- By John
- On Nov 8, 2018
- Travel Tips
Depending on the length of your trip, and taking geographic proximity into account, here are our recommended priorities, and something to know before you go on a trip to France.
History of France
The history of France has been traced back to 1.8 million years ago, as early stone tools indicate the presence of early humans. Some 40,000 years ago, the first modern humans arrived, with the first written records for the country’s history appearing in the Iron Age. In the first millennium, what is now known as modern day France was inhabited by a mix of peoples, including ancient Greek, Roman, and Celtic colonies. During the Middle Ages, France had a decentralized monarchy, in which the king had more religious power than anything else. At this point in time the concept of a national identity was still fairly uncommon, with most people identifying with a regional identity.
The monarchy gained in power over the following centuries, gaining absolute power in the 16th century. About this time people began to support a national French identity. The 16th century saw a return to peace and prosperity following the French wars on religion, and the country enjoyed a place as one of the biggest powers in Europe.
France began to establish colonies in North America in the 16th and 17th centuries, the largest of which was New France, known today as Quebec, with the towns Quebec City and Montreal. The country became the leading colonial power. However, wars broke out in North America and Britain usurped France in this position, spurring France to plan revenge by joining forces with the Americans. Their attempt to regain colonial power was unsuccessful, and Britain retained much of the power of the colonies.
The 18th century brought the French Enlightenment, a period characterized by philosophers advocating rational thought and the importance of human progress. Thinkers such as Voltaire, Rene Descartes, and Denis Diderot were major players in the French Enlightenment.