Yearbook 1996

France. In January, an era in French history ended. François Mitterrand, longtime socialist leader and president between 1981 and 1995, died after many years of cancer. However, his situation was kept secret only a few years ago. In retrospect, both his political advisers and his doctors have been criticized for this, as it is considered that they thereby endangered the country. At the beginning of the year, Mitterrand’s successor to the presidential post, Jacques Chirac, faced intense domestic and international criticism for the continuing nuclear weapons tests at the Mururoatollen in the Pacific. Before the first French head of state visit to the US in 12 years, the trial series was stopped prematurely. Future tests will be carried out in special laboratories in France. The French government also announced that the nuclear missiles based in southeastern France should be scrapped. The defense must be reorganized. Many bases both in France and abroad must be closed down. Cooperation with NATO is to be developed, but a re-entry as a member requires that NATO be restructured and European members given greater influence. The defense industry will lose weight and the military service system will be abolished until 2001.

  • ABBREVIATIONFINDER.ORG: What does FR stand for? In the field of geography, this two letter acronym means France. Check this to see its other meanings in English and other 35 languages.

The measures in the defense field will further deteriorate the state of the labor market. Unemployment was around 12% throughout the year, and no improvement could be seen. The government’s severe budget cuts led to fewer jobs in the public sector, which in turn led to extensive strikes. The message that it was intended to freeze the salaries of the government employees was met by the unions in October with a major strike that almost paralyzed large parts of the country. In recent years, the cost of welfare policy has gone astray, and in 1996 the government was forced to take drastic measures as economic growth was lower than expected. In order to get the economy organized, the state-owned companies (eg France Télécom, Renault and the insurance company Assurances Générales de France) continue to privatize. See for emigration to France.

However, the growing social unrest has other causes as well. Bomb attacks and other acts of terrorism have killed dozens of people. Corsica has been at the center of political violence since the local independence movement has stepped up its fight against the French authorities. Basques and militant Islamic groups have also contributed to the tense situation of police and military patrolling in subways and railway stations. The attacks have also given new impetus to anti-immigrant organizations, for example. National front under the leadership of the disputed politician Jean-Marie Le Pen, and forced the government to tighten immigration policy.

In foreign policy, the consolidation of relations between France and Germany and the marking of these states’ leading role in the EU have been at the center. President Chirac also sought to strengthen France’s international standing through political outreach directed to the Arab world as well as to other states in Africa and Asia. During his visit to the Middle East, the president caused a stir by refusing to speak in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, but shortly thereafter became the first foreign head of state to speak in the Palestinian parliament.


Architecture and cityscape

Paris cityscape is characterized by the location on either side of the river valley with its islands and its connection to the Saint-Martin canal in the east. Several bridges connect the parts of the city. Pont Neuf is Paris’ oldest bridge, begun in 1578. In the north and east, the city is dominated by heights around Montmartre and Belleville. The extensive parks Bois de Boulogne in the west and Bois de Vincennes in the east surround the modern city center. The medieval core of Paris, Île de la Cité, houses several significant buildings, including the Cathedral Notre Dame, the Gothic masterpiece Sainte-Chapelle (1241–48) and the Palais de Justice dating back to the 1300s. Magnificent Baroque palaces characterize neighboring Saintle Saint-Louis as well as the restored Marais district around Place des Vosges (1605-12). At its western edge lies the cultural center Center Pompidou (1971–77). The heart of the city is found around the Louvre, at the site of one of the French royal power’s medieval fortifications. The adjacent Palais Royal (1624–36, rebuilt from 1781) by Jacques Lemercier played an important role as a political sanctuary in the prehistory of the revolution. On Seine’s left (ie south) beach lies, among other things. the church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés (990-1014) with the oldest church tower in Paris and the Luxembourg Garden and the Palace of Luxembourg (1615-35). The Panthéon (1755–80, formerly Sainte-Geneviève) of Germain Soufflot is, like the École militaire at Champ-de-Mars (1752–74) by J. -A. Gabriel, a significant feature of the 18th century cityscape. the church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés (990-1014) with the oldest church tower in Paris and the Luxembourg Garden and the Palace of Luxembourg (1615-35). The Panthéon (1755–80, formerly Sainte-Geneviève) of Germain Soufflot is, like the École militaire at Champ-de-Mars (1752–74) by J. -A. Gabriel, a significant feature of the 18th century cityscape. the church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés (990-1014) with the oldest church tower in Paris and the Luxembourg Garden and the Palace of Luxembourg (1615-35). The Panthéon (1755–80, formerly Sainte-Geneviève) of Germain Soufflot is, like the École militaire at Champ-de-Mars (1752–74) by J. -A. Gabriel, a significant feature of the 18th century cityscape.

