France Destinations Travel Guide


Language: French

Currency: Euro

Calling Code: 33


Travel Destinations in France







Le Bourget


Château de Vincennes





Disneyland Paris









Ardèche Gorge

Les Drus

Vanoise National Park












Upper Brittany







Saint Malo


Lower Brittany


Centre-Val de Loire











Nogent le Rotrou




Château de Chinon

Château de Chenonceau



Ajaccio (Aiacciu)
Bastia (Bastìa)
Bonifacio (Bunifaziu)
Cargèse (Carghjese)
Corte (Corti)
Saint-Florent (San Fiurenzu)


Grand Est

Saint-Louis (Haut-Rhin)

Château de Sedan

Château d'Andlau
Château du Bernstein
Château du Birkenfels
Château du Fleckenstein
Château du Frankenbourg
Chateau de Froensbourg
Château du Grand-Geroldseck

Château du Grand Ringelstein

Château de Greifenstein
Château de Guirbaden
Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg
Château de Haut-Barr or Hohbarr
Château de Hohenfels

Château du Ramstein (Lorraine)
Château de l'Ortenbourg
Château de Kintzheim
Château de Ramstein (Alsace)
Château de Wangenbourg



Dunkirk (Dunkerque)
Belle Église
Le Touquet
Wolfsschluct II



Le Havre

Château d'Arques-la-Bataille

Château de Conches-en-Ouche

Château de Gisors

Château de Tancarville

Château d'Harcourt

Château d'Hardelot

Château d'Ivry-la-Bataille

Château Gaillard

Mont- St.- Michel



La Rochelle

Château de Beynac

Château de Biron

Château de Bourdeilles

Château de Castelnaud-la-Chapelle

Fort du Portalet


Towers of Merle




Cévennes National Park

Pont du Gard


Pyrenees National Park


Pays de la Loire



Château Gontier





La Baule or La Baule-Escoublac

Le Mans

Les Sables d'Olonne




Abbaye Royale de Fontevraud
La Flèche


Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur








Ecrins National Park

Mercantour National Park

Verdon Gorge



Important Numbers

2 Ave Gabriel, 75008 Paris
Tel. 02- 43 12 22 22
35 Rue du Faubourg
St.- Honore, 75008 Paris
18bis Rue d'Anjou 75008 Paris
Tel. 01- 44 51 31 00

35 Ave Montaigne, 75008 Paris
Tel. 01- 44 43 29 00
4 Rue Jean Rey, 75015 Paris
Tel. 01- 40 59 33 00

Emergency numbers:
Ambulance (SAMU): 15
Fire (Sapeurs Pompiers): 18
Police (Gendarmerie): 17



The name "France" comes from the Latin "Frankia" (lat. Francia) or "country of the Franks", from the name of the Germanic tribes that lived along the lower and middle reaches of the Rhine and are known under the common ethnonym "Franks" (lat. Franci). In the V-VI centuries, the Franks conquered Gaul, where they formed the Frankish state (lat. Regnum Francorum). From the same ethnonym in the 9th century, the name “France” (Francia) was formed, which was first used to designate the territory north of the Seine, then parts of the collapsed Frankish state, later the duchy of France and the region of Ile-de-France (fr. île de France) are known - “ island of France" with its center in Paris, which later became the core of the formation of the state of France.

There are various versions about the origin of the name of the Frankish tribe. In English, after the works of E. Gibbon and J. Grimm, the ethnonym "Frank" was firmly linked with the concept of "free". It has been suggested that the name "franc" meant "free", since after the conquest of Gaul, only the Franks were exempt from taxation. Another theory is that the ethnonym "Frank" comes from the Proto-Germanic word frankon, which translates as "spear", since the short throwing ax of the Franks was known as "francisca", however, it has been established that the weapon was named due to the use of the Franks, and not vice versa.



Ancient World and Middle Ages
France in the prehistoric period was the site of the oldest sites of Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons. During the Neolithic period, there were several prehistoric cultures rich in monuments in France. Prehistoric Brittany was culturally linked to neighboring Britain, and a large number of megaliths have been discovered on its territory. In the period of the late Bronze and early Iron Ages, the territory of France was inhabited by the Celtic tribes of the Gauls, the south-west of modern France - by the Iberians, tribes of unknown origin. As a result of the gradual conquest, which was completed in the 1st century BC. e. As a result of the Gallic War of Julius Caesar, the modern territory of France became part of the Roman Empire as the province of Gaul. The population was romanized and by the 5th century spoke vernacular Latin, which became the basis of modern French.

In 486, Gaul was conquered by the Franks under the leadership of Clovis. Thus, the Frankish state was established, and Clovis became the first king of the Merovingian dynasty. In the 7th century, the power of the king was significantly weakened, and the mayordoms possessed real power in the state, one of whom, Charles Martell, managed to defeat the Arab army in the Battle of Poitiers in 732 and prevent the conquest of Western Europe by the Arabs. The son of Charles Martell, Pepin the Short, became the first king of the Carolingian dynasty, and under the son of Pepin, Charlemagne, the Frankish state reached its highest peak in history and occupied most of the territory of present-day Western and Southern Europe. After the death of the son of Charlemagne - Louis the Pious - his empire was divided into three parts. In 843, according to the Treaty of Verdun, the West Frankish kingdom was formed, headed by Charles the Bald. It occupied approximately the territory of modern France; in the 10th century, the country began to be called France.

Subsequently, the central government significantly weakened. In the 9th century, France was regularly raided by the Vikings, in 886 the latter besieged Paris. In 911, the Vikings established the Duchy of Normandy in northern France. By the end of the 10th century, the country was almost completely fragmented into two dozen counties and duchies, and royal power was purely nominal - the kings had no real power outside their fiefs (Paris and Orleans). The Carolingian dynasty in 987 was replaced by the Capetian dynasty, named after its first king, Hugo Capet. The reign of the Capetians is notable for the crusades, religious wars in France itself (first in 1170 the Waldensian movement, and in 1209-1229 - the Albigensian wars), the convening of parliament - the Estates General - for the first time in 1302, as well as the Avignon captivity of the popes, when the Pope of Rome was arrested in 1303 by King Philip IV the Handsome, and the popes were forced to remain in Avignon until 1378. In 1328, the Capetians were replaced by a side branch of the dynasty known as the Valois dynasty. In 1337, the Hundred Years War with England began, in which at first success accompanied the British, who managed to capture a significant part of the territory of France, but in the end, especially after the appearance of Joan of Arc, a turning point occurred in the war, and in 1453 the British capitulated.

The period of the reign of Louis XI (1461-1483) is the actual cessation of the feudal fragmentation of France and the transformation of the country into an absolute monarchy. In the future, France constantly sought to play a prominent role in Europe. So, from 1494 to 1559, she waged wars with Spain for control of Italy. At the end of the 16th century, Calvinist Protestantism became widespread in predominantly Catholic France (Protestants in France were called Huguenots). This sparked religious wars between Catholics and Protestants, which culminated in 1572 on St. Bartholomew's Night in Paris, a massacre of Protestants. In 1589, the Valois dynasty ended, and Henry IV became the founder of a new Bourbon dynasty.

New time and revolution

In 1598, Henry IV signed the Edict of Nantes, which ended the war with the Protestants and gave them wide powers, so that they formed a "state within a state" with their own fortresses, troops and local government structures. From 1618 to 1648, France participated in the Thirty Years' War (formally, it fought only from 1635 - this is the so-called Swedish-French period of the war). From 1624 until his death in 1642, the country was actually ruled by the minister of King Louis XIII, Cardinal Richelieu. He renewed the wars with the Protestants and succeeded in inflicting a military defeat on them and destroying their state structures. In 1643, Louis XIII died, and his five-year-old son Louis XIV became king, who ruled until 1715 and managed to outlive his son and grandson. In 1648-1653, there was an uprising of the urban strata and the noble opposition, dissatisfied with the rule of the Queen Mother Anne of Austria and the minister, Cardinal Mazarin, who continued the policy of Richelieu and the Fronde. After the suppression of the uprising in France, an absolute monarchy was restored. During the reign of Louis XIV - the "Sun King" - France participated in several wars in Europe: 1635-1659 - the war with Spain, 1672-1678 - the Dutch War, 1688-1697 - War of the Palatinate Succession (War of the League of Augsburg) and 1701 -1713 - War of the Spanish Succession.

In 1685, Louis canceled the Edict of Nantes, which led to the flight of Protestants to neighboring countries and the deterioration of the economic situation in France.

In 1715, after the death of Louis XIV, his great-grandson Louis XV ascended the French throne and ruled until 1774.

1789-1799 - The Great French Revolution.
1792-1804 - First Republic.
1793-1794 - Jacobin terror.
1795 - the capture of the Netherlands.
1797 - the capture of Venice.
1798-1801 - Egyptian expedition.
1799-1814 - the reign of Napoleon (in 1804 he was proclaimed emperor; First Empire). In 1800-1812, Napoleon created a pan-European empire through aggressive campaigns, and his relatives or henchmen ruled in Italy, Spain and other countries. After the defeat in Russia (see Patriotic War of 1812) and the next unification of the anti-Napoleonic coalition, Napoleon's power collapsed.
1815 - One Hundred Days and the Battle of Waterloo.
1814-1830 - the period of the Restoration, based on the dualistic monarchy of Louis XVIII (1814/1815-1824) and Charles X (1824-1830).
1830-1848 - July Monarchy. The revolution overthrows Charles X, power passes to Prince Louis-Philippe of Orleans, the financial aristocracy came to power.
1848-1852 - Second Republic.
1852-1870 - the reign of Napoleon III - the Second Empire.
1870-1940 - The Third Republic, proclaimed after the capture of Napoleon III at Sedan in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71. In March-May 1871, the Paris Commune existed. The Workers' Party was created in 1879–80. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Socialist Party of France (led by J. Guesde, P. Lafargue, and others) and the French Socialist Party (led by J. Jaurès) were formed, which merged in 1905 (the French Section of the Workers' International, SFIO). By the end of the 19th century, the formation of the French colonial empire, which included huge possessions in Africa and Asia, was basically completed.
1914-1918 - France participated in the First World War as part of the Entente.
1939-1945 - World War II.
1940 - Compiègne truce with Nazi Germany (surrender of France).
1940-1944 - German occupation of northern France, Vichy regime in southern France.
1944 - the liberation of France by the troops of the anti-Hitler coalition and the resistance movement.
1946-1958 - Fourth Republic.

