This interim government, established by de Gaulle, aimed to continue to wage war against Germany and to purge collaborators from office. It also made several important reforms suffrage extended to women, creation of a social security system. The GPRF laid the groundwork for a new constitutional order that resulted in the Fourth Republic , which saw spectacular economic growth les Trente Glorieuses.
France was one of the founding members of NATO More than 40, Algerian fell victim to the shooting and strafing, from planes, and armed cars. Between March and September , the electoral victory of the proponents of independence in Madagascar was followed by a savage repression by the French army 18,, mostly Senegalese , troops , resulting in some 90, deaths. Estimates of the number of Vietnamese military and civilian casualties during the war of independence from France range from , dead and , wounded to half a million dead and 1 million wounded. Only months later, France faced another anti-colonialist conflict in Algeria.
Torture and illegal executions were perpetrated by both sides and the debate over whether or not to keep control of Algeria , then home to over one million European settlers ,  wracked the country and nearly led to a coup and civil war. Despite its military victory, France granted independence to Algerians. The war exacted a heavy human toll among the Algerian population. It resulted in some , deaths and 2,, internally displaced Algerians. In the context of the Cold War , de Gaulle pursued a policy of "national independence" towards the Western and Eastern blocs. To this end, he withdrew from NATO 's military integrated command, he launched a nuclear development programme and made France the fourth nuclear power.
He restored cordial Franco-German relations in order to create a European counterweight between the American and Soviet spheres of influence. However, he opposed any development of a supranational Europe , favouring a Europe of sovereign nations. In the wake of the series of worldwide protests of , the revolt of May had an enormous social impact. In France, it is considered to be the watershed moment when a conservative moral ideal religion, patriotism, respect for authority shifted towards a more liberal moral ideal secularism , individualism , sexual revolution. Although the revolt was a political failure as the Gaullist party emerged even stronger than before it announced a split between the French people and de Gaulle who resigned shortly after.
In the post-Gaullist era, France remained one of the most developed economies in the world , but faced several economic crises that resulted in high unemployment rates and increasing public debt. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries France has been at the forefront of the development of a supranational European Union , notably by signing the Maastricht Treaty which created the European Union in , establishing the Eurozone in , and signing the Lisbon Treaty in Since the 19th century France has received many immigrants.
These have been mostly male foreign workers from European Catholic countries who generally returned home when not employed. It resulted in hundreds of thousands of Muslims especially in the larger cities living in subsidised public housing and suffering from very high unemployment rates.
They were encouraged to retain their distinctive cultures and traditions and required merely to integrate. The vast majority of France's territory and population is situated in Western Europe and is called Metropolitan France , to distinguish it from the country's various overseas polities. It is bordered by the North Sea in the north, the English Channel in the northwest, the Atlantic Ocean in the west and the Mediterranean sea in the southeast. It land borders consist of Belgium and Luxembourg in the northeast, Germany and Switzerland in the east, Italy and Monaco in the southeast, and Andorra and Spain in the south and southwest.
With the exception of the northeast, most of France's land borders are roughly delineated by natural boundaries and geographic features: Due to its shape, France is often referred to as l'Hexagone "The Hexagon ". Metropolitan France includes various coastal islands, of which the largest is Corsica. France has several overseas regions across the world, which are organised along different:.
France possesses a wide variety of landscapes, from coastal plains in the north and west to mountain ranges of the Alps in the southeast, the Massif Central in the south central and Pyrenees in the southwest. Metropolitan France has a wide variety of topographical sets and natural landscapes. Large parts of the current territory of France were raised during several tectonic episodes like the Hercynian uplift in the Paleozoic Era, during which the Armorican Massif , the Massif Central , the Morvan , the Vosges and Ardennes ranges and the island of Corsica were formed.
These massifs delineate several sedimentary basins such as the Aquitaine basin in the southwest and the Paris basin in the north, the latter including several areas of particularly fertile ground such as the silt beds of Beauce and Brie. The Alpine, Pyrenean and Jura mountains are much younger and have less eroded forms. The coastlines offer contrasting landscapes: Corsica lies off the Mediterranean coast. Other water courses drain towards the Meuse and Rhine along the north-eastern borders.
Corsica and a small part of the territory bordering the mediterranean basin lies in the Csa and Csb zones. As the French metropolitan territory is relatively large, the climate is not uniform, giving rise to the following climate nuances:. France was one of the first countries to create an environment ministry, in The parks foster ecological research programmes and public education in the natural sciences.
