Île-de-France called the région parisienne, contains the city of Paris, is the most populous of the 18 regions of France. It covers 12,012 square kilometres, or two percent of the national territory, has official estimated population of 12,213,364 as of January 1, 2019, or 18.2% of the population of France. The region accounts for nearly 30 percent of the French Gross Domestic Product; the region is made up of eight administrative departments: Paris, Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis, Seine-et-Marne, Val-de-Marne, Val-d'Oise and Yvelines. It was created as the "District of the Paris Region" in 1961 renamed in 1976 after the historic province of Île-de-France, when its status was aligned with the other French administrative regions created in 1972. Residents are sometimes referred to an administrative word created in the 1980s; the GDP of the region in 2016 was €681 billion. It has the highest per-capita GDP among regions in France and the third-highest of regions in the European Union. In 2018 all of the twenty-eight French companies listed in the Fortune Global 500 had their headquarters in the Paris region.
Besides the landmarks of Paris, the region has many important historic sites, including the Palace of Versailles and the Palace of Fontainebleau, as well as the most-visited tourist attraction in France, Disneyland Paris. Although the modern name Île-de-France means "Island of France", the etymology is in fact unclear; the "island" may refer to the land between the rivers Oise and Seine, or it may have been a reference to the Île de la Cité, where the French royal palace and cathedral were located. The Île-de-France was inhabited by the Parisii, a sub-tribe of the Celtic Senones, from around the middle of the 3rd century BC. One of the area's major north–south trade routes crossed the Seine on the île de la Cité; the Parisii minted their own coins for that purpose. The Romans began their settlement on Paris's Left Bank, it became a prosperous city with a forum, temples, an amphitheatre. Christianity was introduced in the middle of the 3rd century AD by Saint Denis, the first Bishop of Paris: according to legend, when he refused to renounce his faith before the Roman occupiers, he was beheaded on the hill which became known as Mons Martyrum "Montmartre", from where he walked headless to the north of the city.
As the Frankish domination of Gaul began, there was a gradual immigration by the Franks to Paris and the Parisian Francien dialects were born. Fortification of the Île-de-la-Citie failed to avert sacking by Vikings in 845, but Paris's strategic importance—with its bridges preventing ships from passing—was established by successful defence in the Siege of Paris. In 987, Hugh Capet, Count of Paris and Duke of the Franks, was elected King of the Franks. Under the rule of the Capetian kings, Paris became the largest and most prosperous city in France; the Kings of France enjoyed getting away from Paris and hunting in the game-filled forests of the region. They built palatial hunting lodges, most notably Palace of Fontainebleau and the Palace of Versailles. From the time of Louis XIV until the French Revolution, Versailles was the official residence of the Kings and the seat of the French government; the Ile-de-France became the term used for the territory of Paris and the surrounding province, administered directly by the King.
During the French Revolution, the royal provinces were abolished and divided into departments, the city and region were governed directly by the national government. In the period after World War II, as Paris faced a major housing shortage, hundreds of massive apartment blocks for low-income residents were built around the edges of Paris. In the 1950s and the 1960s, Many thousands of immigrants settled in the communes bordering the city. In 1959, under President Charles De Gaulle, a new region was created out of six departments, which corresponded with the historic region, with the name District de la région de Paris. On 6 May 1976, as part of the process of regionalisation, the district was reconstituted and increased administrative and political powers and renamed the Île-de-France region. Île-de-France has a land area of 12,011 km2. It is composed of eight départements centered on Paris. Around the département of Paris, urbanization fills a first concentric ring of three departments known as the petite couronne, extends into a second outer ring of four départements known as the grande couronne.
The former département of Seine, abolished in 1968, included the city proper and parts of the petite couronne. The petite couronne consists of the départements of Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis, Val-de-Marne, the grande couronne of those of Seine-et-Marne, Yvelines and Val-d'Oise. Politically, the region is divided into 8 départements, 25 arrondissements, 155 cantons and 1 276 communes, out of the total of 35 416 in metropolitan France, The outer parts of the Ile-de-France remain rural. Agriculture land and natu
Orléanais is a former province of France, around the cities of Orléans and Blois. The name comes from its main city and traditional capital; the province was one of those. It was the country around Orléans, the pagus Aurelianensis, it was in the possession of the Capet family before the advent of Hugh Capet to the throne of France in 987, in 1344 Philip VI gave it with the title of duke to Philip of Valois, one of his younger sons. In a geographical sense the region around Orléans is sometimes known as the Orléanais, but this is somewhat smaller than the former province. Media related to Orléanais at Wikimedia Commons
France the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean, it is bordered by Belgium and Germany to the northeast and Italy to the east, Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic and Indian oceans; the country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, 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, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nice. During the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by a Celtic people. Rome annexed the area in 51 BC, holding it until the arrival of Germanic Franks in 476, who formed the Kingdom of Francia.
