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
Altwiller is a French commune in the Bas-Rhin department in the Grand Est region of northeastern France. The inhabitants of the commune are known as Altwillerois or Altwilleroises Altwiller is located some 20 km south of Sarreguemines on the German border and some 50 km north-east of Nancy; the commune is accessed by the D23 road running east from Vibersviller to the village continuing east to Harskirchen. The D153 road runs through the southern portion of the commune as it runs from the D39 road in the south-west north-east to Harskirchen; the western and northern borders of the commune are the borders between the Bas-Rhin and Moselle departments. As well as Altwiller village there is the hamlet of Chateau Bonnefontaine in the south of the commune; the Canal des Houllietes de la Satre passes along the southern border of the commune. The Rose stream passes near the village flowing west from Moselle to the Albe river forming the northern border of the commune; the northern part of the commune is farmland while the southern part is forested.
Fragments of vases and other Gallo-Roman pieces have been found at Bonnefontaine. The site is located on the salt route. In addition to the two annexes of Neuweyershof and the Bonnefontaine domain the village had in its vicinity a hamlet called Honkesen-Huntzen which has now disappeared. Altwiller was deserted in the 15th century and rebuilt a little in 1559 by Huguenots from Lorraine, it was destroyed again in 1635 by the Croatians became the property of Sarrewerden of Nassau-Saarbrücken with the capital of the Bailiwick of Harskirchen. The village returned to France in 1793. List of Successive Mayors of Altwiller In 2009, the commune had 422 inhabitants; the evolution of the number of inhabitants is known through the population censuses conducted in the town since 1793. From the 21st century, a census of municipalities with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants is held every five years, unlike larger towns that have a sample survey every year. Population change Sources: Ldh/EHESS/Cassini until 1962, INSEE database from 1968 The commune has many buildings and structures that are registered as historical monuments: The commune has several religious buildings and structures that are registered as historical monuments: The Protestant Church.
There are several items in the church that are registered as historical objects: The Organ The Furniture in the Church A Communion Ewer A Baptismal Ewer The Protestant Presbytery The Lutheran Presbytery The Cemetery at RD 23. The movable items in the cemetery are registered as historical objects. Communes of the Bas-Rhin department Altwiller on the old National Geographic Institute website Altwiller on Lion1906 Altwiller on Google Maps Altwiller on Géoportail, National Geographic Institute website Aiweiller on the 1750 Cassini Map Altwiller on the INSEE website INSEE
Bas-Rhin is a department in Alsace, a part of the Grand Est super-region of France. The name means "Lower Rhine", geographically speaking it belongs to the Upper Rhine region, it is the more populous and densely populated of the two departments of the traditional Alsace region, with 1,121,407 inhabitants in 2016. The prefecture and the General Council are based in Strasbourg; the INSEE and Post Code is 67. The inhabitants of the department are known as Bas-Rhinoises; the Rhine has always been of great historical and economic importance to the area, it forms the eastern border of Bas-Rhin. The area is home to some of the foothills of the Vosges Mountains. To the north of Bas-Rhin lies the Palatinate forest in the German State of Rhineland-Palatinate, the German State of Baden-Württemberg lies to the east. To the south lies the department of Haut-Rhin, the town of Colmar and southern Alsace, to the west the department of Moselle. On its south-western corner, Bas-Rhin joins the department of Vosges.
The Bas-Rhin has a continental-type climate, characterised by cold, dry winters and hot, stormy summers, due to the western protection provided by the Vosges. The average annual temperature is 7 °C on high ground; the annual maximum temperature is high. The average rainfall is 700 mm per year. Established according to data from the Infoclimat station at Strasbourg-Entzheim, over the period from 1961 to 1990; this is the last French department to have kept the term Bas meaning "Lower" in its name. Other departments using this prefix preferred to change their names - e.g.: Basses-Pyrenees in 1969 became Pyrénées-Atlantiques and Basses-Alpes in 1970 became the department of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. The same phenomenon was observed for the inférieur departments such as Charente-Inférieure, Seine-Inférieure, Loire-Inférieure. Bas-Rhin is one of the original 83 departments created on 4 March 1790, during the French Revolution. On 14 January 1790 the National Constituent Assembly decreed: "- That Alsace be divided into two departments with Strasbourg and Colmar as their capitals.
