France

France , officially the French Republic , is a sovereign country in Western Europe that includes overseas regions and territories.Metropolitan France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is one of only three countries (with Morocco and Spain) to have both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines. Due to its shape, it is often referred to in French as l’Hexagone ("The Hexagon").

France is the largest country in Western Europe and the European Union, and the third-largest in Europe as a whole. With a total population of around 67 million, it is the third most-populous European country. France is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the nation's largest city and the main cultural and commercial centre. The current Constitution of France, adopted by referendum on 4 October 1958, establishes the country as secular and democratic, with its sovereignty derived from the people. The nation's ideals are expressed in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, one of the world's earliest documents on human rights, which was formulated during the seminal French Revolution of the late 18th century.

France has been a major power in Europe since the Late Middle Ages. It possessed the second-largest colonial empire during the 19th and early 20th centuries. This legacy is reflected in the prevalence of French language, culture, and jurisprudence worldwide. Throughout its long history, France has produced many influential artists, thinkers, and scientists, and remains prominent global centre of culture. It hosts the world's fourth -largest number of cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites, drawing around 83 million foreign tourists annually – the most of any country in the world.

France remains a great power with significant cultural, economic, military, and political influence in Europe and around the world. It has the world's sixth-largest military budget, third-largest stockpile of nuclear weapons, and second-largest diplomatic corps, after the United States. Due to its overseas regions and territories throughout the world, France has the second-largest exclusive economic zone in the world. France is a developed country and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and seventh-largest by purchasing power parity. In terms of total household wealth, France is the wealthiest nation in Europe and fourth in the world.

French citizens enjoy a high standard of living, with the country performing well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, civil liberties, and human development. France is a founding member of the United Nations, where it serves as one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. It is a member of numerous international institutions, including Francophonie, the G8, G20, NATO, OECD, WTO, and the Latin Union. France is a founding and leading member state of the European Union

Popular sports played in France include football, judo, tennis and basketball. France has hosted events such as the 1938 and 1998 FIFA World Cups, and the 2007 Rugby World Cup. Stade de France in Saint-Denis is France's largest stadium and was the venue for the 1998 FIFA World Cup and 2007 Rugby World Cup finals. France hosts the annual Tour de France, the most famous road bicycle race in the world. France is famous for its 24 Hours of Le Mans sports car endurance race. Several major tennis tournaments take place in France, including the Paris Masters and the French Open, one of the four Grand Slam tournaments. French martial arts include Savate and Fencing.

France has a close association with the Modern Olympic Games; it was a French aristocrat, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who suggested the Games' revival, at the end of the 19th century. After Athens was awarded the first Games, in reference to the Olympics' Greek origins, Paris hosted the second Games in 1900. Paris was the first home of the International Olympic Committee, before it moved to Lausanne. Since 1900, France has hosted the Olympics on 4 further occasions: the 1924 Summer Olympics, again in Paris and three Winter Games (1924 in Chamonix, 1968 in Grenoble and 1992 in AlbertFrance has a long and varied musical history. It experienced a golden age in the 17th century thanks to Louis XIV, who employed several musicians and composers in the royal court. The most renowned composers of this period include Marc-Antoine Charpentier, François Couperin, Michel-Richard Delalande, Jean-Baptiste Lully and Marin Marais, all of them composers at the court. After the death of the "Roi Soleil", French musical creation lost dynamism, but in the next century the music of Jean-Philippe Rameau reached some prestige, and today he is still one of the most renowned French composers.ville).

Although the French film market is dominated by Hollywood, France is the only nation in the world where American films make up the smallest share of total film revenues, at 50%, compared with 77% in Germany and 69% in Japan. French films account for 35% of the total film revenues of France, which is the highest percentage of national film revenues in the developed world outside the United States, compared to 14% in Spain and 8% in the UK.

Until recently, France had for centuries been the cultural center of the world, although its dominant position has been surpassed by the Unit ed States. Subsequently, France takes steps in protecting and promoting its culture, becoming a leading advocate of the cultural exception. The nation succeeded in convincing all EU members to refuse to include culture and audiovisuals in the list of liberalized sectors of the WTO in 1993.

The most beautiful places on Earth

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