Fifth Republic
In 1958, the constitution of the Fifth Republic was adopted, which expanded the rights of the executive branch. Charles de Gaulle, general of the Liberation, hero of the First and Second World Wars, was elected President of the Republic. By 1960, in the context of the collapse of the colonial system, most of the French colonies in Africa had won independence. In 1962, after a bloody war, Algeria gained independence. Pro-French Algerians moved to France, where they formed a rapidly growing Muslim minority.

Mass unrest of youth and students, caused by the aggravation of economic and social contradictions, as well as a general strike, led to an acute political crisis; President Charles de Gaulle, founder of the Fifth Republic, resigned (1969) and died on November 9, 1970, a year later.

In general, the post-war development of France was characterized by the accelerated development of industry and agriculture, the promotion of national capital, economic and socio-cultural expansion into former African and Asian colonies, active integration within the European Union, the development of science and culture, the strengthening of social support measures, counteracting the "Americanization » culture.


Foreign policy under President de Gaulle was characterized by a desire for independence and for the "restoration of the greatness of France." In 1960, after successful tests of its own nuclear weapons, the country joined the "nuclear club", in 1966 France withdrew from the military structure of NATO (it returned only during the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy), Charles de Gaulle did not support European integration processes either.

The Gaullist Georges Pompidou, who served as Prime Minister from 1962-1968, was elected the second president of the Fifth Republic in 1969.

In 1974, after the death of Pompidou, he was replaced by Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, a liberal and pro-European politician, founder of the centrist party Union for French Democracy.

From 1981 to 1995, the socialist François Mitterrand held the presidency.

From May 17, 1995 to May 16, 2007, Jacques Chirac, who was re-elected in 2002, was president. He is a neo-Gaullist politician. Under him, in 2000, a referendum was held on the issue of reducing the term of office of the president in the country from 7 to 5 years. Despite the very low turnout (about 30% of the population), the majority in the end still spoke in favor of reducing the term (73%).

In connection with the growing number of people from African countries in France, the problem of migrants has worsened, many of whom are Muslims: 10% of the population of France are non-indigenous Muslims (mostly from Algeria). On the one hand, this causes an increase in the popularity of far-right (xenophobic) organizations among the native French, on the other hand, France becomes the scene of riots and terrorist attacks. North African immigration originates in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The slowdown in the rate of natural growth of the population and the shortage of labor in France against the background of the economic recovery made it necessary to attract foreign labor. The main areas of application of immigrant labor are construction (20%), industries with the use of conveyor production (29%) and the service and trade sector (48.8%). Due to low training, North Africans often become unemployed. In 1996, the average unemployment rate among foreigners from the Maghreb countries reached 32%. Currently, immigrants from the Maghreb countries make up more than 2% of the population of France and are located mainly in three regions of the country with centers in Paris, Lyon and Marseille.

On May 16, 2007, the candidate from the Union for a Popular Movement party, Nicolas Sarkozy, came from a noble family who emigrated to France from Hungary, became president of France.

On July 21, 2008, the French Parliament narrowly supported the draft constitutional reform proposed by President Sarkozy. The current reform of the constitution has become the most significant of the entire existence of the Fifth Republic, amending 47 of the 89 articles of the 1958 document. The bill included three parts: strengthening the role of parliament, updating the institution of executive power and granting citizens new rights.

The most important changes:
the president can serve no more than two consecutive terms;
Parliament acquires the right to veto certain decisions of the President;
limited government control over the activities of parliamentary committees;
at the same time, the president receives the right to address parliament annually (this was forbidden in 1875 in order to maintain the separation between the two authorities);
a referendum on the entry of new members into the EU is envisaged.
On May 6, 2012, as a result of the second round of presidential elections, Francois Hollande was elected the 24th President of France.

In April 2013, same-sex marriage was legalized in the country.



Geographical position
Most of France is located in Western Europe, its mainland borders Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany in the northeast, Switzerland in the east, Monaco and Italy in the southeast, Spain and Andorra in the southwest, in the north there is a maritime border with Great Britain. France is washed by four bodies of water (English Channel, Atlantic Ocean, North Sea and Mediterranean Sea). In the west and north, the territory of the country is washed by the Atlantic Ocean (the Bay of Biscay and the English Channel), in the south - by the Mediterranean Sea (the Gulf of Lion and the Ligurian Sea). The length of the maritime borders is 5500 km.

France is the largest country in Western Europe in terms of territory: it occupies almost one-fifth of the territory of the European Union, has vast maritime spaces (a unique economic zone extends over an area of ​​11 million km²).

The state also includes the island of Corsica in the Mediterranean Sea and more than twenty overseas departments and dependent territories.
The total area of ​​the country is 547,030 km² (674,685 km² together with overseas possessions).

Relief and geological structure
In the north and west of the country there are flat areas and low mountains. Plains make up 2/3 of the total area. The main mountain ranges are: the Alps, the Pyrenees, the Jura, the Ardennes, the Massif Central and the Vosges. The Paris Basin is surrounded by the Massif Armorican, the Massif Central, the Vosges and the Ardennes. Around Paris is a system of concentric ledges of ridges separated by narrow strips of plains. The Garonne lowland, located in the southwest of France at the foot of the Pyrenees, is a flat area with fertile soils. The Landes, a triangular wedge-shaped area southwest of the lower Garonne, is characterized by less fertile soils and is planted with coniferous forests. The graben of the Rhone and Saone in southeastern France forms a narrow passage between the Alps in the east and the Massif Central in the west. It consists of a series of small depressions separated by highly dissected uplifted areas.

In the central regions and in the east there are medium-altitude mountains (the Central Massif, the Vosges, the Jura). The central massif, located between the basins of the Loire, Garonne and Rhone, is the largest massif that arose as a result of the destruction of the ancient Hercynian mountains. Like other ancient mountainous regions of France, it rose during the Alpine era, with the softer rocks in the Alps being crumpled into folds, and the dense rocks of the massif broken up by cracks and faults. Deep-seated molten rocks rose along such disturbed zones, which was accompanied by volcanic eruptions. In the modern era, these volcanoes have lost their activity. Nevertheless, many extinct volcanoes and other volcanic landforms have been preserved on the surface of the massif. The Vosges, which separate the fertile Rhine Valley in Alsace from the rest of France, are only 40 kilometers wide. The smoothed and forested surfaces of these mountains rise above deep valleys. A similar landscape prevails in the north of the country in the Ardennes. The Jura Mountains, along which the border with Switzerland runs, are located between Geneva and Basel. They have a folded structure, composed of limestone, lower and less dissected compared to the Alps, but formed in the same era and have a close geological connection with the Alps.

In the southwest, along the border with Spain, the Pyrenees mountain range stretches. During the ice age, the Pyrenees were not subjected to powerful glaciation. There are no large glaciers and lakes, picturesque valleys and jagged mountain ridges characteristic of the Alps. Due to the significant height and inaccessibility of the passes, communications between Spain and France are very limited.

In the southeast, the Alps partially form the border of France with Italy and Switzerland (as far as Lake Geneva) and extend a little into southeastern France as far as the Rhone. In the high mountains, rivers carved deep valleys, and the glaciers that occupied these valleys during the Ice Age widened and deepened them. Here is the highest point of France - the highest mountain in Western Europe - Mont Blanc, 4807 m.

Water resources

All the rivers of France, with the exception of some overseas territories, belong to the Atlantic Ocean basin, and for the most part originate in the Massif Central, the Alps and the Pyrenees. The largest water arteries of the country:
The Seine (775 km) is a flat river that forms a widely branched system with large right tributaries of the Marne and Oise, and a left tributary of the Yonne. The Seine drains the Paris Basin and flows into the Atlantic Ocean at Le Havre. It is distinguished by an even distribution of flow throughout the year, which favors navigation, and is connected by canals to other rivers. On the Seine, 145 km from the English Channel, is the capital of France, Paris.
The Garonne (650 km) originates in the Spanish Pyrenees, flows through Toulouse and Bordeaux, and forms a vast estuary, the Gironde, when it flows into the ocean. Main tributaries: Tarn, Lot and Dordogne.
Rhone (812 km) - the deepest river in France, starts in the Swiss Alps from the Rhone Glacier, flows through Lake Geneva. Near Lyon, the Saone River flows into it. Other major tributaries are the Durance and the Isère. The Rhone is characterized by a fast turbulent flow and has a large hydroelectric potential. A number of hydroelectric power plants have been built on this river.
The Loire (1020 km) is the longest river in France, starting in the Massif Central. It receives many tributaries, the main ones being Allier, Cher, Indre and Vienne. The Loire originates in the Massif Central de France, crosses the southern part of the Paris Basin and flows into the Atlantic Ocean at Nantes. The water level in this river fluctuates greatly, so there are frequent floods.
The canal system connects the main rivers of the country, including the Rhine, along which partly passes the eastern border of the country and which is one of the most important inland communications in Europe. Rivers and canals are of great importance for the French economy.

Protected areas
The French national park system consists of nine parks located both in European France and in its overseas territories. The parks are managed by the French National Parks Authority, a government agency. They occupy 2% of the territory of European France, and they are visited by 7 million people a year.

In France, there is also a structure of regional natural parks, introduced by law on March 1, 1967. Regional natural parks are created by agreement between local authorities and the central government, and their territory is reviewed every 10 years. As of 2009, there are 49 regional natural parks in France.

