French national identity is based on the historical origins of the nation in Celtic, Gallo-Roman, and Frankish cultures.
The name "France" originally was used to refer to several peoples in the lower Rhineland.
The population is divided by social class, political party affiliation, generation, ethnicity, and region.
Political and linguistic unification, especially through mass education, has been an ongoing project of nationalism.
The immigrant population comes mainly from Portugal and northern Africa, although there has been increasing immigration from eastern Europe.
Metropolitan France has an area of over 200,000 square miles (518,000 square kilometers), making it the largest Western European nation. Paris is the capital and cultural center, long dominating the rest of the nation.
The older provinces, now reconfigured in what are officially called regions, have played an important role in the nation's history. The French Republic includes four overseas departments ( départements d' outre-mer DOMs): French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Réunion.
Regional identities, such as Provencal and Breton have coexisted with political units of state control.The degree to which France is today a homogeneous nation is a highly contested topic.