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Map of France in the world and position of its largest single land territory in continental Europe

France, officially the French Republic, is a country located primarily in Western Europe. It also includes overseas regions and territories in the Americas and the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans, giving it one of the largest discontiguous exclusive economic zones in the world. Metropolitan France shares borders with Belgium and Luxembourg to the north, Germany to the north east, Switzerland to the east, Italy and Monaco to the south east, Andorra and Spain to the south, and a maritime border with the United Kingdom to the north west. Its metropolitan area extends from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean and from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea. Its overseas territories include French Guiana in South America, Saint Pierre and Miquelon in the North Atlantic, the French West Indies, and many islands in Oceania and the Indian Ocean. Its eighteen integral regions (five of which are overseas) span a combined area of 643,801 km2 (248,573 sq mi) and have a total population of 68.4 million . France is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre; other major urban areas include Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse, Lille, Bordeaux, Strasbourg, Nantes and Nice.

Metropolitan France was settled during the Iron Age by Celtic tribes known as Gauls before Rome annexed the area in 51 BC, leading to a distinct Gallo-Roman culture. In the Early Middle Ages, the Germanic Franks formed the Kingdom of Francia, which became the heartland of the Carolingian Empire. The Treaty of Verdun of 843 partitioned the empire, with West Francia evolving into the Kingdom of France. In the High Middle Ages, France was a powerful but decentralized feudal kingdom, but from the mid-14th to the mid-15th centuries, France was plunged into a dynastic conflict with England known as the Hundred Years' War. In the 16th century, the French Renaissance saw culture flourish and a French colonial empire rise. Internally, France was dominated by the conflict with the House of Habsburg and the French Wars of Religion between Catholics and Huguenots. France was successful in the Thirty Years' War and further increased its influence during the reign of Louis XIV.

The French Revolution of 1789 overthrew the Ancien Régime and produced the Declaration of the Rights of Man, which expresses the nation's ideals to this day. France reached its political and military zenith in the early 19th century under Napoleon Bonaparte, subjugating part of continental Europe and establishing the First French Empire. The French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars significantly shaped the course of European history. The collapse of the empire initiated a period of relative decline, in which France endured a tumultuous succession of governments until the founding of the French Third Republic during the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. Subsequent decades saw a period of economic prosperity and cultural and scientific flourishing known as the Belle Époque. France was one of the major participants of World War I, from which it emerged victorious at great human and economic cost. It was among the Allied powers of World War II, but it surrendered and was occupied by the Axis in 1940. Following its liberation in 1944, the short-lived Fourth Republic was established and later dissolved in the course of the defeat in the Algerian War. The current Fifth Republic was formed in 1958 by Charles de Gaulle. Algeria and most French colonies became independent in the 1960s, with the majority retaining close economic and military ties with France.

France retains its centuries-long status as a global centre of art, science, and philosophy. It hosts the third-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is the world's leading tourist destination, receiving over 89 million foreign visitors in 2018. France is a developed country with a high nominal per capita income globally and its advanced economy ranks among the largest in the world. It is a great power in global affairs, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and an official nuclear-weapon state. France is a founding and leading member of the European Union and the eurozone, as well as a key member of the Group of Seven, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and Francophonie. (Full article...)

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Hotel Chevalier is a 2007 short film written and directed by Wes Anderson. Starring Jason Schwartzman and Natalie Portman as former lovers who reunite in a Paris hotel room, the 13-minute film acts as a prologue to Anderson's 2007 feature The Darjeeling Limited. It was shot on location in a Parisian hotel by a small crew and self-financed by Anderson, who initially intended it to be a stand-alone work. Its first showing was at the Venice Film Festival première of the feature film on September 2, 2007, and it made its own debut later that month at Apple Stores in four U.S. cities.

The day after the film's première, it was made freely available from the iTunes Store for one month, during which time it was downloaded more than 500,000 times. The film garnered acclaim from reviewers, who compared it favorably to The Darjeeling Limited and praised its richness, poignancy, and careful construction. (Full article...)

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Henry with the New York Red Bulls
Thierry Daniel Henry is a French footballer who plays as a striker for New York Red Bulls in Major League Soccer. Henry was born in Les Ulis, Essonne (a suburb of Paris) where he played for an array of local sides as a youngster. He was spotted by AS Monaco in 1990 and signed instantly, making his professional debut in 1994. Good form led to an international call-up in 1998, after which he signed for the Serie A defending champions Juventus. He had a disappointing season playing on the wing, before joining Arsenal for £11 million in 1999.

