A COUNTRY FOR LOVERS
This is our 3rd in a series of specials on countries around the world. First we did Ireland (appropriately on St. Patrick's Day), then we did Japan, the Land of the Rising Sun, and now I would like to do a write-up and photographic presentation on FRANCE.
To many people outside of France, I think many people think of France as the country for Lovers. A beautiful and peaceful country where it is very peaceful and romantic. The scenery is incredible and the people are too. Sometimes we think so much of just Paris as the main city, and that is what France looks like all over, but, no, France is a very large country with a large history as well. I am going to take an excerpt from Wikipedia so that we get a good description of what France really is:
During the Iron Age, what is now Metropolitan France was inhabited by the Gauls, a Celtic people. The Gauls were conquered in 51 BC by the Roman Empire, which held Gaul until 486. The Gallo-Romans were superseded by the Germanic Franks, who formed the medieval Kingdom of France. France emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages, with its victory in the Hundred Years' War (1337 to 1453) strengthening state-building and the political centralization. During the Renaissance, France experienced a vast cultural development and established the beginning of a global colonial empire. The 16th century was dominated by religious civil wars between Catholics and Protestants (Huguenots).
France became Europe's dominant cultural, political, and military power under Louis XIV. In the late 18th century, the French Revolution overthrew the absolute monarchy, established one of modern history's earliest republics, and saw the drafting of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which expresses the nation's ideals to this day. Napoleon took power and launched the First French Empire, whose subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a tumultuous succession of governments: the monarchy was restored, it was replaced in 1830 by a constitutional monarchy, then briefly by a Second Republic, and then by a Second Empire, until a more lasting French Third Republic was established in 1870.
During the 19th and early 20th centuries, France possessed the second-largest colonial empire in the world. In World War I, France was one of the victors as part of the Triple Entente alliance fighting against the Central Powers. France was also one of the Allied Powers in World War II, but came under occupation by the Axis Powers in 1940. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and later dissolved in the course of the Algerian War. The Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, was formed in 1958 and remains to this day. Following World War II, most of the French colonial empire became decolonized.
France has long been a global center of culture, making significant contributions to art, science, and philosophy. It hosts Europe's third-largest number of cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites (after Italy and Spain) and receives around 83 million foreign tourists annually, the most of any country in the world. France remains a great power with significant cultural, economic, military, and political influence. It is a developed country with the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest by purchasing power parity. According to Credit Suisse, France is the fourth wealthiest nation in the world in terms of aggregate household wealth. It also possesses the world's largest exclusive economic zone (EEZ), covering 11,691,000 square kilometres (4,514,000 sq mi).
French citizens enjoy a high standard of living, and the country performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, civil liberties, and human development. France is a founding member of the United Nations, where it serves as one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. It is a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Trade Organization (WTO), and La Francophonie. France is a founding and leading member state of the European Union (EU).
When I think of France, I realize that this country has been around a lot longer than the United States of America. The United States has only been around a little over 200 years. And France, yeah, a long, long time. So, I am thinking the old time castles and old architecture and some of those great things of the History of the World, are here in France, right?
Carcassonne Castle, France
Here is some more of what I think France looks like, and I am right:
I have always wondered about the maintenance of having rivers for streets instead of paved roads. These buildings have been standing for many years, in water. Interesting. And the sidewalks run alongside the buildings. This just makes the romance of the city much more fun and enticing.
This is a beautiful island south of France called Evisa . Aha. Most people did not know that France has islands.
Evisa is the smaller island as you see in the Mediterranean ocean. This is one very beautiful
Corsica is one of the 18 regions of France, although it is designated as a territorial collectivity (collectivité territoriale) by law. As a territorial collectivity, Corsica enjoys some greater powers than other French regions but is commonly referred to as a region and is almost always listed among them.
The island formed a single department until it was split in 1975 into two departments: Haute-Corse (Upper Corsica) and Corse-du-Sud (Southern Corsica), with its regional capital in Ajaccio, the prefecture city of Corse-du-Sud. Bastia, the prefecture city of Haute-Corse, is the second-largest settlement in Corsica.