According to the Environmental Performance Index conducted by Yale and Columbia , France was the tenth-most environmentally-conscious country in the world. The French Republic is divided into 18 regions located in Europe and overseas , five overseas collectivities , one overseas territory , one special collectivity — New Caledonia and one uninhabited island directly under the authority of the Minister of Overseas France — Clipperton.
Since France is mainly divided into 18 administrative regions: This number is used in postal codes and was formerly used on vehicle number plates. The departments are subdivided into arrondissements , which are, in turn, subdivided into 2, cantons. The regions, departments and communes are all known as territorial collectivities , meaning they possess local assemblies as well as an executive.
Arrondissements and cantons are merely administrative divisions. However, this was not always the case. Until , the arrondissements were territorial collectivities with an elected assembly, but these were suspended by the Vichy regime and definitely abolished by the Fourth Republic in Overseas collectivities and territories form part of the French Republic, but do not form part of the European Union or its fiscal area with the exception of St. Bartelemy, which seceded from Guadeloupe in In contrast, the five overseas regions used the French franc and now use the euro.
The French Republic is a unitary semi-presidential representative democratic republic with strong democratic traditions. The executive branch itself has two leaders: Senators are chosen by an electoral college for 6-year terms originally 9-year terms , and one half of the seats are submitted to election every 3 years starting in September The Senate's legislative powers are limited; in the event of disagreement between the two chambers, the National Assembly has the final say. Since World War II, they were marginalized while French politics became characterised by two politically opposed groupings: In the presidential and legislative elections, radical centrist party En Marche!
France uses a civil legal system;  that is, law arises primarily from written statutes; judges are not to make law, but merely to interpret it though the amount of judicial interpretation in certain areas makes it equivalent to case law. Basic principles of the rule of law were laid in the Napoleonic Code which was, in turn, largely based on the royal law codified under Louis XIV. In agreement with the principles of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, law should only prohibit actions detrimental to society.
As Guy Canivet , first president of the Court of Cassation , wrote about the management of prisons: Freedom is the rule, and its restriction is the exception; any restriction of Freedom must be provided for by Law and must follow the principles of necessity and proportionality. That is, Law should lay out prohibitions only if they are needed, and if the inconveniences caused by this restriction do not exceed the inconveniences that the prohibition is supposed to remedy. French law is divided into two principal areas: Private law includes, in particular, civil law and criminal law.
Public law includes, in particular, administrative law and constitutional law. However, in practical terms, French law comprises three principal areas of law: Criminal laws can only address the future and not the past criminal ex post facto laws are prohibited. France does not recognise religious law as a motivation for the enactment of prohibitions. France has long had neither blasphemy laws nor sodomy laws the latter being abolished in Since , civil unions for homosexual couples are permitted, and since May , same-sex marriage and LGBT adoption are legal in France.
Some consider however that hate speech laws in France are too broad or severe and damage freedom of speech. Freedom of religion is constitutionally guaranteed by the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. Nonetheless, it does recognize religious associations. The Parliament has listed many religious movements as dangerous cults since , and has banned wearing conspicuous religious symbols in schools since In , it banned the wearing of face-covering Islamic veils in public ; human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch described the law as discriminatory towards Muslims.
France is a founding member of the United Nations and serves as one of the permanent members of the UN Security Council with veto rights. Postwar French foreign policy has been largely shaped by membership of the European Union, of which it was a founding member. Since the s , France has developed close ties with reunified Germany to become the most influential driving force of the EU.
However, since , France has maintained an " Entente cordiale " with the United Kingdom , and there has been a strengthening of links between the countries, especially militarily. France is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation NATO , but under President de Gaulle, it excluded itself from the joint military command to protest the special relationship between the United States and Britain and to preserve the independence of French foreign and security policies.
However, as a result of Nicolas Sarkozy's pro-American politics much criticised in France by the leftists and by a part of the right , France rejoined the NATO joint military command on 4 April In the early s, the country drew considerable criticism from other nations for its underground nuclear tests in French Polynesia. In , France was the fourth-largest in absolute terms donor of development aid in the world, behind the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany. Together they are among the largest armed forces in the world and the largest in the EU. While the Gendarmerie is an integral part of the French armed forces gendarmes are career soldiers , and therefore under the purview of the Ministry of the Armed Forces , it is operationally attached to the Ministry of the Interior as far as its civil police duties are concerned.
