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Having had a significant rural population well into the twentieth century, the country continues to be marked by a rural-urban split. The French often refer to their nation as a hexagon to describe its six-sided shape, and this term is also a symbol for the country.Metropolitan France has an area of over 200,000 square miles (518,000 square kilometers), making it the largest Western European nation. Paris is the capital and cultural center, long dominating the rest of the nation.The four main rivers are the Seine, the Loire, the Garonne, and the Rhône. France has a low population density compared to other countries in Western Europe.The winds that sweep across the territory have regional names and are connected to regional identity, the most famous being le Mistral in the Rhône valley. In an attempt to keep the population up, family allowances are given to each family per child, with no income restriction.Soirée Speed Dating sur Paris et dans tout le département, Île-de-France (75).En une soirée, vous rencontrerez en tête à tête de 7 à 10 parisiens ou parisiennes pendant 10 minutes...The degree to which France is today a homogeneous nation is a highly contested topic.Political and linguistic unification, especially through mass education, has been an ongoing project of nationalism.
Regional languages and dialects such as Breton, Catalan, Corsican, Basque, Alsatian, and Flemish are still in use, and some are taught in regional schools.National identity is closely identified with the French language.The purity of the language is officially protected by the Académie Française established by Cardinal Richelieu in the seventeenth century, whose forty members rule over the inclusion of new words in the language.The name "France" originally was used to refer to several peoples in the lower Rhineland.It gradually was introduced as a more widespread term to denote that territory, formerly known as Gaul, after the Frankish invasion and the retreat of the Romans.
The major mountain ranges are the Alps in the east and the Pyrenees in the southwest. The Massif Central is a large mountainous plateau in the central area, which includes the ancient volcanoes of the Auvergne region.