Flora and fauna
Forests occupy 27% of the country's territory. Hazel (hazel), birch, oak, spruce and cork tree grow in the northern and western regions of the country. On the Mediterranean coast - palm trees and citrus fruits. Among the representatives of the fauna, deer and fox stand out. Roe deer inhabit the alpine regions, and the wild boar has been preserved in remote forests. It is also home to a large number of different species of birds, including migratory ones. Reptiles are rare, and among snakes, only one poisonous one is an ordinary viper. Many types of fish live in coastal sea waters: herring, cod, tuna, sardine, mackerel, flounder and silver hake.



The climate in the European territory of France is moderately maritime, turning in the east into temperate continental, and on the south coast into subtropical. In total, three types of climate can be distinguished: oceanic (in the west), Mediterranean (in the south), continental (in the center and east). Summers are quite hot and dry - the average temperature in July reaches + 23-25°C, while rains are typical for the winter months at an air temperature of + 7-8°C.

The main share of precipitation falls on the period from January to April, and their total amount varies between 600-1000 mm. On the western slopes of the mountains, this figure can reach more than 2000 mm.



Administrative division
France is divided into 18 regions, of which 12 are on the European continent, one (Corsica) is on the island of Corsica, and five more are overseas. The regions do not have legal autonomy, but they can set their own taxes and approve the budget.

18 regions are divided into 101 departments, as well as the metropolis of Lyon, which consists of 342 districts and 4039 cantons. France is based on 36,682 communes.

The department of Paris consists of a single commune. Each of the five overseas regions (Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, Reunion, Mayotte) consists of a single department. The region of Corsica (including 2 departments) has a special status of an administrative-territorial entity, which differs from other regions of the metropolis (continental France). It has independent governing bodies that are not subordinate to the center. In 2003, a referendum on the unification of the 2 departments of Corsica failed. All these regions are part of the European Union.

It can also be said that the French Republic includes:

1. Metropolis (divided into 13 regions, 96 departments and the Lyon metropolis).

2. 5 overseas departments: Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guiana, Reunion, Mayotte.

3. 5 overseas territories: French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin.

4. 3 territories with special status: New Caledonia, Clipperton, French Southern and Antarctic territories.

Fundamentals of the state system
France is a unitary presidential republic. The basic law of the state is the constitution adopted on October 4, 1958. It regulates the functioning of the authorities of the Fifth Republic: it establishes a republican presidential-parliamentary form of government (Constitution of the French Republic, section 2)[27].

The Constitution of the French Republic was revised several times under the following articles:
election of the President on the basis of universal direct suffrage (1962),
introduction of a new section of the Constitution on the criminal liability of members of the government (1993),
the introduction of a single session of parliament and the expansion of the competence of the referendum (1995),
provisional measures regarding the status of New Caledonia (1998),
creation of the Economic and Monetary Union, equal access of men and women to elective mandates and elective functions, recognition of the legal right of the International Criminal Court (1999),
reduction of the term of the presidential mandate from 7 to 5 years (2000),
Head of State Penal Reform, Constitutional Abolition of the Death Penalty, New Caledonia Autonomy Reform (2007),
reform on the renewal of the state structure and the establishment of a balance in the distribution of powers (2008).
There is also a Constitutional Council in France, which consists of 9 members and controls the correctness of the elections and the constitutionality of laws amending the Constitution, as well as laws submitted to it for consideration.


Executive branch

The head of state and head of the executive branch of government is the president, currently Emmanuel Macron. In the Fifth Republic, the prime minister is in charge of day-to-day domestic and economic policy and also has the power to issue general decrees. He is considered responsible for government policy (Article 20). The Prime Minister directs the activities of the government and enforces laws (Article 21).

The Prime Minister is appointed by the President of the Republic. The approval of his candidacy by the National Assembly is not required, since the National Assembly has the right to declare a vote of no confidence in the government at any time. Usually the Prime Minister represents the party that has the most seats in the National Assembly. The prime minister draws up a list of ministers in his cabinet and submits it to the president for approval.

The Prime Minister initiates the adoption of laws in the National Assembly and ensures their implementation, he is also responsible for national defense. The Prime Minister countersigns the acts of the President, replaces him as chairman in the councils and committees determined by Article 15 of the Constitution.

Since July 3, 2020, the government has been headed by Jean Castex.



Legislative power in France belongs to the Parliament, which includes two chambers - the Senate and the National Assembly. The Senate of the Republic, whose members are elected by indirect universal suffrage, consists of 348 senators, of which 305 are from the mother country, 9 from the overseas territories, 5 from the territories of the French Community and 12 from French citizens living abroad. Senators are elected for six-year terms (since 2003, and until 2003 for 9 years) by an electoral college consisting of deputies of the National Assembly, general councilors and delegates from municipal councils, while the Senate is renewed by half every three years. The last elections to the Senate took place in September 2017.

The National Assembly, whose deputies are elected by direct universal suffrage for a period of 5 years, consists of 577 deputies, 555 of whom represent the metropolis, and 22 from the overseas territories. Members of the National Assembly are elected by direct universal suffrage for a five-year term. The last elections of the deputies of the National Assembly were held on 11 and 18 June 2017. In addition to their function - control over the activities of the government, both chambers develop and adopt laws. In case of disagreement, the final decision rests with the National Assembly.

Judicial branch
The judicial system of France is regulated in the VIII section of the Constitution "On the judiciary". The President of the country is the guarantor of the independence of the judiciary, the status of judges is established by organic law, and the judges themselves are irremovable. French justice is based on the principles of collegiality, professionalism, independence, which are provided by a number of guarantees. The 1977 law established that the costs of administering justice in civil and administrative cases are borne by the state. This rule does not apply to criminal justice. Also important principles are equality before justice and neutrality of judges, public hearing of the case and the possibility of double hearing of the case. The law also provides for the possibility of cassation appeal.

The judicial system of France is multi-stage, and it can be divided into two branches - the judicial system itself and the system of administrative courts. The lowest level in the system of courts of general jurisdiction is occupied by tribunals of small instance. Cases in such a tribunal are heard personally by a judge. However, each of them has several magistrates. The Tribunal of Small Instance hears cases with insignificant sums, and the decisions of such courts are not subject to appeal.

In criminal cases, this court is called the police tribunal. These tribunals are divided into chambers: civil cases and the correctional court. The Court of Appeal always decides collectively. The civil-legal part of the Court of Appeal consists of two chambers: for civil and social cases. There is also a Chamber of Commerce. One of the functions of the indictment chamber is the function of a disciplinary court in relation to officers of the judicial police (officers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, military gendarmerie, etc.). There is also a gendarmerie chamber for minors. Each department has a jury. In addition, special-purpose judicial bodies operate in France: commercial courts and military courts.

The highest court is the court of cassation, consisting of social, commercial, three civil and criminal chambers, the courts of appeal are the courts of appeal, consisting of social, commercial, civil, correctional chambers, and the jury of appeals, the courts of first instance of criminal justice are correctional courts and jury courts, civil courts of first instance - courts of grand instance, the lowest level of the criminal justice judiciary - police courts, the lowest level of the civil justice judiciary - courts of instance, the lowest level of the commercial justice judiciary - commercial courts, the lowest level of the social justice judiciary — council for labor disputes, the highest judicial instance of administrative justice — the state council, the courts of appellate instance of administrative justice — appellate administrative courts, the courts of first instance of administrative justice — administrative courts. The supreme control body is the Accounts Chamber, local control bodies are the Regional Accounts Chambers, the Court of Impeachment of the President is the highest court, the Court of Impeachment of Ministers is the Court of Justice.

The prosecutor's office is represented by prosecutors at courts of different levels. The Attorney General with deputies is attached to the Court of Appeal. The Prosecutor's Office at the Court of Cassation includes the Prosecutor General, his first deputy and deputies who are subordinate to the Minister of Justice.

Educational training for judges is provided by the National School of Magistracy.


Local government

The system of local governments in France is built in accordance with the administrative-territorial division. It is represented by communes, departments and regions where there are elected bodies.

A commune is the smallest administrative-territorial unit. In France, there are about 36,000 communes managed by municipal councils, which are executive authorities. The council manages the affairs of the commune, makes decisions on issues affecting the interests of its citizens on all social problems: manages property, creates the necessary social services.
Departments of France are the basic unit of the administrative-territorial division of France. Departments are divided into internal (96) and overseas departments. The jurisdiction of the departmental Council includes the adoption of the local budget and control over its execution, the organization of departmental services, property management. The executive body of the department is the chairman of the general council.
Regions are the largest unit in the country's administrative division. Each region has established economic and social committees and a regional loan committee. The region has its own accounting chamber. The regional council elects its own chairman, who is the executive power in the region.

State symbols
The French tricolor of three vertical stripes - blue, white and red - conveys the three main ideas of the French Revolution - freedom, equality and fraternity. This combination of colors owes its origin to the Marquis de Lafayette, who proposed to revolutionary-minded citizens to wear a tricolor, red-white-blue cockade. Red and blue have long been considered the colors of Paris (and the revolutionaries took advantage of this on the day of the storming of the Bastille), and white was the color of the French monarchy. First appearing in 1790, the French tricolor was then slightly modified (originally red was at the pole, that is, on the left) and redesigned in 1794. Although the tricolor fell into disuse after the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo, it reappeared in 1830 - with the assistance of the same Marquis de Lafayette - and remains the flag of France to this day. The old royal flag was golden lilies on a white background (oriflame).

Coat of arms
Since the Second Empire, France has not had its own emblem, approved at the legislative level. Nevertheless, many official documents depict the unofficial emblem of the state: a pelt with the monogram "R.F" against a background of fasces with laurel and oak branches.

