Chapter 4
France
France
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Country name: French Republic, France
Capital: Paris
Location: Western Europe, bordering the Bay of
Biscay and English Channel, between Belgium
and Spain, southeast of the UK; bordering the
Mediterranean Sea, between Italy and Spain
Border countries: Andorra, Belgium, Germany,
Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Spain, Switzerland.
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Government type: republic
Population: 60,180,529 (July 2003 est.)
Languages: French 100%, rapidly declining
regional dialects and languages (Provencal,
Breton, Alsatian, Corsican, Catalan, Basque,
Flemish)
Religions: Roman Catholic 83%-88%, Protestant
2%, Jewish 1%, Muslim 5%-10%, unaffiliated
4%
GDP – per capita: purchasing power parity $26,000 (21st in the world) (2002 est.)
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Industries: machinery, chemicals, automobiles,
metallurgy, aircraft, electronics; textiles, food
processing; tourism
Currency: euro (EUR) (CIA, World Fact Book)
Important Facts
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The top destination in the world
77,0 million international tourist arrivals
 $ 32,3 billion international tourism receipts (the third
after US and Spain) (WTO, 2003)
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Coastline: 3.427 km
Terrain: mostly flat plains or gently rolling hills
in north and west; remainder is mountainous,
especially Pyrenees in south, Alps in east
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Climate: generally cool winters and mild
summers, but mild winters and hot summers
along the Mediterranean; occasional strong,
cold, dry, north-to-northwesterly wind known as
mistral (CIA, World Fact Book)
Selling Points
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Paris, museums, cathedrals, food, skiing, palaces,
specialty tours (wine, culinary, hiking etc.),
Versailles, mountain climbing, the Louvre,
beaches, the Eiffel Tower, shopping, L’Arc de
Triomphe, nightlife, the Champs Elysees,
sidewalk cafes, health spas, carnivals, casinos, the
Left Bank, Notre Dame, festivals, architecture,
walled medieval towns, the Alps, the coasts,
scenery, canal trips and art and culture
Main Attractions
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Attractions with more than one million visitors
Disneyland Paris
 Tour Eiffel, Paris
 Louvre Museum, Paris
 Chateau de Versailles
 Musee d’Orsay, Paris
 Arc de Triomphe, Paris
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12,500,000
6,368,537
5,265,000
2,652,292
2,240,808
1,218,113
(1999)
Brief History and Its Influence on
Architecture
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In 120 BC, Romans occupied France.
 Beautiful arenas, villas, thermal-spring baths in towns
Followed by the medieval religious orders
 St Jean Baptistery in Poitiers, the Trinity Chapel on
the Bay of Cannes
1125, Gothic style began in the design of cathedrals
 Such as the ones in Reims, Chartres, Mont-SaintMichel
Renaissance influence
 In the homes and chateaux of the Loire Valley
Paris
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The Latin Quarter (meeting place for intellectuals and
students), on the Left Bank of the Seine River
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Boulevard St. Michel, St. Germain des Pres (oldest church in
Paris), Rue Mouffetard (narrow road full of market stalls
every morning, cafes, patisseries, boulangeries), Luxemburg
Gardens, Pantheon (Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo)
Hotel des Invalides (military museum holding
Napoleon’s tomb)
Eiffel Tower
Lle de la Cie (the island in the Seine, the Cathedral of
Notre Dame)
Bateaux-Mouches (boat trips on Seine)
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Bridges on the Seine ( 36 bridges in Paris, one of the
most beautiful, Port Alexander III)
The Georges Pompidou Center (an example of 1970’s
architecture, inside the building – the Musee National
d’Art Moderne (the world’s largest contemporary-art
museum, Picasso)
Bastille (was site of the prison, July Column in center of
square and modern Opéra de la Bastille, Voltaire)
Louvre Museum (Mona Lisa, more than 350.000 art
work, Rembrandt section), glass pyramid
The Place de la Concorde (3300 year-old Egyptian
obelisk of Rameses III from the temple at Luxor)
Place Vendome, Rue de St. Honore - place of designers
(Hermes, Gucci, etc)
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The old opera house (ceiling repainted by Marc
Chagall), the Avenue de l’Opera
Boulevard des Champs Elysees (with shops,
showrooms, sidewalk cafes, cinemas), the Arc de
Triomphe
Hill of Montmartre, the Sacre Coeur Basilica (nice view
over Paris), Montmartre Cemetery (graves of Degas,
Offenbach, Berlioz)
Cabaret shows (e.g. Moulin Rouge)
Musee d’Orsay (impressionist collection)
La Defense, La Grande Arche (modern part of Paris,
famous with its modern architecture)
Vicinity of Paris
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Chartres
one of Europe’s best known cathedrals
 constructed in pure Gothic style (1194-1225)
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Disneyland Paris
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France’s top tourist attraction, over the Eiffel Tower
and the Louvre
Fontainebleau
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Palace in a huge forest, home of Marie Antoinette,
Napoleon
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Giverny
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home of the impressionist painter Claude Monet,
the beautiful garden he painted
Loire Valley
the valley famous with its chateaux, countryside and
villages
 Usse (home of the Sleeping Beauty legend), Clos
Luce (Leonardo da Vinci lived, died, buried), Azayle-rideau, Chambord, Amboise.
