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
The Société nationale des chemins de fer français is France's national state-owned railway company. Founded in 1938, it operates the country's national rail traffic along with Monaco, including the TGV, France's high-speed rail network, its functions include operation of railway services for passengers and freight, maintenance and signalling of rail infrastructure. The railway network consists of about 32,000 km of route, of which 1,800 km are high-speed lines and 14,500 km electrified. About 14,000 trains are operated daily. In 2010 the SNCF was ranked 22nd in 214th globally on the Fortune Global 500 list, it is the main business of the SNCF Group, which in 2017 had €33.5 billion of sales in 120 countries. The SNCF Group employs more than 260,000 people. Since July 2013, the SNCF Group headquarters are located in a Parisian suburb at 2 Place aux Étoiles in Saint-Denis; the President of the SNCF Group is Guillaume Pepy. SNCF operates all of France's railway system, including the TGV. In the 1970s, the SNCF began the TGV high-speed train programme with the intention of creating the world's fastest railway network.
It came to fruition in 1981. Today, the SNCF operates 1,850 km of designated high-speed track that accommodate more than 800 high-speed services per day. SNCF’s TGV trains carry more than 100 million passengers a year. TGV lines and TGV technology are now spread across several European countries in addition to South Korea; the SNCF's TGV has set many world speed records, the most recent on 3 April 2007, when a new version of the TGV dubbed the V150 with larger wheels than the usual TGV, was able to cover more ground with each rotation and had a stronger 25,000 hp engine, broke the world speed record for conventional railway trains, reaching 574.8 km/h. The SNCF has a remarkable safety record. After nearly 30 years in operation, SNCF’s TGV system has only experienced one fatal accident, which occurred during pre-opening testing and not in regular operation. In 2011 SNCF in partnership with Keolis, unsuccessfully bid for the InterCity West Coast franchise. In April 2017 SNCF took a 30% shareholding in a joint venture with Stagecoach Group and Virgin Group to bid for the West Coast Partnership that will operate services on the West Coast Main Line from May 2020 and the High Speed 2 line from 2026.
In April 2019 Stagecoach were banned from bidding for any franchises including the West Coast Partnership which has meant that Virgin and SNCF have now had to withdraw from the shortlist. Since the 1990s, SNCF has been selling railway carriages to regional governments, with the creation of the Train Express Régional brand. SNCF maintains a broad scope of international business that includes work on freight lines, inter-city lines and commuter lines. SNCF experts provide logistics, construction and maintenance services. SNCF operates the international ticketing agency Oui.sncf Voyages-sncf.com and Rail Europe. SNCF has employees in 120 countries offering extensive overseas and cross border consulting; those projects include: Israel: Training. SNCF International provides assistance to Israel Railways in every area of rail operations including projects to upgrade the network's general safety regulations. Other assistance and training programmes involve the Traction Division. Taiwan: Operations Training.
SNCF supervised the prime contractor responsible for construction of the Taiwan Railways Administration’s main high-speed rail line. It trained rail traffic controllers and crew members. On behalf of the Government of Taiwan, SNCF managed the high-speed railway Command Control Centre. United Kingdom: Maintenance. In 2007-2008, SNCF-International consultants audited the maintenance practices applied to the track and overhead electric power line on British high-speed rail lines connecting London to the Channel Tunnel. In addition, it conducted an audit of the maintainer’s performance from the service quality and cost control standpoint, made recommendations for improvements, proposed a three-year Business Plan. South Korea: HSR Electrification Design. SNCF advised Korean Railroads on the electrification of tracks between Daegu and Busan and on linking existing conventional tracks to the new high-speed line. SNCF assisted in selecting and inspecting high-speed rolling stock and trained 400 senior manager and executives in a broad range of skills, including signalling, track, rolling stock maintenance, HSR operation, safety management and passenger information systems.
