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Gems of Paris by French Moments

What is ‘France’ in French? This might be an easy question for francophiles and francophones to answer. But we should never take for granted that for many the answer is not so obvious. So here is how French speakers say it… with further interesting facts to learn about the word.


What is ‘France’ in French?

The answer is simply… FRANCE!

For those of you who can read IPA, pronunciation in French is: \fʁɑ̃s\.

The translation of the word ‘French’ in French is français (masc.) and française (fem.).


France in French: Interesting facts

Cartes Postales de vacances © French Moments

Historical Facts

  • When the Romans conquered Gaul, Latin quickly spread among the Celts. By the 4th century A.D., “Vulgar Latin” had replaced the Celtic dialects in all of the country except Brittany. This Latin spoken by the merchants, soldiers, and slaves derive the five romance languages: French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian.
  • Langue d’oc and Langue d’oïl? For many centuries, the people of today’s France have spoken many dialects, depending on the region they lived in. North of the Loire, a group of eight dialects made up the Langue d’oïl. In the south, however, the Langue d’Oc gathered seven groups of dialects.
  • In 1066, William the Conqueror (Guillaume le Conquérant) invaded England successfully. The Duke of Normandy made French the official language of the court of England. This explains why English often has two words to describe the same meaning. One derived from the Old English (or Teutonic) and the other from Norman French or Latin origins. Example: Swine vs. Pork, to help vs. to aid.
  • Funnily enough, the opposite is also true today with the use of franglais. That is American-English words used by French people nowadays: le shampoing, le soda, le cocktail, le sandwich, le football, le parking…
  • France derives from Latin Francia which referred to a Germanic tribe, the Franks (or gens Francorum). In the 3rd century AD, the Franks were living in the Rhineland before merging with the Gauls in the following centuries. Pope Leo III crowned their ruler Charlemagne as Emperor in 800 AD.
  • New France (Nouvelle-France) refers to the area colonised by France in North America (1534-1763). It once included Quebec, Acadia, Newfoundland (Plaisance), and Louisiana. Today, two tiny islands are remnants of this vast French colonial territory: Saint-Pierre and Miquelon (off the coast of Newfoundland).

More facts!

  • The country has a different name in other languages: Frankreich in German, Frankrijk in Dutch, Francia in Italian and Spanish, and França in Portuguese.
  • The proper noun has many related terms such as francophile (a person who loves France), francophone (a person who speaks French), French without forgetting the popular Tour de France bicycle race!
  • The official name of the country is ‘The French Republic’ (République française).
  • The name can be used as a female first name: France Gall, Marie-France…
  • France is also a surname: Anatole France (1844-1924) was a French poet, journalist, and novelist.
  • The country gave its name to first names François and Françoise.
  • The verlan word for France is Céfran. Verlan is a type of slang in which the order of the syllables or sounds of words is changed.
  • In France, French toast is known as “pain doré” (literally roasted bread)
  • France 24: French version of CNN! You can watch and listen to France 24 in the French language (by the way France 24 in French is pronounced France vingt-quatre!)
  • In France French fries are not French but… Belgian!
  • The capital of France is Paris. And by the way, the French don’t pronounce the ‘s’ in Paris:



How do you say in French?

  • Go France in French? => Allez la France !
  • Long live France is Vive la France in French!
  • The French call the French Riviera “La Côte d’Azur”.
  • I love France in French is “J’aime la France”… pretty easy, isn’t it?
  • Christmas in France => “Noël en France”


What to read in French?

Check out my blog Mon Grand-Est, 100% in French with interesting articles on the eastern regions of France (Alsace, Lorraine, Burgundy, French Alps, Provence).

If you really want to learn more about cultural aspects… To understand what the French really think. How to get on with them. And, most importantly, how to get the best out of them: take a look at these two best-sellers from Stephen Clarke. You’ll find the reading entertaining!!



British journalist Stephen Clarke describes the misadventures of Paul West in France in a highly entertaining way.



Talk to the Snail gives a hysterical look at understanding the French. The book is based on Stephen Clarke’s own funny experiences.


France in French: Find out more!

Gems of Paris by French Moments
About the author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Pierre is the author of the Discovery Course on the Secrets of the Eiffel Tower and the Christmas book "Voyage au Pays de Noël".

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