Parties and elections
Political parties
The National Front is a far-right nationalist party that has existed since 1972 and appeals to Euroscepticism and xenophobia.
National Republican Movement - 1999 split from the National Front.
The Republicans are the Union for a Popular Movement party, which was reformed in May 2015. The main conservative party, the legal successor of the Gaullist "Association in support of the Republic".
The Movement for France is a right-wing conservative Gaullist party.
The Solidary Republic is a centre-right Gaullist party.
Arise Republic is a social-conservative Gaullist party founded in 2008.
Rally for France and European Independence is a Eurosceptic Gaullist party since 1999.
Hunting, Fishing, Nature, Traditions is a traditionalist party founded in 1989.

The Democratic Movement is a liberal party created in 2009 by François Bayrou on the basis of the Union for French Democracy.
The Union of Democrats and Independents is a centrist force founded in 2012 from nine parties that have retained their independence, including:
The Radical Party is the oldest (since 1901) political party in France;
The New Center is a social-liberal party created in 2007 by members of the Union for French Democracy who were not part of the Democratic Movement;
The Modern Left is a reformist party founded in 2007 by right-wing members of the Socialist Party who supported the Union for a Popular Movement.

The Radical Left Party is a left-wing liberal party formed in 1972 by the left wing of the Radical Party.
The Socialist Party is the main socialist party of the country, founded in 1969 on the basis of the French section of the Workers' International.
Europe Ecology The Greens is a left-wing environmentalist party that emerged in 2010 as a result of the merger of Europe Ecology and the Greens.

Left Front - a political coalition of communist and demo-socialist forces, formed in 2008; among them:
The French Communist Party is one of the largest communist parties in the Western world, founded in 1920;
The Left Party is a left-wing socialist party founded in 2009 by former members of the Socialist Party, led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon;
The Unitary Left, Convergence and Alternatives, and the Anti-Capitalist Left are factions of the Revolutionary Communist League and the New Anti-Capitalist Party.
The New Anti-Capitalist Party is a radical left-wing party founded in 2009 from the self-disbanded Trotskyist Revolutionary Communist League (a section of the Reunited Fourth International).
The Labor Struggle is a Trotskyist party with a history dating back to 1939, focused on working within the working environment.
The Independent Labor Party is a left-wing Eurosceptic party around the dissolved Trotskyist Workers' Party.
The Republican and Civic Movement is a left-wing populist Eurosceptic party founded in 1993 by former SP member Jean-Pierre Chevenman.

Following the results of the elections held in September 2008, the 343 members of the Senate are distributed as follows:
Faction "Union for a Popular Movement" (UMP): 151 (44%).
Socialist faction: 116 (33.82%).
Faction "Centrist Union": 29.
Communist, republican and civic faction: 23.
Faction "European Democratic and Social Association": 17.
Not a member of any faction: 7.

According to the results of the elections on June 10 and 17, 2007, the National Assembly has 577 deputies, distributed as follows:
Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) faction: 314 (plus 6 who joined).
Socialist Radical and Civic Faction: 186 (plus 18 who joined).
Left Democratic and Republican faction: 24.
New centrist faction: 20 (plus 2 who joined).
Not a member of any faction: 7.

In March 2010, regional elections were held in France. Based on the results of two rounds of voting, 1,880 advisers to regional councils were elected. Elections were held in all 26 regions of the country, including 4 overseas ones. The current regional elections have already been dubbed a test of strength ahead of the 2012 presidential election.

The opposition coalition "Left Union" led by the "Socialist Party" won the election. The coalition also includes the parties "Europe-Ecology" and "Left Front". In the first round, they scored 29%, 12% and 6%, respectively, while the presidential party "Union for a Popular Movement" - only 26%. According to the results of the second round, the "Left Union" received 54% of the votes, thus, out of 22 European regions of France, preference was given to it in 21. Sarkozy's party left behind only the Alsace region.

The success of the far-right National Front, which received in the second round a total of about 2 million votes, that is, 9.17%, was also quite unexpected. The party passed to the second round of voting in 12 regions of the country, respectively, in each of them received an average of 18% of the vote. Jean-Marie Le Pen himself, who headed the party list in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, achieved the best result in the history of his party here, gaining 22.87% of the vote and securing 21 out of 123 deputy mandates in the local council for his supporters. In northern France, in the Sever-Pas-de-Calais region, the Front National, whose local list was headed by the party leader's daughter Marine Le Pen, cast their votes with 22.20% of voters, which guaranteed the NF 18 out of 113 seats in the regional council.

Foreign policy
Currently, France is one of the main players in world politics, it can undoubtedly be called the "great power" of the modern world, and this assumption is based on the following principles:
France independently determines its foreign policy. Political independence is based on military force (primarily on nuclear weapons);
France influences the adoption of international political decisions through international organizations (due to the status of a permanent member of the UN Security Council, a leading role in the EU, etc.);
France is trying to play the role of world ideological leader (declaring itself the "standard-bearer" of the principles of the French Revolution in world politics and the defender of human rights throughout the world);
The special role of France in certain regions of the world (primarily in Africa);
France remains the center of cultural attraction for a significant part of the world community.

France is one of the founding countries of the European Union (since 1957) and now plays an active role in determining its policy.

France hosts the headquarters of such organizations as UNESCO (Paris), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) (Paris), Interpol (Lyon), the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) (Sevres).

France is a member of many world and regional international organizations:
United Nations since 1945;
a permanent member of the UN Security Council (that is, has the right to veto);
member of the WTO (since 1995, before that a member of the GATT);
since 1964 member of the Group of Ten;
the initiating country in the Secretariat of the Pacific Community;
member of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank;
member of the Indian Ocean Commission;
associate member of the Association of Caribbean States;
Founder and leading member of the Francophonie since 1986;
in the Council of Europe since 1949;
member of the OSCE;
member of the Big Seven.


France is a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, a working body for the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Among the main directions of French foreign policy are the following:
activities within the European Union;
policy in the Mediterranean region (North Africa and the Middle East);
establishing bilateral relations with individual countries;
conducting policies within the organization of the Francophonie;
activities in NATO.

1. France has a great influence on the solution of many pressing international problems, successfully realizing its foreign policy interests both at the regional and global levels. In search of answers to the challenges of the modern world, France relies on interaction with a wide range of international partners, seeking support for favorable foreign policy decisions.

2. When building a foreign policy, the leadership of France takes into account the peculiarities of the alignment of political forces within the country, the traditions and heritage of the historical past, collective ideas about the role and place of the French state in the world, as well as the methods that must be applied to implement French foreign policy interests.

3. The European direction of foreign policy is a priority for Paris, which has a significant impact on French foreign policy in other areas. On the one hand, France acts as a representative of the European Union, which strengthens its position in dialogue with international partners external to the EU. On the other hand, membership in the European Union is a certain limiter for Paris, as France is forced to more and more coordinate its policy with its EU partners.

4. France acts as a driving force in the development of the European integration process, which, in particular, manifested itself in the preparation and adoption of the Lisbon Treaty, as well as in the development of measures aimed at overcoming the debt crisis of the eurozone. Building a policy in this direction, Paris demonstrated not only perseverance in realizing its interests, but also flexibility, contributing to the development of mutually acceptable solutions.

5. The Treaty of Lisbon, in the preparation and adoption of which France played an important role, is designed to adapt the EU institutions to the new enlarged composition. The active role of Paris in the preparation of the Treaty testified to its interest in institutional reforms and in strengthening the geopolitical role of the EU, including the formation of a "European defense identity".

6. The Treaty of Lisbon was an important step towards the transformation of the EU into a federal association, unambiguously recognizing the dominance of the interests of the European Union over the interests of the member states. Although France does not officially support the idea of ​​transition to a federal structure of the EU, it promoted these decisions as necessary for the further development of European integration in the new conditions.

7. The position of France on the issues of overcoming the debt crisis of the eurozone indicates its extreme interest in maintaining the single European currency. Measures to combat the crisis, taken at the EU level and aimed at strengthening the powers of the central authorities in the monetary sphere, testified to the further movement of the EU towards federation. France's agreement to the introduction of these measures is explained by the fact that they were vital to the salvation of the single European currency.

8. France's most significant partner in the European Union remained Germany. The formed political Franco-German tandem speaks of the closeness of the positions of the two countries on a wide range of issues of European politics. Paris and Berlin actively cooperated in working out solutions to all the main issues of European construction. The Franco-German interaction became the most important factor that contributed to the preparation and adoption of the Lisbon Treaty. The tandem played a significant role in overcoming the debt crisis in the eurozone. This, however, did not mean the complete absence of discrepancies or the absence of competition between the two countries.

9. The study of the European policy of France revealed a trend towards an increase in a kind of informal “specialization” within the EU. In the context of the strengthening of Germany's positions in the "eastern" direction (relations with Russia, with the CIS countries, with the states of Eastern Europe), France is increasingly turning towards the countries of the Mediterranean region and North Africa.

10. During the first decade of the new century, France paid great attention to the development of relations with the United States. Paris and Washington are united by a common ideology, which is based on the ideas of the inviolability of private property, the protection of democracy and human rights. These are members of the same "Western family", and a multifaceted cooperation is developing between them. However, Franco-American relations have never been easy. The parties not only cooperated, but simultaneously competed with each other on a wide range of issues.


11. The US remains France's largest trade and economic partner outside the European Union. The most important factor in trade and economic cooperation between the two countries is the preservation of American leadership in the development and production of science-intensive products, which determines France's special interest in developing these ties.

12. One of the main tasks facing the French leadership in the context of globalization is to maintain the competitiveness of the French economy while maintaining its social orientation. In an effort to reduce the burden on the socio-economic sphere and reduce military spending, Paris is increasingly using the advantages of the international division of labor, relying on cooperation with partners in the EU and NATO in the creation of modern weapons and means of communication. France is an active participant in the formation of a single transatlantic military-industrial complex based on the use of advanced technologies, and considers the United States not only as the largest trading partner outside of Europe, but also as an extremely significant military and political ally.

Activities in NATO
France was part of NATO (since 1949), but under President de Gaulle in 1966, she withdrew from the military part of the alliance in order to be able to pursue her own independent security policy. During the tenure of President Jacques Chirac, the actual participation of France in the defense structures of NATO increased.