Until the end of 2009, SNCF assisted Korea in maintaining its high-speed. Spain: Signalling System. SNCF partnered with ADIF in the study, supply and maintenance of the standard EU railway signaling system along the Madrid-Lleida high-speed line. On behalf of the Spanish Government, SNCF designed and led maintenance operations on this line over a two-year period. France: Lead Infrastructure and Rolling Stock Maintainer – The SNCF maintains 32,000 km of track, 26,500 main sets of points and crossings, 2,300 signal boxes, 80,000 track circuits, over 1 million relays, etc, it maintains 3,900 locomotives and 500 high-speed trains. Each of SNCF’s TGV trains travels more than 39,000 km a month – enough to circle the globe; each year SNCF’s Human Resources Department provides over 1.2 million hours of training to its over 25,000 employees. SNCF was formed in 1938 with the nationalisation of France's main railway companies (Chemin de fer, literally,'path of iron', me
Intercités de Nuit
Intercités de Nuit is a brand name used by France’s national railway company, SNCF, to denote nightly passenger rail services in France. It was known as Corail Lunéa before 2009 and as Lunéa from 2010-2012. Between 2013 and 2017, most services were cancelled due to budget cuts. Only four routes, from Paris to Briançon, Latour de Carol and Nice, were kept; as of August 2017, the Intercités de Nuit network consists of the following lines: As of 2012, the former Lunéa network consisted of the following lines: Intercités SNCF Media related to Lunéa at Wikimedia Commons Official website
Gare de Verneuil-sur-Avre
Gare de Verneuil-sur-Avre is a railway station serving the town of Verneuil-sur-Avre, Eure, in northwestern France. Timetables TER Normandie
Gare de Bayeux
Gare de Bayeux is the station for the town of Bayeux, Calvados. It is situated on the Mantes-la-Jolie–Cherbourg railway, it is a small station with trains to Cherbourg and Paris as well as regional trains to Rennes. Gare de Bayeux at "Gares & Connexions", the official website of SNCF Timetables TER Basse-Normandie
Gare de Lisieux
Gare de Lisieux is the main train station for the town of Lisieux, France. It built by CF de l'Ouest in 1855; the station is built in a Y shape and is situated on the Mantes-la-Jolie–Cherbourg railway main line from Paris to Caen and Cherbourg. The station is served by trains to Trouville-Deauville. Lisieux has one other station: the Gare du Grand-Jardin on the line to Trouville-Deauville. Gare de Lisieux at "Gares & Connexions", the official website of SNCF Timetables TER Basse-Normandie
Gare de Noyelles
The Gare de Noyelles is a railway station serving the town Noyelles-sur-Mer, Somme department, northern France. It is served by mainline trains on the Boulogne - Abbeville line, by the Chemin de Fer de la Baie de Somme heritage railway trains to Le Crotoy, Saint-Valery-sur-Somme and Cayeux-sur-Mer. Gare de Noyelles station opened in 1845 when the Chemin de Fer du Nord standard gauge line between Boulogne, Pas-de-Calais and Amiens, Somme opened. In 1858, a 6 kilometres standard gauge branch to St. Valery Quai was opened. Extension of the line was desired in the 1880s, but it was considered that it would be too expensive to build the line as standard gauge. Instead, the extensions were to be laid with metre gauge track. A 6 kilometres extension to Le Crotoy opened on 1 July 1887. A 19 kilometres metre gauge line to Cayeux-sur-Mer opened on 6 September 1887; this line was laid as a dual gauge line as far as St. Valery, with the metre gauge rails laid between the standard gauge rails. On 28 August 1892, an 11 kilometres metre gauge line opened to Forest-l'Abbaye, joining with a 42 kilometres long line between Abbeville and Dompierre-sur-Authie which had opened on 19 June 1892.
The whole system became known as the Réseau des Bains de Mer. The line to Forest l'Abbaye closed to passengers on 10 March 1947, but remained open for freight until 1 February 1951, although there was occasional traffic on the line until 1965; the line to Le Crotoy closed on 31 December 1969 and that to Cayeux on 31 December 1972. By which time the line to Le Crotoy had reopened as a heritage railway; the line to Cayeux was subsequently reopened as a heritage railway, the two lines operate as the Chemin de Fer de la Baie de Somme. The standard gauge line to St. Valery was operated by SNCF until 6 February 1989 and closed from 1 January 1993. Timetables TER Picardie Chemins de Fer de la Baie de Somme website