It's not a monastic order.
Not a French Sicilian.
Nor a Frenchman loaded with penicillin.
C'est quoi donc ?
La region de l'Île de France is the wealthiest, most populated and most urbanized region of France, constituting the 7 départements surrounding (Surprise!) Paris, and Paris itself (which is also its own département). And, as Paris has it's Parisiennes and Parisiens, the Île de France is inhabited by Franciliennes and Franciliens.
This Island France
Image: Wikimedia Commons
A major transport hub and global center of industry, finance, and all those things that send the stock market on its bipolar way, The Île also boasts considerable woodland, cropland and more than its fair share of historical sites, some UNESCO grade, including the fortified Medieval town of Provins and the châteaux of Versailles and Fontainebleau.* And although its current incarnation as an official administrative region is of relatively recent vintage (1976), the Île de France is the ancient feudal nucleus around which the body politic of the French nation was constructed, bit by bit, century by century.
The Name of the Rose
Err. Not so much a rose as a Fleur de Lys.
Three Fleur de Lys actually.
Eh, bien, on recommence.
The Name of the Flower that is not a Rose **
Image: Wikimedia Commons
The Île de France, whose official symbol is the aforementioned and above-depicted 3 lys (lilies) on a blue background, may have stated life as "Liddle Franke" or Little France (it must be remembered that the Franks, from whence France derives its name, were a Germanic tribe). Whether one prefers this theory or the more geographic version asserting that the name indicated the island-like nature of a small kindgom bounded by 3 rivers (la Seine, l'Oise & la Marne) the name has stuck now for about, oh, the last 1,000 years, give or take. From Viking raids (they indeed travelled the Seine, and even sacked Paris) to the creation of the "dormitory cities" of the banlieue (an event architecturally more destructive than the 856 and/or 861 AD sack of Paris and apparently more permanent), from the construction of Versailles to the landing of the first non-stop transatlantic flight, the Franciliens have just about seen it all. And of course, before the Franciliens were the Gallo-Roman residents of the region, but that part's mostly in street Latin and phlegm-inducing Celtic dialects and we haven't sorted out the dubbing yet.
As for the origins and meaning of the famed Fleur de Lys, that's a grand story rife with bees, toads, battles and people with excitingly paleolithic names like Clovis and Dagobert, so naturally, we'll leave it for another time.
... And no, nothing really rhymes with Francilien, except the rather cloyingly forced Transilien. Albigensian doesn't count.
So remember, while it may be true that no man is an island, some France is an island. Please however refrain from wearing flotation devices when roaming the countryside as you may be mistaken for a marauding Norseman, or at least an inebriated Scandinavian.****
Either will cause locals to bring in the washing.
* A permanent link to the numerous French UNESCO World Heritage Sites may be found in the left sidebar.
** Jean-Jacques Annaud has not actually announced any plans to film the story of Île de France. Besides, Sir Sean Connery, having retired, is not available for the role. More's the pity. "I am the region surrounding Parish. Yesh..."
*** A horrible Italian pun for which we apologize, both deeply and insincerely.
**** Inebriated Scandinavians may disregard the above conseil. We recommend water wings or anything shaped like a happy duck. Skål.