I really love France because it is an historical playground. Everywhere you turn there is something magnificent in front of you. No nation in the world compares to the wonders of human genius found in this awesome country. France's only flaw is that it is an expensive place to travel. I first traveled to France in 1991 and I returned for a more extensive tour in 1997. My third trip was with a group of students from Poolesville High School in 2009. On fourth visit in 2012, I traveled to Aix en Provence and Marseille in the South of France, and on my fifth visit in 2013, I travled to Normandy in the North of France. I am sure I will get the opportunity to travel to France again in the future and I look forward to doing so.

The earliest humans in France date back about 50, 000 years. Before it was known as France, a country called Gaul occupied approximately the same place. Gaul was conquered by Rome in the first century BCE, which led to the Gauls adopting the Roman language and culture. Around 400 AD, Germanic tribes known as Franks began entering Gaul, which is where France derived its modern name.

In the year 843, the Treaty of Verdun created a territory called Western Francia, which was the precursor to modern France. Several noble families ruled France until the monarchy was overthrown during the French Revolution in 1798 (a war that was the basis for the film Marie Antoinette). About 10 years after the revolution, Napoleon Bonaparte seized control of France, declaring himself the Emperor of France. He waged several wars and conquered a good portion of Europe before being defeated at the Battle of Waterloo.

France suffered huge losses in the First World War, despite being on the winning side, and was seized by the Nazis during World War II. The country was eventually liberated in a joint effort of the United States, United Kingdom and Canada in 1944. In more modern times, France has been one of the leading countries in the European Union.

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The Tomb of Jean Jacque Rousseau

The Tomb of Voltaire

<== The Eiffel Tower 1997

Nice 1997

Images of Paris 2009

Images of Aix en Provence & Marseille 2012

Images from Normandy 2013