When acting as general purpose police force, the Gendarmerie encompasses the counter terrorist units of the Parachute Intervention Squadron of the National Gendarmerie Escadron Parachutiste d'Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale , the National Gendarmerie Intervention Group Groupe d'Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale , the Search Sections of the National Gendarmerie Sections de Recherche de la Gendarmerie Nationale , responsible for criminal enquiries, and the Mobile Brigades of the National Gendarmerie Brigades mobiles de la Gendarmerie Nationale , or in short Gendarmerie mobile which have the task to maintain public order.
The following special units are also part of the Gendarmerie: There has been no national conscription since France has a special military corps, the French Foreign Legion , founded in , which consists of foreign nationals from over countries who are willing to serve in the French Armed Forces and become French citizens after the end of their service period.
The only other countries having similar units are Spain the Spanish Foreign Legion, called Tercio , was founded in and Luxembourg foreigners can serve in the National Army provided they speak Luxembourgish. France is a permanent member of the Security Council of the UN , and a recognised nuclear state since French nuclear deterrence, formerly known as " Force de Frappe " , relies on complete independence. The current French nuclear force consists of four Triomphant class submarines equipped with submarine-launched ballistic missiles. France has major military industries with one of the largest aerospace industries in the world.
France is a major arms seller,   with most of its arsenal's designs available for the export market with the notable exception of nuclear-powered devices. Other smaller parades are organised across the country. The Government of France has run a budget deficit each year since the early s.
As of [update] , French government debt levels reached 2. A member of the Group of Seven formerly Group of Eight leading industrialised countries, as of [update] , it is ranked as the world's ninth largest and the EU's second largest economy by purchasing power parity. France has a mixed economy that combines extensive private enterprise   with substantial state enterprise and government intervention.
The government retains considerable influence over key segments of infrastructure sectors, with majority ownership of railway, electricity, aircraft, nuclear power and telecommunications. As of [update] , the World Trade Organization WTO reported France was the world's sixth largest exporter and the fourth largest importer of manufactured goods. Financial services, banking and the insurance sector are an important part of the economy.
Three largest financial institutions cooperatively owned by their customers are located in France. France is a member of the Eurozone around million consumers which is part of the European Single Market more than million consumers. Several domestic commercial policies are determined by agreements among European Union EU members and by EU legislation.
France introduced the common European currency, the Euro in French companies have maintained key positions in the insurance and banking industries: AXA is the world's largest insurance company. France has historically been a large producer of agricultural products. Wheat, poultry, dairy, beef, and pork, as well as internationally recognised processed foods are the primary French agricultural exports.
Agriculture is an important sector of France's economy: It is third in income from tourism due to shorter duration of visits. France, especially Paris, has some of the world's largest and renowned museums, including the Louvre , which is the most visited art museum in the world 5. Disneyland Paris is Europe's most popular theme park, with 15 million combined visitors to the resort's Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park in With more than 10 millions tourists a year, the French Riviera French: With 6 millions tourists a year, the castles of the Loire Valley French: France has 37 sites inscribed in UNESCO's World Heritage List and features cities of high cultural interest, beaches and seaside resorts, ski resorts, and rural regions that many enjoy for their beauty and tranquillity green tourism.
The " Remarkable Gardens " label is a list of the over gardens classified by the French Ministry of Culture. This label is intended to protect and promote remarkable gardens and parks. France attracts many religious pilgrims on their way to St. France is the smallest emitter of carbon dioxide among the G8 , due to its heavy investment in nuclear power. Rail connections exist to all other neighbouring countries in Europe, except Andorra. French roads also handle substantial international traffic, connecting with cities in neighbouring Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Andorra and Monaco.
There is no annual registration fee or road tax ; however, usage of the mostly privately owned motorways is through tolls except in the vicinity of large communes. There are airports in France. Air France is the national carrier airline, although numerous private airline companies provide domestic and international travel services.
There are ten major ports in France, the largest of which is in Marseille ,  which also is the largest bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Since the Middle Ages , France has been a major contributor to scientific and technological achievement. Around the beginning of the 11th century, Pope Sylvester II , born Gerbert d'Aurillac, reintroduced the abacus and armillary sphere , and introduced Arabic numerals and clocks to Northern and Western Europe. They were both key figures of the Scientific revolution , which blossomed in Europe during this period. It was at the forefront of scientific developments in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries.
