You may know some words because that “country” in French, consisting of le pays and la patrie. Yet how do you say “France” in French, specifically? It turns out you have actually several options.

Let’s look in ~ the most common.

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How come say “France” in French

Here are six common ways the French refer to their country, even if it is in literary or formal language, speeches, or in daily life and also conversations.

1. The standard “France”: la France 

The most common method to to speak “France” in French is….la France. Words originally comes from Francia, the realm of the Franks, one of the groups that were ancestors the the contemporary French. Famed Franks incorporate Charles Martel and also Charlemagne.

Important: that “La France” and also not “Le France” because “France” is a feminine word.

Today, this is the standard method to describe the modern-day country of France. The hatchet is neutral in context and also can be used in formal as well as informal situations. Pretty easy, right?

Oh, an additional easy thing for speaker of English: France is always capitalized in French, as with in our language. (This ascendancy goes for all countries in French.)

The just thing to keep in mental is that once you talk around countries in French, girlfriend usually have to use an post or preposition in former of them. So while you will do say “France” in English, it’s la France in French.

The iconic expression Vive la France (Long live France!) is a perfect means to mental this rule.

That said, the write-up usually goes away as soon as you use a preposition. For instance: en France (in France).

Just one rapid note around that: making use of the preposition de (of, from) and also a singular feminine country in French have the right to be a little confusing. Many of the time, you’ll watch de and the country name, through no article. Because that instance, C’était un roi de France (He to be a king of France).

But if you room talking about the nation as a physics place, no a basic entity, girlfriend would use the article. For example: Nous avons voyagé de la France à l’Allemagne en vélo. (We took trip by bike indigenous France to Germany).

This preeminence doesn’t apply to woman or pluralized countries. For instance, you’d always say or create des États-Unis, du Japon, etc. 

2. The principled “France”: la République/la République Française (The French Republic) 

France has actually had numerous different develops of federal government in its long history, from monarchy, to republic, to empire, come republic again…and therefore on and so forth. Years of revolutions and also reforms ar us currently in the fifth French Republic.

The ax la République or la République Française (sometimes capitalized la République française) is a formal one that would certainly be provided in speeches and also official documents. Most likely the most famous place you’ll hear it is in ~ the end of a presidential address.

Famously, the French president always concludes his speeches by saying Vive la République, vive la France. This is the rough indistinguishable to “God bless America” or “God save the queen”. Yet the République part also implies a strong agreement with the principles of the current type of government. This has the droits de l’homme (human rights) and also the 3 foundational values of the French Republic: Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité (Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood).

Referring to France this way is at as soon as a common formal phrase and something charged through meaning. You probably won’t usage it or listen it offered in everyday life and casual situations.


3. The proud “France”: Le pays des droits de l’homme (The nation of human rights)

In the previous entry on our list, ns talked around the values of the French Republic. This moniker for France evokes the beginnings of the Republic. The phrase le payment des droits de l’homme is a formal or literary method to describe the fact that France was one of the very first countries to champion the straightforward rights of its citizens, all the means back once the French very first Republic was founded in 1792, as a an outcome of the French revolution of 1789 (yes, there have been lot of French Revolutions).

The droits de l’homme being described in this expression comes from la Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen (The statements of the legal rights of Man and of the Citizen), written in 1789. Comparable to (and influenced by) the Preamble the the unified States’ explanation of Independence, the significant takeaway that this foundational record is the idea the all men are produced equal (as protest to a king or ruling class having an ext privileges).

Unfortunately, similar to the explanation of Independence, the original document didn’t include details minority groups, no to point out women. Yet that’s no longer the case; this day la Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen includes all French citizens (and, in a larger sense, all person beings).

Using this phrase to describe France is a proud and grandiose one – yet usually scheduled for formal or literature contexts.

4. The case to call “France”: Le pays des Lumières (The country of the Enlightenment)

The Enlightenment, referred to somewhat much more poetically in French together le siècle des Lumières (the century of lights – the is bright, illuminated thinkers), was an pundit movement that arisen throughout the Western civilization in the 18th century and resulted in revolutionary thinking in fields like philosophy, science, medicine, education, and human rights.

France was when the home of enlightenment superstars prefer Voltaire, Rousseau, and also Diderot (among many, many others!) and the French space still great proud of their illustrious pundit past. In fact, it’s also a part of the French nationwide identity. Today, French culture still areas a high worth on science, research, logical and crucial thinking and debate, and philosophy. The latter is even a required subject in French high schools!