The urban transformation carried out by GE Haussmann from the middle of the 19th century intersected the medieval neighborhood pattern with wide tree-planted boulevards, beaming together at monumentally designed sites around public buildings or memorials. Paris’s most magnificent urban space extends from the Arc du Carrousel (1806–08) adjacent to the Louvre until that of J. -A. Gabriel created the Place de la Concorde (1755–63, formerly Place Louis XV) and offers views of Place Vendôme (begun 1699) by Jules Hardouin-Mansart, Temple Church La Madeleine (begun 1807) by Pierre Vignon, Palais Bourbon (1722-28) and Hôtel des Invalides (1670-76) with the Invalid Cathedral (c. 1680)). The main axis through the Tuileries Garden crosses the Avenue des Champs-Élysées parade towards Place Charles de Gaulle (1768–74, formerly Place de l’Étoile) with the Arc de Triomphe (1806–36). This classic axis has been extended to the new district of La Defense, where it is completed with the monumental office building Grande Arche (1982–89) by the Danish Johan Otto von Spreckelsen (1929–87). Among the other monuments of the 19th century are the Bibliothèque Nationale (1853–69), the romantic park Buttes-Chaumont (1864–69), the Opera (inaugurated 1875), the white basilica Sacré-Coeur (begun in 1874) and the Eiffel Tower.

Art nouveau has left significant traces through Hector Guimard, the author of many of the métron’s distinctive signs and cast iron details as well as to the residential building Castel Béranger (1897-98). His younger successor, especially Henri Sauvage, foreshadowed the breakthrough of modernism, to which Auguste Perret’s pioneering work with concrete structures contributed, among other things. with a residence on Rue Franklin (1903). Le Corbusier in Paris has left the key to his architectural work in works such as Villa La Roche-Jeanneret in Auteuil (1923) and the legendary Villa Savoy in Poissy (1929–31). From the same time, the mentioned la Maison de Verre, (1928–32) is marked an early building erected with glass walls entirely by Pierre Chareau (1883–1950) in collaboration with the Dutchman Bernard Bijvoet.

Following state planning initiatives, in the early 1970s a number of new suburbs, nouvelles villes, emerged in the Paris region. Marne-la-Vallée in the east and Cergy-Pontoise in the west. Of les grands projets, initiated by President Mitterrand in the early 1980s with a view to marking the 200th anniversary of 1789, is particularly noticeable by the Arab Institute by Jean Nouvel, Parc de la Villette and the Louvre’s reconstruction and extension, completed with a glass pyramid by IM Pei (see picture Louvre) at Cour Napoléon. The last in the line of these significant buildings is the new French National Library, Bibliothèque de François Mitterrand, with space for 12 million books, shaped as four tall and slim glass buildings around an inner courtyard in the ground floor (Dominique Perrault, 1989-95). . The area around the library with its new metro station and the equivalent on the other side of Seine, at the newly constructed Parc de Bercy (Bernard Huet, 1995-98), is being built with new types of exclusive residential buildings and is one of the city’s most important new additions. Park facilities at Parc de la Villette (Bernard Tschumi, 1987–88), Parc André Citroën / Citroën-Cévennes (Patrick Berger & Gilles Clément, 1993) and at the Promenade planté between Bastille and Reuilly (Berger, 1997) marks the city’s ambition to relieve a heavy traffic-laden city center with the help of green free spaces and car-free pedestrian lanes. This is further emphasized by Passage Solférino (Marc Mimram, 1999), a pedestrian and bicycle bridge over the Seine at Gare d’Orsay.

Population 1996

According to, the population of France in 1996 was 57,801,781, ranking number 20 in the world. The population growth rate was 0.400% yearly, and the population density was 105.5632 people per km2.

France Population Distribution by Age