France, officially the French Republic, is a country with territory in western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The European, or metropolitan, area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, Overseas France include French Guiana on the South American continent and several island territories in the Atlantic and Indian oceans. France spans 643,801 square kilometres and had a population of almost 67 million people as of January 2017. It is a unitary republic with the capital in Paris. Other major urban centres include Marseille, Lille, Toulouse, during the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by the Gauls, a Celtic people. The area was annexed in 51 BC by Rome, which held Gaul until 486, France emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages, with its victory in the Hundred Years War strengthening state-building and political centralisation. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a colonial empire was established.
The 16th century was dominated by civil wars between Catholics and Protestants. France became Europes dominant cultural and military power under Louis XIV, in the 19th century Napoleon took power and established the First French Empire, whose subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870. 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, was formed in 1958 and remains to this day. Algeria and nearly all the colonies became independent in the 1960s with minimal controversy and typically retained close economic. France has long been a centre of art, science. It hosts Europes fourth-largest number of cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites and receives around 83 million foreign tourists annually, France is a developed country with the worlds sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest by purchasing power parity.
In terms of household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, France remains a great power in the world, 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 member state of the European Union and the Eurozone. It is a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, originally applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name France comes from the Latin Francia, or country of the Franks
Cluny Abbey dedicated to St Peter, is a former Benedictine monastery in Cluny, Saône-et-Loire, France. It was built in the Romanesque style, with three built in succession from the 4th to the early 12th centuries. The earliest basilica was the worlds largest church until the St. Peters Basilica construction began in Rome, Cluny was founded by William I, Duke of Aquitaine in 910. He nominated Berno as the first Abbot of Cluny, subject only to Pope Sergius III, the abbey was notable for its stricter adherence to the Rule of St. Benedict, whereby Cluny became acknowledged as the leader of western monasticism. The establishment of the Benedictine Order was a keystone to the stability of European society that was achieved in the 11th century, in 1790 during the French Revolution, the abbey was sacked and mostly destroyed, with only a small part of the Abbey surviving. Starting around 1334, the Abbots of Cluny maintained a townhouse in Paris known as the Hôtel de Cluny, apart from the name, it no longer possesses anything originally connected with Cluny.
In 910, William I, Duke of Aquitaine the Pious, the deed of gift included vineyards, meadows, waters, serfs and uncultivated lands. Hospitality was to be given to the poor, William placed Cluny under the protection of saints Peter and Paul, with a powerful curse on anyone who should violate the charter. With the Pope across the Alps in Italy, this meant the monastery was essentially independent, in donating his hunting preserve in the forests of Burgundy, William released Cluny Abbey from all future obligation to him and his family other than prayer. Contemporary patrons normally retained a proprietary interest and expected to install their kinsmen as abbots, William appears to have made this arrangement with Berno, the first abbot, to free the new monastery from such secular entanglements and initiate the Cluniac Reforms. The Abbots of Cluny were statesmen on the stage and the monastery of Cluny was considered the grandest, most prestigious. The height of Cluniac influence was from the half of the 10th century through the early 12th.
The first female members were admitted to the Order during the 11th century, Berno had adopted Benedicts interpretation of the Rule previously at Baume Abbey. Cluny was not known for the severity of its discipline or its asceticism, but the abbots of Cluny supported the revival of the papacy, the Cluniac establishment found itself closely identified with the Papacy. In the early 12th century, the order lost momentum under poor government and it was subsequently revitalized under Abbot Peter the Venerable, who brought lax priories back into line and returned to stricter discipline. Cluny reached its apogee of power and influence under Peter, as its monks became bishops and cardinals throughout France, but by the time Peter died and more austere orders such as the Cistercians were generating the next wave of ecclesiastical reform. Outside monastic structures, the rise of English and French nationalism created a climate unfavourable to the existence of monasteries autocratically ruled by a head residing in Burgundy.
The Papal Schism of 1378 to 1409 further divided loyalties, France recognizing a pope at Avignon and England one at Rome, interfered with the relations between Cluny and its dependent houses
Communes of France
The commune is a level of administrative division in the French Republic. French communes are roughly equivalent to civil townships incorporated municipalities in the United States or Gemeinden in Germany, the United Kingdom has no exact equivalent, as communes resemble districts in urban areas, but are closer to parishes in rural areas where districts are much larger. Communes are based on historical geographic communities or villages and have received significant powers of governance to manage the populations, the communes are the fourth-level administrative divisions of France. A French commune may be a city of 2.2 million inhabitants like Paris, communes typically are based on pre-existing villages and facilitate local governance. All communes have names, but not all named geographic areas or groups of people residing together are communes, a commune is a town, city, or municipality. Use of commune in English is a habit, and one that might be corrected. There is nothing in commune in French that is different from town in English.
The French word commune appeared in the 12th century, from Medieval Latin communia, as of January 2015, there were 36,681 communes in France,36,552 of them in metropolitan France and 129 of them overseas. This is a higher total than that of any other European country. The whole territory of the French Republic is divided into communes and this is unlike some other countries, such as the United States, where unincorporated areas directly governed by a county or a higher authority can be found. There are only a few exceptions, COM of Saint-Martin and it was previously a commune inside the Guadeloupe région. The commune structure was abolished when Saint-Martin became an overseas collectivity on 22 February 2007, COM of Wallis and Futuna, which still is divided according to the three traditional chiefdoms. It was previously a commune inside the Guadeloupe region, the commune structure was abolished when Saint-Barthélemy became an overseas collectivity on 22 February 2007.88 square kilometres. The median area of metropolitan Frances communes at the 1999 census was even smaller, the median area is a better measure of the area of a typical French commune.
This median area is smaller than that of most European countries. In Italy, the area of communes is 22 km2, in Belgium it is 40 km2, in Spain it is 35 km2, and in Germany. Switzerland and the Länder of Rhineland-Palatinate, Schleswig-Holstein, and Thuringia in Germany were the places in Europe where the communes had a smaller median area than in France. The communes of Frances overseas départements such as Réunion and French Guiana are large by French standards and they usually group into the same commune several villages or towns, often with sizeable distances among them