France

What would you like the youth of America to know?

I must tell you that the Head of State cannot personally respond to the very many questions that are addressed to him daily. However, Mr. François Holland has entrusted me with the task of thanking you for your letter.

What they sent me:
When this envelope from the Présidence de la République of France arrived, I flipped. It was the very first response that I received and it gave me the first inkling that my experiment might actually work, that world leaders might actually respond to me. And the fact that it was from the President of France, François Hollande, the very person I first wanted to know more about, made it all the better.

Sadly, my excitement was short-lived. For one, like Hollande's official presidential website, there was no English translation. I unfortunately do not speak French, but was able to get the letter translated easily enough. The response: while President Hollande did receive my letter, he regretfully cannot answer it personally due to the volume that he receives. I was disappointed, but very grateful to receive an acknowledgment and any response at all.


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France is situated in Western Europe and has coastline on both the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. At 247,000 square miles, it is a little smaller than Texas with 3 times the amount of people: over 67 million.

A few fun facts:
- France is the most visited country in the world with over 80 million tourists a year.
- The official city motto of Paris is "Fluctuat nec mergitur", meaning "She is tossed by the waves but does not sink."
- La Petite Syrah, a coffee shop in Nice, France charges customers more for their coffee is they don't say "hello" and "please" when ordering.
- During World War II, the Grand Mosque of Paris helped Jews escape the Nazis by giving them Muslim IDs.

While I think most American students know quite a bit about France, I was not aware that the country still had so many far-flung territories. Aside from the island of Corsica near Italy and French Guiana in South America near Brazil, France also owns Martinique, St. Barts, part of St. Martins, and the Guadeloupe islands in the Caribbean, Saint Pierre and Miquelon near Canada, the uninhabited Clipperton Island in the Pacific Ocean, French Polynesia (a collection of 118 islands), the the Wallis and Futuna Islands in the South Pacific, the New Caledonia archipelago near Australia, and a collection of islands off the coast of Africa. (Thank you to Wikimedia's Hoshie for the map below.)


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Official Name
French Republic
(République Française)

Government
Republic

Current Leader
President
François Hollande




• One of his first acts as president
was to reduce the income of the
president, prime minister, and other
government workers by 30% and make them sign a "code of ethics"

• Hollande is also the
Co-prince of Andorra

Recommended sites
Presidential Website
www.elysee.fr

French Government Website
www.gouvernement.fr/en/

Discover France
us.france.fr