It is one of the earliest academies of sciences. Other eminent French scientists of the 19th century have their names inscribed on the Eiffel Tower. Hand transplantation was developed on 23 September in Lyon by a team assembled from different countries around the world including Jean-Michel Dubernard who, shortly thereafter, performed the first successful double hand transplant. France was the fourth country to achieve nuclear capability  and has the third largest nuclear weapons arsenal in the world.
It also owns Minatec , Europe's leading nanotechnology research center. The TGV has been the fastest wheeled train in commercial use since reaching a speed of As of [update] , 69 French people have been awarded a Nobel Prize  and 12 have received the Fields Medal. With an estimated total population of France is also second most populous country in the European Union after Germany. France is an outlier among developed countries in general, and European countries in particular, in having a fairly high rate of natural population growth: This was the highest rate since the end of the baby boom in , and coincides with the rise of the total fertility rate from a nadir of 1.
As of January [update] the fertility rate was 1. Large-scale immigration over the last century and a half has led to a more multicultural society. A law originating from the revolution and reaffirmed in the French Constitution makes it illegal for the French state to collect data on ethnicity and ancestry. There are also sizeable minorities of other European ethnic groups , namely Spanish , Portuguese , Polish , and Greek.
France has a significant Gypsy Gitan population, numbering between 20, and , France remains a major destination for immigrants, accepting about , legal immigrants annually. Thus, nearly a fifth of the country's population were either first or second-generation immigrants, of which more than 5 million were of European origin and 4 million of Maghrebi ancestry. According to the French Institute, this increase resulting from the financial crisis that hit several European countries in that period, has pushed up the number of Europeans installed in France.
France is a highly urbanized country, with its largest cities in terms of metropolitan area population in  being Paris 12,, inh. There are significant differences between the metropolitan population figures just cited and those in the following table, which only include the core population. Rural flight was a perennial political issue throughout most of the 20th century. According to Article 2 of the Constitution, the official language of France is French,  a Romance language derived from Latin. The French government does not regulate the choice of language in publications by individuals but the use of French is required by law in commercial and workplace communications.
In addition to mandating the use of French in the territory of the Republic, the French government tries to promote French in the European Union and globally through institutions such as La Francophonie. The perceived threat from anglicisation has prompted efforts to safeguard the position of the French language in France. Besides French, there exist 77 vernacular minority languages of France, eight spoken in French metropolitan territory and 69 in the French overseas territories.
From the 17th to the midth century, French served as the pre-eminent international language of diplomacy and international affairs as well as a lingua franca among the educated classes of Europe. For most of the time in which French served as an international lingua franca, it was not the native language of most Frenchmen: As a result of France's extensive colonial ambitions between the 17th and 20th centuries, French was introduced to the Americas, Africa, Polynesia, South-East Asia, and the Caribbean.
French is the second most studied foreign language in the world after English,  and is a lingua franca in some regions, notably in Africa. The legacy of French as a living language outside Europe is mixed: On the other hand, many former French colonies have adopted French as an official language, and the total number of French speakers is increasing, especially in Africa.
It is estimated that between million  and million  people worldwide can speak French, either as a mother tongue or a second language. According to the Adult Education survey, part of a project by the European Union and carried in France by the Insee and based on a sample of 15, persons, French was the first mother tongue of People who had other languages as their mother tongue made up the 5.
Religion in France . France is a secular country, and freedom of religion is a constitutional right. Catholicism has been the predominant religion in France for more than a millennium, though it is not as actively practised today as it was. In some cases clergy and churches were attacked, with iconoclasm stripping the churches of statues and ornament. It recognises religious organisations according to formal legal criteria that do not address religious doctrine. Conversely, religious organisations are expected to refrain from intervening in policy-making.
Secte is considered a pejorative term in France. The French health care system is one of universal health care largely financed by government national health insurance. In its assessment of world health care systems, the World Health Organization found that France provided the "close to best overall health care" in the world. Average life expectancy at birth is 78 years for men and 85 years for women, one of the highest of the European Union and the World.
Even if the French have the reputation of being one of the thinnest people in developed countries,       France—like other rich countries—faces an increasing and recent epidemic of obesity , due mostly to the replacement in French eating habits of traditional healthy French cuisine by junk food.
Rates of childhood obesity are slowing in France, while continuing to grow in other countries. Nowadays, the schooling system in France is centralised, and is composed of three stages, primary education, secondary education, and higher education. In France, education is compulsory from six to sixteen years old, and the public school is secular and free. While training and remuneration of teachers and the curriculum are the responsibility of the state centrally, the management of primary and secondary schools is overseen by local authorities.
