France
country in Western Europe
France (French: [fʁɑ̃s], officially the French Republic (République française, pronounced[ʁepyblik fʁɑ̃sɛːz], is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions (five of which are situated overseas) span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.08 million. France is a unitary​semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice. France, including its overseas territories, has the most number of time zones of any country, with a total of 12.
France will hold on. The French will hold on. Michel Houellebecq
Liberté, égalité, fraternité were, nominally at least, the values of the revolution. They remain the official motto of the French Republic to this day. ~ Jon Stone
France, famed in all great arts, in none supreme. ~ Matthew Arnold
With respect to modern languages, French, as I have before observed, is indispensible. ~ Thomas Jefferson
France has no friends, only interests. ~ Charles de Gaulle
If you're totally 'apathetic to nationality', why should France accept you as a citizen if you're going to take advantage of those higher standards of living and yield no loyalty or commitment in return? This isn't hypothetical, by the way. France in particular takes this kind of thing very seriously when it comes to naturalization. ~ Thomas Anderson
When France has a cold, all Europe sneezes. ~ Klemens von Metternich
England is an empire. Germany, a country. France is a person. ~ Jules Michelet
It seems to me that the United States and France can learn from each other. ~ George M. Fredrickson
I have never liked France or the French, and I have never stopped saying so. ~ Adolf Hitler
Arranged alphabetically by author or source:
A · B · C · D · E · F · G · H · I · J · K · L · M · N · O · P · Q · R · S · T · U · V · W · X · Y · Z · See also · External links
Quotes
You have to feel for the French; they were great once. ~ Mike Murphy
A
France, famed in all great arts, in none supreme.
Matthew Arnold, The Strayed Reveller, and Other Poems, "To a Republican Friend" (c. March 1848)
B
The French are wiser than they seem, and the Spaniards seem wiser than they are.
Francis Bacon, "Of Seeming Wise", in Essays (1625); Brian Vickers (ed.) The Major Works (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002) p. 389.
Perhaps they know that they are in danger as much as anybody. They simply would rather see American men and women, rather than French and German men and women, dying to preserve their safety. Far better, from this cynical perspective, to signal that you will not take on the terrorists, so as to earn their good will amidst the uncertain times ahead.
David Brooks, "French Kiss Off" (6 February 2003), The Weekly Standard.
An old sergeant said, if you want to get to France in a hurry, then join the ambulance service, the French are big for ambulance service.
Frank Buckles, on how he came to driving ambulances, as quoted in The Tampa Bay Online.
On behalf of the American people, I thank the world for its outpouring of support. America will never forget the sounds of our National Anthem playing at Buckingham Palace, on the streets of Paris, and at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate. We will not forget South Korean children gathering to pray outside our embassy in Seoul, or the prayers of sympathy offered at a mosque in Cairo. We will not forget moments of silence and days of mourning in Australia and Africa...
George W. Bush, "Freedom and Fear Are at War" (20 September 2001)
C
Britain and France had to choose between war and dishonour. They chose dishonour. They will have war.
Winston Churchill, to Neville Chamberlain in the House of Commons, after the Munich accords (1938).
We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the Old.
Winston Churchill, speech in the House of Commons (4 June 1940).
When I warned them that Britain would fight on alone whatever they did, their generals told their Prime Minister and his divided Cabinet, 'In three weeks England will have her neck wrung like a chicken'. Some chicken! Some neck!
Winston Churchill, speech to the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa (30 December 1941), as quoted in The Yale Book of Quotations, by Fred R. Shapiro, Yale University Press (2006), p. 153.
Which is the funniest language? It's French, isn't it?
Sacha Baron Cohen, as quoted in "War" (28 February 2003), Da Ali G Show.
According to current birthrate projections, France will be a majority Muslim country anyway in about 50 years... I get a lot of e-mails from Americans who think that Europeans are spineless. And I think they're right.
Pat Condell, Islam in Europe, 2007-08-17, from YouTube, transcript
D
A Frenchman comes here to make money, and that is about all that need be said of him. He is only a Frenchman. He neither learns our language nor loves our country. His hand is on our pocket and his eye on Paris. He gets what he wants and, like a sensible Frenchman, returns to France to spend it.
Frederick Douglass, Our Composite Nationality (7 December 1869), by F. Douglass, Boston, Massachusetts.
