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The earliest French literature dates from Middle Ages when what now known modern France did not have single uniform language There were several languages dialects writers used their own spelling grammar Some authors of French mediaeval texts unknown such Tristan Iseult Lancelot-Grail Other authors known example Chrétien de Troyes Duke William IX of Aquitaine who wrote OccitanMuch medieval French poetry literature were inspired legends of Matter of France such Song of Roland various chansons de geste Roman de Renart written 1175 Perrout de Saint Cloude tells story of mediaeval character Reynard ('the Fox') another example of early French writing important 16th-century writer was François Rabelais whose novel Gargantua Pantagruel has remained famous appreciated until now Michel de Montaigne was other major figure of French literature during that century His most famous work Essais created literary genre of essay French poetry during that century was embodied Pierre de Ronsard Joachim du Bellay Both writers founded La Pléiade literary movementDuring 17th century Madame de La Fayette published anonymously La Princesse de Clèves novel that considered be one of very first psychological novels of all times Jean de La Fontaine one of most famous fabulists of that time he wrote hundreds of fables some being far more famous than others such Ant Grasshopper Generations of French pupils had learn his fables that were seen helping teaching wisdom common sense young people Some of his verses have entered popular language become proverbs such À l'œuvre connaît l'artisan.[A workman known his chips]see description, Université Claude Bernard (Lyon 1), Châteaux Main articles Gaul Celts Roman Gaul As of 2009 World Trade Organization (WTO) reported France was world's sixth largest exporter fourth largest importer of manufactured goodsof 2016 World Factbook ranked France seventh largest exporter2008 France was third largest recipient of foreign direct investment among OECD countries $118 billion ranking behind Luxembourg (where foreign direct investment was essentially monetary transfers banks located there) United States ($316 billion) but above United Kingdom ($96.9 billion) Germany ($25 billion) or Japan ($24 billion) same year French companies invested $220 billion outside France ranking France second largest outward direct investor OECD behind United States ($311 billion) ahead of UK ($111 billion) Japan ($128 billion) Germany ($157 billion)Financial services banking insurance sector important part of economy Paris stock exchange (French La Bourse de Paris) old institution created Louis XV 17242000 stock exchanges of Paris Amsterdam Bruxelles merged into Euronext2007 Euronext merged with New York stock exchange form NYSE Euronext world's largest stock exchange Euronext Paris French branch of NYSE Euronext group Europe's 2nd largest stock exchange market behind London Stock ExchangeFrance member of Eurozone (around 330 million consumers) which part of European Single Market (more than 500 million consumers) Several domestic commercial policies determined agreements among European Union (EU) members EU legislation France introduced common European currency Euro 2002French companies have maintained key positions insurance banking industries AXA world's largest insurance company leading French banks BNP Paribas Crédit Agricole ranking world's first sixth largest banks 2010 (by assets) while Société Générale group was ranked world's eighth largest 2009Agriculture! Christianity (51.1%) Main article Demographics of Paris, The Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) operates public libraries Paris among them François Mitterrand Library Richelieu Library Louvois Opéra Library Arsenal Library There three public libraries 4th arrondissement Forney Library Marais district dedicated decorative arts Arsenal Library occupies former military building has large collection French literature Bibliothèque historique de la ville de Paris also Le Marais contains Paris historical research service Sainte-Geneviève Library 5th arrondissement designed Henri Labrouste built mid-1800s contains rare book manuscript division Bibliothèque Mazarine 6th arrondissement oldest public library France Médiathèque Musicale Mahler 8th arrondissement opened 1986 contains collections related music François Mitterrand Library (nicknamed Très Grande Bibliothèque) 13th arrondissement was completed 1994 design of Dominique Perrault contains four glass towersThere several academic libraries archives Paris Sorbonne Library 5th arrondissement largest university library Paris addition Sorbonne location there branches Malesherbes Clignancourt-Championnet Michelet-Institut d'Art et d'Archéologie Serpente-Maison de la Recherche Institut des Etudes Ibériques Other academic libraries include Interuniversity Pharmaceutical Library Leonardo da Vinci University Library Paris School of Mines Library René Descartes University LibrarySports; The Roman Catholic Basilique du Sacré-Cœur. ComtéCentre-Val de Loire, The Old Port or Vieux-Port main harbour marina of city guarded two massive forts (Fort Saint-Nicolas Fort Saint-Jean) one of main places eat city Dozens of cafés line waterfront Quai des Belges end of harbour site of daily fish market Much of northern quayside area was rebuilt architect Fernand Pouillon after its destruction Nazis 1943The Hôtel de Ville (City Hall) baroque building dating from 17th centuryThe Centre Bourse adjacent Rue St Ferreol district (including Rue de Rome Rue Paradis) main shopping area central MarseilleThe Porte d'Aix triumphal arch commemorating French victories Spanish ExpeditionThe Hôtel-Dieu former hospital Le Panier transformed into InterContinental hotel 2013La Vieille Charité Le Panier architecturally significant building designed Puget brothers central baroque chapel situated courtyard lined with arcaded galleries Originally built alms house now home archeological museum gallery of African Asian