Nursery school aims to stimulate the minds of very young children and promote their socialisation and development of a basic grasp of language and number. Around the age of six, children transfer to elementary school, whose primary objectives are learning about writing, arithmetic and citizenship. Secondary education also consists of two phases. Health insurance for students is free until the age of France has been a centre of Western cultural development for centuries.
Many French artists have been among the most renowned of their time, and France is still recognised in the world for its rich cultural tradition. The successive political regimes have always promoted artistic creation, and the creation of the Ministry of Culture in helped preserve the cultural heritage of the country and make it available to the public. The Ministry of Culture has been very active since its creation, granting subsidies to artists, promoting French culture in the world, supporting festivals and cultural events, protecting historical monuments. The French government also succeeded in maintaining a cultural exception to defend audiovisual products made in the country.
France receives the highest number of tourists per year, largely thanks to the numerous cultural establishments and historical buildings implanted all over the territory. The 43, buildings protected as historical monuments include mainly residences many castles and religious buildings cathedrals , basilicas , churches , but also statutes, memorials and gardens. The origins of French art were very much influenced by Flemish art and by Italian art at the time of the Renaissance. Jean Fouquet , the most famous medieval French painter, is said to have been the first to travel to Italy and experience the Early Renaissance at first hand.
The Renaissance painting School of Fontainebleau was directly inspired by Italian painters such as Primaticcio and Rosso Fiorentino , who both worked in France. The 17th century was the period when French painting became prominent and individualised itself through classicism. In the second part of the 19th century, France's influence over painting became even more important, with the development of new styles of painting such as Impressionism and Symbolism. Many museums in France are entirely or partly devoted to sculptures and painting works.
During the Middle Ages, many fortified castles were built by feudal nobles to mark their powers. During this era, France had been using Romanesque architecture like most of Western Europe. Some of the greatest examples of Romanesque churches in France are the Saint Sernin Basilica in Toulouse , the largest romanesque church in Europe,  and the remains of the Cluniac Abbey.
The kings were crowned in another important Gothic church: The final victory in the Hundred Years' War marked an important stage in the evolution of French architecture. Following the renaissance and the end of the Middle Ages, Baroque architecture replaced the traditional Gothic style.
However, in France, baroque architecture found a greater success in the secular domain than in a religious one. Jules Hardouin Mansart , who designed the extensions to Versailles, was one of the most influential French architect of the baroque era; he is famous for his dome at Les Invalides. On the military architectural side, Vauban designed some of the most efficient fortresses in Europe and became an influential military architect; as a result, imitations of his works can be found all over Europe, the Americas, Russia and Turkey.
After the Revolution, the Republicans favoured Neoclassicism although neoclassicism was introduced in France prior to the revolution with such building as the Parisian Pantheon or the Capitole de Toulouse. Under Napoleon III , a new wave of urbanism and architecture was given birth; extravagant buildings such as the neo-baroque Palais Garnier were built.
The urban planning of the time was very organised and rigorous; for example, Haussmann's renovation of Paris. The architecture associated to this era is named Second Empire in English, the term being taken from the Second French Empire. In the late 19th century, Gustave Eiffel designed many bridges, such as Garabit viaduct , and remains one of the most influential bridge designers of his time, although he is best remembered for the iconic Eiffel Tower.
More recently, French architects have combined both modern and old architectural styles. The Louvre Pyramid is an example of modern architecture added to an older building. The most difficult buildings to integrate within French cities are skyscrapers, as they are visible from afar. For instance, in Paris, since , new buildings had to be under 37 meters feet.
The earliest French literature dates from the Middle Ages , when what is now known as modern France did not have a single, uniform language.
BACRI Nicolas () | Centre de documentation de la musique contemporaine
There were several languages and dialects and writers used their own spelling and grammar. Much medieval French poetry and literature were inspired by the legends of the Matter of France , such as The Song of Roland and the various chansons de geste. The Roman de Renart , written in by Perrout de Saint Cloude, tells the story of the mediaeval character Reynard 'the Fox' and is another example of early French writing.
Michel de Montaigne was the other major figure of the French literature during that century. His most famous work, Essais , created the literary genre of the essay. Generations of French pupils had to learn his fables, that were seen as helping teaching wisdom and common sense to the young people. French literature and poetry flourished even more in the 18th and 19th centuries.