So, the surname Le payment des Lumières for France is a installation one, although the a literature one, no something used in everyday language

5. The historic “France”: La Gaule (Gaul)

From old times until approximately the at an early stage Middle Ages, France was described as “Gaul”, because that the Gauls, a team of Celtic tribes that had inhabited most of it till the Romans got into (then, these groups integrated and the dominant culture was Gallo-Roman).

Although the Gauls are long gone, together we observed in our related post around how the French to speak “French”, Gaulois(e) (literally Gaulish or Gallic) is a super-patriotic method some French human being may refer to themselves. This is fairly rare, though.

Calling France La Gaule in a historic context (including in the top Astérix comics) is completely normal and also understandable. But doing that in a contemporary context shows extreme patriotism and may come off a bit silly or also nationalistic, relying on who’s listening.

6. The geometric France: L’Hexagone (The Hexagon)

Apart native la France, the many common way to speak “France” in everyday French is also the strangest and most creative choice on this list!

Mainland France is frequently referred to together l’Hexagone on the news, in French newspapers and French magazines, and even occasionally in everyday spoken language. You deserve to do an virtual search because that “l’Hexagone actualités” to see the vast variety of headlines that use this term.

Why, you may ask? Mainland France deserve to be split into six coasts or boundaries – therefore making the technically a hexagon. You deserve to see picture of the in this helpful Wikipedia entry.

This no a new trend or realization: the same short article points out that mainland France has actually been described as l’Hexagone since the late 19th century, as soon as French geography teachers began describing that to your students this way.

Even if you don’t view the resemblance, you’re practically guaranteed come come throughout this ax at part point. Luckily, unequal regular, non-country shapes, when it refers to France, l’Hexagone is constantly capitalized, so there shouldn’t be any type of confusion.

How the French talk around mainland vs. Abroad France


When most of united state think that France, we picture, well, l’Hexagone. But the nation of France has actually several overseas territories and also regions, consisting of Martinique, Guadeloupe, and also French Polynesia.

In addition to l’Hexagone, you’ll most likely come across three other terms the you have the right to use come differentiate between mainland and also overseas France. These are:

La métropole

Short for la France métropolitaine (metropolitan/continental France), the ax la métropole describes the timeless country that France, located in Europe, add to Corsica.

Note the métropole can have other meanings – it depends on the context.


An acronym for les Départements d’outre-mer, Territoires d’outre-mer, this collective term describes all French overseas departments and territories.

This short article points the end that the hatchet is no much longer technically correct, because some of these territories have different degrees of autonomy than others. Nevertheless, les DOM-TOM is still an extremely common expression that you’re certain to come throughout in French media and also that you may also hear in informal conversations.


L’outre-mer (overseas ) is another way you can hear French overseas countries and territories referred to, particularly in spoken language, although the exact political meaning may be inaccurate or imprecise.

Those are the most typical ways come say “France” in French.

Did any kind of of this terms surprise you? i beg your pardon one is her favorite?


Alysa Salzberg is one American writer, worrier, teacher, and cookie enthusiast who has actually lived in Paris, France, for an ext than a decade. She has actually taught English and French for an ext than ten years, many notably together an assistante de langue vivante because that L"Education Nationale.She freshly published her first novel, Hearts in ~ Dawn, a "Beauty and the Beast" retelling the takes place throughout the 1870 Siege the Paris. You deserve to read about her adventures here, or feel free to protect against by she website.

” La Gaule “, is the historical meaning of most of what is now well-known as La France; damned be any type of far-right, populist politician that ruins and also obscures it’s meaning with their incorrect ideologies and corruption. And also the Gauls may be lengthy gone together a socio-political entity, yet the Romans, contrary to popular belief, did not take any kind of extra procedures to fully genocide or ” out-breed ” them and the Gallo-Romans outnumbered the Franks by twenty come one once the Franks invaded, as such they can not possibly have actually contributed any less come the genetics of the French population than the Franks did.

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As deserve to be checked out from these studies, there space similarities between modern French genetics and Gaulish genetics, and Gauls, as with the contemporary day French, were no one completely unified country or social group.

Very an excellent article, I simply wish politicians and also Charlemagne-obsessed historians ( or Charles de Gaulle types, for that issue ) would certainly quit make the work of chroniclers of old Gaul hard by trying to make them flag-bearers of politics abuse and also conservatism or create them the end of the background of France together obsolete and an archaic joke.