France, which is actually should be referred to officially as the French Republic is located in Western Europe, although it also is responsible for several overseas regions in territories in the Americas as well as the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans.
France is bordered by several other European countries, namely Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Monaco, Italy, Andorra, Spain and the Netherlands and if you include its overseas territories covers over 640,000 square kilometres and is home to over 67 million people.
The capital of France is the city of Paris, which is also its largest city. Other large cities include Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.
France has been inhabited for at least 50,000 years and was settled by the Gauls during the Iron Age. in 51 BC, the area was annexed by Rome and the resulting culture laid the foundations for what became the French language.
The Kingdom of France was eventually formed in 987 following the partitioning of the Carolingian Empire when the Treaty of Verdun was signed in 843. During the reign of Philip II from 1180, the power of France increased and the size of its lands more than doubled. This was tempered by the 100 Years War during the 14th and 15th centuries, but what emerged was a more distinct France with an identity of its own leading to art and culture flourishing during what became known as the French Renaissance. A global colonial empire followed with France becoming the most powerful nation in Europe during the 17th century under King Louis XVI. However, poor management led to the French Revolution during which France reached its political and military zenith under Napoleon Bonaparte who formed the first French Empire.
To this day France retains its long-held status as the global centre of art, science and philosophy and is also the world's seventh-largest economy.