After Nicolas Sarkozy became president in May 2007, France returned to the military structure of the Alliance on April 4, 2009. France's policy towards NATO, starting with François Mitterrand, had a successive character. In January 1991, French troops took part in Operation Desert Storm to liberate Kuwait. In 1999, France participated in NATO military operations in Bosnia and Kosovo. France took an active part in the settlement of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict that escalated in August 2008. At a meeting between the presidents of Russia and France - Dmitry Medvedev and Nicolas Sarkozy - during negotiations in Moscow on August 12, 2008, a plan was signed to resolve the military conflict, called the Medvedev-Sarkozy Plan.

Armed forces
In general, France is one of the few countries whose armed forces have an almost complete range of modern weapons and military equipment of their own production - from small arms to attack nuclear aircraft carriers.

France is a nuclear weapon country. The official position of the French government has always been to create a "limited nuclear arsenal at the minimum necessary level." To date, this level is four nuclear submarines and about a hundred aircraft with nuclear missiles.

The republic has a contract system of service and there is no military duty. The military personnel, which includes all units, is about 270 thousand people. At the same time, according to the reform launched by the President of the Republic, Nicolas Sarkozy, 24% of employees, mainly in administrative positions, should be dismissed from the army.

As of January 1, 2017, the population of France was 64,859,773 in metropolitan France and 66,991,000 overseas.

The population density in France is 103 people/km². According to this indicator, the country ranks 14th among the countries of the European Union. The total fertility rate in France is one of the highest in Europe - 2.01 children per woman of reproductive age. There are 57 urban settlements in France with a population of more than 100,000 people.

The population of the largest urban agglomerations in France as of 2016 is (thousand people):
Paris - 10,870;
Lyon - 1635;
Marseille - 1610;
Lille - 1060;
Nice - 970;
Toulouse - 955;
Bordeaux - 950.

In 2006, 10.1% of the population was of foreign origin (that is, they were not French citizens at the time of birth), of which 4.3% received French citizenship.


National composition

The French political lexicon does not use the concept of "national minority" and even "nationality" in the sense that this word was understood in the Soviet Union and post-Soviet Russia. In the French lexicon, the word "nationalité" means exclusively "citizenship", and the adjective "national, nationale" means belonging to the state - the French Republic, since the Republic comes from the "nation" - the people who own the state, national sovereignty, which is recorded in Article 3 Constitution of the French Republic. Thus, there are no official ethnic statistics in France.

Soviet encyclopedias provide data for 1975 on the ethnic composition of the country, without, however, describing the methods of assessment: about 90% of the population were ethnic French. National minorities include Alsatians and Lorraine (about 1.4 million people), Bretons (1.25 million people), Jews (about 500 thousand people), Flemings (300 thousand people), Catalans (250 thousand . people), Basques (140 thousand people) and Corsicans (280 thousand people).

For the same reasons, the estimate of the number of ethnic Armenians in France is also ambiguous: according to various sources, it ranges from 350,000 to 500,000 people.

The Alsatians speak the Alemannic dialect of German, the Lorraine in its Frankish dialects. The literary language for most Alsatians is German. Most of the Alsatians are Catholics, among the villagers there are Protestants (Lutherans and Calvinists).

The Bretons speak the Breton language of the Celtic group of the Indo-European family, which has four dialects: Trégières, Cornish, Vannes and Leonard. It formed the basis of the literary language. Breton is spoken by about 200,000 people in the west of Brittany. In eastern Brittany, a dialect of French is common - Gallo. But the main idea is not language, but a common history, origin, special geographical origin, and hence special economic activities. Brittany is the center of the development of Celtic culture.

The Flemings live in the north of the country, in the so-called French Flanders. They speak Southern Dutch. By religion, they are mostly Catholics.

Corsicans (self-name "Corsi") inhabit the island of Corsica. They speak French. In everyday life, two Italian dialects are used: Chismontan and Oltremontan. They profess Catholicism.

Basques (self-name euskaldunak - “Basque speakers”) in France inhabit the regions of Labour, Soule and Lower Navarre; in Spain, the provinces of Biscay, Gipuzkoa, Alava, Navarra. Basque is an isolated language, and it is also divided into dialects. The official languages ​​spoken are French and Spanish. Basques practice Catholicism.

As of 2019, 6.7 million immigrants lived in France, making up 9.9% of the country's population. As of 2018, there were a total of 14 million immigrants and their direct descendants (20.9% of the French population). It was estimated in 2011 that 30% of the French population under 60 were third-generation immigrants.



The minimum hourly wage in France (SMIC) is set and revised by the state. For 2010, it is 8.86 €/hour, which corresponds to 1343.77 €/month (hourly wages are converted into monthly wages by INSEE based on a 35-hour working week).

Approximately 10% of wages in France are at the SMIC level (for temporary jobs this share is 23%). At the same time, the total annual income of about half of the working French is at the SMIC level.

The distribution of salaries across the country is uneven: the Paris region leads by a wide margin of average wages - 27 thousand euros per year, the average wages of other regions fall on 18-20 thousand euros per year.

The family income is estimated per unit of consumption (PU) - the first adult in the family is considered as a unit, the rest of the family members under 14 years old for 0.3, 14 years and above - 0.5. Only 10% of French families have an income level of more than 35,700 € / MU, 1% - more than 84,500 € / MU, 0.1% - more than 225,800 € / MU, 0.01% - 687,900 € / MU.

As of 2017, the average wage in France is 2998 euros (gross) and 2225 euros (net) per month. From January 1, 2020, the minimum wage in France is 1539.42 euros (gross) and 1219 euros (net).



France is a secular country, freedom of conscience is provided for by constitutional law. The doctrine of secularism was born and developed here, in accordance with the law of 1905, the state is strictly separated from all religious organizations. France has not officially collected data on religious affiliation since the 1872 national census, making it difficult to estimate the religious composition of the country's population. An 1872 law that prohibited government agencies from collecting data on people's ethnicity or religious beliefs was reaffirmed by a 1978 law that emphasized the prohibition on the collection or use of personal data that reveals a person's race, ethnicity, political, philosophical, or religious beliefs. The secular nature of the republic is perceived as an identity. When the French nation ceases to be so united, then questions of a religious nature are perceived quite painfully.

Research by the French Statistical Institute (INSEE) 2008 (2015 Le Monde newspaper publication):
Do not consider themselves to any religion - 45%;
Catholics - 43%;
Muslims - 8%;
Protestants - 2%;
Orthodox - 1%;
Jews - 1%;
Buddhists - 1%;
Others - 1%.

According to a 2012 global study by WIN-Gallup International, France was named one of the least religious countries in the world. According to the study, out of 1671 respondents:
29% called themselves convinced atheists (4th place in the world, the world average is 13%);
34% - non-religious people (world average - 23%);
37% - religious (followers of any religion; the world average is 59%);
1% found it difficult to answer or refused to answer (the world average is 5%).

The largest Protestant churches are the United Protestant Church of France (400 thousand) and the Union of Protestant Churches of Alsace and Lorraine (210 thousand); both churches were created by combining the Reformed and Lutherans. The fastest growing denomination is represented by Pentecostals (307,000 in 2001).

According to The World Factbook, the composition of the population of France by religion as of 2015: Christians (overwhelmingly Catholics) - 63-66%, Muslims - 7-9%, Buddhists - 0.5-0.75%, Jews - 0 .5-0.75%, atheists - 23-28%, others - 0.5-1.0%.

The composition of the population of France by religion as of 2019: Catholics - 41%, irreligious - 40%, Muslims - 5%, other religions - 5%, Lutherans - 2%, Orthodox - 2%, other Christians - 2%, Buddhists - 1%, Jews - 1%, no data - 1%.



The official language of the state is French, which is spoken by most of the population. It belongs to the Indo-European family of languages ​​(Romance group, Gallo-Romance subgroup). Developed from vernacular Latin and moved further away from it than any other Romance language. Writing based on the Latin alphabet.

Modern French comes from the so-called Langue d'Oil, the Gallo-Romance dialects of northern France, in contrast to the Occitano-Romance group of dialects (Langue d'Oc), which were common in the south in Occitania. The difference between these two main groups of dialects in France was due to the way the word "yes" (oil / oc) was pronounced. At present, Langue d'Oil has almost supplanted Langue d'Oc. Despite this, various dialects of both the northern and southern subgroups are still used in everyday life in France.

In 1994, a language law (Law Toubon) was passed. In it, the French language was not only fixed as the language of the republic, but also protected from clogging with foreign words, borrowings.

Along with the official language in France, 7 languages ​​and dialects have the status of indigenous regional languages: Basque, Breton, Flemish, Alsatian (German), Catalan, Corsican (Italian), Occitan. In the summer of 2010, an amendment was made to the French Constitution, which effectively equalized French and regional languages, recognizing the latter as "part of the country's heritage."



France is a highly developed post-industrial country, it occupies one of the leading places in the world in terms of industrial production. Gross domestic product has a value of 1.9 trillion euros (2.6 trillion dollars) in 2009. GDP per capita in the same year was €30,691 ($42,747). In terms of nominal GDP, France is the 6th economic power in the world after the USA, China, Japan, Germany and the UK (according to 2018 data). With a metropolitan area of ​​551,602 km² and a population of 64 million including overseas territories, France is considered a "big" country. And its economic weight allows it to play one of the key roles in the international arena. France enjoys its natural advantages, ranging from a central geographical position in Europe to having access to the main trade routes of Western Europe: the Mediterranean Sea, the English Channel, the Atlantic.

In this regard, the Common European Market, formed in 1957, was a beneficial factor in the development of French enterprises, although the former colonies and overseas territories continue to be significant commercial partners.