During that same century, Charles Perrault was a prolific writer of famous children's fairy tales including Puss in Boots , Cinderella , Sleeping Beauty and Bluebeard. The 19th century saw the writings of many renowned French authors. Victor Hugo is sometimes seen as "the greatest French writer of all times"  for excelling in all literary genres. The preface of his play Cromwell is considered to be the manifesto of the Romantic movement. The Prix Goncourt is a French literary prize first awarded in Medieval philosophy was dominated by Scholasticism until the emergence of Humanism in the Renaissance.
Descartes revitalised Western philosophy , which had been declined after the Greek and Roman eras. French philosophers produced some of the most important political works of the Age of Enlightenment. In The Spirit of the Laws , Baron de Montesquieu theorised the principle of separation of powers , which has been implemented in all liberal democracies since it was first applied in the United States. Voltaire came to embody the Enlightenment with his defence of civil liberties, such as the right to a free trial and freedom of religion.
In the 20th century, partly as a reaction to the perceived excesses of positivism, French spiritualism thrived with thinkers such as Henri Bergson and it influenced American pragmatism and Whitehead 's version of process philosophy. France has a long and varied musical history. It experienced a golden age in the 17th century thanks to Louis XIV, who employed a number of talented musicians and composers in the royal court.
After the death of the "Roi Soleil", French musical creation lost dynamism, but in the next century the music of Jean-Philippe Rameau reached some prestige, and today he is still one of the most renowned French composers. Rameau became the dominant composer of French opera and the leading French composer for the harpsichord. French composers played an important role during the music of the 19th and early 20th century, which is considered to be the Romantic music era. Romantic music emphasised a surrender to nature, a fascination with the past and the supernatural, the exploration of unusual, strange and surprising sounds, and a focus on national identity.
This period was also a golden age for operas. French composers from the Romantic era included: Later came precursors of modern classical music. Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy are the most prominent figures associated with Impressionist music. Debussy was among the most influential composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and his use of non-traditional scales and chromaticism influenced many composers who followed. The pointed arches were stronger than the earlier Romanesque arches , and carried the weight of the roof outwards and downwards to rows of pillars, and out to the abutments against the walls.
Construction of the choir took from until around The High Altar was consecrated in Between and the first three traverses of the nave were built up to the level of tribunes. Beginning in , the bases of the facade were put in place, and the first traverses were completed. The decision was made to add a transept at the choir, where the altar was located, in order to bring more light into the center of the church. The use of simpler four-part rather than six-part rib vaults meant that the roofs were stronger and could be higher.
After Bishop Maurice de Sully's death in , his successor, Eudes de Sully unrelated to the previous Bishop oversaw the completion of the transepts , and continued work on the nave , which was nearing completion at the time of his own death in By this time, the western facade was already largely built, though it was not completed until around the mids.
Between and the upper gallery of the nave was constructed, along with the two towers on the west facade. Another significant change came in the mid 13th century, when the transepts were remodeled in the latest Rayonnant style; in the late s Jean de Chelles added a gabled portal to the north transept topped off by a spectacular rose window. Shortly afterwards from Pierre de Montreuil executed a similar scheme on the southern transept.
Both these transept portals were richly embellished with sculpture; the south portal features scenes from the lives of St Stephen and of various local saints, while the north portal featured the infancy of Christ and the story of Theophilus in the tympanum, with a highly influential statue of the Virgin and Child in the trumeau. An important innovation in the 13th century was the introduction of the flying buttress.
Before the buttresses, all of the weight of the roof pressed outward and down to the walls, and the abutments supporting them. With the flying buttress, the weight was carried by the ribs of the vault entirely outside the structure to a series of counter-supports, which were topped with stone pinnacles which gave them greater weight. The buttresses meant that the walls could be higher and thinner, and could have much larger windows.
The date of the first buttresses is not known with any precision; they were installed some time in the 13th century. The first buttresses were replaced by larger and stronger ones in the 14th century; these had a reach of fifteen meters between the walls and counter-supports. Portals and nave to the left, choir in the center, and apse and ambulatory to the right.
Early six-part rib vaults of the nave. The ribs transferred the thrust of the weight of the roof downward and outwards to the pillars and the supporting buttresses. Later flying buttresses of the apse of Notre-Dame 14th century reached 15 meters from the wall to the counter-supports. In , rioting Huguenots damaged some of the statues of Notre-Dame, considering them idolatrous.
