France, or officially the French Republic, is a country whose mainland is located in Western Europe and has overseas territories in many parts of the world.
Continental France is located on lands stretching from the Mediterranean Sea in the south to the English Channel and the North Sea in the north, from the Rhine in the east to the Atlantic Ocean in the west. The French call their country Hexagon because of the shape of their land.
France is a unitary state with a semi-presidential system of administration. The main principles and ideals of the country are explained in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen.
France’s neighbors on the European continent are Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Monaco and Andorra. The island of Corsica, which is only 12 km away from the Italian island of Sardinia in the Mediterranean, also belongs to France. In its overseas provinces, it also borders Brazil and Suriname via French Guiana, and the Netherlands Antilles via Saint Martin Island. France is connected to the United Kingdom by the Channel Tunnel, which passes under the sea surface in the English Channel.
Since the second half of the 17th century, France has been one of the leading countries in the field of international relations around the world. Between the 18th and 19th centuries, France established one of the largest colonial empires of the time. During these periods, the borders of France extended from West Africa to Southeast Asia, leaving distinctive traces in the culture and politics of the societies in the regions it affected.
It has an advanced economy with its nominal gross domestic product, which is the 6th in the world, and its purchasing power parity, which is the 7th, and it is in the developed countries class.
France is the most visited country in the world with approximately 82 million tourists annually, excluding those who stay in the country for less than twenty-four hours, including those who come for business trips.
France is one of the founding members of the political and economic organization called the European Union and is the largest in terms of area among the member states of the union. The country is also a founding member of the United Nations, a participant in the Francophone, G8 Summits, the Latin Union and NATO. It is one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. It is an important nuclear power with 360 effective warheads and 59 nuclear power plants.
The name “France” derives from the word Francia, meaning homeland of the Franks. However, there are many different claims about the origin of the word frank. One of them is that the origin of this word is based on francon, which means javelin, pike, spear in pre-Germanic languages.
Another hypothesis of origin is that the term frank comes from the ancient Germanic word frei, meaning free. The word franc still survives in the form of franc in contemporary French and was also used to designate the currency used in France until the euro became the official currency of France in 2000. In contemporary German, France is called Frankreich even today. However, in order to distinguish it from Charlemagne, that is, Charlemagne’s Holy Roman Empire, the former kingdom is called Frankenreich.
The word Frank was less commonly used from the fall of the Roman Empire into the Middle Ages, but after Hugh Capet’s coronation as King of France, it was widely used to describe the Kingdom of France, which would later become France.
Antiquity and the Middle Ages
The borders of present-day France are almost identical to those of Ancient Gaul, formerly inhabited by the Celtic Gauls. When Gaul was conquered by Roman Emperor Julius Caesar in the 1st century BC, the peoples of Gaul gradually adopted Roman culture and Roman language. Later, over time, this language changed within itself and formed the foundations of modern French. Christianity first appeared in France in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, and spread so rapidly over the next two centuries that St. Jerome wrote in his writings that Gaul was the only region “freed from heresy.”
In the 4th century AD, Gaul’s eastern borders along the Rhine were ruled by Germanic tribes. The most influential of these communities were the Franks, who also gave France the ancient name Francie. The name of France used today comes from the name of the region where the feudal lordship ruled by the Capet kings located around Paris. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Franks were the first communities to convert to Catholicism, not Aryanism, among the Germanic tribes that spread throughout Europe. For this reason, France was given the title of “the eldest daughter of the Church”, and the Franks called themselves “the best Christians of France” based on this.
The history of France as a separate country began with the division of the Carolingian Empire into three as East Francia, West Francia and Middle Francia pursuant to the Treaty of Verdun of 843. The West Frankish Kingdom covered almost the territory of today’s France, and as a matter of fact, the foundations of modern France were established on this kingdom.
The Carolingian dynasty ruled France until the coronation of Hugh Capet, Duke of France and Count of Paris, as king of France in 987. His descendants and the Valois and Bourbon dynasties also unified the country in a gradual series of wars.
Early modern period
Kingdom rule in the 17th century and the king XIV. It was at its height during the reign of Louis. In this process, France became the most populous country in the European continent and became one of the most influential forces on European culture, politics and economy. French became the language of diplomacy of the period and remained as such for a long time. The Age of Enlightenment also took place largely in French intellectual circles. French scientists undersigned great scientific discoveries in the 18th century. In addition, France acquired many overseas territories in Africa, America and Asia during this period.
