La France Bonjour!
La France France is the largest country in western Europe with a population of approximately 56 million people. It is bordered by both the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.
La France France is roughly hexagonal – it has six sides. It is bordered by Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Luxemburg, and Belgium. France is divided into regions and then departments; there are 96 in France and 4 overseas.
Le Tricolore The French flag is called ‘le Tricolore’
La Marseillaise The national anthem is calledLa Marseillaise
Money Until 2002, France’s currency was the French Franc. French francs comprised 100 centimes, much the same as our pounds and pence. Now all financial transactions and purchases are made using Euros. One Euro comprises 100 cents. Weights and measures in France are metric so meat and vegetables are sold in kilos and grammes.
Mountains & Rivers • The highest mountain is Mont Blanc which is 4,807 metres and is in "les Alpes". Other mountains are les Pyrénées, le Jura and le Massif Central. • The longest River is La Loire 1,020 km. Other rivers are La Seine, Le Rhône, La Garonne, and La Dordogne.
Famous Landmarks • The capital city is Paris. Other important towns include Lyon, Marseille, Lille, Bordeaux and Strasbourg. • Symbols such as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Cathedral of Notre Dame, the Latin Quarter, Montmartre, and the Georges Pompidou Center make Paris one of the most visited places in the world. • The Eiffel Tower is probably one of the most famous symbols of France. It was built in 1889 for an exhibition. The tower was thought to be only a temporary structure, although it still stands today.
Food • France is known for its fine food. French cooking is thought to be the best in the world. Chefs prepare dishes such as quiche, soufflés, mousse, pâté, croissants, crêpes, and French bread. Many people in France like to drink their hot chocolate from bowls and dip their bread into it. • More than 350 kinds of cheese are made in France.
Goods • France is famous for cheese (Camembert, Brie, Roquefort) wine, perfume (Chanel, Dior, Givenchy) and cars (Renault, Citroen, Peugeot). • An ‘F’ on the back of a car denotes that it is from France. • French drivers drive on the right.
La Tour de France Every summer more than 100 professional cyclists race in the Tour de France. The race is approximately 2,000 miles long. The race lasts up to three weeks and is held in July. The route changes from year to year.
Weather • France generally has cool winters and mild summers. However, along the Mediterranean they have hot summers. • The north has cool weather. In the south it gets very hot in summer. Fruits such as oranges and lemons grow in the south.
Special Days Avril - 1 “Poisson d’Avril” - people cut out paper fish and put them on the backs of unsuspecting victims. You’re an April fish, not an April fool in France! Juillet - 14 “La Fête National”. In 1789 the storming of the Bastille prison marked the beginning of the French Revolution. France is a Republic; that means they do not have a King or Queen, and they are very proud of the fact. They executed their Royal family and today they have a president as Head of State who is elected every five years. “Bastille” day, as it is also known, is a holiday and celebrated with fireworks in the evening and dancing in the streets. Fête - Bonne fête!Many people are named after saints. Each saint has a special day and people often get sent cards on that day if they are named after a saint; for example, St Stephen's Day is 26 December. In the Christmas carol, Good King Wenceslas, the king goes out “on the feast of Stephen”.
Famous French People • Louis Pasteur. He discovered bacteria and as a result of his work we ‘pasteurise’ food to make it fit to eat. He also worked on vaccines for different diseases and was one of the greatest scientists of the nineteenth century. • Louis Braille (1809-1852) He invented the system of raised dots (Braille) which form letters for the visually impaired to read. • Claude Monet (1840-1926) The leading member of the Impressionist painters. His most famous painting is the "Water-lilies" which he painted in the elaborate garden he had made for himself.
La France Au Revoir!