State of Western Europe bathe on the west by the Atlantic Ocean and south by the Mediterranean, France is bounded to the south by Spain, southeast by Italy in the east of Switzerland, Germany and Luxembourg, on the north by Belgique. Le French territory is divided into 21 regions and the island of Corsica, with a special status, which are divided between 96 departments.
Type of State: Republic in semi-presidential system
Head of state: François Hollande
Head of government: Manuel Valls
Effective: October 4, 1958
Revision: 1962, 2000, 2003
Main cities: Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse, Nice, Nantes, Strasbourg, Montpellier, Bordeaux, Lille.
National Day: July 14
Density: 98.8 km2
Natural Increase: 0.4%
Fertility rate: 1.96 children per ♀
Birth rate: 12.0 ‰
Death rate: 9.0 ‰
Infant mortality rate: 3.7 ‰
Life expectancy at birth: 82.1 years
GDP (PPP) (2014): an increase of $ 2 billion 580.750 + 1.82% (9)
Nominal GDP per capita. (2014): increasing 44 $ 538.147 + 0.98% (20th)
GDP (PPP) per capita. (2014): increasing 40 $ 374.529 1.4% (25th)
Unemployment rate (2014): 10,200% of pop.active – 0.65%
Government gross debt (2014): Nominal: 2 037.800 billion € + 4.32%
Relative: 95.140% of GDP + 2.95%
HDI (2013) 0.884 (very high2) (20th)
Currency: Euro and Franc
Prehistoric men had settled in France. The most famous is the man of Cro-Magnon. The cave of Lascaux is known as the “Sistine Chapel” of the Paleolithic ages.
French history books say that the first inhabitants of France were the Gauls. Little is known about the Gauls for they did not know how to read or write. In fact, the Romans had given the name of Gallia to the region occupied by the Celts, the Belgians and the Aquitanians (South West),
Levels of developments were very diverse in Gaul. The south of France had had a lot of contacts with the Romans and the Greeks. To that extent the invasion by the romans seemed natural. They did not call it a colony but “the Province”, as it was so alike the peninsula. Over the centuries it became to be known as “Provence”.
Going up north, the Romans found more opposition by bellicose tribes of Celts and Germans.
Julius Caesar conquered and pacified the whole of Gaul. Over the following 5 centuries, the Gallo-Roman culture developed.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, Germanic tribes, known as the Franks, took power and created the first Kingdoms. The name France did not exist yet. They were the Kings of Franks.
The first French Emperor, Charlemagne, Carolus Magnus, Charles the Great, was crowned in Aix-la-Chapelle, or Aachen in German. He became Emperor in 800 AD and united most of Western Europe? French for the French, German for the Germans, he was mostly Emperor of the Franks. After his death, his sons parted the Kingdom.
Fights continued between the descendants of Charles the Great. In 842, an alliance was sworn between two of his grand-sons. It has been called the “Oaths of Strasbourg” and is said to be the first text ever written in French language.
Came the High Middle Ages. ViKings invasion had stopped. Arabs were pushed back to Spain.
Technology, arts, innovation started to flourish again.
This was also the time of the Crusades. France has been the main contributor to the Crusades. French Crusaders created Christian Kingdoms in the Middle East.
The late Middle Ages have also seen the beginning of the long rivalry between England and France. William the Conqueror took the throne of England after the battle of Hastings, founding the Anglo-Norman dynasty.
Owning the Guyenne, south west France, the English Kings were de facto vassals to the Kings of France. Due to the family alliances, the Kings in London had also a lot of French royal blood.
France was also facing dynastic turmoil. The great nobles were not all allied behind their Kings. Some of them were definitely in favor of English rulings.
Tension rose and in 1377, started a series of conflicts between France and England that lasted until 1453 and is known as the “Hundred Year’s War”.
It lasted until 1453. The great figure has been Joan of Arc which, until her execution in 1431, has stirred the French revival to push the English out of France (Boutons les Anglais hors de France).
The Renaissance started. Starting in Italy, this movement has profoundly changed Europe. New ideas such as humanism appeared, new technologies, new architecture, new arts. Everything had to be new and beautiful.
The great King François Ier (Francis 1st) called the most eminent philosophes, scientists, artists to his court. He offered the castle of Amboise to Leonardo da Vinci who spent there the last years of his life.
François Ier also imposed French as the official language of the Kingdom in 1539.
But in spite of this new age, Europe was still consistently at war. And as if foreign wars were not enough, France entered bitter war of religions. A real civil war opposed Protestants and Catholics until Henri IV gave the right to the Protestants to follow their faith.
His grandson Louis XIV revoked this right, starting new conflicts.
Louis XIV, the Sun King, absolute ruler of France, reigned for 72 years! Still a European record! He pursued the centralization of France, the castle of Versailles being the symbol of his power and munificence.
