are a few useful French expressions:


  • Bonjour means good day

  • Salut means hello

  • Merci means thank you

  • Je m’apelle means my name is

  • Bon appetit means enjoy your meal


Many people believe Paris is one of the world’s greatest cities. Paris has been a world center of art and learning. Many great artist have created their finest masterpieces in France. Some famous French artist are Claude Monet, Pierre Auguste Renoir, and Edgar Degas. Other famous French people are Victor Hugo , Jeanne d’Arc Joan of Arc, and Louis Braille. France also has many great attractions including the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. It is a symbol of French patriotism. There are many other great attractions in France including the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and the Louvre.


School


Going to school is required by French law. Education in France is considered more rigorous than in the United States. The nation’s literacy rate is 99 percent. School days are much longer; most students are in school from 8am to 6pm. Students get a 2 hour lunch break and vacations are longer. After nursery school or kindergarten, kids attend primary school, middle school, and academic, vocational, or technical high school. Students then complete exams and can pursue higher education.


Food

The French main dishes contain fresh vegetables, meat, and cheeses. French cuisine is well known for its freshness and high quality dishes. The French people enjoy their main meal in the evening and this meal has three courses starting with a hors d’oevre, a starter dish which often is a soup or salad and bread, then the main course and afterwards some cheese or fruit.


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