I knew very little about France when my family and I surrendered to be missionaries to the United Kingdom. I did know that France was the butt of many jokes in the UK, and I shared in many of those jokes. Then, the Lord began to work in my heart about not just reaching the United Kingdom but reaching the whole of Europe. It occurred to me that if France is part of Europe (and it is) then I needed to lay aside any prejudice I might hold towards the French and consider the immortal souls of these people.
France is the 4th largest country in Europe, with over 65 million people. Their history is rich with art, music, cuisine, and politics. Historically, they had an immense colonial impact on Africa, and their involvement in the Revolutionary War helped free the US from the UK. Also, as English speakers we owe a great deal to France because Norman invaders to England helped shape our native tongue.
Looking at France, we maybe inclined to forget about their deep spiritual need. Though many Frenchmen would claim to be “Christian,” very few would understand and believe the Biblical gospel. Roman Catholicism is the dominate religion with 45% of the population following this religion of good works with no gospel. 35% of the population claim to have no religion at all, and 8% of the population follows Islam as their religion. They all are in dire need of the gospel!
Some interesting facts about France:
- France is the most visited country in the world.
- Potatoes were illegal in France between 1748 and 1772.
- The Gallic rooster is the national animal of France.
- A majority of the Muslims of France are descended from North African countries where France had colonies.
- Since 1903, France hosts the annual Tour de France, the most famous road bicycle race in the world.
Largest Urban Areas:
- Paris: 12,341,000
- Lyon 2,214,000
- Marseilles: 1,727,000
- Toulouse: 1,270,000
- Lille-Roubaix: 1,166,000
- Nice: 1,004,000
- Nantes: 897,000
- Strasburg: 768,000
- Rennes: 690,000