French History

French History
  • Prehistory
  • Ancient History
  • The Middle Ages
  • Hundred Years' War
  • The Black Death
  • Joan of Arc
  • The Renaissance
  • The 17th century
  • The French Revolution
  • The Era of Napoleon
  • The late 19th century
  • The early 20th century
  • The Fifth Republic


The oldest man to have been found in France was the Homo Erectus, who lived around 950,000 B.C. Many cultures followed in the years to come, each leaving distinct traces of their existence. After the Ice Age, man began to settle down more permanently as the concept of agriculture began to flourish. The Old Stone or Paleolithic Age (50,000 B.C. - 8,000 B.C.) cultures, left evidence of their existence through a series of artistic cave wall paintings, some of which can be seen to this day at Lascaux in the Dordogne region of south-west France. The culture that followed belonged to the Middle Stone (Mesolithic) Age (8,000 B.C. - 4,000 B.C.). These people, unlike their ancestors, left fewer traces of their time here behind.

Evidence of the New Stone or Neolithic Age (4,000 B.C. – 2000 B.C.) culture however is still present today in the thousands of incredible stone monuments that can be found around the country. Examples include the menhirs found in Brittany and southern France and the dolmens found in the Loire Valley, the Parisian Basin, and Champagne.

During the Iron Age (8th - 2nd century B.C.) the Celts came over from Central Europe and settled in Gaul. Theirs was a much more advanced and sophisticated culture than those of the Stone Age. Also known as the Gauls, they developed techniques of working with iron and dominated Gaul during much of this period.