French-Property.com is pleased to provide an overview of the Culture and History of France, including its geography, population, traditions and attractions.
You will find below all you need to know about the National Anthem and the Tricolore Flag, the French Embassies and the representation of France abroad.
For figures and details about the Economy, Demography and Transport network in France, visit our France Facts page!
France is part of Western Europe. It has a long and pleasant coastline (3,427 km - 2,130 ml) bordering the Bay of Biscay (Atlantic Ocean) and English Channel to the West and North, and the Mediterranean Sea to the South. Paris, the capital, is the largest city in France with about one sixth of the total French population (i.e. 62,150,775 in Metropolitan France in July 2008).
The term "France" actually includes both the France Métropolitaine ("Metropolitan France") and overseas territories, which means that all French territories represent a land area of 643,427 km2 in total.
"France Metropolitaine" encompasses the French land off continental Europe plus the small islands off the Atlantic coast (Ile de Re etc) and the large island of Corsica in the Mediterranean Se. The second part of the French land area refers to the French Overseas Départements, Collectivities and Territories (called "DOM" and "TOM") such as Guyana (South America), Guadeloupe and Martinique (Caribbean sea), Mayotte and Reunion (Indian Ocean), among others. All these territories (mainly islands) are particularly renowned as French Tourist Destinations due to their pleasant climate and beautiful sights.
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The French Flag is famous its simple design featuring three colours: blue, white and red, hence its nickname the Tricolore (or "tri colour"). Vertically divided into three coloured broad stripes, the national flag of France remains a major symbol of France.
According to the legends, the Blue refers to the care and attention that rich people had traditionally to pay to the poor, the White is the colour of Virgin Mary but also symbolizes Royalty and the Red pays tribute to Saint Denis - Paris Patron Saint - and reminds the original war banner (oriflamme) of the French Kings.
The French Flag is commonly known as the Tricolore, confirming that these three colours are deeply rooted in the French History and Culture.
The Tricolore also refers to the French Revolution, meaning it is worldwide renowned as a symbol of Liberty and Equality.
Created by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle in Strasbourg in 1792 and officially adopted in 1795, La Marseillaise - originally named "Chant de guerre pour l'Armée du Rhin" ("War Song for the Army of the Rhine") - was first sung as a rallying cry by volunteers leaving Marseille and heading for the battlefront in Paris.
Since then, the national anthem of France has has an important part into the French History, closely linked to the French Revolution and the ideas of Patriotism, Fraternity and Liberty.
Indeed, given the context of war at the time (against Prussia and Austria), the Marseillaise lyrics are definitely a call for fighting and defending the country, for the unity of the French nation. Here is the well-known powerful chorus of the Marseillaise:
Grab your arms, citizens, Form your battalions, Let's march, let's march! May impure blood Drench our furrows!
Debate and controversy came out because of such strong - even combative - lyrics; let's read one of our Newsletter articles dealing with Marseillaise Jeering during a football match.
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The Embassy and Consulate of France are essential elements of the representation of the French country and culture abroad. Providing almost 400 diplomatic and administrative offices all over the world, France offers quality consular services to either tourists, expats or immigrants/emigrants.
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Why don't you learn the French language before spending your holidays in France? To get further information about How to Speak French and Where you can Learn French in the UK, visit our special French Language page.Back to the France Information page