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French History

Europe begun to be occupied from about 200,000 BC by the Homo sapiens, but have died 30,000 years ago supposedly during a period of cold weather. Around 2500 B.C the Celts came from Central Europe and settled in Gaul. The Celts were iron workers and dominated Gaul until 125 B.C., when the Roman Empire began its reign in southern France. Greeks and Phoenicians established settlements along the Mediterranean, most notably at Marseille. Julius Caesar conquered part of Gaul in 57–52 B.C., and it remained Roman until Franks invaded in the 5th century A.D. Gaul was divided in seven provinces. The Romans were afraid about populations become in local identities and begun to displace them so they avoided a threat to the Roman integrity. That's why many Celts were moved and enslaved out of Gaul. Many changes have occured during a cultural evolution under the Roman Empire, one of them was the change of the Gaulish language by Vulgar Latin, the similarities between one language and the other favoured the transition. Gaul was under the Romans control for centuries. In 486, Clovis I, leader of the Salian Franks, defeated Syagrius at Soissons and then united most of northern and central Gaul under his rule. Christianity in France received a boost when in 496, Clovis adopted the Roman Catholic form of Christianity. In some ways Clovis' reign brought stability and unity to France, but in some other ways it contributed to fragmentation, because Clovis divided up the territory as gifts and rewards. Charles Martel was the first leader of the Carolingian dynasty and is the responsible of the expansion of the Frankish kingdom and also stopped the Muslim advance. Charlemagne not only was an able military leader, but he was also a great supporter of education and the arts. During Charlemagne's period there was a Carolingian renaissance but shortly after his death the kingdom was divided. Hugh Capet was elected to the throne of France, this way the Carolingian dynasty ended and the Capetian Dynasty begun. In 1066, William, Duke of Normandy invaded England and was crowned as the English king on Christmas Day, 1066. With the marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine, who was married before with king Louis VII of France and the get married with Henry II of England, there was yielded most of the western part of France to the British Wreath. After the death of the last Capetian king Charles IV, Edward III of England claimed the French Throne and started the Hundred Years' War in 1337. With the help of a French peasant girl, Joan of Arc, Charles VIII emerged victorious in the war and drove the English back to Calais. France become a centralized state where was established an absolute monarchy having the doctrine of the Divine Right of Kings and the explicit support of the established Church. The long Italian Wars (1494-1559) marked the beginning of early modern France. Once Francis I was captured at Pavia the French monarchy had to look for allies and founded one in the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Admiral Barbarossa captured Nice on 5 August 1543 and handed it down to Francis I. During the 16th century, the Spanish and Austrian Habsburgs were the dominant power in Europe, they controlled some other duchies and kingdoms across Europe. Despite all of this, French became the preferred language of Europe's aristocracy.

Best of France

La Rochelle The city of La Rochelle was the first city in the world to provide free bikes - "city bikes", back in the 70's. Free to use for the day. La Rochelle also has beautiful beaches all around where you can enjoy and relax, La Rochelle is also famous for its towers some of them are: La Tour de la Lanterne, Tour Saint-Nicolas and la Tour de la Chaine.

The French Alps If you like skying this is a good option, the French Alps are imponent and majestic, the perfect place to sky, the Mount Blanc is the highest mountain in Western Europe with an altitude of 4808 meters. There are also shop markets and valleys with trees and lakes, the landscape is simply fascinating.

The Eiffel Tower This is probably the most known monument in France, but at the beginning it was a not very well accepted construction, french citizens did not like it and thought it was a waste of money. This iron tower was built on the Champ de Mars beside the River Seine in Paris, the tower replaced the Washington Monument and was called the Tower Eiffel in honor of its designer, engineer Gustave Eiffel.

Champagne Champagne is a province located at the northeast of France, and is well known for its famous white wine. Champagne is mostly fermented in two sizes bottles, standard bottle (750 mL), and Magnum (1.5 L). In general, magnums are thought to be higher quality, as there is less oxygen in the bottle, and the volume to surface area favors the creation of appropriately-sized bubbles.

Chartres Cathedral Chartres is truly one of the greatest of all French Gothic cathedrals. Cath้drale Notre-Dame de Chartres is located less than 100 km (about 50 miles) south of Paris and is considered to be one of the finest examples of the "high Gothic" style of architecture.

The Media in France
the main Post office in Paris is open the 24 hours of a day, of course this schedule can change if you are having vacations in a small town or in a village. As in any other country the name, address, postcode of the city you are sending the letter is necessary, as well as the details of the recipient, you can receive the letters at the main post offices of any town in France. If you want to post your letter while you are walking put it in the yellow postboxes you'll find in the streets. If you want to make a phone call you can buy a phone card, they are cheap and can be found in any tourist office, train station ticket offices or in the post offices. Phone calls within France, even the long distance, can be made discarding the ten digits of a phone number, those ones which begin with 08.00 are free, and those beginning with 08.36 are premium numbers and have an expensive cost as well as those that begin with 06, because they are mobile numbers. If you want to make an international phone call maybe you'll want to buy a calling card, they are easy to use, just have to create an account before travelling, and you'll pay the calls monthly from your credit card, but these phone calls are more expensive. If you want to get a mobile phone in France, you'll find an easy way, it's only necessary to obtain a French Bank account, and this can be made by providing a copy of a utility bill with your name on it, French banks accept foreign utility bills, doing this you'll be able to obtain a certificate known as Rel่ve d'Identit้ Bancaire (RIB), with this and your ID you can go to any mobile phone office and ask for a mobile phone. Newspapers and magazines are almost written in French, so if you don't speak french probably they are not good options for knowing what is happening in your country, but you'll find also many magazines written in English that are on sale in Paris the same day of publication, the most popular newspaper in France is Le Monde, with no much information about fashion, photos or similar things. The sports newspaper is L'ษquipe and the communist party paper is L'Humanit้. Internet is the best channel of communication, you know what easy is to access to any newspaper online or any tv program, in France you can communicate with your family in any internet caf้, so it wouldn't be a problem to get in contact with anyone you want. France is completely online, the government offices, tourist offices, bars and restaurants, language courses and hotels have found on the internet the best way to sell their products or services, nowadays the owners and the same government take much importance on having a website and making their businness or ideas known by all the cibernauts looking for services or products similar to their or looking for any kind of information about France. Television in France is good enough, besides of the six local channels there are the cable networks, with local and international information, BBC, CNN, MTV and other popular channels. If you want to know more about French music the French-run MCM is a good guide. On the Radio you can listen the news on the state-run France Inter (87.8 FM), english language news on 648kHz, the BBC World Service. The Voice of America transmits on 90.5, 98.8 and 102.4 FM.

