France occupies an original geographical position in Europe, in the South at the junction of the Iberian and Italic peninsulas, in the North and in the East in confrontation with the Germanic language spaces.
Travel to Europe, what the EU really brings us
Romanized (Gallic war of Julius Caesar) then Christianized (baptism of Clovis in 496), its history is eminently European. Although it transcends the continent's borders because of its Mediterranean perspective, the Francophonie and the universal dimension of the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.
Two monarchs of European stature
France has given Europe two emperors. First, Charlemagne (742-814), whose Carolingian Empire continued the expansion of the Frankish kingdom of Clovis (died in 511). If the latter had made Paris his capital, the former had opted for the city of Aix-la-Chapelle, now situated in Germany.
Aachen revives the memory of the Emperor Charlemagne
Then Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), whose First Empire reached its peak in 1812: France then has 130 departments (including Belgium, the Netherlands, part of Italy and Spain) and exercises guardianship over the remains of Spain and Italy, part of Germany and Poland.
Among France's European neighbors, two have been at war with her many times. On the one hand, on land and sea, England. The Hundred Years War thus gave France that which was recognized, after Mary, " second patron of the firstborn daughter of the Roman Church " : Jeanne D'Arc.
On the other hand, Germany, with disputed question of Alsace-Moselle; Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871, leading to the fall of the Second Empire; World War I (1914-1918); Second World War (1939-1945).
… and peace
The blood of the revolutionary and Napoleonic wars will be born in the nineteenth century the idea of an association of nations to preserve peace. As early as 1851, Victor Hugo evoked, in a speech to the National Legislative Assembly, the creation of United States of Europe ".
The Guernsey of Victor Hugo, wild and laughing
In the aftermath of the world wars, the idea will materialize at the international level – through the League of Nations and then the UN – and especially in Europe, from the European Coal and Steel Community to the current European Union. The statement of French Robert Schuman, May 9, 1950, in the salons of the Quai d'Orsay, in Paris, is considered the founding act.