The Dordogne is a river in south-central and southwest France. The Dordogne and its watershed were designated Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO on July 11 2012; the river rises on the flanks of the Puy de Sancy at 1,885 metres above sea level in the mountains of Auvergne, from the confluence of two small torrents above the town of Le Mont-Dore: the Dore and the Dogne. It flows west about 500 kilometres through the Limousin and Périgord regions before flowing into the Gironde, its common estuary with the Garonne, at the Bec d'Ambès, north of the city of Bordeaux; the Dordogne is one of the few rivers in the world that exhibit the phenomenon of a tidal bore, known as a mascaret. The upper valley of the Dordogne is a series of deep gorges; the cliffs, steep banks, fast flowing water and high bridges attract both drivers. In several places the river is dammed to form deep lakes. Camp sites and holiday homes have proliferated wherever the valley floor is wide enough to accommodate them. Below Argentat and around Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne, the valley widens to accommodate fertile farmland, well-watered pasture and orchards.
In the towns, which are major tourist attractions because of their history and architecture, the quaysides are lined with eating and drinking places. In Périgord, the valley widens further to encompass one of France's main gastronomic regions, with vineyards, poultry farms and truffle-rich woodlands; the main season for tourism in the Valley of the Dordogne is from June to September, with July and August being high season. The lifestyle and culture of the Dordogne valley attract both visitors and incomers from all over France, but from many other countries Britain and Germany; the départements of France through which the Dordogne runs, together with some towns in those départements that are on or quite near the river, are as follows: The département of Puy-de-Dôme – The towns of Le Mont-Dore and La Bourboule. Main tributaries from source to mouth: Chavanon. N. B.: = right tributary. The Dordogne at the Sandre database The Dordogne Valley in the Lot department The Dordogne Valley UNESCO Biosphere Reserve
Italy the Italian Republic, is a country in Southern Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Austria and the enclaved microstates San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 and has a temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous EU member state and the most populous country in Southern Europe. Due to its central geographic location in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, Italy has been home to a myriad of peoples and cultures. In addition to the various ancient peoples dispersed throughout modern-day Italy, the most famous of which being the Indo-European Italics who gave the peninsula its name, beginning from the classical era and Carthaginians founded colonies in insular Italy and Genoa, Greeks established settlements in the so-called Magna Graecia, while Etruscans and Celts inhabited central and northern Italy respectively; the Italic tribe known as the Latins formed the Roman Kingdom in the 8th century BC, which became a republic with a government of the Senate and the People.
The Roman Republic conquered and assimilated its neighbours on the peninsula, in some cases through the establishment of federations, the Republic expanded and conquered parts of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. By the first century BC, the Roman Empire emerged as the dominant power in the Mediterranean Basin and became the leading cultural and religious centre of Western civilisation, inaugurating the Pax Romana, a period of more than 200 years during which Italy's technology, economy and literature flourished. Italy remained the metropole of the Roman Empire; the legacy of the Roman Empire endured its fall and can be observed in the global distribution of culture, governments and the Latin script. During the Early Middle Ages, Italy endured sociopolitical collapse and barbarian invasions, but by the 11th century, numerous rival city-states and maritime republics in the northern and central regions of Italy, rose to great prosperity through shipping and banking, laying the groundwork for modern capitalism.
These independent statelets served as Europe's main trading hubs with Asia and the Near East enjoying a greater degree of democracy than the larger feudal monarchies that were consolidating throughout Europe. The Renaissance began in Italy and spread to the rest of Europe, bringing a renewed interest in humanism, science and art. Italian culture flourished, producing famous scholars and polymaths such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Machiavelli. During the Middle Ages, Italian explorers such as Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, John Cabot and Giovanni da Verrazzano discovered new routes to the Far East and the New World, helping to usher in the European Age of Discovery. Italy's commercial and political power waned with the opening of trade routes that bypassed the Mediterranean. Centuries of infighting between the Italian city-states, such as the Italian Wars of the 15th and 16th centuries, left the region fragmented, it was subsequently conquered and further divided by European powers such as France and Austria.
