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
François Joseph Fournier
François Joseph Fournier was a self-taught Belgian adventurer and entrepreneur who explored Mexico and the island of Porquerolles. He was born into a family of modest means, in Clabecq and died on Porquerolles. Fournier purchased the entire island of Porquerolles in 1912 as a wedding present for his wife, he planted 200 hectares of vineyards which produced a wine, among the first to be classed des Côtes de Provence. Luret, William. L'homme de Porquerolles. Paris: Lattès. ISBN 270961636X. "Porquerolles". France 3, 19/20. 24 August 1996. "Porquerolles". France 2, MIDI 2. 13 March 1998. Media related to François Joseph Fournier at Wikimedia Commons
Var is a department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in Southeastern France. It takes its name from the river Var, which flowed along its eastern boundary, until the boundary was moved in 1860; the Var department is bordered on the east by the department of Alpes-Maritimes, to the west by Bouches-du-Rhône, to the north of the river Verdon by the department of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and to the south by the Mediterranean Sea. Toulon is the largest city and administrative capital of Var. Other important towns in Var include Fréjus, Saint-Raphaël, Brignoles, Hyères and La Seyne-sur-Mer. Var is known for the harbour of the main port of the French Navy; the department of Var was created at the time of the French Revolution, on 4 March 1790, from a portion of the former royal province of Provence. Its capital was Toulon, but this was moved to Grasse in 1793 to punish the Toulonnais for yielding the town to the British in 1793. Subsequently the capital was moved to Brignoles in 1795 to Draguignan in 1797.
It was not returned to Toulon until 1974. In 1815, following the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo the department was occupied by Austrian troops until November 1818. In 1854 the first railroad reached Toulon. With the creation of the new department of Alpes-Maritimes in 1860 and following the annexation by France of Nice, the eastern part of the department, corresponding to the Arrondissement of Grasse, was moved to the new department; this move shifted the river Var, which had given the department its name, to the new department. In 1884 a cholera epidemic struck Toulon; the leader of the fight against the epidemic was Georges Clemenceau, a doctor and a member of the National Assembly for the Seine department. He was elected a member of the National Assembly for the Var department from 1888 to 1893 and Senator from 1902 to 1920, during which time he served as Prime Minister; the First World War stimulated growth in shipyards and military industries in the region, but weakened the agricultural and food industries.
In 1942 the German Army moved from Occupied France into the Zone libre, which included the Var department. The French Fleet was sabotaged in Toulon Harbour to keep it from falling into German hands; the Maquis Vallier, a group of maquis resistance fighters, was active. On 15 August 1944 American and Free French forces land at Saint-Tropez, Sainte-Maxime and Saint-Raphaël; the Free French fleet arrived at Toulon on 13 September. In the 1960s about one hundred thousand French citizens were repatriated from Algeria following the Algerian War of Independence and settled in the Var department; the department of Var has a surface area of 6,032 km2, 420 km of coastline, including the offshore islands. 56% of it is covered with forest. Its geological formations are divided into two regions; the department is in the foothills of the French Alps and mountainous. Major mountains include: Massif des Maures and Massif de l'Esterel, along the coast, are made of quartz rock; the Sainte-Baume mountain ridge, in the west.
Mountain of Lachens, in the northwest of the department, the highest point in the Var. The plateau of Canjuers in the northeast of Var rises from 500 to 1,000 metres. In the south and west there are several plateaus, such as the plateau of Siou Blanc to the north of Toulon, which rise from 400 to 700 metres in altitude; the Canyon du Verdon, the gorges of the Verdon River, is a popular place for hikers and nature lovers. The Îles d'Hyères is a group of three islands off Hyères The islands are named Porquerolles, Port-Cros, Île du Levant. Together, they make up an area of 26 km2, they can be reached by boat from either Toulon. The department of Var has a Mediterranean climate warmer and sunnier than Nice and the Alpes-Maritimes, but less sheltered from the wind. Toulon has an average of 2899.3 hours of sunshine each year. The average maximum daily temperature in August is 29.1 °C, the average daily minimum temperature in January is 5.8 °C. The average annual rainfall is 665 mm. Winds exceeding 16 m/s blow an average of 116 days per year in Toulon, compared with 77 days per year at Fréjus further east.
In 2007, the population of Var was estimated at 990,000, of whom nearly half live in and around Toulon. In 2004–2005, the population of the urban area of Toulon was estimated at 403,743 persons, of whom 160,639 lived in Toulon itself: 60,188 in La Seyne-sur-Mer; the population of other important towns, according to the 2004–2005 estimate: Fréjus – 49,100 Saint-Raphaël – 32,200 Draguignan – 35,500 Brignoles – 15,540 The principal industry of Var is tourism, thanks to the big summer influx of tourists to the Mediterranean coastal towns, to the Verdon River Canyon and hilltop villages of Var. Popular tourist attractions in Var include: The port and beaches of Saint-Tropez The seaside village of Sainte-Maxime, with waterfront promenade and restaurants, a ferry service to Saint-Tropez; the beach of Cavalaire-sur-Mer, the longest sand beach on the coast. Boat tours of the harbour, of Toulon, the main anchorage of the French Navy. Wind-surfing offshore of the peninsula of Giens Le Thoronet Abbey, one of the best-preserved medieval Cistercian monasteries in France.
