Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles - Let's give this a shot... - As some of you know, I am 1/8th French. So, I guess I should like, honor my heritage or something. ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ It's time to learn Geography! ♫ NOW! Hey everyone! I'm your host, Barby. Ahhh, France. Pretty much everybody on the planet has heard of this place. I mean, immediately, images of wine, cafés, embellished 18th century Baroque architecture, and people who really hate globalization of the English language. But take a step back even further and France becomes a place with jaguars, coconuts, volcanoes, penguins, grass skirts, war dances, bamboo flutes, witch doctors, and a multifaceted history, that is evolved into a people group into becoming one of the most notable nations on the planet. So, let's go! ♫ ♫ ♫ - Political Geography - The first thing you need to know about France is that it's not just European, but a trans-continental country that spans across twelve time zones. More then any other country in the world. But how is that possible? Let me explain fat boy. France is kinda divided into two main parts: The European Metropolitan France, where about 95% of the population lives and the overseas French regions, departments and territories, otherwise known as "départements et territoires d'outre-mer" or "DOM-TOM". Before we tell you what they are, let's explain the difference between them. Regions have exactly the same legal status as mainland France in the same civil penal code and administrative social tax laws. However, they can be slightly adapted to suit the region's particular needs. In collectivities, the autonomy rises and they are empowered to make their own laws except in certain areas like defense, currency, trade and diplomacy. The overseas regions are Guadeloupe and Martinique in the Caribbean. French Guiana in South America, which by the way, has the Kuro Space center, disputably the best in the world because it adds an extra gravitational slingshot effect because it's so close to the equator of the earth, and Réunion and Mayotte off the coast of East Africa. The overseas collectivities are French Polynesia. (you've probably heard of Tahiti, that's French Polynesia) as well as Wallis and Futuna in the Pacific, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, right off the coast of Canada, Saint Barthelemy and Saint Martin, which is the only place in France that has a border with the Netherlands as the Dutch own the southern part of the island, located all in the Caribbean. The only islands that lie under the title of "overseas territories" are the French Southern and Antarctic Islands, or the TAAF. These islands are made up of the Kerguelen islands, the Saint Paul and Amsterdam islands. (you can probably guess who used to own those), the Crozet islands, and Adélie Land, the claimed slice of Antarctica that is technically not recognized thanks to the Antarctic Treaty. And as of 2007, the scattered islands in the Indian Ocean, remember the Comoros episode, were added to make the fifth district of the territory. Even though half of them are disputed with Comoros, Seychelles and Mauritius. These islands are mostly uninhabited and only house temporary military or scientific personnel. Finally, France administers two special territories that don't quite fall into any of the previously mentioned categories. There's the uninhabited Clipperton island off the coast of Mexico which has a crazy murder story behind it. And last but not least, there's New Caledonia, which has a special particular status out of the French administered overseas territories. New Caledonia is the only one that's vying for a, kind of, somewhat independence as the political power was passed to the native Kanak peoples. There is a weird dual, French, EU and New Caledonian citizenship thing going on. And in 2018, they will hold a referendum to either remain or leave France. And thanks to all these territories, they together give France the second largest executive economic zone in the world, after the US. (exhale) Okay, now let's go back to Metropolitan Europe France. The country is located in Western Europe, bordered by eight other nation states. Don't forget little Andorra and Monaco! Along the coast by the English Channel and the Bay of Biscay in the north and west, as well as the Mediterranean sea to the south. Mainland France is sometimes referred to as the "hexagon" since if you tilt your head a little bit, it kinda looks like it has six sides. Quite frankly, I was always under the impression that it kinda looked like a teapot with feet. Mainland France is also divided into thirteen regions, including Corsica island, eighteen all together if you include the overseas regions. With the capital, largest city as well as the main cultural and commercial center: Paris. We could talk on and on about Paris, what with the unbelievably designed metropolitan layout, the rich vibrant atmosphere, the juxtaposition of classically adorned historical sights along neo-contemporary architecture, the food, the shops and of course: ♪ Au soleil, sous la pluie, A midi ou à minuit ♪ ♪ Il y a tout ce que vous voulez aux Champs-Elysées. ♪ But that in itself would take too long and we've got to get through three more segments. The busiest airports are the two Paris twins: Charles de Gaulle and