French Revolution, Republic and French Empires (1789-1914)
The monarchy system prevailed in France until the French Revolution of 1789. During the French Revolution, King of France XVI. Louis and his wife, Marie Antoinette, and hundreds of French citizens thought to be related to them were killed. After a series of brief attempts at government, Napoleon Bonaparte took control of the republic in 1799 and proclaimed himself first First Consul and then emperor of what is now known as the First Empire (1804-1814). After a series of wars known as the Napoleonic Wars, with the help of the Bonaparte family, Napoleon conquered much of continental Europe. Later, members of the Bonaparte family were appointed as kings of France to these newly acquired lands.
After Napoleon’s final defeat at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, the monarchy was restored in France. This time, however, constitutional restrictions were placed on the king’s powers. With the July Revolution, a civil uprising in 1830, the Bourbon Dynasty was completely abolished and the July Monarchy based on a constitutional monarchy was introduced. This form of government lasted until 1848. In the meantime, the Second Republic was established for a very short time and in 1852 III. It collapsed when Napoleon established the Second Empire. Defeated in the Franco-Prussian War that started in 1870, III. Napoleon was then deposed, and this regime of government was dissolved with the establishment of the Third Republic.
Modern period (1914-present)
France existed as a colonial state from the 17th century until the 1960s. Colonial lands acquired all over the world in the 19th and 20th centuries made France the second largest colonial empire after Britain. At the height of its power between 1919 and 1939, the French Colonial Empire’s area reached 12,347,000 square kilometers. When France’s European territories were included, the French sovereignty area, which reached 12,898,000 square kilometers, covered 8.6% of the world’s land.
From World War I, II. Despite being the victorious party in the World War II, France suffered great human loss and material damage, and its European lands were partially or completely occupied by German forces in both wars. The social innovations made by the Popular Front Government in the 1930s left their mark on France. II. After the World War II, the Fourth Republic was established and efforts were made to preserve the current situation of the country in order for France to remain an effective power in world political and economic policies. Although France tried to protect the colonial lands it held until then, it had problems in this regard later on. The operation to recapture the administration of Indochina in 1946 led to the First Indochina War, and in 1954 the French forces were defeated by the regional powers in the Dien Bien Phu Battle and withdrew from the region. Only a few months after that, France faced another, even tougher, resistance in the war of independence launched by the Algerian people.
At that time, there were great debates in France about whether to give up control of Algeria, which had millions of European-origin inhabitants, which was called Pied-noir, and the country came to the brink of a civil war. In 1958, it was decided to establish the Fifth Republic, which increased the powers of the president and still continues today, by foreseeing the creation of a new constitution to replace the unstable and weak republic. Charles de Gaulle came to the presidency of this last republic and while Gaulle took measures to end the war in Algeria, he managed to keep the country in unity. The Algerian War of Independence was resolved in 1962 with the peace talks held in Algeria, the capital of Algeria, and this event ended with Algeria becoming an independent country.
During the last half century, France’s peaceful attitude and cooperation relations with Germany have been the basis for the economic integration of the European Union. The most important result of this positive atmosphere was the acceptance of the Euro as the common currency among the member countries of the Union in January 1999. Although the voters in France, one of the leading powers of the European Union, rejected the treaty prepared to create the European Union Constitution in the referendum, the Lisbon Treaty, which envisages putting the provisions covered by this draft constitution into practice within a treaty, was accepted by the French Parliament in February 2008.
The European part of the country, called Metropolitan France, is located in the western part of the continent. However, France; It also has many provinces and special regions in a wide geography spanning North America, Caribbean, South America, Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean and Antarctica. Those directly belonging to France are overseas provinces; Partner countries that are independent within themselves and have an agreement with France on defense are called collectivités d’outre-mer in short COM.
The territory of France on the European continent covers an area of 547,030 square kilometers. With this area, France is the largest country in the European Union in terms of land, slightly different from Spain. The territory of France has different landforms in different regions ranging from the coastal plains in the west and north to the Alpine mountain chain in the southeast, the highlands called the Massif Central in inner France, and the Pyrenees in the southwest. Located in the Alps and the highest point of Western Europe and the European Union, the 4807-meter-high Mont Blanc is located on the border of France and Italy. Continental France is also woven by a large and intricate network of streams, such as the Loire River, Garonne River, Seine River, and Rhône River. Its lowest point is in the Camargue delta, two meters below the sea surface. The island of Corsica, with a surface area of 8,680 square kilometers, is 128 nautical miles from the city of Nice on the Mediterranean coast.