The Treaty of Verdun of 843 partitioned Francia into Middle Francia and West Francia. West Francia which became the Kingdom of France in 987 emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages following its victory in the Hundred Years' War. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a global colonial empire was established, which by the 20th century would become the second largest in the world; the 16th century was dominated by religious civil wars between Protestants. France became Europe's dominant cultural and military power in the 17th century under Louis XIV. In the late 18th century, the French Revolution overthrew the absolute monarchy, established one of modern history's earliest republics, saw the drafting of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which expresses the nation's ideals to this day. In the 19th century, Napoleon established the First French Empire, his subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a tumultuous succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870.
France was a major participant in World War I, from which it emerged victorious, was one of the Allies in World War II, but came under occupation by the Axis powers in 1940. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and dissolved in the course of the Algerian War; the Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, remains today. Algeria and nearly all the other colonies became independent in the 1960s and retained close economic and military connections with France. France has long been a global centre of art and philosophy, it hosts the world's fourth-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is the leading tourist destination, receiving around 83 million foreign visitors annually. France is a developed country with the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP, tenth-largest by purchasing power parity. In terms of aggregate household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, human development.
France is considered a great power in global affairs, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a leading member state of the European Union and the Eurozone, a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, La Francophonie. Applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name "France" comes from the Latin "Francia", or "country of the Franks". Modern France is still named today "Francia" in Italian and Spanish, "Frankreich" in German and "Frankrijk" in Dutch, all of which have more or less the same historical meaning. There are various theories as to the origin of the name Frank. Following the precedents of Edward Gibbon and Jacob Grimm, the name of the Franks has been linked with the word frank in English, it has been suggested that the meaning of "free" was adopted because, after the conquest of Gaul, only Franks were free of taxation.
Another theory is that it is derived from the Proto-Germanic word frankon, which translates as javelin or lance as the throwing axe of the Franks was known as a francisca. However, it has been determined that these weapons were named because of their use by the Franks, not the other way around; the oldest traces of human life in what is now France date from 1.8 million years ago. Over the ensuing millennia, Humans were confronted by a harsh and variable climate, marked by several glacial eras. Early hominids led a nomadic hunter-gatherer life. France has a large number of decorated caves from the upper Palaeolithic era, including one of the most famous and best preserved, Lascaux. At the end of the last glacial period, the climate became milder. After strong demographic and agricultural development between the 4th and 3rd millennia, metallurgy appeared at the end of the 3rd millennium working gold and bronze, iron. France has numerous megalithic sites from the Neolithic period, including the exceptiona
Châteaux of the Loire Valley
The Châteaux of the Loire Valley are part of the architectural heritage of the historic towns of Amboise, Blois, Montsoreau, Orléans and Tours along the Loire River in France. They illustrate Renaissance ideals of design in France; the châteaux of the Loire Valley number over three hundred, including practical fortified castles in the 10th century to splendid residences built half a millennium later. When the French kings began constructing their huge châteaux in the Loire Valley, the nobility, drawn to the seat of power, followed suit, attracting the finest architects and landscape designers; the châteaux and their surrounding gardens are cultural monuments which stunningly embody the ideals of the Renaissance and Enlightenment. Many of the châteaux were built on hilltops, such as the Château d'Amboise, while the only one built in the riverbed is the Château de Montsoreau. Many had exquisite churches within the château; as the wars of the 15th century wound down, Kings Charles VII, Louis XI, their successors preferred to spend the bulk of their time in the "garden of France" along the banks of the Loire.
In the late 15th century, Tours Blois, Amboise became the preferred locations of the French royal court. Many courtiers bought dilapidated castles built by the medieval Counts of Blois and Anjou, had them reconstructed in the latest Italianate fashion. Leonardo da Vinci and other Italian artists arrived to beautify these residences. By the middle of the 16th century, King François I had shifted his throne from the Loire back to the ancient capital of Paris. With him went the great architects, but the Loire Valley continued to be the place where most of the French royalty preferred to spend the bulk of their time. King Louis XIV in the middle of the 17th century made Paris the permanent locale for great royal châteaux when he built the Palace of Versailles. Nonetheless, those who gained the king's favour and the wealthy bourgeoisie continued to renovate existing châteaux or build lavish new ones in the Loire as summer residences; the French Revolution saw a number of the great châteaux destroyed and many ransacked, their treasures stolen.