By the mid-19th century, rising Italian nationalism and calls for independence from foreign control led to a period of revolutionary political upheaval. After centuries of foreign domination and political division, Italy was entirely unified in 1871, establishing the Kingdom of Italy as a great power. From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, Italy industrialised, namely in the north, acquired a colonial empire, while the south remained impoverished and excluded from industrialisation, fuelling a large and influential diaspora. Despite being one of the main victors in World War I, Italy entered a period of economic crisis and social turmoil, leading to the rise of a fascist dictatorship in 1922. Participation in World War II on the Axis side ended in military defeat, economic destruction and the Italian Civil War. Following the liberation of Italy and the rise of the resistance, the country abolished the monarchy, reinstated democracy, enjoyed a prolonged economic boom and, despite periods of sociopolitical turmoil became a developed country.
Today, Italy is considered to be one of the world's most culturally and economically advanced countries, with the sixth-largest worldwide national wealth. Its advanced economy ranks eighth-largest in the world and third in the Eurozone by nominal GDP. Italy owns the third-largest central bank gold reserve, it has a high level of human development, it stands among the top countries for life expectancy. The country plays a prominent role in regional and global economic, military and diplomatic affairs. Italy is a founding and leading member of the European Union and a member of numerous international institutions, including the UN, NATO, the OECD, the OSCE, the WTO, the G7, the G20, the Union for the Mediterranean, the Council of Europe, Uniting for Consensus, the Schengen Area and many more; as a reflection
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
Saint-Émilion is a commune in the Gironde department in Nouvelle-Aquitaine in south-western France. Saint-Émilion's history goes back to prehistoric times and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with fascinating Romanesque churches and ruins stretching all along steep and narrow streets; the Romans planted vineyards in. In the 4th century, the Latin poet Ausonius lauded the fruit of the bountiful vine; the town called Ascumbas, was renamed after the monk Émilion, a travelling confessor, who settled in a hermitage carved into the rock there in the 8th century. The monks who followed him started up the commercial wine production in the area. Saint-Émilion is located 35 km northeast between Libourne and Castillon-la-Bataille. Romanesque church Monolithic church, carved from a limestone cliff Saint-Émilion is one of the principal red wine areas of Bordeaux along with the Médoc and Pomerol; the region is much smaller than the adjoins Pomerol. As in Pomerol and the other appellations on the right bank of the Gironde, the primary grape varieties used are the Merlot and Cabernet Franc, with small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon being used by some châteaux.
Saint Émilion wines were not included in the 1855 Bordeaux classification. The first formal classification in Saint-Émilion was made in 1955. Unlike the 1855 classification, it is revised. Since 2012, Saint-Emilion hosts a Jazz Festival at the end of July. Marguerite-Élie Guadet Cordeliers Cloister Bordeaux wine French wine Plan Bordeaux Bordeaux wine regions Classification of Saint-Émilion wine Communes of the Gironde department INSEE Official website Saint-Émilion tourist office website aerial photography of the Saint-Émilion and Aquitaine area Cash-strapped French wine town Saint Emilion sells off historical monument RFI English
French wine is produced all throughout France, in quantities between 50 and 60 million hectolitres per year, or 7–8 billion bottles. France is one of the largest wine producers in the world. French wine traces its history to the 6th century BC, with many of France's regions dating their wine-making history to Roman times; the wines produced range from expensive wines sold internationally to modest wines only seen within France such as the Margnat wines were during the post war period. Two concepts central to the better French wines are the notion of terroir, which links the style of the wines to the locations where the grapes are grown and the wine is made and the Appellation d'origine contrôlée system, replaced by the Appellation d'Origin Protégée system in 2012. Appellation rules define which grape varieties and winemaking practices are approved for classification in each of France's several hundred geographically defined appellations, which can cover regions, villages or vineyards. France is the source of many grape varieties that are now planted throughout the world, as well as wine-making practices and styles of wine that have been adopted in other producing countries.