When overseas provinces and common lands are also included, the total area of France is 674,843 square kilometers. (Except Antarctica, Adélie Region) As such, France covers 0.45% of the earth’s surface. With 11 million square kilometers, France also has the world’s second largest exclusive economic zone after the United States.
Continental France is located west of the European mainland, between the 41st and 51st parallels north. The temperate climate is dominant in the northern and northwestern parts, and the influence of the sea also shapes the climates of the interior regions. In the southeast, the Mediterranean climate is dominant. The western parts are under the influence of oceanic climate and receive a high amount of precipitation. In these regions, winters are warm and summers are cool. Inland, there are hot, stormy summers and cold but dry winters. Alpine climate is experienced in the Alps and other high parts of the country. In these cold regions, temperatures are below zero at certain times of the year and the falling snow stays on the ground for six months.
France is divided into 26 administrative regions in total. Of these, 22 are located within the European territory of France, known as metropolitan France. Of the 22 regions, the only region outside the mainland is Corsica Island. The remaining 4 regions are in the overseas territories of France. All these regions in France are further divided into provinces. These provinces are generally numbered in alphabetical order. These numbers are used in postal codes and license plates. There are 100 provinces called départements in France, and these provinces are divided into 342 counties (arrondissement), which are divided into 4,032 cantons. The smallest administrative unit of France is the communes, which are governed by an elected president and can be called villages. Communes follow cantons in the hierarchy. The number of communes in France is 36,680.
These regions, provinces and communes each have a local council and are governed by a ruler. Counties and cantons, called arrondissement, are administered only at the municipality level. However, this was not the case in the past. Until 1940, counties also had a council, but this practice was suspended under the Vichy regime and was completely abolished in 1946 with the establishment of the Fourth Republic.
4 out of 100 provinces of France; French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Réunion are overseas territories and together they are part of the French Republic and also of the European Union. They are on an equal footing with the provinces in continental France.
Besides 26 regions and 100 provinces, the French Republic has 6 more overseas affiliations. These are French Polynesia, Mayotte, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, and Wallis and Futuna. New Caledonia, which is in a situation between an independent country and the territory of France and has no examples in the world (sui generis), the French Southern and Antarctic Territories and the Clipperton Island in the Pacific Ocean are also the lands that make up the Great France. Although these places are the territory of France, they are located outside the European Union, of which France is a member. The franc continues to be used as currency in France’s Pacific territories, and its value is adjusted to that of the euro. However, 4 overseas provinces included in the European Union have switched to using euros instead of francs.
The French Republic is a unitary state with a long history of democracy, governed by a semi-presidential system. The Constitution of present-day France, the Fifth French Republic, was ratified by a plebiscite on 28 September 1958. This constitution contains laws that increase the powers of the head of state relative to the parliament. There are two wings of the state administration in France: the President of France and the Government. The country’s president is elected for a five-year term (formerly seven years) by all eligible voters nationwide who are over 18 years old. The government is headed by a prime minister appointed by the president.
The French Parliament is a bicameral legislature: the French National Assembly (Assemblée Nationale) and the Senate (Sénat). Deputies in the national assembly represent their local constituencies and are elected for a 5-year term in national elections. The 577 elected deputies gather in the Bourbon Palace. The national assembly has the power to overthrow the Council of Ministers. Therefore, the distribution of seats between parties directly affects the government’s decision. On the other hand, 343 senators are elected for a period of 6 years by voters consisting of members of the municipal council elected by the people all over France, members of the provincial (département) local councils, and members of the local councils of the Region (Région), half of which is renewed in elections held every three years. The Senate meets at the Luxembourg Palace (Palais du Luxembourg). The Senate’s legislative power is limited: In case of disagreement between the Senate and the National Assembly, the National Assembly has the final say. The government has a great influence in setting the agenda of the parliament. The National Assembly and the Senate together meet at the Castle of Versailles to form the French Parliament. They meet only for constitutional amendment and to ratify some international agreements.
Politics in France is shaped around two main political views: left-wing politicians are organized around the Socialist Party, right-wing politicians are organized around the Republicans. Members of the Socialist Party are in the majority in the executive wing of the parliament.
France uses a system of written (statutory) law, the majority of which is made up of written provisions. The basic principles of the rule of law phenomenon are found in the French Civil Code of 1804 created by Napoleon I. Under the provisions of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, the law can only prohibit actions that are offensive to society. According to French law, prohibitions are only applied when necessary.