The overnight impoverishment of many of the deposed nobility after one of its members lost his or her head to the guillotine, saw many châteaux demolished. During World War I and World War II, some chateaux were commandeered as military headquarters; some of these continued to be so used after the end of World War II. Today, the remaining owned châteaux serve as homes, a few open their doors to tourists, while others operate as hotels or bed-and-breakfasts. Many others have been taken over by local governments, the grandest, like those at Chambord, are owned and operated by the national government and are major tourist sites, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Though there is no universally accepted definition for the designation, the main criterion is that the château must be situated close to the Loire or one of its tributaries. Châteaux further upstream than Gien are not included, with the possible exception of the Bastie d'Urfé for its historical significance. Loire Valley portal List of châteaux in France Tuffeau, principal building material of the Loire Valley Media related to Castles of the Loire at Wikimedia Commons Châteaux de la Loire, Finest France
Château de Chambord
The Château de Chambord in Chambord, Loir-et-Cher, France, is one of the most recognisable châteaux in the world because of its distinctive French Renaissance architecture which blends traditional French medieval forms with classical Renaissance structures. The building, never completed, was constructed by King Francis I of France. Chambord is the largest château in the Loire Valley; the original design of the Château de Chambord is attributed, though with some doubt, to Domenico da Cortona. Chambord was altered during the twenty-eight years of its construction, during which it was overseen on-site by Pierre Nepveu. With the château nearing completion, Francis showed off his enormous symbol of wealth and power by hosting his old archrival, Emperor Charles V, at Chambord. In 1792, in the wake of the French Revolution, some of the furnishings were sold and timber removed. For a time the building was left abandoned, though in the 19th century some attempts were made at restoration. During the Second World War, art works from the collections of the Louvre and the Château de Compiègne were moved to the Château de Chambord.
The château is now open to the public, receiving 700,000 visitors in 2007. Flooding in June 2016 damaged the grounds but not the château itself. Châteaux in the 16th century departed from castle architecture. Extensive gardens and water features, such as a moat, were common amongst châteaux from this period. Chambord is no exception to this pattern; the layout is reminiscent of a typical castle with a keep, corner towers, defended by a moat. Built in Renaissance style, the internal layout is an early example of the French and Italian style of grouping rooms into self-contained suites, a departure from the medieval style of corridor rooms; the massive château is composed of a central keep with four immense bastion towers at the corners. The keep forms part of the front wall of a larger compound with two more large towers. Bases for a possible further two towers are found at the rear, but these were never developed, remain the same height as the wall; the château features 440 rooms, 282 fireplaces, 84 staircases.
Four rectangular vaulted hallways on each floor form a cross-shape. The château was never intended to provide any form of defence from enemies; some elements of the architecture—open windows, a vast outdoor area at the top—borrowed from the Italian Renaissance architecture—are less practical in cold and damp northern France. The roofscape of Chambord contrasts with the masses of its masonry and has been compared with the skyline of a town: it shows eleven kinds of towers and three types of chimneys, without symmetry, framed at the corners by the massive towers; the design parallels are Leonardesque. Writer Henry James remarked "the towers, the gables, the lanterns, the chimneys, look more like the spires of a city than the salient points of a single building." One of the architectural highlights is the spectacular open double-spiral staircase, the centrepiece of the château. The two spirals ascend the three floors without meeting, illuminated from above by a sort of light house at the highest point of the château.
There are suggestions that Leonardo da Vinci may have designed the staircase, but this has not been confirmed. Writer John Evelyn said of the staircase "it is devised with four entries or ascents, which cross one another, so that though four persons meet, they never come in sight, but by small loopholes, till they land, it consists of 274 steps, is an extraordinary work, but of far greater expense than use or beauty."The château features 128 metres of façade, more than 800 sculpted columns and an elaborately decorated roof. When Francis I commissioned the construction of Chambord, he wanted it to look like the skyline of Constantinople; the château is surrounded by a 52.5-square-kilometre wooded park and game reserve maintained with red deer, enclosed by a 31-kilometre wall. The king's plan to divert the Loire to surround the château came about only in a novel. In the novel the château is referred to as the Palace of Firm Isle. Chambord's towers are atypical of French contemporary design in that they lack spires.
