France in a Nutshell

One of the most amazing countries in Europe, and probably the world, France is also one of the richest and most diverse. It has a land area of 547,000 square kilometers, making it the largest country in all of Western Europe. Officially known as the French Republic, it is the world center of art, history, science, and philosophy.

France boasts of its breathtaking natural beauty, charming heritage, and fascinating culture that inspired artists to create the most acclaimed paintings, literature, and sculpture throughout the generations. It has been the home of creative geniuses such as Monet, Cezanne, Degas, Gauguin, and many others. Thus, The Louvre in Paris is the most visited art museum in the world.

It is also the most popular tourist destination than any country by far, welcoming some 80 million visitors in a year. The City of Lights alone, Paris, generate about 16 million tourists annually. With a population of around 66 million, there are probably more tourists than locals at some point in France’s history.

France has a lot to offer that make it a travel destination must. Despite the not-so-friendly attitude of the French towards strangers and their strong dislike for tourists, people still flock to the country like bees to sunflowers. Seeing the sights of Paris, roaming the battlefields of Normandy, or simply lounging on Riviera beaches, there is everything for everyone.

Although not the country with the most borders in Europe, it shares borders with eight other countries, making it accessible to more people via tunnels or train tracks. Francophiles can easily and conveniently pop in a train and head over to enjoy the art, food, and booze. This is the reason more Europeans call France a favorite vacation destination.

The French people enjoy generally good weather, the reason why more natives decide to go on vacation in their own country. During the months of spring and autumn, the locals enjoy a mild climate, while the lovely, warm summer months add appeal to tourists who seek to bask in the sun. Its variety of landscapes enjoy four distinct seasons, it could be that one day you’re on a snow-capped mountain, and the next day you can go on a sunny beach adventure.

Mastering the art of fine dining, the French are famous for gourmet delights which they named “gastronomie” or “haute cuisine.” They learn the art of dining at a very early age along with the customs and rituals associated with eating. A great dining experience can be had in Michelin-starred restaurants as well as the cozier nooks scattered all over, gastronomic reverence is one of the major reasons tourists love France.

Indeed, France is a country full of surprises and wonderful contradictions. You can immerse yourself in the enviable beauty of its natural landscape, feel like a movie star in Cannes, be awed at all the Impressionist art you can find, or sink your teeth into the creations of the world’s gastronomic capital. It truly makes everyone want to embark on that Francophile dream.

 

 

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Famous French People

Over the centuries, France has produced numerous personalities that catapulted them to be the world’s most culturally rich people. Representing their country’s ethos and values, these people have defined and shaped what France is today. From art to architecture, literature to philosophy, these people have shown the world the best (and sometimes the worst) qualities of their country.

Joan of Arc (1412 – 1431)

Nicknamed “The Maid of Orléans,” Joan of Arc was a peasant girl who led the French army in defeating the British in a pivotal battle during the Hundred Years’ War. Burned at the stake at age 19, she is considered as a heroine of France.

Nostradamus (1503 – 1566)

Nostradamus was a physician that gained popularity up to this day because of the many astounding predictions he made about the future. His collection of prophesies entitled “Les Propheties,” were written very vaguely, but still widely credited for predicting major events all over the world throughout the centuries.

Louis Vuitton (1821 – 1892)

Louis Vuitton was a designer and businessman who founded the Vuitton company that is a brand of top of the line leather goods. Starting out as a luggage manufacturer, they now make first-class fashion items from expensive shoes to expensive handbags to expensive books.

Voltaire (1694 – 1778)

Writer, philosopher, essayist, Voltaire was a literary genius known for his satire, wit, and his advocacy in civil liberties. He has written thousands of books, letters, novels, essays, poetry, and plays. His life was riddled with intrigue and controversy, but today, he is still considered as one of history’s greatest writers and philosophers.

Brigitte Bardot (1934 –  )

An actress, dancer, singer, model, and later on an animal rights activist, Brigitte Bardot has been a successful actress appearing in films such as “Viva Maria!” and “And God Created Woman.” Nowadays, she has fully devoted her life to advocating for animal rights.

Napoleon Bonaparte (1769 – 1821)

Napoleon Bonaparte was a military man who had a fundamental role in shaping the future of France. Coming out victorious on countless battles with enemies superior to him, Napoleon is considered one of the greatest war commanders and political leaders in history.

Marie Antoinette (1755 – 1793)

Wife of Louis XVI, king of France, Marie Antoinette was widely believed to have incited the French Revolution by harboring sympathies for France’s enemies, her opulence and extravagance, and her total disregard for the common people’s welfare. In 1793, she went under the guillotine for treason months after the king himself was executed due to public outrage.

Paul Gauguin (1848 – 1903)

Paul Gauguin was a painter, printmaker, and sculptor known for his post-Impressionist artworks that eventually led him to pioneer the Symbolism movement. Formerly a stockbroker, Gauguin was known for using bold and stark colors in his experimentations which brought forth the Synthetist style of modern art.

Alluring, fascinating, and sometimes controversial, these famous French people have undoubtedly become historical figures that are worth knowing. Some of their works and life stories are still treasured the world over. The main reason why France is considered the world hub of western cultural development.

 

 

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