Although some producers have benefited in recent years from rising prices and increased demand for some of the prestige wines from Burgundy and Bordeaux, the French wine industry has seen a decline in domestic consumption and internationally, it has had to compete with many new world wines. French wine originated in the 6th century BC, with the colonization of Southern Gaul by Greek settlers. Viticulture soon flourished with the founding of the Greek colony of Marseille. Wine has been around for thousands of years in the countries on the Mediterranean but France has made it a part of their civilization and has considered wine-making as an art for over two thousand years; the Gauls knew how to prune it. Pruning creates an important distinction in the difference between wild vines and wine producing grapes. Before long, the wines produced in Gaul were popular all around the world; the Roman Empire licensed regions in the south to produce wines. St. Martin of Tours spread planting vineyards. During the Middle Ages, monks maintained vineyards and, more conserved wine-making knowledge and skills during that turbulent period.
Monasteries had the resources and inventiveness to produce a steady supply of wine for Mass and profit. The best vineyards were owned by the monasteries and their wine was considered to be superior; the nobility developed extensive vineyards but the French Revolution led to the confiscation of many vineyards. The advance of the French wine industry stopped abruptly as first Mildew and Phylloxera spread throughout the country and the rest of Europe, leaving vineyards desolate. Came an economic downturn in Europe followed by two world wars and the French wine industry was depressed for decades. Competition threatened French brands such as Bordeaux; this resulted in the establishment in 1935 of the Appellation d'origine contrôlée to protect French interests. Large investments, the economic revival after World War II and a new generation of Vignerons yielded results in the 1970s and the following decades, creating the modern French wine industry. In 1935, laws were passed to control the quality of French wine.
The Appellation d'origine contrôlée system was established, governed by a powerful oversight board. France has one of the oldest systems for protected designation of origin for wine in the world and strict laws concerning winemaking and production and many European systems are modelled after it; the word "appellation" has been put to use by other countries, sometimes in a much looser meaning. As European Union wine laws have been modelled after those of the French, this trend is to continue with further EU expansion. French law divides wine into four categories, two falling under the European Union Table Wine category and two the Quality Wines Produced in Specified Regions designation; the categories and their shares of the total French production for the 2005 vintage, excluding wine destined for Cognac and other brandies, were Table wine: Vin de Table – Carries with it only the producer and the designation that it is from France. Vin de Pays – Carries with it a specific region within France, subject to less restrictive regulations than AOC wines.
For instance, it allows producers to distinguish wines that are made using grape varieties or procedures other than those required by the AOC rules, without having to use the simple and commercially non-viable table wine classification. In order to maintain a distinction from Vin de Table, the producers have to submit the wine for analysis and tasting, the wines have to be made from certain varieties or blends. QWPSR: Vin délimité de qualité supérieure – Less strict than AOC used for smaller areas or as a "waiting room" for potential AOCs; this category was abolished at the end of 2011. Appellation d'origine contrôlée – Wine from a particular area with many other restrictions, including grape varieties and winemaking methods; the total French production for the 2005 vintage was 43.9 million hl of which 28.3% was white and 71.7% was red or rosé. The proportion of white wine is higher for the higher categories, with 34.3% of the AOC wine being white. In years with less favourable vintage conditions than 2005, the proportion of A
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
Pepin the Short
Pepin the Short was the King of the Franks from 751 until his death. He was the first of the Carolingians to become king; the younger son of the Frankish prince Charles Martel and his wife Rotrude, Pepin's upbringing was distinguished by the ecclesiastical education he had received from the monks of St. Denis. Succeeding his father as the Mayor of the Palace in 741, Pepin reigned over Francia jointly with his elder brother Carloman. Pepin ruled in Neustria and Provence, while his older brother Carloman established himself in Austrasia and Thuringia; the brothers were active in suppressing revolts led by the Bavarians, Aquitanians and the Alemanni in the early years of their reign. In 743, they ended the Frankish interregnum by choosing Childeric III, to be the last Merovingian monarch, as figurehead king of the Franks. Being well disposed towards the church and Papacy on account of their ecclesiastical upbringing and Carloman continued their father's work in supporting Saint Boniface in reforming the Frankish church, evangelising the Saxons.