Eating & Drinking in France

French cuisine is one of the most exquisite foods around the world, the french couisine has been taken as a model in many culinary schools as a base for cooking because of its tecnique, a little bit complicated. The french are very careful with their food, they care every detail though it is an easy recipe, traditional French chefs are trying to keep the antique cuisine, but modern chefs are mixing up the ingredients to get a special meal, in many cases they are trying to experiment the union of french cuisine with those of other countries. And there are also some places where foreign cuisine is on sale, for example, North African, Moroccan, Caribbean and Asiatic food. The worst part is for vegetarian people, there are some places with vegetarian food in towns and in other cities, but you'll better opt for going to any pizzeria and ask for a vegetarian pizza or making your own food, there are plenty of markets where you can make your buys. Each region of France has its own cuisine, besides of them there are also the Loire Valley cuisine, the Basque cuisine and the Roussillon cuisine, so if you travel along France you'll know each region flavour, there are markly differences between them all, of course there are the prepared food, if you want to make a dinner by yourself, you can buy fruits and vegetables from supermarkets, grocery stores, smaller markets or street markets but these are open only for specific days in some regions, or if you want any other food, the Chinese cuisine and Vietnamese cuisine are very popular too.

French Wine
France is one of the oldest wine productor countries in Europe, since the Middle Ages the wine has been used and produced in monasteries until now it's always used in the mass at different churches, in this period the most part of vineyards were bought by the monasteries, producing a good wine. But with the French Revolution many vineyards owned by monasteries were confiscated. As food, there are wine for each region, the Bourdeaux, Burgundy and so on, another french drink is the champagne or white wine, both of them are important agricultural products, the wine regions in France are: Alsace, Beaujolais, Bergerac, Bordeaux, Bourgogne, Champagne, Jura, Loire Valley, Rhone Valley and the Languedoc-Roussillon region. You can ask for a cup of wine in every city, you'll know that many french people drink wine everyday, but you'll better remember that driving after have been drinking some kind of alcohol will cost you many penalties. There is a strong relation between food and wine in France, maybe this is because wine and food were evolving in a parallel form. That's why some of the best french couisine examples have in their recipes as an important ingredient the wine. It's said that for every food there is the perfect wine, in France the wine is drunk as an aperitif. The different types of wine is depending the variety of grapes, for example within the Black grape varieties there are: « Cabernet franc, grows in Bordeaux, Charentes, Sud-Ouest, Val de Loire« Cabernet sauvignon, grows in Bordeaux, Charentes, Languedoc - Roussillon, Provence, Sud-Ouest, Val de Loire« Carignan, grows in Languedoc - Roussillon, Provence, Vall้e du Rh๔ne« Cinsaut, grows in Languedoc - Roussillon, Provence, Vall้e du Rh๔ne« Gamay, grows in Beaujolais, Bourgogne, Jura - Savoie, Sud-Ouest, Val de Loire« Grenache, grows in Languedoc - Roussillon, Provence, Vall้e du Rh๔ne« Grolleau, grows in Bourgogne, Val de Loire« Merlot, grows in Bordeaux, Charentes, Languedoc - Roussillon, Sud-Ouest« Mourv่dre, grows in Languedoc - Roussillon, Provence, Vall้e du Rh๔ne« Pinot noir, grows in Alsace, Bourgogne, Champagne, Jura - Savoie, Val de Loire« Sciacarello, grows in Corse« Syrah, grows in Languedoc - Roussillon, Provence, Sud-Ouest, Vall้e du Rh๔ne« Tannat, grows in Sud-Ouest, Val de LoireAnd in the white grape varieties are:« Aligot้, grows in Bourgogne« Chardonnay, grows in Alsace, Bourgogne, Champagne, Jura - Savoie, Languedoc - Roussillon, Provence, Val de Loire« Chenin, grows in Languedoc - Roussillon, Sud-Ouest, Val de Loire« Gewurztraminer, grows in Alsace« Marsanne, grows in Languedoc - Roussillon, Provence, Vall้e du Rh๔ne« Mauzac, grows in Languedoc - Roussillon, Sud-Ouest« Melon, grows in Val de Loire« Muscat blanc, grows in Alsace, Corse, Provence« Petit Manseng, grows in Sud-Ouest« Pinot gris, grows in Alsace« Riesling, grows in Alsace« Rolle ou Vermentinu, grows in Corse, Provence, Vall้e du Rh๔ne« Roussanne, grows in Languedoc - Roussillon, Vall้e du Rh๔ne« Sauvignon blanc, grows in Bordeaux, Bourgogne, Languedoc - Roussillon, Provence, Sud-Ouest, Val de Loire, Vall้e du Rh๔ne« S้millon, grows in Bordeaux, Charentes, Sud-Ouest, Val de Loire