Interior view of the famous stone kitchen attached to the refectory at Fontevraud Abbey. With multiple gigantic fireplaces, it was equipped to feed hundreds of people.
The sun stayed in until early evening, but then the view of the ancient Abbey of Fontevraud was quite...
The Abbaye of Fontevraud is one of the oldest and most beautifully restored Abbaye in France.
A view of the main square of the Fontevraud Abbaye - one of the oldest and best restored in France. F...
A view from inside the Fontevraud Abbaye. This is where Richard Lionheart, of "Robin Hood" fame is bu...
An early morning view of the lush meadow below le Domaine de Mestré, near Fontevraud Abbey in France'...
Le Domaine de Mestré is an ancient farmstead near Fontevraud L'Abbaye in the western Loire valley. I...
Candes Saint Martin is a quiet village on the bank of the Vienne - where the Vienne and the Loire meet.
A view of the Candes Saint Martin village, from the confluent of the Vienne and the Loire River. A ve...
A view from the inside of the Breze Pigeon house, one of the biggest in Europe.
The Castle of Breze in France is unique for its caves. There is literally a "second castle" dug under...
France is affectionately referred to as "the Hexagon" for its overall shape.
French history goes back to the Gauls, a Celtic tribe which inhabited the area circa 300BC until being conquered by Julius Caesar.
The Franks were the first tribe to adopt Catholic Christianity after the Roman Empire collapsed. France became an independent location in the Treaty of Verdun in (843 AD), which divided up Charlemagne's Carolingian Empire into several portions.
The French monarchy reached its zenith during the reign of Louis XIV, the Sun King, who stood for seventy-two years as the Monarch of all Monarchs. His palace of Versailles and its Hall of Mirrors are a splendid treasure-trove of Baroque art.
The French Revolution ended the rule of the monarchy with the motto "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity!" On July 14th, 1789 angry mobs stormed La Bastille prison and began the Revolution in which Louis XVI, his wife Marie-Antoinette and thousands of others met the guillotine.
One decade after the revolution, Napolean Bonaparte seized control of the Republic and named himself Emperor. His armies conquered most of Europe and his Napoleonic Code became a lasting legal foundation for concepts of personal status and property.
During the period of colonization France controlled the largest empire in the world, second only to Britain.
France is one of the founding members of the European Union and the United Nations, as well as one of the nuclear armed nations of the world.
Text by Steve Smith.