French law; It is examined in two basic doctrinal distinctions as private law and public law. It covers private law, especially civil law and commercial law. Public law, on the other hand, deals with administrative law, criminal law and constitutional law.
France has a secular state structure that requires religious law rules not to be referenced in state administration. In this context, no religious beliefs or values are acted upon while preparing French laws. With the repeal of blasphemy or religious blasphemy in France and laws restricting sexual acts in 1791, French law no longer has any laws related to religion. However, actions against the general moral rules and actions that will disrupt public order are subject to sanctions from time to time.
Applicable laws are prohibited in France and the laws must be published in the Official Gazette of France in order to enter into force.
France is one of the founding members of the United Nations and is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council with its unconditional veto power. It is also a member of the World Trade Organization, the Pacific Community and the Indian Ocean Commission. It is a co-operative member of the Association of Caribbean Nations and a leading participant in the International Organization of Francophonie, which is composed of fully or partially French speaking countries.
It is home to the headquarters of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), UNESCO, Interpol, and the International Bureau of Weights and Measures. In 1953, France received a request from the United Nations to choose a coat of arms that would symbolize the country at an international level, and the symbol used on French passports today was accepted.
France’s foreign relations are largely shaped by the policies of the European Union, of which it is a founding member. France, which has always been an influential power in Europe, pursued a policy to prevent the United Kingdom from joining the European Union in the 1960s, and in the 1990s it sought to develop close relations with the reunited Germany. France, which is also a NATO member, left the military wing of NATO with the decision taken during the President Charles de Gaulle period. He rejoined the military wing of NATO under Nicolas Sarkozy. Again in the 1990s, he was exposed to international criticism for his underground nuclear tests in French Polynesia. The country strongly opposed the invasion of Iraq by the United States in 2003. It has a great influence on its colonies in Africa in the past, and it has also sent peacekeepers to Ivory Coast and Chad.
France is still one of the most powerful countries in the world and Europe in the military field. France, which was regarded as one of the most powerful countries in the world with its military presence in all parts of the world for a period of centuries, II. The surrender of the German army in World War II, after only six weeks of resistance, not only disrupted the continuity of this power, but also frightened France’s allies and led them to launch a campaign to liberate France from occupation. Today, France; It has the fourth largest nuclear power in the world after the USA, Russia and China. France has 350 thousand military personnel.
On July 31, 2007, President Nicolas Sarkozy directed Jean-Claude Mallet, a member of the Council of State, to establish a 35-member commission to work on a comprehensive review plan for the defense of France. The Commission published its first working draft in early 2008. In line with the recommendations of the Commission, President Sarkozy initiated fundamental changes in French defense policy and structure since the summer of 2008. In order to keep up with the post-Cold War changes in European politics and power balances, the doctrine of the defense of regional lands, which was the traditional focus of the French army, was directed towards efforts to overcome the problems in the global threat environment. Within the scope of restructuring, identification and destruction of terror networks, both in the urban centers of France and in the French-speaking regions of Africa, became the primary task of the French army. In the same context, the closure of surplus bases and the suspension of projects regarding new weapon systems came to the fore in order to provide the necessary financial resources for the restructuring of the French forces and their global intervention capability. In addition, within the framework of this historic change plan, which was put into effect 43 years after the former President of France, General Charles de Gaulle, removed the country from NATO’s command structure in March 1966 and demanded the withdrawal of US troops from French soil, Sarkozy was appointed as the leader of France in March 2009 He also announced his intention to return to the military wing of the alliance as a full member.
With a length of 31,840 kilometers, the French rail network is the most developed in Western Europe. Railways in France are operated by the French National Railways Authority. French high-speed trains are Thalys, Eurostar and TGV, which can reach speeds of up to 320 kilometers. Together with the Eurotunnel Shuttle, Eurostar operates in the Channel Tunnel, connecting France and the United Kingdom. In addition, France is connected to all its neighbors except Andorra by a rail network. In urban and intercity transportation, underground railway systems and tram lines that complement bus lines are quite developed. The main reason why the railways are so developed is that intercity passenger transportation is monopolized by SNCF, that is, there are no private bus companies.
France also has a road network with a total length of 893,300 kilometers. The capital city of Paris and its surroundings are covered by the densest road and highway network and have direct connections with almost every corner of the country. French roads also have heavy international traffic coming from cities in neighboring countries Belgium, Spain, Andorra, Monaco, Switzerland, Germany and Italy. There is no annual license registration fee or road tax for vehicles, but fees are collected at the entrances to the highways through toll booths. The new car market is largely dominated by domestic brands: Renault 23% (23% of cars sold in France in 2003), Peugeot (20.1%) and Citroën (13.5%). France is home to the world’s longest bridge, the Millau Viaduct, and the country has many other important bridges, such as the Normandy Bridge.