Orly International, as well as Nice Côte d’Azur. And the second and third largest cities: Lyon Saint-Exupéry and Marseille Provence International. At around 643,000 km², France is the largest country in the EU. The interesting thing about France is that it's kinda divided into areas that historically had their own distinct cultural identity. Some of the most notable ones being: Occitania, Savoy , Brittany, Normandie, Alsace, a section of the Basque country, Nice and the island of Corsica which speaks its own dialect that most French people can't even understand. These regions contribute their own unique piece of the French pie. Speaking of pie, we all know about French food. Which is great because we're gonna discuss more about it in: ♫ ♫ ♫ - Physical Geography - If you look at France's physical makeup, you start to kinda understand why food plays such a huge role in their culture. Everything just kinda works out perfectly for them. For Metropolitan France, big, rich, nourishing rivers and their tributaries like the: Garonne, Dordogne, Loire, Seine, Meuse and Rhone entangle the entire country, north to south, east to west. Allowing an abundance of irrigated crop fields to exist in nearly every corner of the country. Now and on top of that, the fact that the country does not have any major fault lines. They enjoy nice oceanic European climate and they don't suffer regularly from any major natural catastrophes. Most of the country is made up of arable flat plains or small rolling green hills that are just BEGGING for cultivation. And voilà! You have an agricultural gold mine. In fact, out of every country in the EU, France reportedly has the highest quality of soil performance and resilience and only a few spots like in the Caucasus region and parts of Eastern Europe and Southern Russia rank higher. So, there you go! Food heaven. In the south, you reach the mountainous regions of France including the Pyrenees, along the border with Spain, the Massif Central plateaus. (one of the most geologically studied places in Europe due to its strange formation), the Alps all along the borders with Italy and Switzerland. By the way, Switzerland was all like: "I'm not gonna share lake Léman. IT'S MINE!" And that's how Geneva was born. The highest point in France (let alone all of the EU) is Mont Blanc found in the French Alps along the border with Italy. Only second in height to the Caucasus mountains in all of Europe. If you consider the Caucasus region a part of Europe. Some people don't but that's just... that's another story. France is a cornucopia of produce, dairy and meat. Every region has their own specialty. But two things are everywhere: cheese and wine. The French are the largest consumers of cheese with over twelve hundred different varieties found all over the country. The French also have a larger range of unconventionally consumed meat products. Most countries stick with beef, chicken, pork, maybe lamb or goat and fish. However, the French aren't satisfied with just that. Other animals like pheasant, duck, goose, quail, rabbit, venison, veal, horse, frogs and snails are consumed regularly. Speaking of which, the national animal is the Gallic rooster which is why you might typically see a lot of roosters on French affiliated symbols. In fact, France is one of the most entomophagous (that's insect eating) countries in Europe as about seven hundred million snails are estimated to be consumed every year by the French. Especially in Burgundy, the largest snail producing region in France. Unfortunately, due to the fact that the French are the highest consumers of raw or mildly cooked red meat, a huge portion of the population is either exposed or chronically infected by the Toxoplasma gondii parasite. That disputably, over half the population is suspected to have. This little guy eventually finds its way into your brain, changes people's behaviors into being either more caring or aggressive and suspicious. Look it up. I'm not even joking. The Alps are famous for their charcuterie and fondue, Brittany for its crepes, Chantal for its chestnuts, Dijon for its mustard, L'Aveuron for aligot, Reims for its champagne and then we get to Bordeaux. Now, first of all, every region of France likes to claim that they have the best wine however, it's widely known that Bordeaux is disputably the home of the largest wine vineyards in the world, pumping out over half a billion liters of wine a year. The French take their produce maintenance very seriously and became the first country in the world to ban supermarkets from throwing away or destroying unsold food since February of 2016. All businesses must donate wastage to either charities or food banks. To combat crop wastage on farms, France has even opened up ugly fruit or vegetables shops in which, you can buy disfigured produce for thirty percent off. Other than food stuffs though, main exports are: aircraft, chemicals, machinery, iron and steel, electronics, motor vehicles and pharmaceuticals. Of course, the overseas territories and regions also have climates and topographies that are completely different. The Caribbean islands and Guiana enjoy a warm Caribbean tropical climate. Guiana being a part of the Amazon, having one of the highest forest covered densities in the world at over 95%. With over eleven hundred species of birds and reptiles and mammals found