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Many people from around the world dream of roaming the streets of Paris or sitting at a coffee shop by the Seine eating a freshly baked baguette. After all, who wouldn't enjoy being in a city of romance surrounded by an interesting culture, rich history, and delicious food? What people forget sometimes is that Paris lies in the middle of a country filled with valleys, countrysides, beaches, and a large population of proud citizens. France's past and present are fascinating, and there's a lot to learn about this European country.

Geography of France

When looking at a map of France, you'll see a western European nation surrounded by Germany, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Luxembourg, and Switzerland, with Corsica off the coast in the Mediterranean Sea. Within the country, there's a wide variety of terrain, from the French Alps to the beautiful beaches on the southern coast. Because of this, tourists can experience France in many different ways.

Famous Landmarks

France has an abundance of historical sites, museums, monuments, and cities to delve into. Some of the most famous places lie in Paris, including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Notre-Dame cathedral. However, other landmarks in different parts of the country paint a broader picture of France's history. The French island of Corsica is the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte, while the Lascaux Caves contain cave paintings that are around 17,000 years old.

The French Language

French is a Romance language, and people find it to be very romantic indeed! Of course, Romance languages have nothing to do with romance movies: A Romance language is one that developed from Latin. French is one of many Romance languages, including Spanish and Italian. French is also one of the most commonly spoken languages in the world: Around 300 million people speak French! It's also one of the two official languages of the Olympics and one of the six official languages of the United Nations.

Key People in French History

Some of the most famous and influential people in world history came from France. One of the world's most famous leaders, Napoleon Bonaparte, reformed French laws and strengthened France's influence in Europe. While Napoleon has political power as emperor of France, other people have had different types of influence in the country's history. For instance, Stephen Sauvestre, the architect who designed the Eiffel Tower, left behind a monument that would forever change the face of France. And Claude Monet was a painter who left his mark on French society and the world of art by pioneering the Impressionist movement, creating beautiful paintings that are still admired today.

French Food

Believe it or not, France is not famous for the food that bears its name: French fries. However, France is well-known for its delicious food, including baguettes, croissants, crepes, ratatouille, cassoulet, coq au vin, onion soup, quiche, macarons, and croquembouche. Walking down the streets of Paris, one can peek in the windows to see chefs making fresh crepes and enticing displays of French chocolates. From decadent desserts to sandwiches like the croque monsieur to gourmet entrees, French cuisine has it all.

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Article written by Lexi Westingate
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