There are approximately 478 airports in France. Charles de Gaulle International Airport, near Paris, is the busiest and most important air transport hub in the country. This airport is the country’s busiest hub for commodity and passenger transportation and connects Paris to almost all major cities in the world. Although Air France is the national and official airline of the country, many domestic and foreign transportation companies operate in the country. With 10 large-scale ports, France’s largest port is located in Marseille, which is also the largest port in the Mediterranean. A network of 14,932 kilometers of waterways is another mode of transport in France. The Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean are connected by the Garonne River through the Midi Canal.
Although France is one of the economically strong countries of Europe, it is also evidenced by the fact that the trade balance between 1971 and 1976, except for 1986, has been facing difficulties in the implementation of the economic policy to the world market, which has been implemented recently. Apart from this negative point, France is in the first place in the European Economic Community in terms of the abundance and diversity of agricultural products, and in the fourth place in the world in terms of dairy products (as a matter of fact, France is the second in the world in the export of agricultural and food industry products), and its industry is also very strong. is the country.
The industry accounts for a quarter of the country’s income and more than 80% of its trade earnings. Since the early 1990s, the state has begun to divest its stakes in other industries such as France Telecom, French Airlines and banks. High unemployment still occupies a problem for France. France avoided cutting its vast wealth of wealth and enormous state bureaucracy, preferring to cut defense spending and raise taxes to cover its budget deficit. France participated in the Euro system referendum on 1 January 1999, along with ten other European countries.
The purchasing power parity in the country is $1.871- trillion and the real growth rate is 3.1%. 3.3% of the country works in agriculture, 26.1% in industry, 70.6% in service sector. In the country where the inflation rate is 2.3% in consumer prices, the workforce is around 27.88 million. The unemployment rate in the country is 9.1%. However, it is based on industry, machinery, chemical products, automobiles, metallurgy, aircraft, electronics, textiles, food products, tourism. The growth rate of the industry is about 1.5%. Agricultural products in the country are subdivided into wheat, grain, sugar beet, potatoes, grapes, cattle, dairy products, fish.
The export amount in the country is 490 billion dollars and the country; It sells products such as machinery and transportation vehicles, aircraft, plastic products, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, iron and steel and soft drinks. The most export partners of the country are Germany 14.7%, Spain 9.7%, Italy 8.7%, UK 8.3%, Belgium 7.1%, USA 7.1%. Likewise, the amount of imports in the country is 529.1 billion dollars. machinery and parts, vehicles, crude oil, aircraft, plastic products, chemical products. The import partners of the country are Germany 18.9%, Belgium 10.7%, Italy 8.3%, Spain 7%, Netherlands 6.6%, United Kingdom 5.9%, USA 5.1%. The country’s external debt amounted to $3.461 trillion. The fiscal year of the country whose currency is Euro is calculated according to the calendar year.
France was historically a major producer of agricultural products. Its vast and fertile lands, the application of modern technology and EU subsidies combined make France the third-ranked producer and exporter of agricultural products in Europe (representing 20% of the EU’s agricultural production) in agriculture (especially in the grains and agri-food sector) and the world. ‘s third largest exporter of agricultural products.
Wheat, poultry, dairy products, beef and pork, as well as internationally recognized processed foods are France’s main agricultural exports. Rosé wines are primarily consumed domestically, but Champagne and Bordeaux wines are the main export products recognized worldwide. EU agricultural subsidies to France have decreased in recent years but still reached $8 billion in 2007. In the same year, France sold 33.4 billion euros of converted agricultural products. France produces rum, almost entirely through sugarcane-based distilleries located overseas, such as Martinique, Guadeloupe and La Réunion. List of french rums.
Agriculture is an important sector of the French economy: 3.8% of the active population is employed in agriculture, while the total agri-food industry accounted for 4.2% of French GDP in 2005.
