Want to learn more names that France goes by? This post will show you all the interesting nicknames for France you may not have known before!
Being one of the most visited countries in the world, France is famous for more things than one can count.
Known for its rich history, colorful bakeries and cute cafés, pioneers of modern fashion, famous landmarks and so much more, there are unsurprisingly many nicknames for France that highlight all of its unique features!
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What’s even more interesting is that several significant languages across the world with no actual attachment to the country have a history and story behind the way France is called in their language, showcasing France’s importance at a global level.
Some nicknames signify the country’s role as the flagbearer of the liberty movement that took place worldwide after the revolution, while others are about the specific territories that encompass the country.
Whether you’re planning a trip to the country and want to know a little history about it before you go or you’re just a Francophile with a desire to learn more about the country, keep reading to find out the top 11 France nicknames and the history behind them!
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Interesting Nicknames for France You Probably Didn’t Know
One of the most commonly used nicknames for France, La France, has a lot of history behind its name.
It comes from the German origin word, “Frank,” which means “Free Man.” Very fitting to the history of the struggles of the French people to become free, La France is the most commonly used name for the country.
It also refers to the “Frankish” or French people who played a role in electing their leader, the King of Franks, and accompanied him to the war.
In fact, the currency of France before the euro was called the franc, which came from one of the Kings of France called Rex Francorum!
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Translated as “the land of human rights,” Les Pays des Droits de l’Homme is one of the France names that denote the historical French Revolution of 1789.
The revolution involved an uprising of the citizens to revolt against King Louis XVI for the grave injustices and corruption he was involved in.
The revolution was undoubtedly one for the books and led France to adopt the values of liberty, fraternity, and equality, becoming a full-fledged democracy and changing the way countries worldwide operated.
The revolution particularly sparked a series of uprisings in nearby nations, and hence came the name “Les Pays des Droits de l’Homme.”
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One of the unique nicknames for France is la Diagonale du Vide which translates to “The Empty Diagonal” or “The Diagonal of the Void.”
The term refers to the region between the Southwest of France and the Northeast of the country as the area has a significantly less population in comparison to other parts of the nation.
Especially with the amount of land, the density of the people in the diagonal region is extremely low, causing the rise of the name La Diagonale du Vide.
This is one of the names of France that the French administration actually adopted to refer to this nation.
However, some believe that with the migration within the country and the world in the 21st century, the name should become defunct.
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Famously known as the ancient name for the nation, La Gaule comes from Gaul or Gallia in Latin.
Before the ideas of “Free people” or Franks came around to give birth to La France’s name, the country used to be referred to as Gaule, and this name continued even after La France was introduced.
The name was widely used when most French elites spoke Latin as one of their day-to-day languages.
However, with time as the language became obsolete as daily used vernacular (even though it contributed so much to relevant languages across the world today), the name La Gaule also stopped being used often.
It still may be used (on rare occasions) when a French person is trying to assert their national identity.
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L’Hexagone is a nickname that highlights the unique location and shape of the country.
While it only includes the mainland region and not the island of Corsica or other overseas territories that are legally a part of France, this France nickname is widely used.
It refers to how the country is shaped kind of like a hexagon, a six-sided polygon since it has three sides connected to the land and the other three connected to the seas.
In case you’re wondering which countries make the hexagon shape possible, France is linked to Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Germany, and Berlin and is an integral part of the European continent.
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One of the not-so-loved nicknames of France that is used in the country is La Province.
The nickname is used exclusively by Parisians, who seem to refer to all the parts of France, except Paris, as the Province.
People residing in vibrant landscapes and iconic cities in France (that aren’t Paris) don’t appreciate the nickname as it comes off as very arrogant and ignorant about how diverse different parts of France are.
Though it is mainly used to refer to the countryside of France, Parisians who are devoted to their city and view it as the center of the country seem to use the name for any part of the country besides their iconic city.
Of course, this name is not popular currently but it’s worth adding to the list of nicknames for France to fully understand the country and its people!
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Since France has a large mainland region and several overseas territories and the Island of Corsica, it calls for differentiation between both parts of the country.
The term La Métropole or La France Métropolitaine is used by people inhabiting the overseas territories of France to refer to mainland France.
In fact, in international law and courts, the combined regions of France have to be referred to as Metropolis or La Métropole.
La France Profonde translates to “Deep France” in English and is one of the most frequently used nicknames for the countryside.
The name actually has a lot of meaning attached to it as it symbolizes the inherent aspects of culture, social life, and nationality found in provincial French towns, rural communities, villages, and countryside cities, juxtaposed by the “dominant ideologies” attached to France globally due to the popularity of Paris.
“Deep France” or the rural, inner, non-Paris but still glamorous, warm, and breathtaking towns of the country have their own set of values and ideas that La France profonde refers to!
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La France continental or Continental France is another one of the nicknames used to refer to the hexagonal mainland region of the nation.
Once again, this name doesn’t include overseas territories like the island of Corsica and is essentially used as one of the official names as well as the name to signify the part of France that’s part of the European continent.
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The overseas France territories underwent reorganization in 2016, giving rise to the name La France d’Outre Mer.
Prior to the reform, there were two communities, namely Overseas Departments and Overseas Territories, that were abbreviated at DOM-TOM, and though the regions within these communities have been rearranged, this continues to be used as a popular nickname.
The 2016 reforms changed the abbreviation to DROM-COM, wherein DROM referred to the nations of Mayotte, Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guinea, and Reunion.
On the other hand, COM comes from Overseas Communities, which are French Polynesia, Saint-Martin, Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, Wallis, Barthélémy, and Futana.
La République Française is more than just a nickname for France; it’s actually the official name for the territory and is abbreviated as RF.
Again, an ode to the infamous French revolution (that began in 1787 and ended in 1799) after the success of the revolt, the first republic of France was declared in 1792.
The revolution continued for a long time until November of 1799, when the French consulate was formed, finally ending the insurgency.
From then, France became a harbinger of values of equality, democracy, liberty, and fraternity for the rest of the world.
Final thoughts on the Nicknames for France
France truly is one of the most culturally rich, historically significant, and vibrant nations across the globe.
It inevitably has several nicknames with so much to offer to the world and so much for the world to learn from, especially from its history of struggles to create a democratic republic.
Few nicknames for France are used by people worldwide, while others are specific to certain regions in the country and denote particular elements of French provinces.
No matter which nicknames you choose to use to talk about France or learn more about the nation, the country has so much to offer, as a nation, as a group of people, as a part of the European continent, and so much more!
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