In 1871 Bas-Rhin was annexed by Germany and became Bezirk Unterelsass in Reichsland Elsaß-Lothringen. Strasbourg, the chef lieu of Bas-Rhin is the official seat of the European Parliament as well as of the Council of Europe; the demography of Bas-Rhin is characterized by high density and high population growth since the 1950s. In January 2014 Bas-Rhin had 1,112,815 inhabitants and was 18th by population at the national level. In fifteen years, from 1999 to 2014, its population grew by more than 86,000 people, or about 5,800 people per year, but this variation is differentiated among the 517 communes. The population density of Bas-Rhin is 234 inhabitants per square kilometre in 2014, more than twice the average in France, 112 in 2009; the first census was conducted in 1801 and this count, renewed every five years from 1821, provides precise information on the evolution of population in the department. With 540,213 inhabitants in 1831, the department represented 1.66% of the total French population, 32,569,000 inhabitants.
From 1831 to 1866, the department gained 48,757 people, an increase of 0.26% on average per year compared to the national average of 0.48% over the same period. Demographic change between the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 and the First World War was higher than the national average. Over this period, the population increased by 100,532 inhabitants, an increase of 16.74%, compared to 10% nationally. The population increased by 9.23% between the two world wars from 1921 to 1936 compared to a national growth of 6.9%. Like other French departments, Bas-Rhin experienced a population boom after the Second World War, higher than the national level; the rate of population growth between 1946 and 2007 was 83.83%
Achenheim is a commune in the Bas-Rhin department and Grand Est region of north-eastern France. The village, in the arrondissement of Strasbourg and the canton of Lingolsheim lies close to the Canal de la Bruche and to the departemental road connecting Soultz-les-Bains to Strasbourg; the oldest traces of human habitation in Alsace – tools used by Homo erectus in the Paleolithic era some 700,000 years ago – have been found in loess deposits at Achenheim. In 1264 the village was burnt down by forces from Strasbourg during the war between the city and its bishop, Walter de Geroldseck. Canal de la Bruche Bruche River Communes of the Bas-Rhin department INSEE commune file
Bellefosse is a commune in the Bas-Rhin department in Grand Est in northeastern France and culturally part of Alsace. The village is located on a mountain terrace on the west slope of the Champ du Feu in the Bruche Valley, it is dominated by the ruins of the Château de la Roche towering above it. 1434: Belfus 1534: Belfuss 1578: Belfos 1584: Belfuß 1782: Belfus 1793: Bellefosse 1915-1918: SchöngrundOriginating from the celtic words bill and fois. Bellefosse is part of the old Ban de la Roche fief; the village's name is formalized as Belfus in 1434. It is composed under the name of belfos then. On the 1st April 1974, it fuses with Waldersbach and Belmont to form the commune of Ban-de-Roche, in reference to the historical fief, Fouday is added to the commune in 1975. On the 1st January 1992, the commune of Bellefosse is reestablished; the heraldics of Bellefosse are blazzoned as followed: « Azure with one golden chevron followed by three silver cramps set in pale.» Communes of the Bas-Rhin department INSEE commune file
Barembach is a French commune in the Bas-Rhin department in the Grand Est region of north-eastern France. The inhabitants of the commune are known as Barembachoises. Barembach is located in a valley perpendicular to the Bruche valley some 25 km west by south-west of Illkirch and 30 km north-west of Sélestat at 350 metres above sea level; the Barembach Forest covers most of the commune with several summits including Pépinière, Barraque des Bœufs, Ordon Saxe, Haut de la Brûlée. Access to the commune is by the D204 road from Grendelbruch in the north-east which passes through the north-eastern corner of the commune and continues to Schirmeck. Access to the village is by the D193; the D1420 from Muhlbach-sur-Bruche in the north-east passes along the northern border as it goes south-west to Fouday. The Barembach river rises in the south-east of the commune and flows north-west to join the Bruche just north-west of the commune; the Bornichon river rises in the south of the commune and flows north to join the Barembach at the village.
Barembach was destroyed in 1875 by a violent fire. After the reconstruction of the village immediately after the disaster, the economy first restarted with livestock and forestry. There were mills and sawmills producing galoshes which changed to weaving. An enterprise was set up by Camille Glaszmann; the company was continued by Mecatherm who extended the buildings. Shortly before Liberation the village was the headquarters of Marshal Jean de Lattre de Tassigny and served as a springboard to free the region. Barembach included part of the commune of Rothau on the north shore of the Rothaine. Barembach appears as the same on the 1790 version; the name Barembach originated from the German Bach meaning "stream" and Bär meaning "bear". List of Successive Mayors In 2010 the commune had 868 inhabitants; the evolution of the number of inhabitants is known from the population censuses conducted in the commune since 1793. From the 21st century, a census of communes with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants is held every five years, unlike larger communes that have a sample survey every year.
