The Tarentaise Valley is a valley of the Isère River in the heart of the French Alps, located in the Savoy region of France. The valley is named for the ancient town of Darantasia, the capital of the pre-Roman Centrones tribe. At the foot of the valley, in the west, is the city of Albertville. Going east up the valley, Moûtiers is reached Aime, the last large town, Bourg-Saint-Maurice; the area is internationally best known for its world-renowned ski resorts, including Les Trois Vallées, Paradiski with La Plagne above Aime, Les Arcs above Bourg-Saint-Maurice. Espace Killy with Tignes and Val-d'Isère is further up the valley; these communities hosted most of the events for the 1992 Albertville Winter Olympics. A weekly lift ticket in any of the described systems gives skiers a choice to ski one day in each of the other two systems mentioned. There were once plans to interlink all systems and resorts to create the—by far—largest ski area in the world; however that vision was ended with the creation of the Vanoise National Park.
Other ski areas includes Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise, La Rosière, Valmorel. In the winter, the valley is a cul-de-sac, with its road finishing at Val d'Isere. In the summer, there is a pass over to the Maurienne Valley at the head of the valley, a couple of others further down, including the Little St Bernard Pass eastwards to Italy via La Rosiere and La Thuile and the Cormet de Roselend northwards. Both sides of the valley, but the sunnier northern side, have rural farming communities all the way along; the colder southern side has occasional small hamlets. The valley has a railway as far as Bourg-Saint-Maurice, which, in the winter season, has various direct sleeper trains from Paris and Eurostar trains from London; the valley road is dual carriageway as far as Moûtiers, after which it becomes a standard two-lane but single-carriageway road, which can see substantial queues in winter. This road is receiving funding from the European Union for a significant improvement project between Aime and Moûtiers, one of the narrowest points in the valley
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
Departments of France
In the administrative divisions of France, the department is one of the three levels of government below the national level, between the administrative regions and the commune. Ninety-six departments are in metropolitan France, five are overseas departments, which are classified as regions. Departments are further subdivided into 334 arrondissements, themselves divided into cantons; each department is administered by an elected body called a departmental council. From 1800 to April 2015, these were called general councils; each council has a president. Their main areas of responsibility include the management of a number of social and welfare allowances, of junior high school buildings and technical staff, local roads and school and rural buses, a contribution to municipal infrastructures. Local services of the state administration are traditionally organised at departmental level, where the prefect represents the government; the departments were created in 1790 as a rational replacement of Ancien Régime provinces with a view to strengthen national unity.
All of them were named after physical geographical features, rather than after historical or cultural territories which could have their own loyalties. The division of France into departments was a project identified with the French revolutionary leader the Abbé Sieyès, although it had been discussed and written about by many politicians and thinkers; the earliest known suggestion of it is from 1764 in the writings of d'Argenson. They have inspired similar divisions in some of them former French colonies. Most French departments are assigned a two-digit number, the "Official Geographical Code", allocated by the Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques. Overseas departments have a three-digit number; the number is used, for example, in the postal code, was until used for all vehicle registration plates. While residents use the numbers to refer to their own department or a neighbouring one, more distant departments are referred to by their names, as few people know the numbers of all the departments.
For example, inhabitants of Loiret might refer to their department as "the 45". In 2014, President François Hollande proposed to abolish departmental councils by 2020, which would have maintained the departments as administrative divisions, to transfer their powers to other levels of governance; this reform project has since been abandoned. The first French territorial departments were proposed in 1665 by Marc-René d'Argenson to serve as administrative areas purely for the Ponts et Chaussées infrastructure administration. Before the French Revolution, France gained territory through the annexation of a mosaic of independent entities. By the close of the Ancien Régime, it was organised into provinces. During the period of the Revolution, these were dissolved in order to weaken old loyalties; the modern departments, as all-purpose units of the government, were created on 4 March 1790 by the National Constituent Assembly to replace the provinces with what the Assembly deemed a more rational structure.
Their boundaries served two purposes: Boundaries were chosen to break up France's historical regions in an attempt to erase cultural differences and build a more homogeneous nation. Boundaries were set so that every settlement in the country was within a day's ride of the capital of a department; this was a security measure, intended to keep the entire national territory under close control. This measure was directly inspired by the Great Terror, during which the government had lost control of many rural areas far from any centre of government; the old nomenclature was avoided in naming the new departments. Most were named after other physical features. Paris was in the department of Seine. Savoy became the department of Mont-Blanc; the number of departments 83, had been increased to 130 by 1809 with the territorial gains of the Republic and of the First French Empire. Following Napoleon's defeats in 1814–1815, the Congress of Vienna returned France to its pre-war size and the number of departments was reduced to 86.