In the opinion of author Tanaka, who suggests Leonardo da Vinci influenced the château's design, they are closer in design to minarets of 15th-century Milan. The design and architecture of the château inspired William Henry Crossland for his design of what is known as the Founder's building at Royal Holloway, University of London; the Founder's Building features similar towers and layout but was built using red bricks. Who designed the Château de Chambord is a matter of controversy; the original design is attributed, though with several doubts, to Domenico da Cortona, whose wooden model for the design survived long enough to be drawn by André Félibien in the 17th century. In the drawings of the model, the main staircase of the keep is shown with two straight, parallel flights of steps separated by a passage and is located in one of the arms of the cross. According to Jean Guillaume, this Italian design was replaced with the centrally located spiral staircase, similar to that at Blois, a design more compatible with the French preference for spectacular grand staircase
Indre is a department in central France named after the river Indre. The inhabitants of the department are called Indriens. Indre is part of the current region of Centre-Val de Loire and is surrounded by the departments of Indre-et-Loire, Loir-et-Cher, Creuse and Haute-Vienne; the préfecture is Châteauroux and there are three subpréfectures at Le Blanc, La Châtre and Issoudun. Indre is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on 4 March 1790, by order of the National Constituent Assembly; the new departments were to be uniformly administered and equal in size and population to one another. The department was created from part of the former province of Berry. Before the Roman conquest, the Celtic Bituriges tribe occupied an area that included Indre and part of Limousin, their capital was Avaricum, another important settlement was at Argenton-sur-Creuse. The area became part of Roman Gaul after its conquest by Julius Caesar around 58 BC, enjoyed a period of stability.
Following the collapse of the Roman Empire in the West, the Frankish tribes living in Gaul were united under the Merovingians, succeeded in conquering most of the country in the sixth century AD. From this time, the Franks controlled most of Gaul and the Carolingian Empire was the last stage of their rule; the Carolingian dynasty reached its peak with the crowning of Charlemagne and after his death in 814, it began to fragment. The Carolingian territories were divided into three sections in 843 at the Treaty of Verdun, the area, now the department of Indre, became part of West Francia. In 869, the king of Middle Francia died without leaving a legitimate heir, part of that kingdom was added to West Francia to form the medieval Kingdom of France. A castle was built at Châteauroux in the late tenth century. In the eleventh century, the lords of Châteauroux were powerful in the region. Indre is part of the region of Centre-Val de Loire; the capital and largest town in the department is Châteauroux.
To the north of Indre lies Loir-et-Cher, to the east Cher, to the south lies Creuse and Haute-Vienne, to the southwest lies Vienne, to the northwest lies Indre-et-Loire. Most of the department is level plains in the broad Loire Valley; the area of the department is 5,880 km2 and it is some 100 km from north to south and some 90 km wide. The land is undulating and slopes towards the northwest; the main rivers are the Claise and the Indre. The Creuse, a tributary of the Vienne, is 264 kilometres long and has been impounded in several places; the Claise is a tributary of the Creuse. The Indre is a longer waterway and flows centrally through the department from south to north, through the major towns of La Châtre, Châteauroux and Loches, it is a tributary of the Loire. Indre is divided into four natural regions; the highest point of the department is near the town of Pouligny-Notre-Dame where the land rises to 459 m above sea level. The department is made up of 680,910 ha of land of which 401,535 ha are under arable cropping, 85,305 ha are grassland, 67,423 ha are woodland, 18,110 ha are under grapes and 18,273 ha are gardens and orchards.
The remaining land is waterways. The economy is agricultural. In the past many sheep were raised in the department and woollen yarn was the main manufactured product. There is a linen industry as well as the manufacture of hosiery and paper; the department has some minerals in the form of coal, stone and clay. The President of the General Council is Louis Pinton of the Union for a Popular Movement. Châteauroux, the capital of the department, is a historic town, it was called "Château Raoul", the present day château which now houses the préfecture being built on the site of a castle constructed in the tenth century by Raoul le Large, lord of Déols. In 1188 the castle was held by Philippe Auguste, concerned in protecting the drapery business centred in the town and along the banks of the River Indre from fraud. From 1612 to 1736 it was a duchy of the House of Condé and from 1742 to 1744 was under the control of the Marquise de la Tournelle; the Indre department has two villages which have been classified among the most beautiful villages of France: Saint-Benoît-du-Sault and Gargilesse-Dampierre.
