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Know France

9 December 2016

  • Know France
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The French Republic is one of the oldest countries in Europe, featuring culturally and archaeologically significant cities.

The country was at the centre of historical and cultural revolution as well as intellectual development throughout Medieval Europe. After the French Revolution in 1799, France officially became a Republic after centuries of absolute monarchy.

Modern France is the largest European Union country that still retains 15 overseas territories. Still considered as French sovereignties, these territories include Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Reunion and Mayotte.

France is famed for its forward-thinking culture especially in food, fashion and architecture. Based on the CIA World Factbook, the country relies on services (78.8%), industry (19.5%) and agriculture (1.7%) to grow its economy. France is one of the largest exporters of luxury goods in the world, fostering an economy that is second to Germany. France is home to top luxury brands such as Cartier, Chanel, Hermes and Louis Vuitton.

The services and industry sectors in France are usually interrelated. The country’s main exports include aircraft, food, chemicals, industrial machinery, iron and steel, electronics, motor vehicles and pharmaceuticals.

Its mixed economy combines private enterprises with state industries and government-controlled businesses. The French government maintains considerable influence on key infrastructure such as railway, telecommunications, aircraft, electricity and nuclear power.

French workplaces are famous for work-life balance whereby employees retire earlier than in most other European countries. The working culture in France requires a high attention to detail and is guided by hierarchy, traditions and precision. Nonetheless, work hours are limited to 35 hours per week to ensure that workers remain alert and productive.

France is the world’s most-visited tourist destination, receiving more than 84 million foreign tourists per year. This enables the country to maintain the third largest income from the world’s tourism business.

Main tourist destinations include Paris, French Riviera, Provence and Loire Valley. The country has 37 sites listed under the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in addition to its numerous seaside, mountain and rural attractions.

The Eiffel Tower is the country’s iconic landmark that also serves as a symbol for the capital city, Paris. It was built by Gustave Eiffel in 1889 and is the highest building in the city at 324 meters.

Paris is home to some of the most extensive museums in the country. The Louvre Museum attracts the highest volume of visitors and is a global centre for art, science and philosophy. France has also produced some of the world’s most influential writers including Descartes, Pascal, Voltaire, Baudelaire, Flaubert, Sartre and Camus.

Sport enthusiasts can witness and take part in the country’s famous sports events including the Tour de France, Monaco Grand Prix and the Paris Marathon. On the other hand, history buffs can grab the opportunity to explore the country’s medieval past by visiting French castles and reliving life in the Middle Ages.

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