The sanctuary was re-arranged; the choir was largely rebuilt in marble, and many of the stained glass windows from the 12th and 13th century were removed and replaced with white glass windows, to bring more light into the church. A colossal statue of St Christopher, standing against a pillar near the western entrance and dating from , was destroyed in The spire, which had been damaged by the wind, was removed in the second part of the 18th century. In , during the French Revolution , the cathedral was rededicated to the Cult of Reason , and then to the Cult of the Supreme Being.
During this time, many of the treasures of the cathedral were either destroyed or plundered. The twenty-eight statues of biblical kings located at the west facade, mistaken for statues of French kings, were beheaded.
For a time the Goddess of Liberty replaced the Virgin Mary on several altars. All of the other large statues on the facade, with the exception of the statue of the Virgin Mary on the portal of the cloister, were destroyed. In July , the new ruler, Napoleon Bonaparte , signed an agreement to restore the cathedral to the Church. It was formally transferred on April 18, It was the setting of Napoleon's coronation as Emperor on December 2, , and of his marriage to Marie-Louise of Austria in The cathedral was functioning in the early 19th century, but was half-ruined inside and battered without.
In King Louis Philippe ordered that the church be restored. They supervised a large team of sculptors, glass makers and other craftsmen who remade, working from drawings or engravings, the original decoration, or, if they did not have a model, adding new elements they felt were in the spirit of the original style.
The restoration lasted twenty five years. During the liberation of Paris in August , the cathedral suffered some minor damage from stray bullets. Some of the medieval glass was damaged, and was replaced by glass with modern abstract designs. Stones damaged by air pollution were replaced, and a discreet system of electrical wires, not visible from below, was installed on the roof to deter pigeons. Another major cleaning and restoration program was commenced in Statue of Thomas the Apostle , with the features of restorer Viollet-le-Duc, at the base of the spire.
The two towers are sixty-nine meters high, and were the tallest structures in Paris until the completion of the Eiffel Tower in The towers were the last major element of the Cathedral to be constructed. The south tower was built first, between and , and the north tower between and The newer north tower is slightly larger, as can be seen when they viewed from directly in front of the church. The contrefort or buttress of the north tower is also larger. The north tower is accessible to visitors by a stairway, whose entrance is on the north side of the tower. The stairway has steps, and has a stop at the Gothic hall at the level of the rose window, where visitors can look over the parvis and see a collection of paintings and sculpture from earlier periods of the Cathedral's history.
A water reservoir, covered with a lead roof, is located between the two towers, behind the colonnade and the gallery and in front of the nave and the pignon. It can be used to quickly extinguish a fire. The original spire was constructed in the 13th century, probably between and It was battered, weakened and bent by the wind over five centuries, and finally was removed in The entire spire weighs tons. Following Viollet-le-Duc's plans, the spire is surrounded by copper statues of the twelve Apostles , in four groups of three, one group at each point of the compass.
Each of the four groups is preceded by an animal symbolizing one of the four evangelists; a steer for Saint Luke; a Lion for Saint Mark, an Eagle for Saint John; and angel for Saint Matthew. All of the statues are looking at Paris, except one; the statue of Saint Thomas, the patron saint of architects, is looking at the spire, and has the features of Viollet-le-Duc. The rooster at the summit of the spire contains three relics; a tiny piece of the Crown of Thorns , located in the treasury of the Cathedral; and relics of Denis and Saint Genevieve , patron saints of Paris.
They were placed there in by the Archibishop Verdier, to protect the congregation from lightning or other harm. Illustration of the Last Judgement , central portal of west facade. The martyr Saint Denis , holding his head, over the Portal of the Virgin. The serpent tempts Adam and Eve; part of the Last Judgement on the central portal of west facade.
Archangel Michael and Satan weighing souls during the Last Judgement central portal, west facade. Gargoyles were the rainspouts of the Cathedral. The audience will be able to see the short Comedy twice--in French and then in English. Honorariums are provided for all artists at California Stage. Santa Rosa for information; Lic. When not performing solo Henri-Pierre Koubaka leads a band which often incorporates a variety of instruments such as balafon, violin , cello, bass. This large ensemble may also feature dancers while the unavoidable percussion section contributes secular and spiritual rhythms.
