Portal:France

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

France (French: [fʁɑ̃s] ), officially the French Republic (French: République française [ʁepyblik fʁɑ̃sɛːz]), is a country located primarily in Western Europe. It also includes overseas regions and territories in the Americas and the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans, giving it one of the largest discontiguous exclusive economic zones in the world. Metropolitan France shares borders with Belgium and Luxembourg to the north, Germany to the north east, Switzerland to the east, Italy and Monaco to the south east, Andorra and Spain to the south, and a maritime border with the United Kingdom to the north west. Its metropolitan area extends from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean and from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea. Its overseas territories include French Guiana in South America, Saint Pierre and Miquelon in the North Atlantic, the French West Indies, and many islands in Oceania and the Indian Ocean. Its eighteen integral regions (five of which are overseas) span a combined area of 643,801 km2 (248,573 sq mi) and have a total population of 68.4 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 Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse, Lille, Bordeaux, Strasbourg, Nantes and Nice.

Metropolitan France was settled during the Iron Age by Celtic tribes known as Gauls before Rome annexed the area in 51 BC, leading to a distinct Gallo-Roman culture. In the Early Middle Ages, the Germanic Franks 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 evolving into the Kingdom of France. In the High Middle Ages, France was a powerful but decentralized feudal kingdom, but from the mid-14th to the mid-15th centuries, France was plunged into a dynastic conflict with England known as the Hundred Years' War. In the 16th century, the French Renaissance saw culture flourish and a French colonial empire rise. Internally, France was dominated by the conflict with the House of Habsburg and the French Wars of Religion between Catholics and Huguenots. France was successful in the Thirty Years' War and further increased its influence during the reign of Louis XIV.

The French Revolution of 1789 overthrew the Ancien Régime and produced the Declaration of the Rights of Man, which expresses the nation's ideals to this day. France reached its political and military zenith in the early 19th century under Napoleon Bonaparte, subjugating part of continental Europe and establishing the First French Empire. The French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars significantly shaped the course of European history. The collapse of the empire initiated a period of relative decline, in which France endured a tumultuous succession of governments until the founding of the French Third Republic during the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. Subsequent decades saw a period of economic prosperity and cultural and scientific flourishing known as the Belle Époque. France was one of the major participants of World War I, from which it emerged victorious at great human and economic cost. It was among the Allied powers of World War II, but it surrendered and was occupied by the Axis in 1940. Following its liberation in 1944, the short-lived Fourth Republic was established and later dissolved in the course of the defeat in the Algerian War. The current Fifth Republic was formed in 1958 by Charles de Gaulle. Algeria and most French colonies became independent in the 1960s, with the majority retaining close economic and military ties with France.

France retains its centuries-long status as a global centre of art, science, and philosophy. It hosts the third-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is the world's leading tourist destination, receiving over 89 million foreign visitors in 2018. France is a developed country with a high nominal per capita income globally and its advanced economy ranks among the largest in the world. It is a great power in global affairs, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and an official nuclear-weapon state. France is a founding and leading member of the European Union and the eurozone, as well as a key member of the Group of Seven, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and Francophonie. (Full article...)

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Hotel Chevalier is a 2007 short film written and directed by Wes Anderson. Starring Jason Schwartzman and Natalie Portman as former lovers who reunite in a Paris hotel room, the 13-minute film acts as a prologue to Anderson's 2007 feature The Darjeeling Limited. It was shot on location in a Parisian hotel by a small crew and self-financed by Anderson, who initially intended it to be a stand-alone work. Its first showing was at the Venice Film Festival première of the feature film on September 2, 2007, and it made its own debut later that month at Apple Stores in four U.S. cities.

The day after the film's première, it was made freely available from the iTunes Store for one month, during which time it was downloaded more than 500,000 times. The film garnered acclaim from reviewers, who compared it favorably to The Darjeeling Limited and praised its richness, poignancy, and careful construction. (Full article...)