art well bookshops café also houses Marseille International Poetry CentreThe Cathedral of Sainte-Marie-Majeure or La Major founded 4th century enlarged 11th century completely rebuilt second half of 19th century architects Léon Vaudoyer Henri-Jacques Espérandieu present day cathedral gigantic edifice Romano-Byzantine style romanesque transept choir altar survive from older medieval cathedral spared from complete destruction only result of public protests timeThe 12th-century parish church of Saint-Laurent adjoining 17th-century chapel of Sainte-Catherine quayside near CathedralThe Abbey of Saint-Victor one of oldest places of Christian worship Europe Its 5th-century crypt catacombs occupy site of Hellenic burial ground later used Christian martyrs venerated ever since Continuing medieval tradition, every year Candlemas Black Madonna from crypt carried procession along Rue Sainte blessing from archbishop followed mass distribution of navettes green votive candlesMuseums. See also Religious buildings Paris, The main French research bodies including CNRS INSERM INRA all well represented Marseille Scientific research concentrated several sites across city including Luminy where there institutes developmental biology (the IBDML) immunology (CIML) marine sciences neurobiology (INMED) CNRS Joseph Aiguier campus (a world-renowned institute of molecular environmental microbiology) Timone hospital site (known work medical microbiology) Marseille also home headquarters of IRD which promotes research into questions affecting developing countriesTransport, The Calanque of Sugiton 9th arrondissement of Marseille. Sainte Chapelle interior showing painted stonework vaulting stained glass Temple du Change (17th 18th century) former stock exchange of Lyon Protestant temple since 18th century. Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital Paris stone building with slate dome Temple du Change (17th 18th century) former stock exchange of Lyon Protestant temple since 18th century. The city's top tourist attraction was Notre Dame Cathedral which welcomed estimated 12,000,000 visitors 2017 Second was Basilique du Sacré-Cœur Montmartre with estimated 11 million visitors This was followed Louvre Museum (8.02 million visitors) Eiffel Tower (6.2 million) Centre Pompidou (3.3 million visitors) Musée d'Orsay (3.2 million) City of Science Industry (2.4 million visitors) Chapel of Our Lady of Miraculous Medal (2 million visitors) Museum of Natural History (1.7 million visitors) Arc de Triomphe (1.3 million visitors)The centre of Paris contains most visited monuments city including Notre Dame Cathedral Louvre well Sainte-Chapelle Les Invalides where tomb of Napoleon located Eiffel Tower located Left Bank south-west of centre Panthéon Catacombs of Paris also located Left Bank of Seine banks of Seine from Pont de Sully Pont d'Iéna have been listed UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991The Axe historique pictured here from Concorde Grande Arche of La Défense.
Marseille city that has its own unique culture proud of its differences from rest of France Today regional centre culture entertainment with important opera house historical maritime museums five art galleries numerous cinemas clubs bars restaurantsMarseille has large number of theatres including La Criée Le Gymnase Théâtre Toursky There also extensive arts centre La Friche former match factory behind Sainst-Charles station Alcazar until 1960s well known music hall variety theatre has recently been completely remodelled behind its original façade now houses central municipal library Other music venues Marseille include Le Silo (also theatre) GRIMMarseille has also been important arts has been birthplace home of many French writers poets including Victor Gélu (fr) Valère Bernard (fr) Pierre Bertas, Edmond Rostand André Roussin small port of l'Estaque far end of Bay of Marseille became favourite haunt artists including Auguste Renoir Paul Cézanne (who frequently visited from his home Aix) Georges Braque Raoul DufyEuropean Capital of Culture. Protestant (20,000) Ambox current red.svg Jewish (52,000) Muslim (200,000) To west of Saône fifth arrondissement covers old city (Vieux Lyon) Fourvière hill plateau beyond 9th immediately north stretches from Gorge de Loup through Vaise neighbouring suburbs of Écully Champagne-au-Mont-d'Or Saint-Didier-au-Mont-d'Or Saint-Cyr-au-Mont-d'Or Collonges-au-Mont-d'OrBetween two rivers Presqu'île second first fourth arrondissements second includes most of city centre including Bellecour Perrache railway station reaches far confluence of two rivers first directly north of second covers part of city centre (including Hôtel de Ville) slopes of La Croix-Rousse north of Boulevard fourth arrondissement which covers Plateau of La Croix-Rousse up its boundary with commune of Caluire-et-CuireTo east of Rhône third sixth seventh eighth arrondissementsMayors. Marseille major French centre trade industry with excellent transportation infrastructure (roads sea port airport) Marseille Provence Airport fourth largest France May 2005 French financial magazine L'Expansion named Marseille most dynamic of France's large cities citing figures showing that 7,200 companies had been created city since 2000 Marseille also France's second largest research centre with 3,000 research scientists within Aix Marseille University. of 2014 Marseille metropolitan area had GDP amounting $60.3 billion or $36,127 per capita (purchasing power parity)Port, Transport Musée Gadagne museum of history of Lyon housed historic building Vieux Lyon Also includes large collection of marionnettes. Main article Prehistory of France In South America French GuianaIn Atlantic Ocean Saint Pierre Miquelon and Antilles Guadeloupe Martinique Saint Martin Saint BarthélemyIn Pacific Ocean French Polynesia special collectivity of New Caledonia Wallis Futuna Clipperton IslandIn Indian Ocean Réunion island Mayotte Kerguelen Islands Crozet Islands St Paul Amsterdam islands Scattered Islands Indian Ocean!