 barge cruises are available to see the valley (e.g.
Burgundy, Canal du Midi, etc.)
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Reims
Principal city of the region where champagne is
produced
 Gothic cathedral (kings of France were crowned)
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Versailles
King Louis XIV
 magnificent halls, the Hall of Mirrors
 big enough to house the king and his 3000 people in
a single building
 famous gardens, Petit Trianon (home-away-fromhome for Queen Marie Antoinette)
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Southeastern France
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Aix-en-Provence
once a Roman spa
 famous with its romantic streets
 studio of painter Paul Cezanne
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Carcassone (famous walled city, only completed
one in Europe)
Arles
on the banks of the Rhone River
 Vincent Van Gogh lived and painted
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Cannes
Cannes Film Festival
 La Croisette, the elegant seaside promenade
 The Palm Beach Casino
 Rue d’Antibes (flower gardens and shopping)
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Marseilles
the second-most populous city in France
 also an industrial port
 examples of ancient and modern architecture (NotreDame-de-la-Garde Cathedral – 19th century basilica)
 Puget sculptures at the town hall, Museum of the
Roman Docks
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Monaco
tiny independent principality
 Visited by gamblers, rich and famous or those who
want to say they have been there
 Casino de Monte Carlo
 beaches, the Oceanographic Museum and Aquarium
(former director Jacques Cousteau), Princess Grace
Rose Garden, the Royal Palace.
 Formula 1 and Tennis Tournament
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Nice
most famous Riviera town
 in summer (beaches and carnival), in winter (festivals)
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has strong cultural heritage (Opera House, the
Chagall Museum, fine-arts museum (Monet, Degas,
Renoir and Rodin collections)
 Promenade des Anglais (very old and exclusive
hotels)
 Cagnes-sur-Mer (villa of Renoir)
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Provence
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famous with restaurants and scenery
The Riviera
also known as the Cote d’Azur
 famous with its beaches
 beautiful drive from Nice to Monaco
 charming towns such as St. Raphael
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St. Tropez
poor beach, nice scenery
 shopping, cafes, some museums, people-watch
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Western France
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Biarritz
major city of the Basque region
 top beach resort for rich, famous and retired, golf
courses, casinos, nightlife
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Bordeaux
wine region
 18th century architecture in city of Bordeaux
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Brittany
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region of seaside towns and villages
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Mont-Saint-Michel
founded in the 11th century
 at high tide, it becomes an island, at low tide, it links
to mainland
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Normandy
full of history, William the Conqueror launched his
invasion of England, Allies landed in World War II
 beautiful scenery, old towns
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Things to Remember
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Museums, chateaux and other historic
monuments (operated by the government) are
closed on Tuesdays
should be avoided in August (weather and
holiday season)
best in May-October (except August)
Hotel des Invalides
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founded in 1671 by Louis XIV as
accommodation for disabled and impoverished
war veterans
the Royal Chapel (church) inside has 107 meters
high dome
remains of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte
(Napoleon I) from St Helena brought in 1840
Jardin de Luxembourg
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most popular park in Paris, near the Sorbonne
University
was design in 1612, in the 19th century opened
for the public
at the center, there is a pond, children can rent
small remote-controlled boats. There is also a
puppet theatre.