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Painting, ca. 1485. An artist's interpretation, since the only known direct portrait has not survived. (Centre Historique des Archives Nationales, Paris, AE II 2490)
Joan of Arc, nicknamed "The Maid of Orléans" (French: La Pucelle d'Orléans), is a folk heroine of France and a Roman Catholic saint. She was born a peasant girl in what is now eastern France. Claiming divine guidance, she led the French army to several important victories during the Hundred Years' War, which paved the way for the coronation of Charles VII of France. She was captured by the Burgundians, transferred to the English in exchange for money, put on trial by the pro-English Bishop of Beauvais Pierre Cauchon for charges of "insubordination and heterodoxy", and was burned at the stake for heresy when she was 19 years old.

Twenty-five years after her execution, an inquisitorial court authorized by Pope Callixtus III examined the trial, pronounced her innocent, and declared her a martyr. Joan of Arc was beatified in 1909 and canonized in 1920. She is – along with St. Denis, St. Martin of Tours, St. Louis IX, and St. Theresa of Lisieux – one of the patron saints of France. Joan said that she had visions from God that instructed her to recover her homeland from English domination late in the Hundred Years' War. The uncrowned King Charles VII sent her to the siege of Orléans as part of a relief mission. She gained prominence when she overcame the dismissive attitude of veteran commanders and lifted the siege in only nine days. Several additional swift victories led to Charles VII's coronation at Reims.

To the present day, Joan of Arc has remained a significant figure in Western civilization.

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Steak-frites as served by Le Relais de l'Entrecôte in Geneva

Around the world, many restaurants featuring steak dishes use the word entrecôte as their name or part of their name. In particular, the name L'Entrecôte has come to identify three groups of restaurants owned by two sisters and one brother of the Gineste de Saurs family, which specialize in the contre-filet cut of sirloin and serve it in the typical French bistro style of steak-frites, or steak and French fries:

  • L'Entrecôte is the popular nickname of the restaurant Le Relais de Venise – L'Entrecôte, founded by Paul Gineste de Saurs in Paris's 17th arrondissement near Porte Maillot. Now run by one of his daughters, the restaurant is widely known as L'Entrecôte Porte-Maillot. It has eight additional locations operating under licence, three in London, one in Bahrain, two in New York, and one in Mexico.
  • L'Entrecôte is the legal name of a group of restaurants established by a son of Paul Gineste de Saurs, with locations in Toulouse, Bordeaux, Nantes, Montpellier, Lyon and Barcelona.
  • L'Entrecôte is also the popular nickname for the Le Relais de l'Entrecôte restaurants operated by another daughter of Paul Gineste de Saurs, with three locations in Paris and one in Geneva. The oldest of these, in Paris's 6th arrondissement, is widely known as L'Entrecôte Saint-Germain. This group has thirteen additional locations operating under license, four in Kuwait, two in Beirut, and one each in Doha, Dubai, Riyadh, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Istanbul, and Jordan. Two more locations are set to open soon in Cairo. (Full article...)
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Louis Braille (/brl/; French: [lwi bʁɑj]; 4 January 1809 – 6 January 1852) was a French educator and the inventor of a reading and writing system named after him, braille, intended for use by visually impaired people. His system is used worldwide and remains virtually unchanged to this day.

Braille was blinded at the age of three in one eye as a result of an accident with a stitching awl in his father's harness making shop. Consequently, an infection set in and spread to both eyes, resulting in total blindness. At that time, there were not many resources in place for the blind, but he nevertheless excelled in his education and received a scholarship to France's Royal Institute for Blind Youth. While still a student there, he began developing a system of tactile code that could allow blind people to read and write quickly and efficiently. Inspired by a system invented by Charles Barbier, Braille's new method was more compact and lent itself to a range of uses, including music. He presented his work to his peers for the first time in 1824, when he was fifteen years old. (Full article...)
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18 February 2024 – Israeli–Palestinian conflict, Two-state solution
The Cabinet of Israel adopts a resolution opposing unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state, following comments from France and the United Kingdom stating that they would consider unilateral recognition. (The Times of Israel) (Wall Street Journal)
10 February 2024 –
France's EDF shuts down two nuclear reactors due to a fire at the Chinon Nuclear Power Plant. (Reuters)

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Vannes Cathedral.

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