Pour les petits comme pour les grands, des posters pour chacun. Posters2France a lire en francais: Posters de France , http: Vous y trouverez aussi Babar, le petit Prince, Tintin et les vieilles publicites francaises. Distributor is a local San Franciscan. Interested in speaking French with others? All levels are welcome to this informal gathering. Cafe Society, Main Street, Napa.
Call for additional information Join "le petit groupe" in San Francisco. First Monday of the month: Networking plus speaker plus buffet for more info, register at: Second Monday of the month: Contact Len Rogers, Berger Center, Oakmont Drive. Every other Tuesday afternoon: Every other Tuesday at 5: Please call for information on how to become a member of our French Club.
Call Sue Phillips Copperfield's Annex, Gravenstein Highway North. For information, call Madeleine For more information, please email Keith at mwforw yahoo. Call Marty Montague at First Wednesday of the month: Pearson's cafe stays open just for francophones on the first Wednesday of the month. You can purchase wine, beer or coffee during that time; dinner is available until 7pm.
Second Wednesday evening of each month: Marin, a San Rafael retirement residence, has a French table; if you are fairly fluent and would like to dine at the French table, call Raymonde Kaplan at Subtitled French film shown after dinner. Second Thursday of the month: Third Thursday of every month: Une fois par mois, le 3eme jeudi, nous nous rencontrons pour parler francais a la fortune du pot, autour d'un pot, a partir de 18h30 jusqu'a environ 21h.
Every Third Thursday PM. For additional information, please contact Susan Hewitt Join us with your young ones in one of SF's parks or in a home for this French playgroup. We meet Fridays around 4pm. French salons in Glen Ellen for advanced students, first and third Fridays of the month, 6 to 7: Small groups starting in February. For more information and to reserve, call Second Saturday of the month: Last Saturday of the month: For meeting place and time, call Fabienne, If interested, bring a picnic. Last Saturday of each month.
A growing group of parents and children have started meeting the last Saturday of each month for play time and French conversation at a local park. Not all the children speak French, but they all like to play and will benefit from hearing the language. For more information, call Evelyn at or email to sonprov sonic. We welcome all who wish to converse in French: Come and join us. For any questions, email vakaruru hotmail. Fourth Sunday of the month. The International School of the Peninsula located in Palo Alto is offering extensive adult language classes and children's after-school program.
For adults we offer separate classes for varying proficiency levels for each language: The next week session starts on Monday, February 2, , enrollment starting early January. Join our Open House on Saturday, January 24, from For children in grades pre-K-8th offering a great selection of after-school activities such as art class, chess, Chinese dance, chorus, basketball, soccer, and language classes Arabic, French, Mandarin Chinese, Italian, Russian and Spanish. The new semester starts on Monday, February 2, , enrollment starting on Tuesday, January 19, Jean et Marie is proud to announce to offer its French immersion program for kids in its playroom, Maisonette.
Language study is best started when very young, and that's why we decided to offer this opportunity to little ones as young as 2. Activities for each hour-and-a-half class include games, singing and dancing, puppets, drawing, and storytelling, all in French. For more information, come by the store, at Clement Street, see: Beginning April 26, Monday, April 26 through Friday, April 30, Morning: Level 5 or 6.
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Monday, April 26 through Thursday, April 29 Morning: April 29 - May 6, May , OR July August 25, Through May 12, All workshops are in French unless indicated otherwise. The level of each workshop is indicated according to group class levels see schedule. Please do not hesitate to call if you have any questions Discounts, make-up classes or credits do not apply to workshops.
No refund or credit for missed workshops. Courses in pronunciation, phonetics, grammar, prepositions, sentence structure, subjunctive, history of the French language, Toulouse-Lautrec, and more! Workshops taught by Dominique Bremond or Renee Morel. March May 12, Beginning through Advanced French daytime classes taught by Maritza Pick. Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd. Journeys for the intellectually curious traveler, including trips to the south of France.
The 14th century Moulin de La Toulzanie. Visits to traditional producers, architectural gems, cave paintings. Jim Wisnowski, Chicago artist, workshop leader on 3 continents. Jeffrey Greene, author, French Spirits;award-winning poet, teacher. Sandra Melone, Executive Dr. Hermine Mercadie, psychoanalyste a Toulouse. Antoinette Constable, Parisienne and Californian, award-winning poet and chef with her own catering business in the San Francisco Bay Area.
July 1-July 31, Thomas Blair, tblair ccsf. All you have to do is call her at or send her an e-mail at http: Just call Dominique and let her know what you would like to find on your tape and she will make a tape just for you.