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.The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans.Following the precedents of Edward Gibbon and Jacob Grimm, from approximately 7,000 BC, this part of Western Europe entered the Neolithic era and its inhabitants became sedentary.After strong demographic and agricultural development between the 4th and 3rd millennia, metallurgy appeared at the end of the 3rd millennium, initially working gold, copper and bronze, and later iron.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 67.25 million (as of June 2018).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 centres include Marseille, Lyon, Lille, Nice, Toulouse and Strasbourg.
From the 250s to the 280s AD, Roman Gaul suffered a serious crisis with its fortified borders being attacked on several occasions by barbarians.
Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and later dissolved in the course of the Algerian War.
The Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, was formed in 1958 and remains today.
It hosts Europe's third-largest number of cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites and leads the world in tourism, receiving around 83 million foreign visitors annually.
being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and is an official nuclear-weapon state.