France, officially the French Republic (French: République française), is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe. Metropolitan France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered (clockwise starting from the northeast) by Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Monaco; with Spain and Andorra to the south. France is linked to the United Kingdom by the Channel Tunnel, which passes underneath the English Channel. Over the past 500 years, France has been a major power with strong cultural, economic, military and political influence in Europe and in the world. During the 17th and 18th centuries, France colonised great parts of North America and South Asia; and built the second largest empire of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
- In France, the characteristic attitude of newcomers from North Africa, Turkey, and sub-Saharan Africa is predominantly one of alienation, confrontation, rejection, and hatred.
- France, famed in all great arts, in none supreme.
- Matthew Arnold, The Strayed Reveller, and Other Poems, "To a Republican Friend" (c. March 1848).
- Perhaps they know that they are in danger as much as anybody. They simply would rather see American men and women, rather than French and German men and women, dying to preserve their safety. Far better, from this cynical perspective, to signal that you will not take on the terrorists, so as to earn their good will amidst the uncertain times ahead.
- Britain and France had to choose between war and dishonour. They chose dishonour. They will have war.
- We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the Old.
- Winston Churchill, speech in the House of Commons (4 June 1940).
- When I warned them that Britain would fight on alone whatever they did, their generals told their Prime Minister and his divided Cabinet, 'In three weeks England will have her neck wrung like a chicken'. Some chicken! Some neck!
- Which is the funniest language? It's French, isn't it?
- France and America clash so often not because they are so irreconcilably different, but because they are so alike.
- "Spot the difference" (20 December 2005), The Economist.
- The creation of Modern France through expansion goes back to the establishment of a small kingdom in the area around Paris in the late tenth century and was not completed until the incorporation of Nice and Savoy in 1860. The existing "hexagon" was the result of a long series of wars and conquests involving the triumph of French language and culture over what once were autonomous and culturally distinctive communities. The assimilation of Gascons, Savoyards, Occitans, Basques, and others helped to sustain the myth that French overseas expansionism in the nineteenth century, especially to North and West Africa, was a continuation of the same assimilationist project.
- It seems to me that the United States and France can learn from each other. French universalism, or its equivalent, is a powerful weapon against racism, which is based on the belief in innate unalterable differences among human groups. Stressing what rights all people have because of what they have in common remains at the heart of anti-racism. A stronger awareness of such human commonality may be needed in the United States at a time when a stress on diversity and ethnic particularism may deprive us of any compelling vision of the larger national community and impede cooperation in the pursuit of a free and just society. On the other hand the identification of such universalism with a particular national identity and with specific cultural traits that go beyond essential human rights can lead to an intolerance of the Other that approaches color-coded racism in its harmful effects.
- England is an empire; Germany, a country — a race; France is a person.
- Jules Michelet, History of France: from the earliest period to the present time (1845), Volume 1, D. Appleton & Co., 1845, p. 182.
- And threat'ning France, plac'd like a painted Jove,
Kept idle thunder in his lifted hand.
- France has no friends, only interests.
- Toute ma vie, je me suis fait une certaine idée de la France.
- Translated: "All my life I have had a certain idea of France".
- Charles de Gaulle, opening sentence of his Mémoires de guerre.
- La France a perdu une bataille, mais la France n'a pas perdu la guerre.
- Translated: "France has lost a battle, but France has not lost the war".
- Charles de Gaulle, Proclamation, June 18 1940.
- I have never liked France or the French, and I have never stopped saying so.
- Adolf Hitler, The Political Testament of Adolf Hitler (15 February 1945).
- I hate the French because they are all slaves and wear wooden shoes.
- Oliver Goldsmith, Essays (Ed. 1765), 24. Appeared in the British Magazine, June, 1760. Also in Essay on the History of a Disabled Soldier. Dove—English Classics.
- Gay, sprightly, land of mirth and social ease
Pleased with thyself, whom all the world can please.
- Oliver Goldsmith, The Traveller (1764), line 241. (Of France).
- [Mi manca] il calore delle persone [italiane]: c'è una grande facilità nella comunicazione, mentre i francesi non sono così estroversi. D'altra parte, in Francia c'è una grande vivacità nel mondo del cinema: si producono almeno duecento film all'anno e le occasioni di lavoro sono moltissime. Purtroppo non c'è paragone col cinema italiano
- [I miss] the warmth of the [Italian] people: it is very easy to communicate with them, while the French are not such extroverts. On the other hand, there is a vibrant film industry in France: at least two hundred films are produced there, and the job opportunities are many. Unfortunately, the Italian film industry does not compare.
- Alessandra Martines: Ho una vita da favola ma mi manca l'Italia, March 18 2005.
