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Originally applied to the whole Frankish Empire , the name "France" comes from the Latin Francia , or "country of the Franks ".  Modern France is still named today Francia in Italian and Spanish, Frankreich in German and Frankrijk in Dutch, all of which have the same historical meaning.
The oldest traces of human life in what is now France date from approximately 1.8 million years ago.  Humans were then confronted by a harsh and variable climate, marked by several glacial eras. Early homonids led a nomadic hunter-gatherer life.  France has a large number of decorated caves from the upper Palaeolithic era, including one of the most famous and best preserved: Lascaux  (approximately 18,000 BC).
At the end of the last glacial period (10,000 BC), the climate became milder;  from approximately 7,000 BC, this part of Western Europe entered the Neolithic era and its inhabitants became sedentary. After strong demographic and agricultural development between the 4th and 3rd millennia, metallurgy appeared at the end of the 3rd millennium, initially working gold , copper and bronze , and later iron.  France has numerous megalithic sites from the Neolithic period, including the exceptionally dense Carnac stones site (approximately 3,300 BC).