In 1860, France acquired the County of Nice and Savoy, which led to the creation of three new departments. Two were added from the new Savoyard territory, while the department of Alpes-Maritimes was created from Nice and a portion of the Var department; the 89 departments were given numbers based on the alphabetical order of their names. The department of Bas-Rhin and parts of Meurthe, Moselle and Haut-Rhin were ceded to the German Empire in 1871, following France's defeat in the Franco-Prussian War. A small part of Haut-Rhin became known as the Territoire de Belfort; when France regained the ceded departments after World War I, the Territoire de Belfort was not re-integrated into Haut-Rhin. In 1922, it became France's 90th department; the Lorraine departments were not changed back to their original boundaries, a new Moselle department was created in the regaine
The Celts are an Indo-European ethnolinguistic group of Europe identified by their use of Celtic languages and cultural similarities. The history of pre-Celtic Europe and the exact relationship between ethnic and cultural factors in the Celtic world remains uncertain and controversial; the exact geographic spread of the ancient Celts is disputed. According to one theory, the common root of the Celtic languages, the Proto-Celtic language, arose in the Late Bronze Age Urnfield culture of Central Europe, which flourished from around 1200 BC. According to a theory proposed in the 19th century, the first people to adopt cultural characteristics regarded as Celtic were the people of the Iron Age Hallstatt culture in central Europe, named for the rich grave finds in Hallstatt, Austria, thus this area is sometimes called the "Celtic homeland". By or during the La Tène period, this Celtic culture was supposed to have expanded by trans-cultural diffusion or migration to the British Isles and the Low Countries, Bohemia and much of Central Europe, the Iberian Peninsula and northern Italy and, following the Celtic settlement of Eastern Europe beginning in 279 BC, as far east as central Anatolia in modern-day Turkey.
The earliest undisputed direct examples of a Celtic language are the Lepontic inscriptions beginning in the 6th century BC. Continental Celtic languages are attested exclusively through inscriptions and place-names. Insular Celtic languages are attested beginning around the 4th century in Ogham inscriptions, although they were being spoken much earlier. Celtic literary tradition begins with Old Irish texts around the 8th century CE. Coherent texts of Early Irish literature, such as the Táin Bó Cúailnge, survive in 12th-century recensions. By the mid-1st millennium, with the expansion of the Roman Empire and migrating Germanic tribes, Celtic culture and Insular Celtic languages had become restricted to Ireland, the western and northern parts of Great Britain, the Isle of Man, Brittany. Between the 5th and 8th centuries, the Celtic-speaking communities in these Atlantic regions emerged as a reasonably cohesive cultural entity, they had a common linguistic and artistic heritage that distinguished them from the culture of the surrounding polities.
By the 6th century, the Continental Celtic languages were no longer in wide use. Insular Celtic culture diversified into that of the Gaels and the Celtic Britons of the medieval and modern periods. A modern Celtic identity was constructed as part of the Romanticist Celtic Revival in Great Britain and other European territories, such as Portugal and Spanish Galicia. Today, Scottish Gaelic and Breton are still spoken in parts of their historical territories, Cornish and Manx are undergoing a revival; the first recorded use of the name of Celts – as Κελτοί – to refer to an ethnic group was by Hecataeus of Miletus, the Greek geographer, in 517 BC, when writing about a people living near Massilia. In the fifth century BC, Herodotus referred to Keltoi living around the head of the Danube and in the far west of Europe; the etymology of the term Keltoi is unclear. Possible roots include Indo-European *kʲel'to hide', IE *kʲel'to heat' or *kel'to impel'. Several authors have supposed it to be Celtic in origin, while others view it as a name coined by Greeks.
Linguist Patrizia De Bernardo Stempel falls in the latter group, suggests the meaning "the tall ones". In the 1st century BC, Julius Caesar reported that the people known to the Romans as Gauls called themselves Celts, which suggests that if the name Keltoi was bestowed by the Greeks, it had been adopted to some extent as a collective name by the tribes of Gaul; the geographer Strabo, writing about Gaul towards the end of the first century BC, refers to the "race, now called both Gallic and Galatic," though he uses the term Celtica as a synonym for Gaul, separated from Iberia by the Pyrenees. Yet he reports Celtic peoples in Iberia, uses the ethnic names Celtiberi and Celtici for peoples there, as distinct from Lusitani and Iberi. Pliny the Elder cited the use of Celtici in Lusitania as a tribal surname, which epigraphic findings have confirmed. Latin Gallus might stem from a Celtic ethnic or tribal name perhaps one borrowed into Latin during the Celtic expansions into Italy during the early fifth century BC.