His grandson Louis XV will succeed him in 1715. This is when started the “Age of Enlightenment” (le Siècle des Lumières). All over Europe, science was progressing, new philosophies appeared, and even social progress was mentioned.
In France, Descartes, Rousseau, Diderot, Voltaire and so many others were changing the society.
Louis XVI became King in 1774, succeeding his grandfather Louis XV. France needed a strong leader to reform a country living in conservationism in spite of the seeds of change planted by “Les Lumières”.
Louis XVI was a nice but indecisive man. He was unable to stir the aristocracy and the clergy. He did not realize that a new force was taKing power: la Bourgeoisie. Industrialists or merchants, they were slowly taKing control of the country but were still bound by the privileges entitled to the nobles and the priests.
In 1789, the revolution breaks out. What started as a dream of freedom and friendship rapidly turned into bloodshed.
The revolution gave birth to Napoleon, probably the most famous French man. Starting as the son of low aristocracy of Corsica, he became the ruler of Western Europe., as Napoléon the 1st, Emperor of the French, placing on his head the crown of Charlemagne.
After the Waterloo defeat, the Kings came back, Louis XVIII, then Charles X, deposed by the July revolution, then Louis-Philippe, deposed by the Revolution of 1848.
Enough of the Kings, the French wanted a republic. Elections were to be won by a grand nephew of Napoleon. Prince Louis – Napoleon Bonaparte. Having been raised in Switzerland, he spoke French with a heavy German accent.
Somehow he managed to be elected the first ever President of the French Republic in 1848. Being blocked by the constitution to run for a second mandate, he proclaimed himself Emperor of the French. And so became the last monarch to rule France.
A great admirer of England, he brought Paris and London closer. Following the British example, he started the industrial revolution.
After the defeat of Sedan against Germany in 1870, France started the Third Republic. It lasted until the defeat by Nazi Germany in 1940.
At the end of World War II, the fourth Republic was created. It has been a succession of weak and unstable governments unable to cope with the change in the world.
In 1958, General de Gaulle proclaimed the Fifth Republic which is still lasting until these days.
Good to know
France uses the Euro (€)
The Euro (€) is the currency of the Economic and Monetary Union, inside the European Union.
19 countries of the European Union have chosen Euro as their currency, thus creating the Eurozone.
Four European micro-states, Monaco, Andorra, San Marino and Vatican City, are authorized to use Euro as well.
Two countries, non-members of Economic and Monetary Union, namely the Kosovo and the Montenegro, are also using it besides their national currencies.
The Euro has been circulated since January 1st 2002, replacing the national currencies of the member-countries.
The Euro is the second most used currency, behind the US Dollar, for the number of transactions.
The Euro is managed by the European Central Bank and the Eurosystem that comprises the 19 Central Banks of the member-countries.
Even if each member prints its own banknotes or mints its own coins, they are usable indifferently within the Eurozone.
Where to go?
How to settle there?
To do business
Personal income tax
|Up to 9700 €||0%|
|From 9700 € to 26791 €||14 %|
|From 26791 € to 71826 €||30 %|
|From 71826 € to 152108 €||41 %|
|Above 152108 €||45 %|
Corporate Income tax
If the annual revenue is above 7 630 000 €, the applicable rate will be 33.1/3 % of the taxable profit.
If the annual revenue is less than 7 630 000 €, the applicale rate will be:
- 15 % on the first 38 120 € of the taxable profit
- 33,1/3 % on the rest of the profit
If the capital has not been entirely paid or if it is detained for less than 75 % by physical persons, the applicable rate will be 33.1/3 % on the taxable profit.
The Value Added Tax (VAT)
France applies 4 diffferent rates:
The regular rate of 20 % applicable to most sales of goods and services
Le reduced rate of 10 % applicable on a list of goods ans services defined by law. In particular:
– agricultural products
– passengers transportation
– certains medecines
The reduced rate of 5,5 % applicale on a list of goods and services defined by law. In particular:
– food and beverages to the exception of alcoolic beverages and luxury products
– certain equipments for disabled persons
– energy saving home renovations
The special rate of 2,1 % mainly for medecines
Wealth Tax (ISF)
|Fraction of the nett value of the patrimony||Rate|
|Up to 800 000 €||0 %|
|From 800 000 € to 1 300 000 € (included)||0,5 %|
|From 1 300 000 € to 2 570 000 € (included)||0,7 %|
|From 2 570 000 € to 5 000 000 € (included)||1 %|
|From 5 000 000 € to 10 000 000 € (included)||1,25 %|
|Above 10 000 000 €||1,5 %|
|Type||In service||On order|
|Rafale B/C||89||24 + 96 to be ordered|
|Type||In service||On order|
|Type||In service||On order|
|ATL 2 (MPA)||22|
|Falcon 20/200 (MPA)||5|
|Falxon 50 (MPA)||6|
|Lynx HAS 2/4||21|
|SA 316/319/SE 3160||22|