Portal:France

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Map of France in the world and position of its largest single land territory in continental Europe.

France (French: [fʁɑ̃s] Listen), officially the French Republic (French: République française [ʁepyblik frɑ̃sɛz]), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also includes overseas regions and territories in the Americas and the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, giving it one of the largest discontiguous exclusive economic zones in the world. Its metropolitan area extends from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean and from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea; overseas territories include French Guiana in South America, Saint Pierre and Miquelon in the North Atlantic, the French West Indies, and many islands in Oceania and the Indian Ocean. Its eighteen integral regions (five of which are overseas) span a combined area of 643,801 km2 (248,573 sq mi) and contain 68 million people ().

France 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 Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse, Lille, Bordeaux, and Nice.

Inhabited since the Palaeolithic era, the territory of Metropolitan France was settled by Celtic tribes known as Gauls during the Iron Age. Rome annexed the area in 51 BC, leading to a distinct Gallo-Roman culture that laid the foundation of the French language. The Germanic Franks formed the Kingdom of Francia, which became the heartland of the Carolingian Empire. The Treaty of Verdun of 843 partitioned the empire, with West Francia becoming the Kingdom of France in 987. In the High Middle Ages, France was a powerful but highly decentralised feudal kingdom. Philip II successfully strengthened royal power and defeated his rivals to double the size of the crown lands; by the end of his reign, France had emerged as the most powerful state in Europe. From the mid-14th to the mid-15th century, France was plunged into a series of dynastic conflicts involving England, collectively known as the Hundred Years' War, and a distinct French identity emerged as a result. The French Renaissance saw art and culture flourish, conflict with the House of Habsburg, and the establishment of a global colonial empire, which by the 20th century would become the second-largest in the world. The second half of the 16th century was dominated by religious civil wars between Catholics and Huguenots that severely weakened the country. France again emerged as Europe's dominant power in the 17th century under Louis XIV following the Thirty Years' War. Inadequate economic policies, inequitable taxes and frequent wars (notably a defeat in the Seven Years' War and costly involvement in the American War of Independence) left the kingdom in a precarious economic situation by the end of the 18th century. This precipitated the French Revolution of 1789, which overthrew the Ancien Régime and produced the Declaration of the Rights of Man, which expresses the nation's ideals to this day.

France reached its political and military zenith in the early 19th century under Napoleon Bonaparte, subjugating much of continental Europe and establishing the First French Empire. The French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of European and world history. The collapse of the empire initiated a period of relative decline, in which France endured a tumultuous succession of governments until the founding of the French Third Republic during the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. Subsequent decades saw a period of optimism, cultural and scientific flourishing, as well as economic prosperity, known as the Belle Époque. France was one of the major participants of World War I, from which it emerged victorious at a great human and economic cost. It was among the Allied powers of World War II but was soon occupied by the Axis in 1940. Following liberation in 1944, the short-lived Fourth Republic was established and later dissolved in the course of the Algerian War. The current Fifth Republic was formed in 1958 by Charles de Gaulle. Algeria and most French colonies became independent in the 1960s, with the majority retaining close economic and military ties with France. (Full article...)

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Catherine de Médicis - entourage de François Clouet.jpg
Portrait from the workshop of François Clouet, c. 1560

Catherine de' Medici (Italian: Caterina de' Medici, pronounced [kateˈriːna de ˈmɛːditʃi]; French: Catherine de Médicis, pronounced [katʁin də medisis]; 13 April 1519 – 5 January 1589) was a Florentine noblewoman born into the Medici family. She was Queen of France from 1547 to 1559 by marriage to King Henry II and the mother of French Kings Francis II, Charles IX, and Henry III. The years during which her sons reigned have been called "the age of Catherine de' Medici" since she had extensive, if at times varying, influence in the political life of France.

Catherine was born in Florence to Lorenzo de' Medici, Duke of Urbino, and Madeleine de La Tour d'Auvergne. In 1533, at the age of 14, Catherine married Henry, the second son of King Francis I and Queen Claude of France, who would become Dauphin of France upon the death of his elder brother Francis in 1536. Catherine's marriage was arranged by her uncle Pope Clement VII. Henry during his reign excluded Catherine from state affairs and instead showered favours on his chief mistress, Diane de Poitiers, who wielded much influence over him. Henry's death in 1559 thrust Catherine into the political arena as mother of the frail 15-year-old King Francis II. When Francis II died in 1560, she became regent on behalf of her 10-year-old son King Charles IX and was thus granted sweeping powers. After Charles died in 1574, Catherine played a key role in the reign of her third son, Henry III. He dispensed with her advice only in the last months of her life but outlived her by just seven months. (Full article...)

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Fauré in 1907
Gabriel Urbain Fauré (12 May 1845 – 4 November 1924) was a French composer, organist, pianist, and music teacher of the Romantic Music era and genre. He was one of the foremost French composers of his generation, and his musical style influenced many 20th-century composers. Among his best-known works are his Pavane, Requiem, and nocturnes for piano. Although his best-known and most accessible compositions are generally his earlier ones, Fauré composed many of his greatest works in his later years, in a harmonically and melodically much more complex style.

Fauré was born into a cultured but not particularly musical family. His talent became clear when he was a small boy. At the age of nine, he was sent to a music college in Paris, where he was trained to be a church organist and choirmaster. Among his teachers was Camille Saint-Saëns, who became a lifelong friend. After graduating from the college in 1865, Fauré earned a modest living as an organist and teacher, leaving him little time for composition. When he became successful in his middle age, holding the important posts of organist of the Église de la Madeleine and director of the Paris Conservatoire, he still lacked time for composing; he retreated to the countryside in the summer holidays to concentrate on composition. By his last years, Fauré was recognised in France as the leading French composer of his day. An unprecedented national musical tribute was held for him in Paris in 1922, headed by the president of the French Republic. Outside France, Fauré's music took decades to become widely accepted, except in Britain, where he had many admirers during his lifetime.

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Ratatouille (/ˌrætəˈti/ RAT-ə-TOO-ee, French: [ʁatatuj] (listen)), Occitan: ratatolha [ʀataˈtuʎɔ] (listen), is a French Provençal dish of stewed vegetables which originated in Nice, and is sometimes referred to as ratatouille niçoise (French: [niswaz]). Recipes and cooking times differ widely, but common ingredients include tomato, garlic, onion, courgette (zucchini), aubergine (eggplant, brinjal), capsicum (bell pepper), and some combination of leafy green herbs common to the region. (Full article...)

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Stade Nungesser hosted the match

The French football bribery scandal (French: Affaire VA-OM) occurred during a 1992–93 French Division 1 match between Valenciennes and Olympique de Marseille. Marseille president Bernard Tapie and general manager Jean-Pierre Bernès contacted Valenciennes players Jorge Burruchaga, Jacques Glassmann, and Christophe Robert through Marseille player Jean-Jacques Eydelie, who asked them to underperform in the match so that Marseille could stay fresher for their 1993 UEFA Champions League Final match against A.C. Milan six days later. Burruchaga and Robert accepted the bribe. However, Glassmann refused to partake in the bribe and was the one who publicly revealed the scandal. Glassmann was awarded the 1995 FIFA Fair Play Award for refusing to partake in the bribe.

The scandal led to the league title being taken away from Marseille, but second-placed Paris Saint-Germain declined it so no team is classed as winning the 1992–93 league title. At the subsequent trial, Tapie, Bernès, Burruchaga, Eydelie, and Robert were all convicted of corruption. Tapie and Eydelie were sentenced to jail terms, whilst Bernès, Burruchaga, and Robert all received suspended sentences. (Full article...)
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