And threat'ning France, plac'd like a painted Jove,
Kept idle thunder in his lifted hand.
John Dryden, Annus Mirabilis (1667), stanza 39.
E
France and America clash so often not because they are so irreconcilably different, but because they are so alike.
"Spot the difference" (20 December 2005), The Economist
F
O France, the time of reproach has passed and we have closed like a book; o France, the day of reckoning is at hand. So prepare to receive from us our answer!
Mohamed Fawzi, Kassaman (1962)
Tous les anciens peuples de la Gaule réunis en un seul peuple s’embrassent au nom des mêmes aïeux; et, comme ils ont une origine commune, ils vivront sous les mêmes lois et partageront les mêmes destinées.
All the ancient peoples of Gaul reunited as a single people embrace one another in the name of the same ancestors; and as they have a common origin, they live under the same laws and partake in the same destiny.
Jean-Pierre-Louis de Fontanes, “Discours du Président du Corps Législatif, 3 Germinal an XII”, Le Moniteur Universel, № 184, dimanche, 4 Germinal an XII de la République Française, 25 Mars, 1804. (Page 846 of the Port-au-Prince copy)
The creation of Modern France through expansion goes back to the establishment of a small kingdom in the area around Paris in the late tenth century and was not completed until the incorporation of Nice and Savoy in 1860. The existing "hexagon" was the result of a long series of wars and conquests involving the triumph of French language and culture over what once were autonomous and culturally distinctive communities. The assimilation of Gascons, Savoyards, Occitans, Basques, and others helped to sustain the myth that French overseas expansionism in the nineteenth century, especially to North and West Africa, was a continuation of the same assimilationist project.
George M. Fredrickson, Race, Ethnicity, and National Identity in France and the United States: A Comparative Historical Overview, (8 November 2003)
It seems to me that the United States and France can learn from each other. French universalism, or its equivalent, is a powerful weapon against racism, which is based on the belief in innate unalterable differences among human groups. Stressing what rights all people have because of what they have in common remains at the heart of anti-racism. A stronger awareness of such human commonality may be needed in the United States at a time when a stress on diversity and ethnic particularism may deprive us of any compelling vision of the larger national community and impede cooperation in the pursuit of a free and just society. On the other hand the identification of such universalism with a particular national identity and with specific cultural traits that go beyond essential human rights can lead to an intolerance of the Other that approaches color-coded racism in its harmful effects.
George M. Fredrickson, Race, Ethnicity, and National Identity in France and the United States: A Comparative Historical Overview, (8 November 2003)
By 2040, France and Germany are going to be has-beens, historically. Between population crises and the redefinition of the geopolitics of Europe, the French and Germans will be facing a decisive moment. If they do not assert themselves, their futures will be dictated by others and they will move from decadence to powerlessness. And with powerlessness would come a geopolitical spiral from which they would not recover.
George Friedman, The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century (2009), p. 151, Doubleday
G
France has no friends, only interests.
Charles de Gaulle
Toute ma vie, je me suis fait une certaine idée de la France.
La France a perdu une bataille, mais la France n'a pas perdu la guerre.
I hate the French because they are all slaves and wear wooden shoes.
Oliver Goldsmith, Essays (Ed. 1765), 24. Appeared in the British Magazine, June, 1760. Also in Essay on the History of a Disabled Soldier. Dove—English Classics.
Gay, sprightly, land of mirth and social ease
Pleased with thyself, whom all the world can please.
Oliver Goldsmith, The Traveller (1764), line 241. (Of France).
H
I have never liked France or the French, and I have never stopped saying so.
Adolf Hitler, The Political Testament of Adolf Hitler (15 February 1945)
France will hold on. The French will hold on, without even needing a “sursaut national,” a national pushback reflex. They’ll hold on because there’s no other way, and because you get used to everything. No human force, not even fear, is stronger than habit.
Michel Houellebecq, "The New York Times - The Opinion Pages", commentary about the November 2015 Paris attacks (21 November 2015)
J
With respect to modern languages, French, as I have before observed, is indispensible. Next to this the Spanish is most important to an American. Our connection with Spain is already important and will become daily more so. Besides this the antient part of American history is written chiefly in Spanish.
Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Thomas Mann Randolph (6 July 1787).
K
Most Frenchmen were neither collaborators nor resisters; they just kept their heads down and tried to get enough to eat, which was extremely difficult in Paris, where citizens suffered with near-starvation rations.
