The colonization of France and the ancient Romans
France was settled as early as the Stone Age. In the famous Lascaux caves we can find drawings by Stone Age people that have been preserved to this day.
Like many other European countries, France became part of the Roman Empire. By the way, during this time the stories of Asterix and Obelix take place, which you surely know. France – Gaul – was occupied by the Romans at this time, only this small Gallic village, home of the two heroes Asterix and Obelix, offered resistance.
Even if this village and the two cuddly heroes did not exist, the Romans ruled Gaul and we can still discover many important testimonies of Roman culture, especially in southern France. In the south of France, for example, you will find the Pont du Gard, the largest aqueduct bridge. An aqueduct is an ancient Roman aqueduct. If you go to Nîmes in the south of France, you can still see this bridge today.
Where does the name “France” come from?
The Franks were the godparents and thus namesake for the name “France”, because they had ruled the country since the 5th century. What Charlemagne is to the Germans, Charles le Magne is to the French. Incidentally, it is about the same person, because at the time of Charles le Magne it was still a huge empire, the Franconian Empire and Germany and France were parts of the same. It was later divided and each country wrote its own story. You can find out a lot more about this with the children’s time machine.
The Middle Ages in France
In the Middle Ages, the English were the main enemies of the French. So there were always long wars between the two countries. The 100 Years War , in particular, had dire consequences for the people of the time and brought a lot of suffering and destruction with it. The story of the famous Joan of Arc, who saved her country from the English and is still venerated as a national saint, also takes place during this period.
What is absolutism?
For a long time in France a king had unrestricted power, this is called the “age of absolutism”. The most famous ruler of this time was the “Sun King” Louis XIV. You can find evidence of his rule and that of his successors in the numerous castles, whose splendor and beauty were signs of the unrestricted rule of their princes. The most famous castle that you can find very close to the capital Paris is Versailles. But at some point the people had enough, because the princes got richer and the people poorer. So it came to a revolution, the French Revolution on July 14th, 1789. This July 14th is still the French national holiday today.
The times of Napoleon
But soon another ruler came who ruled like an emperor and united all power in his hands, namely Napoleon Bonaparte, who crowned himself emperor. He waged many wars against his neighbors and initially gained a lot of land. But in the end it was defeated by the European armies.
Enmity between France and Germany
But above all, the enmity with a neighboring country persisted for a long time and that was Germany. In 1870/71 there was a violent war between the two countries, and in the end there was a victory for Germany and the establishment of the German Empire.
But the two countries were again hostile to each other in the First and Second World Wars. France was occupied by the German Reich and was only able to liberate itself in August 1944. Charles de Gaulle proclaimed the fourth republic in France.
France and Germany as friends
The former enemies are now friends. According to ebizdir, together, France and Germany laid the foundation for our European Community (now the EU) in the Franco-German Treaty of 1963. Just as we have a Chancellor, France has a President. Here conservative politicians often alternate with socialists. Since France is now also struggling with economic problems, the right-wing extremist parties are gaining strength in certain regions.
Tour de France
An important event that takes place in France every year is the Tour de France, the largest cycling race in the world. Every year in July, the drivers fight for victory within three weeks, covering up to 4000 kilometers. The mountain stages that lead through the great mountains of the Pyrenees and the Alps are particularly strenuous. After each of the 20 stages, a stage winner will be chosen. And year after year the famous race ends on Paris’ avenue, the Champs-Élysées.