After Carloman, an intensely pious man, retired to religious life in 747, Pepin became the sole ruler of the Franks. He suppressed a revolt led by his half-brother Grifo, succeeded in becoming the undisputed master of all Francia. Giving up pretense, Pepin forced Childeric into a monastery and had himself proclaimed king of the Franks with support of Pope Zachary in 751; the decision was not supported by all members of the Carolingian family and Pepin had to put down a revolt led by Carloman's son and again by Grifo. As King, Pepin embarked on an ambitious program to expand his power, he continued the ecclesiastical reforms of Boniface. Pepin intervened in favour of the Papacy of Stephen II against the Lombards in Italy, he was able to secure several cities, which he gave to the Pope as part of the Donation of Pepin. This formed the legal basis for the Papal States in the Middle Ages; the Byzantines, keen to make good relations with the growing power of the Frankish empire, gave Pepin the title of Patricius.
In wars of expansion, Pepin conquered Septimania from the Islamic Umayyads, subjugated the southern realms by defeating Waiofar and his Gascon troops, after which the Gascon and Aquitanian lords saw no option but to pledge loyalty to the Franks. Pepin was, troubled by the relentless revolts of the Saxons and the Bavarians, he campaigned tirelessly in Germany, but the final subjugation of these tribes was left to his successors. Pepin was succeeded by his sons Charlemagne and Carloman. Although unquestionably one of the most powerful and successful rulers of his time, Pepin's reign is overshadowed by that of his more famous son. Pepin's father Charles Martel died in 741, he divided the rule of the Frankish kingdom between Pepin and his elder brother, his surviving sons by his first wife: Carloman became Mayor of the Palace of Austrasia, Pepin became Mayor of the Palace of Neustria. Grifo, Charles's son by his second wife, demanded a share in the inheritance, but he was besieged in Laon, forced to surrender and imprisoned in a monastery by his two half-brothers.
In the Frankish realm the unity of the kingdom was connected with the person of the king. So Carloman, to secure this unity, raised the Merovingian Childeric to the throne. In 747 Carloman either resolved to or was pressured into entering a monastery; this left Francia in the hands of Pepin as sole mayor of dux et princeps Francorum. At the time of Carloman's retirement, Grifo escaped his imprisonment and fled to Duke Odilo of Bavaria, married to Hiltrude, Pepin's sister. Pepin put down the renewed revolt led by his half-brother and succeeded in restoring the boundaries of the kingdom. Under the reorganization of Francia by Charles Martel, the dux et princeps Francorum was the commander of the armies of the kingdom, in addition to his administrative duties as mayor of the palace; as mayor of the palace, Pepin was formally subject to the decisions of Childeric III who had only the title of King but no power. Since Pepin had control over the magnates and had the power of a king, he now addressed to Pope Zachary a suggestive question: In regard to the kings of the Franks who no longer possess the royal power: is this state of things proper?
Hard pressed by the Lombards, Pope Zachary welcomed this move by the Franks to end an intolerable condition and lay the constitutional foundations for the exercise of the royal power. The Pope replied. In these circumstances, the de facto power was considered more important than the de jure authority. After this decision the throne was declared vacant. Childeric III was confined to a monastery, he was the last of the Merovingians. Pepin was elected King of the Franks by an assembly of Frankish nobles, with a large portion of his army on hand; the earliest account of his election and anointing is the Clausula de Pippino written around 767. Meanwhile, Grifo continued his rebellion, but was killed in the battle of Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne in 753. Pepin was assisted by his friend Vergilius of Salzburg, an Irish monk who used a copy of the "Collectio canonum Hibernensis" to advise him to receive royal unction to assist his recognition as king. Anointed a first time in 751 in Soissons, Pepin added to his power after Pope Stephen II traveled all the way to Paris to anoint him a second time in a lavish ceremony at the Basilica of St Denis in 754, bestowing upon him the additional title of patric