Charles Kaiser, "What Americans forget about French resistance" (7 May 2015), CNN, Atlanta, Georgia: Cable News Network
I worked at a factory owned by Germans, at coal pits owned by Frenchmen, and at a chemical plant owned by Belgians. There I discovered something about capitalists. They are all alike, whatever the nationality. All they wanted from me was the most work for the least money that kept me alive. So I became a communist.
Nikita Khrushchev, quoted in Edward Crankshaw, Khrushchev: A Career (1966), p. 12
If you act like an asshole in a store in France, you will get treated like an asshole.
Se-woong Koo, "Disposable Workers of Hyper-Capitalist Korea" (24 November 2015), Korea Expose
There’s a reason why the French are on their fifth republic, and we are on our first, and that’s because we did not have a worship of reason at the beginning of the Founding as the French did, and then discovered that the purity, the Rousseauian idea is simply not one for the real world, or not one that avoids the guillotine.
Charles Krauthammer, interview with Bill Kristol (13 March 2015)
L
The Trump-Cruz police state exists. It's called France.
Eli Lake, Bloomberg (2016)
M
The European Union and many of its countries, which used to take initiatives in the United Nations for peaceful settlements of conflict, are now one of the most important war assets of the U.S./NATO front. Many countries have also been drawn into complicity in breaking international law through U.S./U.K./NATO wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and so on.
Mairead Maguire in The Disturbing Expansion of the Military-Industrial Complex, Common Dreams, (14 October 2014)
You know, the French remind me a little bit of an aging actress of the 1940s who is still trying to dine out on her looks but doesn't have the face for it.
John McCain, Fox News (2006).
When France has a cold, all Europe sneezes.
Klemens von Metternich, reported by Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989) as unverified in the English translations of his Mémoires. It is attributed to him in George P. Gooch, The Second Empire (1960), p. 18 and, in variant form, in Alan W. Palmer, Quotations in History (1976), p. 154. An American variation is: "There are those in South Carolina, and Mr. Pickens among the number who do not 'sneese when Mr. Calhoun takes snuff.' We are always amused when we hear the oft repeated slang—that South Carolina never speaks until Mr. Calhoun is heard." The Charleston Mercury (June 20, 1846), p. 2, referring to former Representative Francis W. Pickens and to Senator John C. Calhoun.
England is an empire; Germany, a country — a race; France is a person.
Jules Michelet, History of France: from the earliest period to the present time (1845), Volume 1, D. Appleton & Co., 1845, p. 182.
You have to feel for the French; they were great once.
Mike Murphy, as quoted in "Romney guru thrives in political 'show business'" (12 June 2005), by Brian C. Mooney, The Boston Globe
If Napoleon had nuclear subs, we'd all be speaking French.
Mike Murphy, interview with Bill Kristol (7 February 2018)
N
How old I am! I'm eighty years!
I've worked both hard and long,
Yet patient as my life has been,
One dearest sight I have not seen—
It almost seems a wrong;
A dream I had when life was new,
Alas our dreams! they come not true;
I thought to see fair Carcassonne,
That lovely city—Carcassonne!
Gustave Nadaud, Carcassonne; reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 89.
O
I just want to make a few brief comments about the attacks across Paris tonight. Once again, we’ve seen an outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians. This is an attack not just on Paris, it’s an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values that we share.
We stand prepared and ready to provide whatever assistance that the government and the people of France need to respond. France is our oldest ally. The French people have stood shoulder to shoulder with the United States time and again. And we want to be very clear that we stand together with them in the fight against terrorism and extremism.
Paris itself represents the timeless values of human progress. Those who think that they can terrorize the people of France or the values that they stand for are wrong. The American people draw strength from the French people’s commitment to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness. We are reminded in this time of tragedy that the bonds of liberté and égalité and fraternité are not only values that the French people care so deeply about, but they are values that we share. And those values are going to endure far beyond any act of terrorism or the hateful vision of those who perpetrated the crimes this evening.
We’re going to do whatever it takes to work with the French people and with nations around the world to bring these terrorists to justice, and to go after any terrorist networks that go after our people.
Barack Obama, in his "Statement by the President on the Situation in Paris" (13 November 2015)
R
S
We have intelligence, and virtue, and patriotism. All that is required is to cultivate and perpetuate these. Intelligence will not do without virtue. France was a nation of philosophers. These philosophers become Jacobins. They lacked that virtue, that devotion to moral principle, and that patriotism which is essential to good government
Alexander H. Stephens, Cornerstone Speech (1861).
