|a republic in W Europe, between the English Channel, the Mediterranean, and the Atlantic: the largest country wholly in Europe; became a republic in 1793 after the French Revolution and an empire in 1804 under Napoleon; reverted to a monarchy (1815--48), followed by the Second Republic (1848--52), the Second Empire (1852--70), the Third Republic (1870--1940), and the Fourth and Fifth Republics (1946 and 1958); a member of the European Union. It is generally flat or undulating in the north and west and mountainous in the south and east. Official language: French. Religion: Roman Catholic majority. Currency: euro. Capital: Paris. Pop: 60 434 000 (2004 est). Area: (including Corsica) 551 600 sq km (212 973 sq miles)Related: French, Gallic|
|Related: French, Gallic|
Nation in Europe bordered by Belgium and Luxembourg to the north; Germany, Switzerland, and Italy to the east; the Mediterranean Sea and Spain to the south; and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Its capital and largest city is Paris.
Note: During the reign of Louis XIV (1653–1715), France was a principal world power and cultural center of Europe.
Note: The French Revolution, organized by leaders of the middle class and lower class, brought about an end to the French absolute monarchy and forged a transition from feudalism to the industrial era. A bloody and chaotic period, the Revolution helped lay the foundations of modern political philosophy and ultimately engulfed much of Europe in the Napoleonic Wars. (See Napoleon Bonaparte.)
Note: In the French and Indian War in the 1750s, the British and colonial forces drove the French from Canada and the region of the Great Lakes.
Note: In World War I, France was one of the Allies; much of that war was fought on French soil.
Note: In World War II, France's military resistance to the German army collapsed in the spring of 1940. Germans occupied much of France from 1940 to 1944. In 1944, the Allies invaded France, along with French troops, and drove the Germans out of France, finally defeating them in 1945.
Note: France is known for its wine, cheese, and cooking.