Mining of iron and uranium ores, bauxite. The leading sectors of the manufacturing industry are mechanical engineering, including automotive, electrical and electronic (TV sets, washing machines, etc.), aviation, shipbuilding (tankers, sea ferries) and machine tool building. France is one of the world's largest producers of chemical and petrochemical products (including caustic soda, synthetic rubber, plastics, mineral fertilizers, pharmaceuticals and others), ferrous and non-ferrous (aluminum, lead and zinc) metals. French clothing, shoes, jewelry, perfumes and cosmetics, cognacs, cheeses (about 400 varieties are produced) are very famous on the world market.

France is one of the largest producers of agricultural products in Europe, occupies one of the leading places in the world in terms of the number of cattle, pigs, poultry and the production of milk, eggs, and meat. Agriculture accounts for approximately 4% of GDP and 6% of the country's working population. French agricultural products account for 25% of EU production. Agricultural land covers an area of ​​48 million hectares, which represents 82% of the territory of the metropolis. A characteristic feature of the socio-economic structure is the rather small size of farms. The average land area is 28 hectares, which exceeds the corresponding figures for many EU countries. There is great fragmentation in land ownership. More than half of the farms exist on the owners' land. Large farms are the leading force in production. 52% of agricultural land falls on farms larger than 50 hectares, which make up 16.8% of their total number. They provide more than 2/3 of products, occupying a dominant position in the production of almost all branches of agriculture. The main branch of agriculture is meat and dairy cattle breeding. Grain farming predominates in crop production; the main crops are wheat, barley, corn. Winemaking (the world's leading wine producer), vegetable growing and horticulture are developed; floriculture; fishing and oyster farming. Agricultural products: wheat, cereals, sugar beets, potatoes, wine grapes; beef, dairy products; fish. Agriculture is highly industrialized. It is second only to the Netherlands, the Federal Republic of Germany, and Denmark in terms of saturation with machinery and the use of chemical fertilizers. Technical equipment, improvement of farming agriculture has led to an increase in the country's self-sufficiency in agricultural products. For grain, sugar, it exceeds 200%, for butter, eggs, meat - over 100%.

Winemaking is very common in France. In terms of the volume of wine produced, only Spain overtakes France, while China and Italy overtake.

France is the birthplace of grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah, which are currently cultivated around the world. In addition, it was in France that such important key concepts as “terroir” and “appellation” appeared. It originated many wine-making traditions that spread over time to other countries and continents. French winemaking is recognized all over the world - it is not only an important export item, but also a source of national pride.


France is the birthplace of grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah, which are currently cultivated around the world. In addition, it was in France that such important key concepts as “terroir” and “appellation” appeared. It originated many wine-making traditions that spread over time to other countries and continents. French winemaking is recognized all over the world - it is not only an important export item, but also a source of national pride.

Today, winemaking in France is going through difficult times, primarily due to increasing competition in the market. Over the past 30 years, France's share in the global wine trade has declined by 30%. French wines of the upper segment of the market are still in demand both in France and abroad, despite high prices, however, the wines of the lower and mid-price segment will be mass-produced under the general name Vins de France (“Wines of France”) and they will have standard, uniform taste, they will be designed for lovers of this drink in the countries of northern Europe and, in particular, in the UK, which remains the largest foreign market for winemakers in France.

Energy and mining
Every year, France consumes about 220 million tons of various types of fuel, while nuclear power plants play a significant role in energy production, generating three-quarters of the electricity produced (58 power units with a total capacity of 63.13 GW as of June 1, 2011. Date accessed: April 14, 2021.). France's largest electricity producer is the historic monopoly Électricité de France.

France's hydroelectric network is the largest in Europe. About 500 hydroelectric power stations are located on its territory. France's hydroelectric power plants generate 20,000 MW of power.

Forests make up more than 30% of the territory, placing France in third place after Sweden and Finland in terms of their area among the countries of the European Union. Since 1945, the forest area in France has increased by 46%, and in the last 200 years it has doubled. In France, there are 136 species of trees, which is very rare for a European country. The number of large animals is also increasing here: over the past 20 years, the number of deer has doubled, and the number of roe deer has tripled.

France has significant reserves of iron ore, uranium ores, bauxites, potash and rock salts, coal, zinc, copper, lead, nickel, oil, and timber. The main regions of coal production are Lorraine (9 million tons) and the coal basins of the Massif Central. Since 1979, coal imports have exceeded production. Currently, the largest suppliers of this type of fuel are the USA, Australia and South Africa. The main consumers of oil and oil products are transport and thermal power plants, while France imports oil from Saudi Arabia, Iran, Great Britain, Norway, Russia, Algeria and a number of other countries. Gas production does not exceed 3 billion m³. One of France's largest gas fields, Lac in the Pyrenees, is largely depleted. The main gas suppliers are Norway, Algeria, Russia, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Nigeria and Belgium. Gaz de France is one of the largest gas companies in Europe. The main activities of the company are the exploration, production, marketing and distribution of natural gas. In order to preserve and increase the natural wealth of France, the state created:
– 7 national parks (for example, Parc national de la Vanoise, Parc national de la Guadeloupe, Parc National des Pyrénées, etc.),

— 156 nature reserves,

— 516 zones of biotope protection,

- 429 sites protected by the Coast Guard,

- 43 natural regional parks, covering more than 12% of the entire territory of France.

In 2006, France allocated 47.7 billion euros for environmental protection, which is 755 euros per inhabitant. Waste water and waste treatment accounts for 3/4 of these costs. France participates in many international agreements and conventions, including those developed by the United Nations on climate, biological diversity and desertification.

Trade and services
Export: engineering products, including transport equipment (about 14% of the value), cars (7%), agricultural and food products (17%; one of the leading European exporters), chemical products and semi-finished products, etc. According to the World Bank in In 2012, France ranked second in the world after the United States in wheat exports (20.3 million tons worth $6.7 billion).



France is the most visited country in the world (in terms of the number of visiting foreigners); Paris is the most touristic city; The Eiffel Tower is the most visited and popular attraction in the world, which means that France is the undisputed champion of world tourism.

However, international tourism income is much higher in the US ($81.7 billion) than in France ($42.3 billion), which is explained by the shorter stay of tourists in France: visitors to Europe tend to visit neighboring, no less attractive countries. In addition, the French tourist is more family than business, which also explains the lower costs of tourists in France.

In 2010, about 76.8 million people visited France - an absolute record. The external balance of French tourism is positive: in 2000 tourism income was 32.78 billion euros, while French tourists traveling abroad spent only 17.53 billion euros.

What no doubt attracts visitors to France is the great variety of landscapes, long lines of ocean and sea coasts, temperate climate, many different monuments, as well as the prestige of French culture, cuisine and lifestyle.

According to the statistics of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) on the international tourist flow in 2017, France with 86.9 million visitors took first place.



Railway transport
Rail transport in France is very developed. Local and night trains, including TGV (high-speed trains) connect the capital with all major cities in the country, as well as with neighboring countries in Europe. The speed of these trains is 320 km/h. The French railway network is 29,370 km long and is the longest railway network in Western Europe. Rail links exist with all neighboring countries except Andorra.

Metro in France is available in Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Lille, Toulouse, Rennes. Rouen has a partially underground high-speed tram. In addition to the metro system, Paris has an RER network connected to both the metro system and the suburban train network.

Automobile transport
The road network covers the entire territory of the country quite densely. The total length of roads is 951,500 km.

The main roads of France are divided into the following groups:

Motorways - the name of the road is made up of the letter A followed by the road number. Permissible speed - 130 km / h, the mandatory presence of gas stations every 50 km, a concrete dividing strip, no traffic lights, pedestrian crossings.
National roads - prefix N. Permissible speed - 90 km / h (with a concrete dividing strip - 110 km / h).
Departmental roads - prefix D. Permissible speed - 90 km / h.
In cities, the speed limit is 50 km/h. The use of seat belts is mandatory. Children under 10 must be transported in special seats.

Air transport
There are about 475 airports in France. 295 of them have paved or concrete runways, and the remaining 180 are unpaved (data for 2008). The largest French airport is Roissy-Charles de Gaulle Airport, located in the suburbs of Paris. The national French carrier Air France operates flights to almost all countries of the world.



France has a huge cultural heritage. It is rich, varied, reflecting wide regional differences, as well as the influence of immigration waves from different eras. France gave civilization great mathematicians, numerous philosophers, writers, artists, the Age of Enlightenment, the language of diplomacy, a certain universal concept of man, and much more. French has been one of the main international languages ​​for many centuries, and to a large extent retains this role to this day. For long periods of its history, France was the main cultural center, spreading its achievements around the world. In many areas, such as fashion or cinema, she still maintains a leading position in the world. Paris is the headquarters of UNESCO - the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

A traditional French meal may begin with hors d'oeuvre (hot or cold appetizers for lunch), followed by soup, then a main course, salad, and cheese. The meal ends with dessert or fruit. An important part of the meal is cheese, of which there are more than 200 varieties. It was in France that such a dish as soup with clear broth was formed. Wines are a special pride of the French. The kings of French wines are Bordeaux and Burgundy. Cognac is also world famous.

On the territory of France, significant monuments of both ancient architecture, primarily in Nimes, and the Romanesque style, which was most widespread in the 11th century, have been preserved. Characteristic representatives of the latter are, for example, the cathedrals in the Basilica of Saint Saturnin in Toulouse, the largest Romanesque church in Europe, and the Church of Notre-Dame-la-Grand in Poitiers. However, medieval French architecture is primarily known for its Gothic structures. The Gothic style arose in France in the middle of the 12th century, the Basilica of Saint-Denis (1137-1144) became the first Gothic cathedral. The cathedrals of Chartres, Amiens and Reims are considered the most significant works of the Gothic style in France, but in general a huge number of Gothic monuments remain in France, from chapels to huge cathedrals. In the 15th century, the period of the so-called “flaming Gothic” began, from which only a few examples have come down to us, like the Saint-Jacques tower in Paris or one of the portals of the Rouen Cathedral. In the 16th century, starting from the reign of Francis I, the Renaissance begins in French architecture, well represented by castles in the Loire Valley - Chambord, Chenonceau, Cheverny, Blois, Azay-le-Rideau and others - as well as the Palace of Fontainebleau.