According to the data of the United Nations Tourism Organization, with 83 million tourists registered in 2012, France is the most visited country in the world. The countries that come after France are the United States of America with 67 million and China with 57.7 million. When calculating 83 million people entering France, the short-term journeys made by motorways of those who stay in the country for less than twenty-four hours or who want to go to countries such as Italy and Spain from Northern Europe are not counted. France is home to historic cities, beaches, resorts, ski areas and countryside. In addition to these, France also comes to the fore with its religious tourism. Located in the province of Hautes-Pyrénées, the city of Lourdes welcomes millions of tourists every year. According to 2003 data, the buildings and places that attract the most tourists in France: Eiffel Tower (6.2 million), Louvre Museum (5.7 million), Palace of Versailles (2.8 million), Musée d’Orsay (2.1 million), Arc de Triomphe (1.2 million). million), Center Pompidou (1.2 million), Mont-Saint-Michel (1 million), Chambord Castle (711,000), Sainte-Chapelle (683,000), Haut-Kœnigsbourg Castle (549,000), Puy de Dôme (500,000), Musée Picasso (441,000), Carcassonne (362,000).
With an estimated population of 65.1 million, France is the nineteenth most populated country in the world and the second most populous country in the European Union after Germany. The country’s largest cities are Paris, Marseille, Lyon, Lille, Toulouse, Nice and Nantes.
The annual population growth rate of France was determined as 0.68% in 2004, and the rates of birth and number of children per woman continued to increase in 2005 as well. In 2006, there were 300 thousand new births despite the total deaths. While the number of children per woman was 1.88 in 2002, this number increased to 2.02 in 2008.
In 2004, a total of 140,033 people immigrated to France from abroad. Of these, 90,250 came from African countries and 13,710 from European countries. The following year, in 2005, immigration declined slightly to 135,890.
Another issue that has been discussed in France for many years is the migration from rural areas to big cities within the country. In the period between 1960-1999, fifteen of the rural provinces experienced population loss. The most striking example of this was the province of Creuse, which lost 24% of its population through internal migration.
France is an ethnically diverse country. About 6 million Moors and an estimated 2.5 million blacks live in the country. Today, it is thought that approximately 40% of the population of France consists of those who came to the country with waves of immigration experienced in various periods of history. According to the surveys conducted by the French National Institute of Economic Studies and Statistics (in short) INSEE, there are 4.9 million foreign-born immigrants in France and 2 million of them have acquired French citizenship. France is also the most asylum-seeking country in Western Europe. In 2005, approximately 50 thousand asylum requests were made to France. The freedom of movement of the European Union, of which France is a member, includes France as well as among other member states, but France has made some attempts to curb immigration from Eastern European countries.
According to the official data of the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Labor and Social Security General Directorate of Overseas Worker Services, as of 31 December 2006, including the number of dual citizens, 423,471, according to the 2006 census of France, there are around 400,000 Turkish citizens living in the country.
France is a secular country where freedom of belief is constitutionally guaranteed. According to the results of a survey conducted in January 2007, 51% of the French associated themselves with the Catholic sect of Christianity, 31% stated that they were Agnostic or Atheist, 10% stated that they believed in other religions, and 4% belonged to the Islamic faith, 3% said they were from the Protestant sect, 1% were Jewish, and 1% were Buddhists.
Statistical studies in European countries revealed that according to a more recent study conducted by the organization called Eurobarometer, 34% of French people believe in the existence of a god, 27% believe in some kind of life force or divine being, and 33% do not believe in the existence of any god. has put it.
Estimates on the number of Muslims living in France vary widely. According to the census data made in 1999, the number of people living in France who are likely to be Muslims was calculated as 3.7 million. (6.3% of the population at that time) However, the estimated number of Muslims in the country published by the French Ministry of Interior in 2003 was announced as 5-6 million. The Muslim population is mostly Arab, Maghrib, Black people and Turks. (8 to 10% of the population) The total number of Jews living in France is 600 thousand, making it the largest Jewish diaspora in Europe.
The phenomenon of secularism in France has been preventing the French government from recognizing any religion since 1905. Instead, the French government recognizes only religious institutions, associations and organizations and prevents these entities from interfering in politics, in accordance with existing laws.
Religious movements such as Scientology, the Child of God, the Sect of the Moon, and the Temple of the Sun are seen as sects in France and do not have the same equal status as other religions. Sects, on the other hand, are unwelcome formations in France.
In accordance with Article 2 of the Constitution of the French Republic, with the decision taken in 1992, French is the only official language of France. In this case, France is the only country in Western Europe with only one official language (excluding the Microstates). French belongs to the Romanian branch of the Indo-European language family. It is written in Latin letters, but contains many additional letters with special signs. It has a rich vocabulary. It is organized by the French Academy, known as the Académie française. French is one of the official languages of the European Union, the African Union and the United Nations.