That sweet enemy, France.
Fuck the French! Fuck the French, if we hadn't had saved their ass in two World Wars, they'd be speakin' German right now!
Doug Stanhope, No Refunds
Liberté, égalité, fraternité were, nominally at least, the values of the revolution. They remain the official motto of the French Republic to this day.
Jon Stone, as quoted in "Waterloo anniversary: What would Britain look like if Napoleon had won the Battle?" (18 June 2015), by J. Stone, The Independent, United Kingdom.
T
One doctor said, `In France, we think that abortion is more moral earlier.' And I thought to myself, we think so too in the United States, but we don't dare say it.
Charlotte Taft, abortion counselor and consultant, "When abortions come late in a pregnancy; Though rare, most aren't for medical reasons", US News & World Report (January 19, 1998).
Paris was attacked not because of what the French do, as some Blame-The-West intellectuals claim, but because of what the French are: infidels who refuse to see the light of Islam. The hope is that just as the Prophet forced the Arab tribes to accept Islam in exchange for protection, the “infidel” nations will also decide that it is in their best interest to submit. Today, however, I see no sign the French tend toward submission. As always, the terrorists may end up like the man who, having won a great many tokens at the roulette table, is surprised when the casino tells him his winnings cannot be cashed.
Amir Taheri, "The jihadis’ master plan to break us", New York Post (15 November 2015).
"They order," said I, "this matter better in France."
Laurence Sterne, A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy (1768).
A Frenchman is self-assured because he regards himself personally, both in mind and body, as irresistibly attractive to men and women. An Englishman is self-assured, as being a citizen of the best-organized state in the world, and therefore as an Englishman always knows what he should do and knows that all he does as an Englishman is undoubtedly correct. An Italian is self-assured because he is excitable and easily forgets himself and other people. A Russian is self-assured just because he knows nothing and does not want to know anything, since he does not believe that anything can be known. The German's self-assurance is worst of all, stronger and more repulsive than any other, because he imagines that he knows the truth--science--which he himself has invented but which is for him the absolute truth.
Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace, (1865-1869). Book 9, Chapter 10.
Once again, France is the victim of brutal Islamic terrorism. Men, women and children viciously mowed down. Lives ruined. Families ripped apart. A nation in mourning.
Donald Trump, 2016 RNC draft speech transcript, Politico (21 July 2016)
V
Without the Jews, France is no longer France. It's the oldest community. They have been French citizens since the French revolution.
Manuel Valls, interview with Christiane Amanpour, CNN.
Had all of us in France meekly, lawfully carried out the orders of the German master, no Frenchman could have ever looked another man in the face. Such submission would have saved the lives of many, some very dear to me. But, France would have lost its soul.
Commandant le Baron de Vomécourt, as quoted in "What Americans forget about French resistance" (7 May 2015), by Charles Kaiser, Cable News Network, Atlanta, Georgia.
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 293-294.
La France est une monarchie absolue, tempérée par des chansons.
The Frenchman, easy, debonair, and brisk,
Give him his lass, his fiddle, and his frisk,
Is always happy, reign whoever may,
And laughs the sense of mis'ry far away.
William Cowper, Table Talk, line 237.
Adieu, plaisant pays de France!
O, ma patrie
La plus cherie,
Qui a nourrie ma jeune enfance!
Adieu, France—adieu, mes beaux jours.
Yet, who can help loving the land that has taught us
Six hundred and eighty-five ways to dress eggs?
Thomas Moore, Fudge Family, 8.
Have the French for friends, but not for neighbors.
Emperor Nicephorus (803) while treating with ambassadors of Charlemagne.
On connoit en France 685 manières differentes d'accommoder les œufs.
Ye sons of France, awake to glory!
Hark! Hark! what myriads bid you rise!
Your children, wives, and grandsires hoary,
Behold their tears and hear their cries!
Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle, The Marseilles Hymn (1792).
In 1793, the French were shouting: 'Liberty, Equality, Fraternity!' What they got was Napoleon.
Ayn Rand, as quoted in The Ayn Rand Column.
Une natione de singes à larynx de parroquets.
See also
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Last edited on 13 February 2021, at 09:29
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