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France :: Vive la Difference

France has always been chic, but lately it's the country du jour! As if playing host to the Cannes Film Festival and the French Open aren't enough, France now looks set to be the birth country of the Brangelina twins! We have the 411 on the "it" country of the moment.

Geography

France is located in Western Europe to the south-east of the United Kingdom, west of Italy and Germany, and north-east of Spain. The country covers 211,209 square miles (547,030 square kilometers) and approximately 64 million people call the nation home. The capital (and largest city) is Paris, which is home to more than two million people. And, in case you couldn't guess, the national language is French.

A (Very) Brief History

The earliest humans in France date back way before the croissant was invented - about 50, 000 years. Before it was known as France, a country called Gaul occupied approximately the same place. Gaul was conquered by Rome in the first century BCE, which led to the Gauls adopting the Roman language and culture. Around 400 AD, Germanic tribes known as Franks began entering Gaul, which is where France derived its modern name.

In the year 843, the Treaty of Verdun created a territory called Western Francia, which was the precursor to modern France. Several noble families ruled France until the monarchy was overthrown during the French Revolution in 1798 (a war that was the basis for the film Marie Antoinette). About 10 years after the revolution, a guy named Napoleon Bonaparte seized control of France, declaring himself the Emperor of France. He waged several wars and conquered a good portion of Europe before being defeated at the Battle of Waterloo.

France suffered huge losses in the First World War, despite being on the winning side, and was seized by the Nazis during World War II. The country was eventually liberated in a joint effort of the United States, United Kingdom and Canada in 1944. In more modern times, France has been one of the leading countries pushing the EU monetary union. It has both a president (Nicolas Sarkozy) and a prime minister (François Fillon).

Did You Know?

  • The Statue of Liberty is French. It was made in France and given to the United States as a gift.
  • The bikini was invented in France in 1946.
  • Jeans were invented in France in a place called Nîmes. The word "denim" comes from "de Nîmes".
  • The Eiffel Tower was built between 1887 and 1889 for the 1888 World Fair. It was intended to only stand in Paris for 20 years, but it has been there for more than 120.
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Fries-poll

Have You Ever Called French Fries 'Freedom Fries'?

  • No. That is the stupidest thing ever.
  • Yeah, that's what I always call them.
  • Only once, but I swear I was joking!
  • Huh? Why would I do that?

Random In The Forums

PunMaster
PunMaster posted in Say Anything:
("wow.. Maybe I can help you some time." PunMaster offered) he landed on a rock below, and Paperjam was about twenty ahead of him. "Great Job! Now let's go!" 
reply 41 minutes
ThePaleWalker636
"Oh. Um, OK..." I closed my eyes, and jumped. I hoped that I'd land on something. ​(("Um, I did. It's today." Paps chuckled. "You have no idea how many people I had to enlist..."))
reply about 1 hour
PunMaster
PunMaster posted in Say Anything:
Error didn't answer, he just glanced up giving him a sort of look like 'are you really that clueless?' then went back to his game. Paperjam was visible on a floating rock down below, and he started jumping from rock to rock,. "come on!"  (PunMaster nodded. "If it's tiring, haven't you ever asked to get a break, have someone else do it for you for at least a day?") 
reply about 1 hour
ThePaleWalker636
"Kid! What the heck are you doing? And what am I supposed to do?" I said this last part to PJ's dad, who barely took notice of me, glued to his phone's screen. ​(("I've been delivering messages in-between cities of the Underground for my brother. It gets really tiring sometimes, but Iron says I've been helping a lot, so I do my best!" He sighed.))
reply about 1 hour
PunMaster
PunMaster posted in Say Anything:
Paperjam grinned. "Come on!" Paperjam grabbed Iron's hand, then ran along the path, until they came to an edge a little way away from where error had been... Only Error was there, sitting on the ground this time, still on his phone. Paperjam let go of Iron's hand, and looked out over the edge, waiting... then he suddenly jumped off the edge, plummeting. Error seemed to have little to no concern about what was occuring.  ("Hmm.. recently? I've been drawing, writing stories, roleplaying.. it's fun." PunMaster shrugged. "You?" )
reply about 1 hour