Hundreds of thousands of travellers visit France each year. The glories of the French countryside, the essential harmony of much of French architecture, the wealth of historical remains, the enormous variety of experience that France offers, act as a perennial and irresistible attraction. For these visitors this lively and useful guide provides the essential clues to an understanding of France's past and present, in entertaining and sometimes surprising detail. France has a varied and interesting history, from pre-Roman Gaul, to Barbaric and German invasions, through the Middle-Ages to revolution and the countless regime changes since. The guide explores the various stages of France's development from Napoleon to Vichy France, right up to the modern politics of today.