Many regional languages, dialects and minority languages, totaling 77, are spoken in Continental France and overseas provinces. Speakers of these languages are mostly bilinguals who also speak French fluently. Many of these are closely related to French. However, Basque and some minority languages are entirely different from French and are widely spoken in the country. Portuguese, Italian, Maghreb Arabic and Berber languages are the most widely spoken minority languages.
Until recently, the French government and the national education system did not allow the learning of these languages, but today these languages are taught at various levels in some schools.
Health services provided in France were ranked first by the World Health Organization in 1997. Health care is generally free for citizens with chronic diseases such as AIDS, cancer and cystic fibrosis. The average life expectancy in France is 79.73.
As of 2007, 140,000 people living in France have HIV/AIDS virus. This corresponds to 0.4% of the population.
Like all other European Union member countries, France has to reduce sewage emissions to sensitive areas to a certain extent, in accordance with the environmental guidelines of the European Union. However, in 2006, France was able to achieve only 40% of the point it had to reach and became one of the countries that least met these criteria in the European Union.
Euthanasia is illegal in France, but after the death of cancer patient Chantal Sébire on 21 March 2008, skepticism about autopsy findings has reignited the euthanasia debate in the country.
The culture of France has been shaped by the geographical location of the country, the intense relations developed with neighboring nations, and the waves of immigration experienced in various periods of history. Especially the capital, Paris, has undertaken the task of being the culture and art center of the country and has become one of the leading cultural centers of both Europe and the world. French artists, men of letters and fashion designers produce important works in many fields today. There are significant changes in daily life in France with the intense immigration that France receives from abroad and the culture brought by immigrants from their countries. With these changes that stand out in the fields of cuisine and literature, more and more diverse traditions are emerging in France every day.
The origins of French art were heavily influenced by Flemish art and Italian art during the Renaissance. The most famous French painter of the Middle Ages, Jean Fouquet, is said to be the first to travel to Italy and experience the Early Renaissance firsthand. The Fontainebleau School of Renaissance painting was directly inspired by Italian painters such as Primaticcio and Rosso Fiorentino, both of whom worked in France. Two of the most famous French artists of the Baroque era, Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain, lived in Italy.
The 17th century was the period when French painting rose to prominence and individualized itself through classicism. Prime Minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert established the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in 1648 under the auspices of Louis XIV to protect these artists; In 1666 he also created the still active French Academy in Rome, in order to establish direct contact with Italian artists. French artists developed the rococo style in the 18th century as a more intimate imitation of the old baroque style, court-approved artists Antoine Watteau, François Boucher and Jean-Honoré Fragonard are the country’s best-known representatives. The French Revolution brought major changes because Napoleon favored neoclassical artists such as Jacques-Louis David and defined the highly influential Académie des Beaux-Arts style known as Academicism. During this period, France had become a center of artistic creation and was dominated by two successive movements in the first half of the 19th century; a style that first became Romanticism with Théodore Géricault and Eugène Delacroix, and then Realism with Camille Corot, Gustave Courbet and Jean-François Millet, and eventually Naturalism. In the second half of the 19th century, France’s influence on painting became even more significant with the development of new painting styles such as Impressionism and Symbolism. The most famous impressionist painters of the period were Camille Pissarro, Édouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet and Auguste Renoir. Second-generation impressionist painters Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Georges Seurat, as well as fauvist artists Henri Matisse, André Derain, and Maurice de Vlaminck, were also on the avant-garde of artistic evolutions.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Cubism was developed by Paris-based Georges Braque and Spanish painter Pablo Picasso. Other foreign artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Marc Chagall, Amedeo Modigliani and Wassily Kandinsky also settled and worked in Paris.
Many museums in France are devoted entirely or partially to sculptures and painting. A large collection of ancient masterpieces created before or during the 18th century is displayed in the state-owned Louvre museum, such as the “Mona Lisa”, also known as “La Joconde”.
While the Louvre Palace was a museum for a long time, the d’Orsay museum opened in 1986 with a major reorganization of the national art collections in the old train station d’Orsay to bring together French paintings from the second half of the 19th century (especially the Impressionism and Fauvism movements). The D’Orsay museum was named the best museum in the world in 2018. Modern works are presented at the Musée National d’Art Moderne, which was moved to the Center Georges Pompidou in 1976. These three state-owned museums host approximately 17 million people a year. Other national museums that host the paintings include the Grand Palais (which had 1.3 million visitors in 2008 but there are also many museums owned by cities and the most visited are the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (0.8 million entries in 2008) ), is home to contemporary works. Outside of Paris, all major cities have a Fine Arts Museum with a section devoted to European and French painting. Some of the best collections are the Lyon fine arts museum, Lille palace of fine arts, Rouenb fine arts museum, Dion fine art museum, the Rennes museum of fine arts and the Grenoble museum.
