Tuesday, 21 June 2016


France is nearly twice the size of Britain but its population is less.

The length of the country is 950km from Dunkirk in the very north to the border of Spain. In the east, France borders on  Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany,

Switzerland and Italy. The Mediterranean coastline is between Italy and  Spain.

The climate varies greatly since France covers an area from northern to southern Europe. The North is cool and towards the Mediterranean in the south it is hot and dry. In the west along the Atlantic Gulf Stream the area of Brittany has mild and damp weather.


The landscape also varies widely. There are the high mountains of the Alps in the south-east between Italy, Switzerland and Spain. The most famous mountain is the Mont Blanc and also the world's most dangerous because of its sudden weather changes.  The mountain ranges are visited by skiers and in the summer by walkers, climbers and in the Pyrenees by skiers on glacie


The country's longest river is the Loire flowing through central France. It rises on the Massif Central, extinct volcanoes, and deep gorges similar to the Grand Canyon in the United States. Along the Loire in central France are many famous chateaux (castles) and vineyards. One of the most  beautiful parts are the National Parks in the Pyrenees where bears still roam wild.

The large size of France with different climates makes it the European Union top agricultural producer. Almost two-third of the land is farmed and the country is almost self-sufficient in farm products


In the north there is mostly wheat grown for the well known French baguettes. Bread is baked right through the day.

A wide variety of fruit and vegetables are grown in the south by irrigation during the dry hot summers.

France has an inheritance law when a farmer dies every child is entitled to an equal part of the land. Therefore you will find many small farms. The large farms are in the wine-growing regions of the south. They either co-operatives or extended families working together. Many small growers in Bordeaux and Burgundy made their name for delicious wine. The most famous is champagne which is grown in the north-east region near Reims.

France became also famous for its cheeses like Brie, Camembert and Roquefort  made from ewes' milk.

French government always puts money into industry to give it more chance to compete. French cars manufacturers made their name for having new ideas which are copied by other countries' manufacturers.

France is a leader in fashion and perfumes.  Fashion shows are held since 1900 in Paris.
France has a shortage of coal and other fuels. It produces its electricity from Nuclear - and Hydro Power Station.

Like its neighbours French economy has declined and unemployment risen. In the industrial north-east steel and textiles workers lost their jobs.

But science-based industries growing in the South. Concorde, Airbus, the Ariane space rockets and high speed trains TGV were produced by France.

Two-third of the population are living in Paris. Parisians mostly work in offices, shops and tourism.
Sights must be seen is Eifel Tower 300m, on an island of the river Seine is Notre Dam and it was on this island that Paris was original founded.

More interesting buildings to  visited are Arc de Triumph, church Sacre-Coeur and the art centre in Montmartre.


Celtic people occupied the area of France first and it was called Gaul. Romans conquered it in 50 BC. When the Roman empire declined in the 5th century the area was overrun by Germanic tribes from the east. The strongest were the Franks and it gave the country its name.

After that France's history were mainly of religious and political turmoil. One of the worst was the storming of the Bastille, a huge prison fortress in Paris. It was the start of the French Revolution.

King Ludwig XVI and his queen lost the throne and their lives and France turned into a Republic.
Throughout the 19th century it was a fight between enemies and supporters of the Revolution. Monarchs kept coming and going and Napoleon III (1852-70) disastrous war with Germany got him exiled.

France and Germany fought in both World Wars on opposite sites but after 1945 they made great efforts to bury the past and are now Allies within the European Union.  

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