Portal:France
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Portal:France

Welcome to the France Portal!
Bienvenue sur le Portail France !

Flag France
Map of France in the world and position of its largest single land territory in continental Europe.

France (French: [fs] ), officially the French Republic (French: République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe, consisting of metropolitan France and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean and from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. France borders Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland, Monaco and Italy to the east, Andorra and Spain to the south, as well as the Netherlands, Suriname and Brazil in the Americas. The country's eighteen integral regions (five of which are situated overseas) span a combined area of 643,801 km2 (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.4 million . France is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice. France, including its overseas territories, has the most time zones of any country, with a total of twelve.

During the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by the Gauls. The area was annexed by Rome in 51 BC, developing a distinct Gallo-Roman culture that laid the foundation of the French language. The Germanic Franks arrived in 476 and formed the Kingdom of Francia, which became the heartland of the Carolingian Empire. The Treaty of Verdun of 843 partitioned the empire, with West Francia becoming the Kingdom of France in 987.

In the High Middle Ages, France was a highly decentralized feudal kingdom in which the authority of the king was barely felt. King Philip Augustus achieved remarkable success in the strengthening of royal power and the expansion of his realm, doubling its size and defeating his rivals. By the end of his reign, France had emerged as the most powerful state in Europe. In the mid-14th century, French monarchs were victorious in the Hundred Years' War with England. The Italian Wars with Spain followed during the Renaissance. French culture flourished and a global colonial empire was started, which by 1900 would become the second largest in the world. The second half of the 16th century was dominated by religious civil wars with Catholics expelling Protestant (Huguenots), which severely weakened the country. But France once again emerged as Europe's dominant cultural, political, and military power in the 17th century under Louis XIV following the Thirty Years' War. Despite the wealth of the nation the government had inadequate financial and taxation systems that could not fund endless and costly wars. Especially costly were the Seven Years' War and the American War of Independence. The French Revolution in 1789 saw the fall of the absolute monarchy that characterized the Ancien Régime. The French First Republic drafted the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. The declaration expresses the nation's ideals to this day.

In 1799-1814 France reached its political and military zenith under Napoléon Bonaparte, subjugating much of continental Europe and establishing the First French Empire. The French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of European and world history. After the collapse of the empire and a relative decline, France endured a tumultuous succession of governments culminating in the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870 in the midst of the Franco-Prussian War. France was one of the prominent participants of World War I, from which it emerged victorious, and was one of the Allied powers in World War II, but came under occupation by the Axis in 1940. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and later dissolved in the course of the Algerian War. The Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, was formed in 1958 and remains to this day. Algeria and nearly all other French colonies became independent in the 1960s, with most retaining close economic and military connections with France. (Full article...)

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The Battle of Vimy Ridge by Richard Jack

The Battle of Vimy Ridge was part of the Battle of Arras, in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France, during the First World War. The main combatants were the four divisions of the Canadian Corps in the First Army, against three divisions of the German 6th Army. The battle took place from 9 to 12 April 1917 at the beginning of the Battle of Arras, the first attack of the Nivelle Offensive, which was intended to attract German reserves from the French, before their attempt at a decisive offensive on the Aisne and the Chemin des Dames ridge further south.

The Canadian Corps were to capture the German-held high ground of Vimy Ridge, an escarpment on the northern flank of the Arras front. This would protect the First Army and the Third Army farther south from German enfilade fire. Supported by a creeping barrage, the Canadian Corps captured most of the ridge during the first day of the attack. The village of Thélus fell during the second day, as did the crest of the ridge, once the Canadian Corps overran a salient against considerable German resistance. The final objective, a fortified knoll located outside the village of Givenchy-en-Gohelle, fell to the Canadians on 12 April. The 6th Army then retreated to the Oppy-Méricourt line. (Full article...)

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Lemoine.jpg
Émile Michel Hyacinthe Lemoine (1840-1912) was a French civil engineer and a mathematician, a geometer in particular. He was educated at a variety of institutions, including the Prytanée National Militaire and, most notably, the École Polytechnique. Lemoine taught as a private tutor for a short period after his graduation from the latter school.

Lemoine is best known for his proof of the existence of the Lemoine point (or the symmedian point) of a triangle. Other mathematical work includes a system he called Géométrographie and a method which related algebraic expressions to geometric objects. He has been called a co-founder of modern triangle geometry, as many of its characteristics are present in his work.

For most of his life, Lemoine was a professor of mathematics at the École Polytechnique. In later years, he worked as a civil engineer in Paris, and he also took an amateur's interest in music. During his tenure at the École Polytechnique and as a civil engineer, Lemoine published several papers on mathematics, most of which are included in a fourteen-page section in Nathan Altshiller Court's College Geometry. Additionally, he founded a mathematical journal titled, L'intermédiaire des mathématiciens.

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Hunter's chicken

Hunter's chicken (chicken chasseur; French: poulet chasseur, poulet à la chasseur and poulet sauté chasseur) is a chicken dish that is a part of French cuisine. The primary ingredients in hunter's chicken are sautéed chicken and a reduced chasseur sauce prepared using tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, white wine, brandy and tarragon.

Several other dishes from around the world share these names; yet each version is very different, with few to no similarities besides the use of chicken. (Full article...)

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The All Blacks performing a haka prior to a Test match against France in 2006

The national rugby union teams of France and New Zealand (the All Blacks) have been playing each other for over a century; as of 19 October 2015, they have played 56 Test matches against each other. The first encounter, during the historic 1905-1906 All Blacks tour of Europe and North America, which was also France's first Test, took place in Paris in January 1906 and was won by New Zealand 38-8. It was not until their third meeting, in 1954, that France secured their first win over New Zealand (3-0).

France first toured New Zealand in 1961 - before any of the Home Nations - and the All Blacks won all three Tests. The All Blacks' first full tour of France was in 1977,[i] when they won one of the two Tests. France first defeated the All Blacks in New Zealand on Bastille Day 1979. France achieved a first series win in New Zealand in 1994, when they won both Tests. Since 2000, the two teams have contested the Dave Gallaher Trophy. (Full article...)

Picture of the Month (Archive)

Giverny.jpg


Claude Monet's garden at Giverny
Photo credit: Mberry

Detail from The Coronation of Alexander.

  • ...that the illuminated French 13th-century Histoire ancienne (detail of illustration pictured) told the history of the world in prose with moralizing verse?
  • ...that Lycée Pierre-Corneille was founded in 1593 to educate children "in accordance with the purest doctrinal principles of Roman Catholicism"?
  • ...that the monastery of Champmol was founded in 1383 as the dynastic burial-place of the Valois Dukes of Burgundy, but only ever contained two monumental tombs?

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