Although there is no original type of architecture that could technically be called French architecture, it is not entirely correct. Gothic architecture was named this way when it first appeared, but this usage began to be used more widely with the introduction of the term Gothic.
In general, architectural works in France start from the Roman period and are examined in different categories as Romanesque (10th century), Gothic (Medieval), Baroque (18th century), Neoclassical (19th century) and contemporary architecture.
Buildings such as the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral, Chartres Cathedral, Sacré-Cœur Basilica, Arc de Triomphe, Panthéon are the most well-known architectural works of France.
French literature is one of the richest and most impressive in the world. French writers contributed to all genres of literature, especially epic poetry, lyric poetry, drama and fiction.
French literature has profoundly influenced the work of writers in many countries. In the 1600s, the French cultural movement called Classicism left a significant impact on all European literature. French writers of the 1700s had taken control of European literature. During the 1800s, Realism and Symbolism helped shape the work of writers who wrote in many languages. In the 1900s, Surrealism (Surrealism) and Existentialism (Existentialism) went beyond the borders of France and greatly influenced the work of other writers, artists and thinkers.
Many French writers placed emphasis on form, language, style, and tradition, and adhered more to rules and models than writers of other languages. In general, Rationalism dominated French literature. Rationality is based on causality in human actions. Rationalism; He has created a clean, self-controlled and artistically mastered literature.
Although rationalism played a vital role in French literature, a strong empirical quality came to the fore in French literature over time. In times like the Romanticism movement of the early 1800s, for example, this experimentation was able to create an emotional and sometimes passionate art.
The French education system is divided into three main school ages: primary education (enseignement primaire), secondary education (enseignement secondaire) and higher education (enseignement supérieur). Primary and secondary education is largely free, but there are also private schools in the country. Especially Catholic schools, which are spread all over the country, lead these private schools.
As a result of the influence of the republican tradition, the education system is based on four basic principles proclaimed by the French Revolution:
Freedom allows private entities to operate under certain conditions (contracts).
Education in public institutions is free.
The secular education system ensures the impartiality of public education.
The education of girls and boys between the ages of 6 and 16 is compulsory.
Educational organization has a hierarchical and centralized structure. The organization, course hours, systems and programs of educational institutions are regulated by the French Ministry of National Education. The literacy rate in France is 99%. In continental France, this rate is close to 100%. There are a total of 15 million students in France, of which 6.7 million are in primary education and 4.8 million are in secondary education. In France, 64.6 million Euros is allocated from the general budget to education every year.
Sports are in the center of attention in France. Especially football is the most preferred sport in the country. In FIFA’s list of players of the century, France ranks second as a country, just behind Brazil.
The country has developed in almost all kinds of sports apart from this sport. For example, rugby enjoys a popularity close to that of football, especially in Paris and the south of France. The national rugby team has participated in every Rugby World Cup and participates in the Six Nations Championship. The France national team has won the Six Nations Championship sixteen times and has reached the final of the Rugby World Cup once. In October 2007 the Rugby World Cup was presented in Paris.
The Tour de France (Cycling Tour of France), organized in France and one of the most important cycling races in the world, is also one of the most watched sports events in the country.
The origin of French cuisine goes back to the Middle Ages. French cuisine developed in proportion to the power it gained on the world stage during the Colonization period after the French Revolution. Cooks such as Marie-Antoine Carême (1784-1833), who gained fame during the Napoleonic Bonaparte era, made great contributions to French cuisine by developing an elaborate style of cooking called haute cuisine. French cuisine varies greatly according to the regions of France. From red meat to seafood to dairy products, many different types of food shape French cuisine. The prominent elements of French cuisine are wine and cheese. France not only contributes to its economy by exporting its world-famous wines every year, but it is also one of the world’s leading cheese producers with over 1000 registered cheese types. The regions that stand out with their viticulture and wines in France are Alsace, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Corsica, Jura, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Provence, Rhône and Savoy. The most famous cheeses of France are Brie, Camembert and Roquefort. Other famous or world-renowned dishes of French cuisine include croissants, snails, baguettes, foie gras, and crème brûlée (creme brulee).