France is officially known as the French Republic and
has population of approximately 65 million. The country is bordered
by Spain, Andorra, Italy, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Belgium, the
Mediterranean, the Bay of Biscay and the English Channel. Paris is its
largest city and capital. Human habitation is recorded in France for
more than 1 million years and has includes the Greeks, Celtic Gauls,
Romans, Germanic tribes and Vikings. The first king of France was
crowned in 987 and the last was Louis the XVI who was beheaded after the
Storming of the Bastille in 1789. This was followed by Napoleon's
rule as emperor. Napoleon was defeated in 1815 at the Battle of
Waterloo. In the 1800s France was an international power and their
presence in Africa through the French Foreign Legion is legendary.
In the 20th century Charles de Gaulle dominated politics with his catch
phrase, "Vive la France."
France is a popular tourist destination, with pleasant
summers and excellent skiing in the Alps in the winter. Its
infrastructure in sub-ways and high speed trains makes travel by rail the
preferred mode of transportation.
The Euro has replaced the French franc as the currency of
France participates in the Schengen
Zone and Schengen Visa requirements. That means there
are no border controls between members and no border inspections by
rail or vehicle when traveling from France to Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Luxembourg or
Belgium. Some countries that are not
members of the Schengen Zone require a Schengen Visa to enter Europe. More
than 40 countries outside the Schengen Zone do not require a visa.
Exemptions include citizens of Australia,
Canada, Mexico, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United
States. For a list of
exempt countries and requirements, refer to France
Diplomatie or check your specific country at VisaHQ.
For a list of exempt countries, visit Project