Its root may be the Proto-Celtic *galno, meaning "power, strength", hence Old Irish gal "boldness, ferocity" and Welsh gallu "to be able, power". The tribal names of Gallaeci and the Greek Γαλάται most have the same origin; the suffix -atai might be an Ancient Greek inflection. Classical writers did not apply the terms Κελτοί or Celtae to the inhabitants of Britain or Ireland, which has led to some scholars preferring not to use the term for the Iron Age inhabitants of those islands. Celt is a modern English word, first attested in 1707, in the writing of Edward Lhuyd, whose work, along with that of other late 17th-century scholars, brought academic attention to the languages and history of the early Celtic inhabitants of Great Britain; the English form Gaul (first recorded in the 17th cent
Claudius Ptolemy was a Greco-Roman mathematician, astronomer and astrologer. He lived in the city of Alexandria in the Roman province of Egypt, wrote in Koine Greek, held Roman citizenship; the 14th-century astronomer Theodore Meliteniotes gave his birthplace as the prominent Greek city Ptolemais Hermiou in the Thebaid. This attestation is quite late, and, according to Gerald Toomer, the translator of his Almagest into English, there is no reason to suppose he lived anywhere other than Alexandria, he died there around AD 168. Ptolemy wrote several scientific treatises, three of which were of importance to Byzantine and Western European science; the first is the astronomical treatise now known as the Almagest, although it was entitled the Mathematical Treatise and known as the Great Treatise. The second is the Geography, a thorough discussion of the geographic knowledge of the Greco-Roman world; the third is the astrological treatise in which he attempted to adapt horoscopic astrology to the Aristotelian natural philosophy of his day.
This is sometimes known as the Apotelesmatika but more known as the Tetrabiblos from the Greek meaning "Four Books" or by the Latin Quadripartitum. Ptolemaeus is a Greek name, it occurs once in Greek mythology, is of Homeric form. It was common among the Macedonian upper class at the time of Alexander the Great, there were several of this name among Alexander's army, one of whom made himself pharaoh in 323 BC: Ptolemy I Soter, the first king of the Ptolemaic Kingdom. All male kings of Hellenistic Egypt, until Egypt became a Roman province in 30 BC ending the Macedonian family's rule, were Ptolemies; the name Claudius is a Roman nomen. It would have suited custom if the first of Ptolemy's family to become a citizen took the nomen from a Roman called Claudius, responsible for granting citizenship. If, as was common, this was the emperor, citizenship would have been granted between AD 41 and 68; the astronomer would have had a praenomen, which remains unknown. The ninth-century Persian astronomer Abu Maʿshar presents Ptolemy as a member of Egypt's royal lineage, stating that the descendants of Alexander's general Ptolemy I, who ruled Egypt, were wise "and included Ptolemy the Wise, who composed the book of the Almagest".
Abu Maʿshar recorded a belief that a different member of this royal line "composed the book on astrology and attributed it to Ptolemy". We can evidence historical confusion on this point from Abu Maʿshar's subsequent remark "It is sometimes said that the learned man who wrote the book of astrology wrote the book of the Almagest; the correct answer is not known." There is little evidence on the subject of Ptolemy's ancestry, apart from what can be drawn from the details of his name. Ptolemy can be shown to have utilized Babylonian astronomical data, he was a Roman citizen, but was ethnically either a Greek or a Hellenized Egyptian. He was known in Arabic sources as "the Upper Egyptian", suggesting he may have had origins in southern Egypt. Arabic astronomers and physicists referred to him by his name in Arabic: بَطْلُمْيوس Baṭlumyus. Ptolemy's Almagest is the only surviving comprehensive ancient treatise on astronomy. Babylonian astronomers had developed arithmetical techniques for calculating astronomical phenomena.
Ptolemy, claimed to have derived his geometrical models from selected astronomical observations by his predecessors spanning more than 800 years, though astronomers have for centuries suspected that his models' parameters were adopted independently of observations. Ptolemy presented his astronomical models in convenient tables, which could be used to compute the future or past position of the planets; the Almagest contains a star catalogue, a version of a catalogue created by Hipparchus. Its list of forty-eight constellations is ancestral to the modern system of constellations, but unlike the modern system they did not cover the whole sky. Across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa in the Medieval period, it was the authoritative text on astronomy, with its author becoming an mythical figure, called Ptolemy, King of Alexandria; the Almagest was preserved, in Arabic manuscripts. Because of its reputation, it was sought and was translated twice into Latin in the 12th century, once in Sicily and again in Spain.
Ptolemy's model, like those of his predecessors, was geocentric and was universally accepted until the appearance of simpler heliocentric models during the scientific revolution. His Planetary Hypotheses went beyond the mathematical model of the Almagest to present a physical realization of the universe as a set of nested spheres, in which he used the epicycles of his planetary model to compute the dimensions of the universe, he estimated the Sun was at an average dis