Population change Sources: Ldh/EHESS/Cassini until 1962, INSEE database from 1968 The commune has many buildings and sites that are registered as historical monuments: Houses and Farmhouses The War Memorial at Route du Maréchal-De-Lattre-de-Tassigny A School at 14 Rue Principale The Town Hall / School at 15 Rue Principale The Town Hall / School contains several items that are registered as historical objects: A Heating Stove A Monumental Cross: Christ on the Cross and the Virgin and child The commune has several religious buildings and sites that are registered as historical monuments: The Barembach Cemetery on the D204 The Cemetery contains several items that are registered as historical objects: A Cemetery Cross Funeral Monuments The Schirmeck Cemetery at Rue du Douar The Cemetery contains many items that are registered as historical objects: Funeral Monuments Funeral Crosses A Monumental Cross A Monumental Cross: Christ on the Cross A Cemetery Cross: Christ on the Cross The Chartier Family Funeral Chapel on the D204 The Vogt Family Funeral Chapel at Rue du Douar The Church of Saint-Georges at Place de l'Eglise The Church contains several items that are registered as historical objects: A Chalice with Paten A Monstrance The Furniture in the Church The Church Organ A Presbytery at 16 Rue du Presbytère 3 Wayside Crosses are registered as historical objects.
Marshal Jean de Lattre de Tassigny had his headquarters in the village. The street from the cemetery to the church bears his name. There is a monument to him on this street near the church. Communes of the Bas-Rhin department "Barembach", in The Upper Valley of the Bruche, Alsace Heritage, General Inventory of Monuments and artistic riches of France, Éditions Lieux Dits, Lyon, 2005, p. 38-39, ISBN 978-2-914528-13-9 Barembach official website
Communes of France
The commune is a level of administrative division in the French Republic. French communes are analogous to civil townships and incorporated municipalities in the United States and Canada, Gemeinden in Germany, comuni in Italy or ayuntamiento in Spain; 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 are vested with significant powers to manage the populations and land of the geographic area covered; the communes are the fourth-level administrative divisions of France. Communes vary in size and area, from large sprawling cities with millions of inhabitants like Paris, to small hamlets with only a handful of inhabitants. Communes 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, the difference residing in the lack of administrative powers.
Except for the municipal arrondissements of its largest cities, the communes are the lowest level of administrative division in France and are governed by elected officials with extensive autonomous powers to implement national policy. A commune is city, or other municipality. "Commune" in English has a historical bias, implies an association with socialist political movements or philosophies, collectivist lifestyles, or particular history. There is nothing intrinsically different between commune in French; the French word commune appeared in the 12th century, from Medieval Latin communia, for a large gathering of people sharing a common life. 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, because French communes still reflect the division of France into villages or parishes at the time of the French Revolution. The whole territory of the French Republic is divided into communes.
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, it was 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. COM of Saint Barthélemy, it was a commune inside the Guadeloupe region. The commune structure was abolished when Saint-Barthélemy became an overseas collectivity on 22 February 2007. Furthermore, two regions without permanent habitation have no communes: TOM of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands Clipperton Island in the Pacific Ocean In metropolitan France, the average area of a commune in 2004 was 14.88 square kilometres. The median area of metropolitan France's communes at the 1999 census was smaller, at 10.73 square kilometres. 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 median area of communes is 22 km2. Switzerland and the Länder of Rhineland-Palatinate, Schleswig-Holstein, Thuringia in Germany were the only places in Europe where the communes had a smaller median area than in France; the communes of France's overseas départements such as Réunion and French Guiana are large by French standards. They group into the same commune several villages or towns with sizeable distances among them. In Réunion, demographic expansion and sprawling urbanization have resulted in the administrative splitting of some communes; the median population of metropolitan France's communes at the 1999 census was 380 inhabitants. Again this is a small number, here France stands apart in Europe, with the lowest communes' median population of all the European countries; this small median population of French communes can be compared with Italy, where the median population of communes in 2001 was 2,343 inhabitants, Belgium, or Spain.
The median population given here should not hide the fact that there are pronounced differences in size between French communes. As mentioned in the introduction, a commune can be a city of 2 million inhabitants such as Paris, a town of 10,000 inhabitants, or just a hamlet of 10 inhabitants. What the median population tells us is that the vast majority of the French communes only have a few hundred inhabitants. In metropolitan France just over 50 percent of the 36,683 communes have fewer than 500 inhabitants a