While tied to the mainland of Europe, the country is open to the Atlantic to the west.It also has coasts on the Mediterranean Sea to the south and the English Channel to the north.Overseas territories ( territoires d'outre-mer ) include French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Wallis, and Futuna.France borders Andorra, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Spain, and Switzerland.Then president François Mitterrand established the Haut Conseil de la Francophonie in 1984, which sponsors summit meetings among French-speaking countries. Numerous national symbols are associated with the French Revolution, which established the nation as a democratic republic at the end of the eighteenth century.They were further reinforced during the Third Republic at the turn of the twentieth century.Regional languages and dialects such as Breton, Catalan, Corsican, Basque, Alsatian, and Flemish are still in use, and some are taught in regional schools.The law of 11 January 1951 permitted the teaching of regional languages in regions in which they were in use.
The social position of Beurs (the children of North African immigrants) is an ongoing issue.
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 name "Francia" was applied to various territorial units until the Middle Ages, when it came to signify the kingdom of the French sovereign.
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.
In 1966, the government instituted a further safeguard by establishing a commission on the French language whose role is to discourage borrowings from English and franglais (the combination of the two languages).