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
Andouillé-Neuville is a commune in the Ille-et-Vilaine department in Brittany in northwestern France. Inhabitants of Andouillé-Neuville are called Andoléens; the Château de la Magnanne is a local chateau built in the 17th century. The roof has been replaced as a result of a fire in 1893; the departmental archives have preserved the archives of the chateau for the years 1389 to 1790. Communes of the Ille-et-Vilaine department INSEE Mayors of Ille-et-Vilaine Association.
Bléruais is a commune in the Ille-et-Vilaine department in Brittany in northwestern France. The River Meu forms most of the commune's northern boundary; the inhabitants of Bléruais are known as Bléruaisiens in French. Communes of the Ille-et-Vilaine department INSEE commune page Mayors of Ille-et-Vilaine Association French Ministry of Culture list for Bléruais
Billé is a commune in the Ille-et-Vilaine department in Brittany in northwestern France. Inhabitants of Billé are called Billéens in French. Communes of the Ille-et-Vilaine department INSEE commune page Mayors of Ille-et-Vilaine Association French Ministry of Culture list for Billé
Bazouges-la-Pérouse is a commune in the Ille-et-Vilaine department in Brittany in northwestern France. Inhabitants of Bazouges-la-Pérouse are called Bazougeais in French; the Château de la Ballue is now a hotel. Communes of the Ille-et-Vilaine department INSEE commune page Mayors of Ille-et-Vilaine Association French Ministry of Culture list for Bazouges-la-Pérouse
Baguer-Pican is a commune in the Ille-et-Vilaine department in Brittany in northwestern France. Inhabitants of Baguer-Pican are called Picanais in French. Communes of the Ille-et-Vilaine department INSEE commune page Mayors of Ille-et-Vilaine Association French Ministry of Culture list for Baguer-Pican
Arbrissel is a commune in the Ille-et-Vilaine department in Brittany in northwestern France. Inhabitants of Arbrissel are called Arbrisselois in French. Robert of Arbrissel, the founder of the Abbey of Fontevrault, was born in Arbrissel. Communes of the Ille-et-Vilaine department INSEE Mayors of Ille-et-Vilaine Association.