You may know a few words for "country" in French, includingthe countrymithe native country. But how do you say "France" in French, specifically? It turns out that you have several options.
Let's see the most common.
How to say "France" in French
How the French talk about mainland France vs. overseas France
How to say "France" in French
Here are six common ways the French refer to their country, whether in literary or formal language, in speeches, or in everyday life and conversation.
1.The “France” pattern:France
The most common way to say "France" in French is...France. The word originally comes from France, the empire of the Franks, one of the ancestral groups of the modern French. Famous Franks include Charles Martel and Charlemagne.
Important: It is “La France” and not “Le France” because “France” is a feminine word.
Today, this is the standard way of referring to the modern country of France. The term is context independent and can be used in both formal and informal situations. Pretty easy, right?
Ah, another easy thing for English speakers:Franceit is always capitalized in French, just like in our language. (This rule applies to all French countries.)
The only thing to keep in mind is that when you talk about countries in French, you usually have to use an article or a preposition before them. So even if you say “França” in English, it isFrancein French.
The iconic phrase Vive la France(Long live France!) is a perfect way to remember this rule.
That being said, the article often disappears when you use a preposition. For example:In France(in France).
Just a quick note on this: using the prepositionof(de, de) and a feminine singular country in French can be a bit confusing. Most of the time you will seeofand the name of the country, without the article. For example,C'Eshe was king of france(He was a king of France).
But if you're talking about the country as a physical place, not a general entity, you'd use the article. For example:We travelEsfrom FranceForGermany by bike(We traveled by bicycle from France to Germany).
This rule does not apply to masculine or pluralized countries. For example, would you always say or writefrom the United States, Japan, etc
2.The “France” of the principles:French Republic/French Republic(French Republic)
France has had many different forms of government in its long history, from monarchy to republic, from empire to republic again...and so on. Years of revolutions and reforms now place us in the French Fifth Republic.
The termto Republicoto french republic(sometimes with capital lettersto french republic) is a formal that would be used in speeches and official documents. Probably the most famous place you will hear about isat the end of a presidential speech.
As is well known, the French president always concludes his speeches by sayingLong live the Republic, long live France. That's the rough equivalent of "God bless America" or "God save the queen." more orRepublicpart also implies a strong agreement with the principles of the current form of government. This includes thehuman rights(human rights) and the three fundamental principles of the French Republic:Freedom, equality, fraternity(Freedom, equality, fraternity).
Referring to France in this way is both a common formal phrase and something loaded with meaning. You probably won't use or hear it in everyday life and in casual situations.
3.Proud "France":The land of human rights(The country of human rights)
In the previous entry on our list, I talked about the principles of the French Republic. This nickname of France evokes the origins of the Republic. The phrasethe land of human rightsis a formal or literary way of referring to the fact that France was one of the first countries to uphold the basic rights of its citizens, since the First French Republic was founded in 1792, as a result of the French Revolution of 1789 (yes, there wasmultiple french revolutions).
Ohuman rightsreferred to in this sentence comes fromfromEsDeclaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen(The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen), written in 1789. Similar to (and influenced by) the Preamble to the United States Declaration of Independence, the primary focus of this founding document is the idea that all men are created equal (unlike a king or woman). ruling class that has more privileges).
Unfortunately, as with the Declaration of Independence, the original document did not include certain minority groups, let alone women. But that is no longer the case; todaythe Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the CitizenincludesallFrench citizens (and, in a broader sense, all human beings).
Using that phrase to describe France is proud and grand, but it's usually reserved for formal or literary contexts.
4.The fame of "France":the land of lights(The land of enlightenment)
The Enlightenment, referred to a bit more poetically in French asthe age of enlightenment(the Age of Enlightenment, that is, brilliant and enlightened thinkers), was an intellectual movement that took place throughout the Western world in the 18th century.ºand gave rise to revolutionary thinking in areas such as philosophy, science, medicine, education, and human rights.
France was once home to Enlightenment superstars such as Voltaire, Rousseau and Diderot (among many, many others!) and the French are still very proud of their illustrious intellectual past. In fact, it is even part of the French national identity. Today, French culture still places great value on science, research, logical and critical thinking, debate, and philosophy. The latter is even a compulsory subject in French secondary schools!
then the namethe land of lightsfor France it is appropriate, although it is literary, not something used in everyday language
From antiquity to the early Middle Ages,France was called "Gaul", for the Gauls, a group of Celtic tribes that inhabited most of it until the Roman invasion (later these groups were integrated and the dominant culture was Gallo-Roman).
AlthoughThe roostersdisappeared, as we saw inour related post onhow the French say "French", at the ends(literally Gallic or Gallic) is a super-patriotic way some French refer to themselves. This is quite rare, however.
call FrancePower in a historical context (including the iconic Asterix comics) it's totally normal and understandable. But doing it in a modern context shows extreme patriotism and can come across as a bit silly or even nationalistic, depending on who's listening.
6.Geometric France:the hexagon(The Hexagon)
In addition toFrance, the most common way to say "France" in everyday French is also the weirdest and most creative option on this list.
Mainland France is often referred to asthe hexagonin the news, infrench newspapersmifrench magazines, and sometimes even in everyday spoken language. You can do an online search for “l'Hexagone actualités” to see the large number of headlines that use that term.
Why, you may ask? Mainland France can be divided into six coasts or borders, which technically makes it a hexagon. You can seea picture of thatin this useful Wikipedia entry.
This is not a new trend or achievement: the same article notes that mainland France has been dubbed asthe hexagonsince late 19ºcentury, when French geography teachers began to describe it to their students in this way.
Even if you don't see the resemblance, you will almost certainly come across this term at some point. Fortunately, contrary to the regular forms, outside the country, when referring to France,the hexagonit's always capitalized, so there shouldn't be any confusion.
How the French talk about mainland France vs. overseas France
When most of us think of France, we imagine, well,the hexagonBut the nation of France has several overseas territories and regions which includeMartinique,guadalupeand French Polynesia.
In addition tothe hexagon, you will likely find three other terms that you can use to differentiate between mainland and French France. These are:
Abbreviation ofMetropolitan France(Metropolitan/continental France), the termThe citydescribes the traditional country of France located in Europe plus Corsica.
watch thatmetroEstropolocan haveother meanings- Depends on the context.
French overseas departments and territories
an acronym forthe Overseas Departments, Overseas Territories,This collective term refers toall French overseas departments and territories.
This article points out thatthe term is no longer technically correct, since some of these territories have different degrees of autonomy than others. However,DOM-TOM axisit is still a very common phrase that you will surely come across in the French media and that you might even hear in casual conversations.
On another continent
On another continent(abroad) is another way to hear French overseas countries and territories referred to, especially in spoken language, though the exact political definition may be vague or imprecise.
Here are the most common ways to say "France" in French.
Did any of these terms surprise you? What is your favorite?