Cantons of the Indre department Communes of the Indre department Arrondissements of the Indre department Media related to Indre at Wikimedia Commons Prefecture website General Council website Indre at Curlie http://www.indrenature.net/
Loir-et-Cher is a department in the Centre-Val de Loire region, France. Its name is originated from two rivers which cross it, the Loir on the North and the Cher on the South, its prefecture is Blois. The INSEE and La Poste gave it the number 41; the department of Loir-et-Cher covers a territory which had a substantial population during the prehistoric period. However it was not until the Middle Ages that local inhabitants built various castles and other fortifications to enable them to withstand a series of invasions of Normans, the English and others; the economy is quite flourishing: there are shops in valley, agriculture is prominent in the region of the Beauce and the Perche to the Sologne which were prosperous until the 17th century. However, the region remained quartered between the neighboring earldoms and duchies. In 1397, the House of Orleans became the possession of the Comté of Blois. In 1497, Louis d’Orleans was crowned with the name of Louis XII, it was the beginning of the importance of Blois and of the Blaisois in the politic life of the French, impressive under the last Valois.
At this time and important financiers competed to build castles and elegant abodes which are today an important part of the French national heritage due to their quantity and worth. After that, there were religious wars which were ferocious under Charles IX's reign. In 1576 and 1588, the General Estates convened in Blois. L’Orléanais, le Berry, la Touraine, le Perche et le Maine occupied le Loir-et-Cher and its provinces in 1970; the Loir-et-Cher’s birth as a department was difficult and laborious. On 29 September 1789, the constitution’s advisory board made a report in which he wanted to attribute one of the 80 departments to Blois. However, some cities and canton capitals disagreed, such as Orleans. Inside of the department, Montrichard turns to Amboise and Tours, Saint-Aignan wants to turn to the Berry and Salbris to Vierzon. Orleans gives Blois an important part of the Sologne except Beaugency and Tours doesn’t give Amboise; the department is founded 4 March 1790, in accordance with the law of 22 December 1789.
It is constituted of some old provinces of the Orleanais and of the Touraine along with a Berry’s plot. The department’s constriction in its centre and the maximum stretching out in its surface area beyond the Loir on the North and the Cher on the South is due to these tribulations. After the victory of the Coalises during the Waterloo’s battle, the Prussian’s troops occupied the department from June 1815 to November 1818; the poet Pierre de Ronsard, the inventor Denis Papin, the historian Augustin Thierry come from here. Other well-known people are associated with this department, such as François the First, Gaston d’Orleans, the Marshall Maunoury, the abbot Gregoire. In the artistic domain, there is the compositor Antoine Boesset, musician in the Louis XII de France’s court, the head of the Music of the King’s Bedroom from 1623 to 1643; the Loir-et-Cher’s department is a part of the Centre Region. It is adjacent of these departments: the Eure-et-Loir, the Loiret, the Cher, the Indre, the Indre-et-Loire and the Sarthe.
Due to its surface area of 6 343 km², it is the 31st largest department in the nation. It has a privileged geographical situation because it is in the center of the Centre region and near the Paris basin. An axe lively and dynamic, brings Blois closer of the both tall urban conglomerations near it: Orleans and Tours. Located on the boundaries of the Perche, the Beauce, the Sologne and the Touraine, it finds its territorial identity in the diversity of its geography and its landscapes. Cut in its middle by the Loire, it shows an image of diversity. In 1989, American-based animators Andreas Deja, Glen Keane, Tom Sito, draftsmen Jean Gillmore, Thom Enriquez, Hans Bacher launched an expedition to the chateau to do their research for the animated adaptation of "Beauty and the Beast". Loir-et-Cher is a part of the modern region of Centre-Val de Loire. Adjacent departments are Eure-et-Loir to the north, Loiret to the north-east, Cher to the south-east, Indre to the south, Indre-et-Loire to the south-west, Sarthe to the west.
The department comprises 6,314 km2, which makes it the 31st largest of the French departments in terms of area. The line of the river Loire traverses the land, ensuring easy communication between its own capital and the vibrant cultural and commercial centres of Tours to the west and the fringes of the Seine-Paris basin at Orléans to the east, its main rivers are the Loir and the Cher. The inhabitants of the department are called the Loir-et-Chériens. Loir-et-Cher has an important number of historic châteaux, including the following: Château de Blois Château de Chaumont Château de Chambord Château de Cheverny Cantons of the Loir-et-Cher department Communes of the Loir-et-Cher department Arrondissements of the Loir-et-Cher department Prefecture website General Council website Loir-et-Cher at Curlie