The 17th century is the heyday of baroque architecture, characterized by the creation of large palace and park ensembles, such as Versailles and the Luxembourg Gardens, and huge domed buildings, like the Val de Grace or Les Invalides. Baroque was replaced by classicism in the 18th century. This era includes the first examples of urban planning, with straight streets and perspectives, the organization of urban space, such as the Champs Elysees in Paris. Many Parisian monuments, for example, the Pantheon (the former church of Saint-Genevieve) or the Madeleine Church, belong to the examples of the architecture of classicism proper. Classicism is gradually moving into the Empire style, the style of the first third of the 19th century, the standard of which in France is the arch on Place Carruzel. In the 1850s and 1860s, a complete redevelopment of Paris was carried out, as a result of which it took on a modern look, with boulevards, squares and straight streets. In the years 1887-1889, the Eiffel Tower was erected, which, although it met with significant rejection by contemporaries, is currently considered one of the symbols of Paris. In the 20th century, modernism spread around the world, in the architecture of which France no longer played a leading role, but in France, however, beautiful examples of style were created, such as the church in Ronchamp, built by Le Corbusier, or built specially for the developed plan of the business district of Paris La Defense with the Grand Arch. The Tour First skyscraper is located in the same Defense - with a height of 231 m, it ranks 26th in the list of the tallest buildings in Europe (including Russia), 8th in the list of the tallest buildings in the EU, and is the tallest building (but not a structure ) of France.



Although France produced remarkable examples of medieval art (sculpture of Gothic cathedrals, paintings by Jean Fouquet, book miniatures, the top of which is considered the Magnificent Hours of the Duke of Berry by the Limburg brothers) and the art of the Renaissance (Limoges enamels, paintings by Francois Clouet, the Fontainebleau school) and the 17th century (Georges de Latour ), French art was always in the shadow of other countries, primarily Italy and the Netherlands. In the 17th century, the greatest French masters (painters Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain, sculptor Pierre Puget) spent a significant part of their lives in Italy, which at that time was considered the center of world art. The first style of painting that arose in France was the Rococo style in the 18th century, the largest representatives of which were Antoine Watteau and Francois Boucher. In the second half of the 18th century, French painting, passing through the still lifes of Chardin and the portraits of women by Greuze, came to classicism, which dominated French academic art until the 1860s. The main representatives of this trend were Jacques Louis David and Dominique Ingres.

At the same time, pan-European artistic movements developed in France, which differed significantly from the official academic direction: romanticism (Theodore Géricault and Eugene Delacroix), orientalism (Jean-Leon Gerome), the realistic landscape of the Barbizon School, the most prominent representatives of which were Jean-Francois Millet and Camille Corot, realism (Gustave Courbet, partly Honore Daumier), symbolism (Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, Gustave Moreau). However, it was only in the 1860s that French art made a qualitative breakthrough, which brought France into the undisputed leadership in world art and allowed it to maintain this leadership until the Second World War. This breakthrough is associated primarily with the work of Edouard Manet and Edgar Degas, and then with the Impressionists, the most notable of which were Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro and Alfred Sisley, as well as Gustave Caillebotte.

At the same time, other prominent figures were the sculptor Auguste Rodin and Odilon Redon, who did not belong to any currents. Paul Cezanne, who first joined the Impressionists, soon abandoned them and began to work in a style later called Post-Impressionism. Post-impressionism also includes the work of such major artists as Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, as well as new artistic movements that constantly emerged in France in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, which then spread throughout Europe, influencing other art schools. These are pointillism (Georges Seurat and Paul Signac), the Nabis group (Pierre Bonnard, Maurice Denis, Edouard Vuillard), Fauvism (Henri Matisse, Andre Derain, Raoul Dufy), cubism (the early works of Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque). French art also responded to the main trends of the avant-garde, such as expressionism (Georges Rouault, Chaim Soutine), the painting of Marc Chagall, or the surrealist works of Yves Tanguy. After the German occupation in World War II, France lost its leadership in world art.

The earliest monuments of literature in Old French that have come down to us date from the end of the 9th century, but the heyday of French medieval literature begins in the 12th century. Epic (The Song of Roland), allegorical (The Romance of the Rose) and satirical (The Romance of the Fox) poems, chivalric literature, primarily Tristan and Isolde and the works of Chrétien de Troyes, poetry of the Trouvers are created. At the same time, in southern France, in the 12th century, the poetry of the troubadours, who wrote in the Old Provençal language, reached its peak. The most prominent poet of medieval France was François Villon.

Rabelais' proto-novel "Gargantua and Pantagruel" marked the divide between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance in French literature. The greatest master of Renaissance prose not only in France, but also on a pan-European scale, was Michel Montaigne in his "Experiences". Pierre Ronsard and the poets of the Pleiades tried to "ennoble" the French language on the model of Latin. The development of the literary heritage of antiquity reached a new level in the 17th century, with the onset of the era of classicism. French philosophers (Descartes, Pascal, La Rochefoucauld) and playwrights of the grand secle (Corneille, Racine and Molière), and to a lesser extent prose writers (Charles Perrault) and poets (Jean de La Fontaine) gained all-European fame.

During the Enlightenment, French enlightenment literature continued to dictate the literary tastes of Europe, although its popularity did not last long. Among the most significant monuments of French literature of the 18th century are three novels: Manon Lescaut, Dangerous Liaisons, Candide. The rationally impersonal poetry of that time is now practically not reprinted.


After the French Revolution, the era of romanticism comes, beginning in France with the work of Chateaubriand, the Marquis de Sade and Madame de Stael. The traditions of classicism turned out to be very tenacious, and French romanticism reached its peak relatively late - in the middle of the century in the work of Victor Hugo and several less significant figures - Lamartine, de Vigny and Musset. The ideologist of French romanticism was the critic Sainte-Beuve, and his most popular works are the historical adventure novels of Alexandre Dumas.

Beginning in the 1830s, a realistic trend became more and more noticeable in French literature, in the direction of which the “poet of feelings” Stendhal and the concisely laconic Mérimée evolved. Honoré de Balzac ("The Human Comedy") and Gustave Flaubert ("Madame Bovary") are considered the major figures of French realism, although the latter defined himself as a neo-romantic ("Salambo"). Under the influence of "Madame Bovary", the "school of Flaubert" was formed, generally defined as naturalism and represented by the names of Zola, Maupassant, the Goncourt brothers and the satirist Daudet.

In parallel with naturalism, a completely different literary direction develops. The literary group of the Parnassians, represented, in particular, by Theophile Gauthier, set as its task the creation of "art for art's sake." The Parnassians are joined by the first of the “damned poets”, Charles Baudelaire, the author of the epoch-making collection “Flowers of Evil”, which threw a bridge from the era of “violent” romanticism (Nerval) to the pre-decadent symbolism of Verlaine, Rimbaud and Mallarmé.

During the 20th century, fourteen French writers were awarded the Nobel Prize. The most striking monument of French modernism is Marcel Proust's "flow novel" In Search of Lost Time, which grew out of the teachings of Henri Bergson. André Gide, the influential publisher of the Nouvelle Revue Française magazine, was also in the position of modernism. The work of Anatole France and Romain Rolland evolved towards social satirical issues, while Francois Mauriac and Paul Claudel tried to comprehend the place of religion in the modern world.

In the poetry of the early 20th century, Apollinaire's experimentation was accompanied by a revival of interest in "Racine" verse (Paul Valéry). In the prewar years, surrealism (Cocteau, Breton, Aragon, Eluard) became the dominant direction of the avant-garde. In the post-war period, surrealism was replaced by existentialism (the stories of Camus), with which the dramaturgy of the "theater of the absurd" (Ionesco and Beckett) is associated. The largest phenomena of the era of postmodernism were the "new novel" (ideologist - Robbe-Grillet) and the group of language experimenters ULIPO (Raymond Quenot, Georges Perec).

In addition to authors who wrote in French, in France, especially in the 20th century, also the largest representatives of other literatures worked, such as, for example, the Argentinean Cortazar. After the October Revolution, Paris became one of the centers of Russian emigration. At different times, such significant Russian writers and poets as, for example, Ivan Bunin, Alexander Kuprin, Marina Tsvetaeva or Konstantin Balmont worked here. Many, like Gaito Gazdanov, have already established themselves as writers in France. Many foreigners, like Beckett and Ionesco, began to write in French.



French music has been known since the time of Charlemagne, but world-class composers: Jean Baptiste Lully, Louis Couperin, Jean Philippe Rameau - appeared only in the Baroque era. The heyday of French classical music came in the 19th century. The era of romanticism is represented in France by the works of Hector Berlioz, primarily his symphonic music. In the middle of the century, such famous composers as Camille Saint-Saens, Gabriel Fauré and Cesar Franck wrote their works, and at the end of the 19th century a new direction of classical music developed in France - impressionism, associated with the names of Eric Satie, Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel. In the 20th century, the classical music of France develops in the mainstream of world music. Famous composers, including Arthur Honegger, Darius Milhaud and Francis Poulenc, are formally united in the Sixes group, although there is little in common in their work. The work of Olivier Messiaen cannot be attributed to any direction of music at all. In the 1970s, the technique of “spectral music”, which later spread throughout the world, was born in France, in which music is written taking into account its spectrum of sound.

In the 1920s, jazz spread in France, the largest representative of which was Stephane Grappelli. French pop music developed along a different path than English-language pop music. So, the rhythm of the song often follows the rhythm of the French language (such a genre is referred to as chanson). In chanson, the emphasis can be placed both on the words of the song and on the music. In this genre of extraordinary popularity in the middle of the XX century. reached Edith Piaf, Charles Aznavour. Many chansonniers themselves wrote poems for songs, such as Georges Brassens, Jacques Brel, Gilbert Beco, film artists Bourville and Yves Montand. In many regions of France, folk music is being revived. As a rule, folk groups perform compositions from the beginning of the 20th century, using piano and accordion.

