The country of France conjures up images of romance, incredible wines, massive mountains and pristine beaches. Simply put, France has something for everyone.
The history of France is a long and lengthy one. The Celtic Gauls were the first to inhabit what is current day France. Next, Roman and Greek navigators began to settle in the country around 400 years BC. The population of France continued to grow from that point forward and much of the power was given to nobility.
The area experienced many wars over the next many centuries. Throughout the 15th century, religious wars spread across the countryside of France. These religious wars were fought between the French Catholics and the Protestants, or Huguenots. At the turn of the century, the Huguenots were granted rights and freedoms under the French crown.
By the 17th century, Cardinal Richelieu established the country as an absolute monarchy. During this time period, the popularity of the country grew as did its wealth. Yet, this did not prevent war from continuing throughout France. Over the next century, France was almost constantly at war with the Spanish, the Dutch or the Holy Roman Empire.
Around the end of the 18th century, at the time of Louis XV’s reign, civil unrest grew in the streets of Paris from the working class and peasantry and their aversion to the riches and power of the wealthy and the monarchy. This unrest grew into the French Revolution which ended in 1789 with the working class and peasantry gaining representation in the country. The result was the elimination of the absolute monarchy which was replaced by an elected government.
Shortly there after, legendary Napoleon Bonaparte assumed power of France and took on a mission to control most of Europe. He was fairly successful at this attempt and war broke out again to stop Napoleon. Additionally, during the 20th Century, the soil of France was home to some of the worst fighting in both World War I and World War II.
France is the second largest country in Europe with the fifth largest population. The capital of France is the famed city of love, Paris. Major cities located throughout France are Lyon, Marseille, Lille and Bordeaux. The country is divided into 25 regions, four of which are overseas. Over two thirds of the landscape of France is mountainous, with the Alps and Pyrenees running along two of its borders. The south of France is lined with the Mediterranean Sea. These two contrasting geographies allow for hot, sunny summers and cold, snow filled winters. A few of the most famous landmarks in France are the Eiffel Tower, Cathedral of Notre Dame and the Louvre, all located in Paris.
France is an extremely diverse country which can be witnessed through its vast scope of arts and culture. Many famous artists are French, such as Renoir and Monet. In addition to culture and arts, sports are extremely important to the French. Soccer (which the French call football) is a very popular sport as is cycling. Every year, during the month of July, the countryside of France turns into the venue of the famed Tour de France cycling competition.