The Îles d'Hyères known as Îles d'Or, are a group of four Mediterranean islands off Hyères in the Var department of Southeastern France. With a combined area of 29 square kilometres, the Îles d'Hyères comprise: Porquerolles – 1,254 hectares, an extension of the Giens peninsula Port-Cros – 650 hectares, the most mountainous, part of Port-Cros National Park, noted for rare flora and as a bird refuge Île du Bagaud – 45 hectares, part of the same national park, without permitted access Île du Levant – 900 hectares for military use a long-established nudist colony centered on the owned village of Héliopolis
A vineyard is a plantation of grape-bearing vines, grown for winemaking, but raisins, table grapes and non-alcoholic grape juice. The science and study of vineyard production is known as viticulture. A vineyard is characterised by its terroir, a French term loosely translating as "a sense of place" that refers to the specific geographical and geological characteristics of grapevine plantations, which may be imparted in the wine; the earliest evidence of wine production dates from between 6000 and 5000 BC. Wine making technology improved with the ancient Greeks but it wasn't until the end of the Roman Empire that cultivation techniques as we know them were common throughout Europe. In medieval Europe the Church was a staunch supporter of wine, necessary for the celebration of the Mass. During the lengthy instability of the Middle Ages, the monasteries maintained and developed viticultural practices, having the resources, security and interest in improving the quality of their vines, they owned and tended the best vineyards in Europe and vinum theologium was considered superior to all others.
European vineyards were planted with a wide variety of the Vitis vinifera grape. However, in the late 19th century, the entire species was nearly destroyed by the plant louse phylloxera accidentally introduced to Europe from North America. Native American grapevines include varieties such as Vitis labrusca, resistant to the bug. Vitis vinifera varieties were saved by being grafted onto the rootstock of Native American varieties, although there is still no remedy for phylloxera, which remains a danger to any vineyard not planted with grafted rootstock; the quest for vineyard efficiency has produced a bewildering range of systems and techniques in recent years. Due to the much more fertile New World growing conditions, attention has focussed on managing the vine's more vigorous growth. Innovation in palissage and pruning and thinning methods have replaced more general, traditional concepts like "yield per unit area" in favor of "maximizing yield of desired quality". Many of these new techniques have since been adopted in place of traditional practice in the more progressive of the so-called "Old World" vineyards.
Other recent practices include spraying water on vines to protect them from sub-zero temperatures, new grafting techniques, soil slotting, mechanical harvesting. Such techniques have made possible the development of wine industries in New World countries such as Canada. Today there is increasing interest in developing organic, ecologically sensitive and sustainable vineyards. Biodynamics has become popular in viticulture; the use of drip irrigation in recent years has expanded vineyards into areas which were unplantable. For well over half a century, Cornell University, the University of California and California State University, among others, have been conducting scientific experiments to improve viticulture and educate practitioners; the research includes investigating pest control. The International Grape Genome Program is a multi-national effort to discover a genetic means to improving quality, increasing yield and providing a "natural" resistance to pests; the implementation of mechanical harvesting is stimulated by changes in labor laws, labor shortages, bureaucratic complications.
It can be expensive to hire labor for short periods of time, which does not square well with the need to reduce production costs and harvest often at night. However small vineyards, incompatible widths between rows of grape vines and steep terrain hinder the employment of machine harvesting more than the resistance of traditional views which reject such harvesting. Numbers of New World vineyard plantings have been increasing as fast as European vineyards are being uprooted. Between 1990 and 2003, the number of U. S. vineyards increased from 1,180 to 3,860 km2 or 292,000 to 954,000 acres, while Australian vineyard numbers more than doubled from 590 to 1,440 km2 and Chilean vineyards grew from 654 to 1,679 km2. The size of individual vineyards in the New World is significant. Europe's 1.6 million vineyards are an average of 0.2 km2 each, while the average Australian vineyard is 0.5 km2, providing considerable economies of scale. Exports to Europe from New World growers increased by 54% in the six years up to 2006.