popular with chess players
Pantheon
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originally decided to be a basilica to serve as a
tomb
accommodate the remains of the great men of
France – some of the most famous buried here;
Victor Hugo, Jean Monnet, Marie/Pierre Curie,
Emile Zola
Eiffel Tower
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the symbol of Paris
320 meters high, made with 7000 tones of iron,
and 7 million nails, has 1652 steps
the highest building until the completion of the
Chrysler Building in New York in 1930
designed by the engineer Gustave Eiffel in 1889
Notre Dame de Paris
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not the largest cathedral in the world, but maybe
the most famous
construction started in 1163 and completed
around 1340
masterpiece of Gothic art; the first cathedral
built on a monumental scale, became prototype
for future cathedrals in France
has several large rose windows, most impressive
is 21 meters high
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located on the Ile de la Cite, a small island on
Seine (there are three islands on Seine in Paris)
Napoleon Bonaparte was crowned Emperor in
1804
restored between 1991 and 2001
Pont Alexander III
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considered most beautiful bridge in Paris by
many
decorated with lampposts and sculptures of
cherubs and nymphs
each of the ornaments on the bridge was created
by a different artist
in 1896, the first stone was laid by the Russian
Tsar Nicholas II. It was named after his father,
Tsar Alexander III.
Louvre Museum
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one of the largest museums in the world, maybe
the most famous
displays about 300.000 works, among them some
world-famous like the Monalisa from Leonardo
da Vinci is present
the latest addition to the Louvre was the glass
pyramid entrance (one of the finest examples of
a combination of modern and historic
architecture) designed by I. M. Pei
Place de la Concorde
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largest square in Paris (8 hectares)
sculptures stand all around the square
symbolizing eight French cities
In 1792, during the French revolution, a
guillotine was installed at the centre of the
square. 1119 people were beheaded, including
Marie Antoinette.
at the square, there is a 33 century old obelisk
brought back from Luxor in 1833.
Opera Garnier
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most important symbol of 19th century Baroque
style
designed by Charles Garnier for Emperor
Napoleon III
the largest theatre in the world by acreage (not
seating capacity, 2200 seats)
interior is very luxuries, can be compared with
the corridors in Versailles
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construction started in 1862, not completed until
1875, partly because an underground lake was
discovered. The small lake still exists under the
building. It was the hiding place of the
“Phantom of the Opera” in Paul Leroux’s
famous play.
after the modern Opera de Paris Bastille’s
opening in 1989, now mainly used for ballet
performances
its large ceiling was painted by Marc Chagall in
1964
Champs-Elysees
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world’s most beautiful avenue
place of entertainment with cinemas, cafes, also
where prestigious companies have headquarters
Arc de Triomphe
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built in the honor of Napoleonic armies
stands 49 meters high at the center of Place
Charles de Gaulle
adorned with many reliefs, most of them
commemorating previous battles (including
Napoleon’s victory over the Turkish – battle of
Aboukir)
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At the top of the arc, there are 30 shield,
representing one of Napoleon’s successful
battles
12 street radiate from the circular square. The
streets are named after French military leaders
Sacre Couer Basilica
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located on Montmartre, where is known for its
many artists who have been omnipresent since
1880
Roman-Byzantype style basilica, stands in sharp
contrast with other contemporary buildings in
France (Romanesque style)
built as moral condemnation of the signs of
Paris which believed to be the cause of the
defeat of the French army against Prussia in
1870
Musee d’Orsay
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former railway station (Gare d’Orsay)
has one of the most prominent site along Seine
opposite Louvre
built in the beginning of the 20th century, after
30 years, around 1930, platforms became too
short for the trains. In 1939, the place was out
of use as a train station. Over time, it was used
as a parking lot, theatre location, reception
centre for prisoners of war
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in 1978, decided to be used as a museum for
19th and 20th century art – including art forms
of sculptures, photos, films etc. After its
restoration, opened in 1986
contains 2300 paintings, 1500 sculptures, 100
other objects
contains works from Monet, Renoir, Cezanne,
Van Gogh
La Defense
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at the end of the I. World War, plans were made
to develop the axis of the Arc de Triomphe, not
realized because the Great Depression in 1930s.
in 1951, the area was chosen as an office center
in 1958, development of the area was started
now, international business district of Paris
Grande Arche de la Defense; the project was
initiated by the French president Mitterrand who
wanted a XXth century Arc de Triomphe
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106 meters high white building with middle part
left open, sides contain offices, lift can be taken
to the top (a nice view of Paris of 4km further)
Chateau de Versailles
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at the time of Louis XIII, it was a modest
hunting lodge
Louis XIV turned it into a royal palace,
abandoned Louvre for this
until 1789, used as the royal palace
In 1837, decided to be converted into a museum
For More Info
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France
http://www.discoverfrance.net/
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Bridges in Paris
http://www.lcpc.fr/en/sources/paris/index.dml
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Bateaux-Mouches
http://discoverfrance.net/France/Transportation/Water/BateauxMouches.shtml#
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Chateau de Versailles
http://.chateauversailles.fr
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Chapter 4