- You know, the French remind me a little bit of an aging actress of the 1940s who is still trying to dine out on her looks but doesn't have the face for it.
- When France has a cold, all Europe sneezes.
- Klemens von Metternich, reported by Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989) as unverified in the English translations of his Mémoires. It is attributed to him in George P. Gooch, The Second Empire (1960), p. 18 and, in variant form, in Alan W. Palmer, Quotations in History (1976), p. 154. An American variation is: "There are those in South Carolina, and Mr. Pickens among the number who do not 'sneese when Mr. Calhoun takes snuff.' We are always amused when we hear the oft repeated slang—that South Carolina never speaks until Mr. Calhoun is heard." The Charleston Mercury (June 20, 1846), p. 2, referring to former Representative Francis W. Pickens and to Senator John C. Calhoun.
- How old I am! I'm eighty years!
I've worked both hard and long,
Yet patient as my life has been,
One dearest sight I have not seen—
It almost seems a wrong;
A dream I had when life was new,
Alas our dreams! they come not true;
I thought to see fair Carcassonne,
That lovely city—Carcassonne!
- Gustave Nadaud, Carcassonne; reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 89.
- Be that as it may, there is only so much wealth that can be gotten out of the rich before the process begins to crush the economy in the private sector. A recession bothers people a lot more than letting the rich keep a little more of their wealth. Consequently, there are serious limits to how much wealth government can take to hand out in social benefits. A European social democracy like France, with persistent 12% unemployment and negative real economic growth, in 1996, seems to have hit that limit. But, on the other hand, there are no limits to how many benefits people can begin to think they are entitled.
- Anti-American Americans are getting their way on a broad front, hoping to transform the United States into France, if not another Soviet Union.
- Had all of us in France meekly, lawfully carried out the orders of the German master, no Frenchman could have ever looked another man in the face. Such submission would have saved the lives of many, some very dear to me. But, France would have lost its soul.
- Most Frenchmen were neither collaborators nor resisters; they just kept their heads down and tried to get enough to eat, which was extremely difficult in Paris, where citizens suffered with near-starvation rations.
- "They order," said I, "this matter better in France."
- Laurence Sterne, Sentimental Journey, page 1.
- A Frenchman is self-assured because he regards himself personally, both in mind and body, as irresistibly attractive to men and women. An Englishman is self-assured, as being a citizen of the best-organized state in the world, and therefore as an Englishman always knows what he should do and knows that all he does as an Englishman is undoubtedly correct. An Italian is self-assured because he is excitable and easily forgets himself and other people. A Russian is self-assured just because he knows nothing and does not want to know anything, since he does not believe that anything can be known. The German's self-assurance is worst of all, stronger and more repulsive than any other, because he imagines that he knows the truth--science--which he himself has invented but which is for him the absolute truth.
- Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace, (1865-1869). Book 9, Chapter 10.
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 293-294.
- La France est une monarchie absolue, tempérée par des chansons.
- France is an absolute monarchy, tempered by ballads.
- Quoted by Chamfort.
- The Frenchman, easy, debonair, and brisk,
Give him his lass, his fiddle, and his frisk,
Is always happy, reign whoever may,
And laughs the sense of mis'ry far away.
- William Cowper, Table Talk, line 237.
- Adieu, plaisant pays de France!
O, ma patrie
La plus cherie,
Qui a nourrie ma jeune enfance!
Adieu, France—adieu, mes beaux jours.
- Adieu, delightful land of France! O my country so dear, which nourished my infancy! Adieu France—adieu my beautiful days!
- Lines attributed to Mary, Queen of Scots, but a forgery of De Querlon.
- Yet, who can help loving the land that has taught us
Six hundred and eighty-five ways to dress eggs?
- Thomas Moore, Fudge Family, 8.
- Have the French for friends, but not for neighbors.
- Emperor Nicephorus (803) while treating with ambassadors of Charlemagne.
- On connoit en France 685 manières differentes d'accommoder les œufs.
- One knows in France 685 different ways of preparing eggs.
- De la Reynière.
- Ye sons of France, awake to glory!
Hark! Hark! what myriads bid you rise!
Your children, wives, and grandsires hoary,
Behold their tears and hear their cries!
- Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle, The Marseilles Hymn (1792).
- In 1793, the French were shouting: 'Liberty, Equality, Fraternity!' What they got was Napoleon.
- Ayn Rand, as quoted in The Ayn Rand Column.
- Une natione de singes à larynx de parroquets.
- A nation of monkeys with the throat of parrots.
- Emmanuel-Joseph Sieyès, Note to Mirabeau (speaking of France).