France

France

France is one of Europe’s largest countries. It is bordered by six countries other nations: Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the southeast and Spain to the southwest. The United Kingdom borders France via the English Channel. The country is considered to be the gateway to Europe as there are several large international airports (two of these can be found in Paris), ferry terminals and the French rail service.

France is the most popular tourist destination in the world. There are many reasons why so many people enjoy visiting the diverse country, including the natural beauty, the amazing climate, outdoor recreational activities such as golf courses, art museums and galleries and so much more. There are many different activities that outline the history of the country which are enjoyable to visitors, especially considering its turbulent past.

Along with these things, France is enjoyed and well-known for its cuisine and wines. It is easy to say that French people love to cook and love their food. Meals in France are joyous, long events with families drawn close together for conversation. The typical French meal offers three to four courses which includes cheese before dessert. All meals are accompanied by freshly baked breads and wine. Popular foods in France include chicken in a red wine sauce, known as Coq au vin and sea scallops cooked in butter, or Coquilles Saint-Jacques. The food that is actually on the menu can also be quite diverse and vary according to the region of the country in which you are located.

People in France are courteous and very formal. People in the country are also known for being chic, taking great pride in their personal appearance and clothing. Some countries view France as an arrogant country because of these characteristics, although those in the country attribute this to simply being fashionable and cautious of the appearance.

There are 22 official regions located in the country of France. Each of these regions are subdivided into departments.

That France is one of the world's most popular study abroad destinations is surely no great surprise. Read on to find out why so many international students choose to study in France - and what to do next if you want to join them.

France occupies a distinct place in our collective imagination. From the urbane sophistication and history of its cities, to its legendary food and wine, to the spectacular scenery – think rugged mountains and verdant forests, golden beaches and azure seas, rolling pastures and mighty rivers – everyone has their own idealized conception of France.

Consequently, it is also the world’s most popular tourist destination by far, according to the United Nations World Tourist Organization.

fast facts

  • Population : More than 65.7 million people live in the country (2012)
  • Capital : Paris, with 2,2 million inhabitants
  • Name : Republique Francaise (French Republic)
  • Motto : "Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite" (Liberty, Equality, Fraternity)
  • Government : Democracy
  • Language : French
  • Religion : Mainly Christians (Roman Catholics 64%)
  • Currency : 1 Euro=100cents, until 2002 French Franc
  • History : In 700-500BC the Celtic Gauls arrive in France. In 58-50BC Roman Emperor Julius Caesar defeats the Gauls and France becomes part of the Roman Empire until 476AD. French was ruled by kings for many centuries until the storming of the Bastille during the French Revolution in 1789. Then Napoleon becomes Emperor of the French Republic until he is sent to exile.

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