In the second half of the XX century. in France, ordinary pop music also spread, the performers of which were, for example, Mireille Mathieu, Dalida, Joe Dassin, Patricia Kaas, Mylene Farmer, Lara Fabian.

The French made a particularly significant contribution to electronic music. Jean-Michel Jarre, Space and Rockets were among the pioneers of this genre. The synthesizer played a central role in early French electronics, along with science fiction and outer space aesthetics. In the 1990s, other electronic genres developed in France, such as trip-hop (Air, Télépopmusik), new age (Era), house (Daft Punk), etc.

Rock music in France is not as popular as in northern Europe, however, this genre is also well represented on the French scene. Among the patriarchs of French rock of the 1960s and 70s, it is worth noting the progressive Art Zoyd, Gong, Magma. The key bands of the 80s were post-punks Noir Désir, metallers Shakin' Street and Mystery Blue. The most successful bands of the last decade are metallers Anorexia Nervosa and rapcore bands Pleymo. The latter are also associated with the French hip hop scene. This "street" style is very popular among non-indigenous people, Arab and African immigrants. Some performers from immigrant families have achieved mass fame, such as Diam's, MC Solaar.

June 21 is widely celebrated as Music Day in France.



Despite the fact that France was the place where cinema was invented at the end of the 19th century, the modern image of French cinema was formed after the Second World War, after understanding the legacy of the war and the German occupation. After a series of anti-Nazi tapes, there was an important appeal of French cinema to humanism. After the war, the best film adaptations of the French classics gained worldwide fame: The Parma Convent (1948), Red and Black (1954), Teresa Raquin (1953). Back in the late 1950s, A. Rene's innovative film Hiroshima, my love (1959) played a very important role in the development of French cinema. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, brilliant actors gained fame: Gerard Philip, Bourville, Jean Marais, Marie Cazares, Louis de Funes, Serge Reggiani and others.

At the peak of the "new wave" of French cinema, more than 150 new directors come in a short time, among which the leading places were taken by Jean-Luc Godard, Francois Truffaut, Claude Lelouch, Claude Chabrol, Louis Mal. Then came the hitherto famous musical films directed by Jacques Demy - "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" (1964) and "Girls from Rochefort" (1967). As a result, France has become one of the centers of world cinema, attracting the best filmmakers from all over the world. Directors such as Bertolucci, Angelopoulos or Ioseliani, for example, made films wholly or partly produced by France, many foreign actors starred in French films.

In the 1960s and 1970s, a whole galaxy of actors appeared in French cinema, among which the most famous are Jeanne Moreau, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Gerard Depardieu, Catherine Deneuve, Alain Delon, Annie Girardot. French comedians Pierre Richard and Coluche became popular.

Modern French cinema is a rather sophisticated cinema, in which the psychology and drama of the plot are combined with some piquancy and artistic beauty of the shooting. The style is determined by fashion directors Luc Besson, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Francois Ozon, Philippe Garrel. Actors Jean Reno, Audrey Tautou, Marion Cotillard, Sophie Marceau, Christian Clavier, Mathieu Kassovitz, Louis Garrel, Léa Seydoux are popular. The French government actively promotes the development and export of national cinema.

Since 1946, the International Film Festivals in Cannes have been held. In 1976, the annual national film award "Cesar" was established.



The tradition of theatrical performances in France dates back to the Middle Ages. During the Renaissance, theatrical performances in the cities were tightly controlled by the guilds; thus, the guild "Les Confrères de la Passion" had a monopoly on the performances of the mysteries in Paris, and at the end of the 16th century - in general on all theatrical performances. The guild rented a theater space. In addition to public theaters, performances were given in private homes. Women could participate in performances, but all the actors were excommunicated. In the 17th century, theatrical performances were finally divided into comedies and tragedies, and the Italian commedia dell'arte was also popular. Permanent theaters appeared; in 1689 two of them were merged by decree of Louis XIV to form the Comédie Francaise. It is currently the only French repertory theater funded by the government. Traveling troupes of actors spread throughout the provinces. At the end of the 17th century, classicism completely dominated the French theater, with the concept of the unity of place, time and action. This concept ceased to be dominant only in the 19th century, with the emergence of romanticism, and then realism and decadent movements. Sarah Bernard is considered the most famous French dramatic actress of the 19th century. In the 20th century, the French theater was subject to avant-garde trends, later it was strongly influenced by Brecht. In 1964, Ariana Mnushkina and Philippe Léotard created the Théâtre du Soleil, designed to bridge the gap between actors, playwright and spectators.

There is a strong circus school in France; in particular, in the 1970s, the so-called “new circus” arose here (simultaneously with Great Britain, Australia and the USA), a type of theatrical performance in which the plot or theme is conveyed by the audience using the methods of circus art.


Education and science

Education in France is compulsory from 3 to 16 years old and is based on the following basic principles: freedom of teaching (public and private institutions), free, neutrality and laicism.

Higher education
Higher education is available only with a completed secondary education (fr. baccalauréat, not to be confused with a bachelor - a degree of higher education) and is distinguished by a wide variety of universities and disciplines offered. Most higher education institutions are public and are subordinate to the French Ministry of Education. Historically, France has developed two types of higher education institutions:

Universities that train teachers, doctors, lawyers and scientists;
Higher schools that train highly professional specialists in engineering and military affairs, management, economics, education and culture.

The science
Science in France is gradually moving to private funding: in 1975, the state financed 28.0% of all R&D spending, in 1995 - only 13.7%, and in 2003 only 12.6%. On the other hand, the share of private enterprises' expenditures on R&D increased in 1975–2003, from 63.8% to 78.0%. The share of foreign funding fluctuated - in 1975 it was 8.2%, in 1995 - 11.1%, in 2003 - 9.4%. In 2001, scientists accounted for 7.0% of the active population of France.

In the early 2000s, large and largest enterprises played the main role in scientific and technical innovations among enterprises: in 2003, almost 70% of scientific workers were concentrated in only 12 of them with more than 500 employees. They provided about 80% of the domestic R&D costs of all French enterprises. In the early 2000s, the sectoral concentration of spending on R&D was very high: only six industries (automotive, communications, pharmaceuticals, aerospace, and others) carried out 64% of expenditures and used 59% of scientific personnel.
The largest scientific research center in France is the CNRS (Centre national de la recherche scientifique - national center for scientific research).
In the field of nuclear energy, the scientific center CEA (Comissariat à l'énergie atomique) stands out; in the field of space research and design of space instruments - CNES (Centre national d'études spatiales), which developed several projects together with Soviet and Russian engineers.

France is actively involved in European scientific projects, for example, in the Galileo satellite navigation system project or in the Envisat project, a satellite that studies the Earth's climate.


Mass media

Television and radio broadcasting
In 1995, 95% of French families had a TV set in their home.

Several state-owned (France 2, France 3, France 5, Arte - the latter jointly with Germany) and private (TF1, Canal + (paid channel), M6) television companies operate in the decimeter range.

The State Radio and State Television is governed by the High Council of Radio and Television, three members of which are appointed by the President, three by the Chairman of the Senate, three by the Chairman of the National Assembly, all members are appointed for a term of 6 years, renewed every two years without the right to reappointment, Council of Radio and Television is appointed by the President.

With the advent of digital terrestrial television in 2005, the range of available free-to-air channels has expanded. Since 2009, a gradual phasing out of analogue television begins, the complete shutdown of which in France has already been completed. Many thematic public radio stations broadcast in the FM band: France Inter, France Info (news), France Bleu (local news), France Culture (culture), France Musique (classical music, jazz), FIP (music), Le Mouv' ( youth rock radio station) and others.

France has a radio station, Radio French International, with an audience of 44 million people and broadcasting in 13 languages.

In 2009, it is planned to determine the conditions for the transition of radio stations to digital broadcasting with the aim of completely abandoning analogue technologies by 2011 [update]. Songs on French radio should take up at least 40% of the time.

Popular magazines:
"Paris Match" (illustrated weekly news),
Femme actuelle,
"Marie-Claire" (magazines for women),
"Le Point"
"Le Nouvel Observateur" (weekly news),
"Télé7 jours" (television programs and news).

Among daily newspapers of national importance, the largest circulations are:
Le Figaro,
"Le Parisian"
"Le Monde"
"France Soir"

The most popular trade magazines are L'Equipe (sports) and Les Echos (business news).

Since the early 2000s, free daily press, financed by ads, has proliferated: 20 Minutes (leading French press in terms of readership), Direct matin, the international newspaper Metro, as well as many local publications.

There are also many daily regional newspapers, the most famous of which is the Ouest-France, which has a circulation of 797,000, almost double the circulation of any of the national dailies.



Olympic Games
The founder of the modern Olympic movement was the French public figure and teacher Pierre de Coubertin (1863-1937). For all the time of the Olympic Games, the French team has won the most medals in cycling.

French athletes have been participating in the Olympic Games since 1896. In addition, the competitions of the Summer Olympic Games were held twice in Paris - in 1900 and 1924, the Winter Olympic Games were held three times in three different cities - in Chamonix (1924), Grenoble (1968) and Albertville (1992). In 2024, for the first time in 100 years, Paris will again host the Olympic Games.

The French national football team won the World Cup in 1998 and 2018, and the European Championship in 1984 and 2000.

The country hosted the FIFA World Cups in 1938 and 1998, as well as the European Championships in 1960, 1984 and 2016.

Tour de France bicycle race
Since 1903, the most prestigious cycling race in the world, the Tour de France, has been held in France. The race, which starts in June, consists of 21 stages, each of which lasts one day.

Biathlon is becoming popular in France thanks to such athletes as Raphael Poiret, Martin and Simon Fourcade, Marie-Laure Brunet and Marie Dorin Habert. In December 2013 in France was launched the stage of the Biathlon World Cup 2013/2014 in Annecy.