in it. Reunion and Mayotte off the coast of Africa have deep jungle ravines and a common volcanic activity going on. The Scattered Islands are mostly uninhabited sandbanks and lagoons with nothing more than just a few trees and shrubs. The Southern Antarctic islands are rocky and desolate with few grasses and vegetation. Kerguelen has these cabbage looking things going on. And these islands typically freeze over in the winter with penguins stampeding off the coasts. New Caledonia and French Polynesia are tropical Pacific islands that enjoy an abundance of rich, unspoiled, thick jungle brush and colorful flowers. And of course, Adélie Land is like all ice and Antarctica. All right, we've discussed borders, boundaries, mountains, food, volcanoes. Now, let's talk about who's running the entire show. ♫ ♫ ♫ - Demographics - France is a country of people that are very, very intent on making sure that you know they are French. First of all! The country has about 67 million people and is the second largest in Europe after Germany, making 13% of the EU alone. About 85% of the population is white, 10% are North-African, mostly from the Maghreb regions, A little over 5% are black and a little less than 2% are Asian. The currency is the Euro, they use the type 'C', 'E', 'F' outlets and they drive on the right side of the road. Which makes things interesting when their neighbors from the UK come across the channel. Now, let's talk about the white people. Most white French people have some or partial Celtic or Gaulish origins as historically, the Gauls inhabited most of the centralized regions of modern-day France. That means genetically, the French and British have a lot more in common than they think. Of course, an admixture of Latin and Germanic roots also applies as all the people groups have their stake of claim in France as well. The name France even came from the Germanic "Frank" tribe. French is of course the official language, however, regional dialects do exist but for the most part, they do pretty well on making sure everyone speaks it. Granted, the linguistic zones we mentioned before each have their own flag still cling on to their mother tongue. And sometimes you can even find street signs written in these languages. For example, Breton, a Celtic based language related to Welsh and Irish found in Brittany, Basque in the Basque country, Occitan in Occitania. Corsicans have like this strange half-French, half-Italian hybrid thing going on. Keep in mind though, most of the languages spoken in the linguistic zones are kind of dying out and only the older generation really retains daily conversation in those languages. Outside of Metropolitan France, the overseas departments and territories each speak French but in addition have their own creoles or dialects. For example in the Caribbean, Martinique and Guadeloupe might say: "Sa ka maché?" (How are you?) "Tou Boneman" (All is well) "Tilmal" (Little man) In Reunion or Mayotte, they might say: "Koiffé?" (What are you doing?) "Koman ilé?" (How are you doing?) "A ou?" (...And you?) France is the most visited country in the world as more people than the entire population of France visit France annually at about 80 million. Culture wise, there's too much to discuss. I mean, we're talking millennia of tribes, wars, empires, heroes, villains, artists, poets, architects, kings, queens, guillotines, revolutions, inventions, music, dance, clothing, fashion, cinema, cuisine, discoveries, victories, losses, folklore, science, literature, medicine and BAGUETTES! To cover it all, we would need a whole separate YouTube channel. But for what it's worth. Since the Middle Ages, France has been able to show time after time again that it has been a global force to be reckoned with. I mean, the French at one point in time had the second largest empire in the world, spanning across virtually every region on every continent. One thing you have to understand is that in a fast-growing Anglophone driven, global economy, France is very, very firmly intent on preserving the French language and culture. The governmentally sanctioned Académie française has aimed at doing this since 1634. They do things like, somewhat unsuccessfully, banning foreign words such as: blog, hashtag, parking, e-mail and weekend. In addition, the French media's top regulators the CSA and CNC have strictly enforced policies that require all music on private radio to be at least of 40% French origin and 70% in the French language between the hours of 8AM to 8PM, and half of the music quota must be less than six month old. EVERYTHING. MUST. BE. FRENCH. France is of course home to a plethora of notable figures in every field of academia and athleticism. I mean, they have almost seventy Nobel Peace Prize winners including: famous chemists Pierre and Marie Curie. (Few people know that they had a daughter who also became a notable scientist) Other scientists, writers and philosophers like: Decartes, Pascal, Baudelaire, Flaubert, Pasteur, Châtelet, Mouton. (Who, by the way, invented the Metric system!) Musicians like: Ramleau, Lully, Debussey, Jaques Brel, Edith Piaf. Of course, we can't forget the fashion icons: Louis Vuitton, Coco Chanel and Christian Dior. I mean, it's no secret, France is often touted as the fashion capital of the world. Artists like: Monet, Cezanne, Renoir, Degas, Manet and Gauguin.