France Immigration Work Permits and Visas

About France

Although ultimately a victor in World Wars I and II, France suffered extensive losses in its empire, wealth, manpower, and rank as a dominant nation-state. Since 1958, it has constructed a presidential democracy resistant to the instabilities experienced in earlier parliamentary democracies. In recent years, its reconciliation and cooperation with Germany have proved central to the economic integration of Europe, including the advent of the euro in January 1999. Today, France is at the forefront of European states seeking to exploit the momentum of monetary union to advance the creation of a more unified and capable European defense and security apparatus.

France's economy combines modern capitalistic methods with extensive, but declining, government intervention. The government retains considerable influence over key segments of each sector, with majority ownership of railway, electricity, aircraft, and telecommunication firms. It has been gradually relaxing its control over these sectors since the early 1990s.

The government is slowly selling off holdings in France Telecom, in Air France, and in the insurance, banking, and defense industries.

Meanwhile, large tracts of fertile land, the application of modern technology, and subsidies have combined to make France the leading agricultural producer in Western Europe. France joined 10 other EU members to launch the euro on 1 January 1999.

One of the best ways to get to know France is to visit a local market. Strolling among the stalls on Boulevard Richard Lenoir in Paris one morning, watching as finicky chefs pick through crates of Brittany mussels and truck drivers recharge themselves with tiny cups of strong coffee. A market invites participation.

For visitors, all of France can seem like a market - it's one of those rare countries where every region offers something worthwhile and distinctive. Paris represents the height of fashion, art and food -- its sense of style is so strong it intimidates some visitors, yet the city can also be remarkably comfortable and intimate. The provinces offer their own landscapes and cultures: the glittering crowds of the Cote d'Azur, the elegant chateaux of the Loire Valley, the hospitable vineyards of Bordeaux, the rocky coasts of Brittany, the dramatic slopes of the Alps and the Pyrenees, the charming farms and villages of Provence. The country can satisfy just about any traveler's taste.

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