After being ruled by the Republic of Genoa since 1284, Corsica was briefly an independent Corsican Republic from 1755 until it was annexed by France in 1769. Due to Corsica's historical ties with the Italian peninsula, the island retains to this day many elements of the culture of Italy. The native Corsican language, whose northern variant is closely related to the Italian language, is recognised as a regional language by the French government. This Mediterranean island was ruled by various nations over the course of history but had several brief periods of independence.
Napoleon was born in 1769 in the Corsican capital of Ajaccio. His ancestral home, Maison Bonaparte, is today used as a museum.
There are other older castles in France that I was really intrigued with. One of my friends on Facebook sent me this picture of the castle: Ortenbourg Castle
Ortenbourg Castle lies west of the village of Scherwiller in the Bas-Rhin province in France. This area is also known as the Northern Alsace or the Middle Vosges.
The silhouette of Ortenbourg Castle rises up at the entrance of the Lièpvre valley, at the end of a granite peak of the Rittersberg mountain (443 meters high). The well known Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle can easily be seen from the castle.
The construction of Ortenbourg Castle is placed between 1260 and 1265. Its, 35 meters high, impressive pentagonal keep, which had 5 floors, is closely protected by a high curtain wall with lots of niched loopholes. The residential area, which occupies a large space, mainly dates to 1262-1265.
It's baillif; Otto d'Ochsenstein, was the administrator of the Alsatian properties of the royal Habsbourg family. After the death of king Rodolphe de Habsbourg the castle is kept in use by the new king; Adolphe de Nassau. In 1293, Otto has to hand the castle over to the Habsbourgs. To force him they besiege the castle. At great costs the Habsbourgs build a siege castle; Ramstein Castle as an advanced attack post, only a couple of hundred meters to the south. They regain control over Castle Ortenbourg in 1298.
In the 15th century, when the castle has become a den of outlawed knights, the castle is taken, in 1470, by the troops of the Duke of Burgundy. In 1474 the castle is restored in a joint undertaking by its owners and the town of Strasbourg.
From the 16th century the castle started to dilapidate as a result of a lack of maintenance, although it is inhabited until the beginning of the 17th century. In 1633 the Swedes set fire to the castle.
Ortenbourg Castle is definitely my favorite Alsatian castle. It presents some great military architecture, is on a beautiful location and has a great feel. A real must-see if you're in the area. Getting there will require quite a strenous, hour walk, up-hill.
Photo Credit: Fig Sauvage photography
Of course, part of doing this special edition of different countries is a photo gallery of the country. I am enclosing a few great photos of France, the people places that make up France today.
One of the more beautiful streets in France. Got to love it.
Armistice day. Celebrates here in France.
How do you get to 439 vine street?
Is this the Disneyland Castle? I wonder if this is where Walt Disney got his idea from?
Now, that is a lot of boats. I wonder what would happen if they all left at the same time?
Louvre Museum in France. Have you ever seen anything more beautiful? Amazing. I think the trip to France would have to include this museum. Amazing. I am stunned by this photo.
Toure De France.... yes, starts here, so everyone can see the beauty of France. Good choice.
How can you have so much color in one space. Congratulations France on having one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
I could post about a hundred more photos of France. But, seriously, this country is basking in beauty, in rich tradition, in history. If I get a chance to go do some touring of beautiful countries, this would have to be on one of the top of my bucket lists. And I want to say I have some wonderful friends from Facebook here as well, and I am very jealous of your country. You are all beautiful people. And your country is very beautiful too.
Just a side note: I know all countries have their problems, and in recent past, France has been plagued with some serious terrorist problems. My heart goes out to those affected by the tragedies of the bombings, and killings of sick people who want to do harm to a beautiful country and people. I pray, along with many other people in the world, that you will be protected, and you can go on living a peaceful life.