There have been significant changes in the kinds of grapes that are grown. For example, in Chile, large areas of low-quality grapes have been replaced with such grapes as Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. In Argentina, due to an economic down-turn, acreage of Malbec was reduced in the 1980s, but in the 1990s, during the quality revolution incited by Malbec Pioneer Nicolás Catena Zapata, growers started planting more Malbec, most notably in higher altitudes where cooler temperatures and more intense sunlight yields more concentrated yet smoother and more complex malbecs. Grape changes are in response to changing consumer demand but sometimes result from vine pull schemes designed to promote vineyard change. Alternatively, the development of "T" budding now permits the grafting of a different grape variety onto existing rootstock in the vineyard, making it possible to switch varieties within a two-year period. Local legislation dictates which varieties are selected, how they are grown, whether vineyards can be irrigated and when grapes can be harvested, all of which in serves to rein
In meteorology, precipitation is any product of the condensation of atmospheric water vapor that falls under gravity. The main forms of precipitation include drizzle, sleet, snow and hail. Precipitation occurs when a portion of the atmosphere becomes saturated with water vapor, so that the water condenses and "precipitates", thus and mist are not precipitation but suspensions, because the water vapor does not condense sufficiently to precipitate. Two processes acting together, can lead to air becoming saturated: cooling the air or adding water vapor to the air. Precipitation forms as smaller droplets coalesce via collision with other rain drops or ice crystals within a cloud. Short, intense periods of rain in scattered locations are called "showers."Moisture, lifted or otherwise forced to rise over a layer of sub-freezing air at the surface may be condensed into clouds and rain. This process is active when freezing rain occurs. A stationary front is present near the area of freezing rain and serves as the foci for forcing and rising air.
Provided necessary and sufficient atmospheric moisture content, the moisture within the rising air will condense into clouds, namely stratus and cumulonimbus. The cloud droplets will grow large enough to form raindrops and descend toward the Earth where they will freeze on contact with exposed objects. Where warm water bodies are present, for example due to water evaporation from lakes, lake-effect snowfall becomes a concern downwind of the warm lakes within the cold cyclonic flow around the backside of extratropical cyclones. Lake-effect snowfall can be locally heavy. Thundersnow is possible within lake effect precipitation bands. In mountainous areas, heavy precipitation is possible where upslope flow is maximized within windward sides of the terrain at elevation. On the leeward side of mountains, desert climates can exist due to the dry air caused by compressional heating. Most precipitation is caused by convection; the movement of the monsoon trough, or intertropical convergence zone, brings rainy seasons to savannah climes.
Precipitation is a major component of the water cycle, is responsible for depositing the fresh water on the planet. 505,000 cubic kilometres of water falls as precipitation each year. Given the Earth's surface area, that means the globally averaged annual precipitation is 990 millimetres, but over land it is only 715 millimetres. Climate classification systems such as the Köppen climate classification system use average annual rainfall to help differentiate between differing climate regimes. Precipitation may occur on other celestial bodies, e.g. when it gets cold, Mars has precipitation which most takes the form of frost, rather than rain or snow. Precipitation is a major component of the water cycle, is responsible for depositing most of the fresh water on the planet. 505,000 km3 of water falls as precipitation each year, 398,000 km3 of it over the oceans. Given the Earth's surface area, that means the globally averaged annual precipitation is 990 millimetres. Mechanisms of producing precipitation include convective and orographic rainfall.
Convective processes involve strong vertical motions that can cause the overturning of the atmosphere in that location within an hour and cause heavy precipitation, while stratiform processes involve weaker upward motions and less intense precipitation. Precipitation can be divided into three categories, based on whether it falls as liquid water, liquid water that freezes on contact with the surface, or ice. Mixtures of different types of precipitation, including types in different categories, can fall simultaneously. Liquid forms of precipitation include drizzle. Rain or drizzle that freezes on contact within a subfreezing air mass is called "freezing rain" or "freezing drizzle". Frozen forms of precipitation include snow, ice needles, ice pellets and graupel; the dew point is the temperature to which a parcel must be cooled in order to become saturated, condenses to water. Water vapor begins to condense on condensation nuclei such as dust and salt in order to form clouds. An elevated portion of a frontal zone forces broad areas of lift, which form clouds decks such as altostratus or cirrostratus.
Stratus is a stable cloud deck which tends to form when a cool, stable air mass is trapped underneath a warm air mass. It can form due to the lifting of advection fog during breezy conditions. There are four main mechanisms for cooling the air to its dew point: adiabatic cooling, conductive cooling, radiational cooling, evaporative cooling. Adiabatic cooling occurs when air expands; the air can rise due to convection, large-scale atmospheric motions, or a physical barrier such as a mountain. Conductive cooling occurs when the air comes into contact with a colder surface by being blown from one surface to another, for example from a liquid water surface to colder land. Radiational cooling occurs due to the emission of infrared radiation, either by the air or by the surface underneath. Evaporative cooling occurs when moisture is added to the air through evaporation, which forces the air temperature to cool to its wet-bulb temperature, or until it reaches saturation; the main ways water vapor is added to the air are: wind convergence into areas of upward motion, precipitation or virga falling from above, daytime heating evaporating water from the surface of oceans, water bodies or wet lan