Henry emerged as Arsenal's top goal-scorer for almost every season of his tenure there. Under long-time mentor and coach Arsène Wenger, Henry became a prolific striker and Arsenal's all-time leading scorer with 228 goals in all competitions. The Frenchman won two league titles and three FA Cups with the Gunners; he was nominated for the FIFA World Player of the Year twice, was named the PFA Players' Player of the Year twice, and the FWA Footballer of the Year three times. Henry spent his final two seasons with Arsenal as club captain, leading them to the 2006 UEFA Champions League Final.

In June 2007, after eight years with Arsenal, he transferred to Barcelona for a fee of €24 million. His first honours with the Catalan club came in 2009 when they won the La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League treble. In 2010, he joined the New York Red Bulls of the Major League Soccer, and won the Eastern Conference title with them in 2010.

Henry enjoyed similar success with the French national team, having won the 1998 FIFA World Cup, UEFA Euro 2000 and 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup. Henry retired from international football after the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Off the pitch, Henry is an active spokesperson against racism in football, partially due to his own experiences.

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Traditional version served at a French Riviera restaurant

Salade niçoise (French pronunciation: [saˈlad niˈswaz]; Occitan: salada niçarda, pronounced [saˈlaðo niˈsaɾðo], or salada nissarda in the Niçard dialect; Italian: insalata nizzarda) is a salad that originated in the French city of Nice. It is traditionally made of tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, Niçoise olives and anchovies or tuna, dressed with olive oil, or in some historical versions, a vinaigrette. It has been popular worldwide since the early 20th century, and has been prepared and discussed by many chefs. Delia Smith called it "one of the best combinations of salad ingredients ever invented" and Gordon Ramsay said that "it must be the finest summer salad of all".

Salade niçoise can be served either as a composed salad or as a tossed salad. Freshly cooked or canned tuna may be added. For decades, traditionalists and innovators have disagreed over which ingredients should be included; traditionalists exclude cooked vegetables. The salad may include raw red peppers, shallots, artichoke hearts and other seasonal raw vegetables. Raw green beans harvested in the spring, when they are still young and crisp, may be included. However, cooked green beans and potatoes are commonly served in variations of salade niçoise that are popular around the world. (Full article...)

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Route map of the 2007 Monte Carlo Rally

The 2007 Monte Carlo Rally (formally known as the 75e Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo) was a rallying autosports race held over four days between 18 January and 21 January 2007, and operated out of Valence, Drôme, France. It was the first race of the 2007 World Rally Championship (WRC) season. Contested over fifteen stages at a length of 328.54 kilometres (204.15 miles), Sébastien Loeb won the race for the Citroën Total World Rally Team. Dani Sordo finished second in the other Citroën works car, with Marcus Grönholm finishing third in a Ford.

Loeb, driving an all new Citroën C4 WRC car which had been in development throughout 2006, took control of the race from the outset, winning the two stages on the first day and four more stages over the following three days. His teammate Sordo kept the pressure on, winning three stages, but on Stage 6, Loeb extended his lead from 6.6 seconds to nearly 24 seconds, and from thereon became unattainable. Each stage on the first two Legs were won by either Loeb or Sordo, and it was not until Saturday afternoon on the second run of the day's stages, that other drivers could effectively challenge them. The last two days of the race consisted of a duel between Mikko Hirvonen, who drove a factory 2006 model Ford Focus RS WRC, and Chris Atkinson in a factory Subaru Impreza WRC 2006. After Hirvonen completed Stage 2 in fourth place, Atkinson took the position on Stage 3 and held onto it throughout Friday and into Saturday morning's stages. On Stage 12 on Saturday afternoon, Hirvonen retook fourth, Atkinson regained it on Stage 13 but then lost it to Hirvonen again following Stage 14. Atkinson won the final stage on Sunday morning, and finished the race back in fourth position. (Full article...)
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18 April 2024 – Palestine and the United Nations, Enlargement of the United Nations
The United States vetoes a UN Security Council resolution supporting the State of Palestine joining the United Nations. The vote was 12 in favor, the United States opposed and two abstentions, from the United Kingdom and Switzerland. France, Japan, Ecuador and South Korea supported the resolution. (AP)
17 April 2024 – War in Sudan
Taqaddum leader and former Prime Minister of Sudan Abdalla Hamdok meets with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, France. (Dabanga Sudan)
12 April 2024 – Iran–Israel proxy conflict
France advises its citizens against traveling to Iran, Lebanon, Israel Palestine due to the risk of military escalation. (CNN)
31 March 2024 – 2024 France floods
The town of Montmorillon in Nouvelle-Aquitaine is hit by severe flooding following heavy rains. (Sky News)

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The Montmartre funicular.


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