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Our teacher told us that “l'Hexagone” was a rather French way of describing France (because apparently France looks like a hexagon). So when would it be appropriate to use? What prepositions would one use with it?

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    It is used in a very common French expression "au quatre coins de l'hexagone" which hurts the common sense... – jlliagre Jan 26 '18 at 13:43
  • It's used in political/administrative contexts in writing (government) and is also used in the news (written and broadcast). If you and I were sitting in a cafe at Chatelet talking about France, we wouldn't use it. However, if you and I were at a formal dinner at the Elysée Palace, then, in speech, it might possibly be used by one of us. It also is a common way to contrast la France d'outre-mer (which can get complicated versus) to mainland France (la France métropolitaine). – Lambie Jan 26 '18 at 16:52
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You would use the same prepositions as for the common word for an hexagone. It is used figuratively to refer to the territory of mainland France and by extension, to France itself, in the press, in books, on television etc. but less in every day conversations. It is also used in other French-speaking countries to refer to France (at least in Europe, I am not sure about Québec).

Cet opérateur de téléphonie couvre tout l'Hexagone.

Demain, il pleuvra sur tout l'Hexagone

On peut trouver ce journal partout dans l'Hexagone

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There's also an adjective, hexagonal.

One time you can't use it is when talking about the president. I once said le président hexagonal and my friend couldn't correct me fast enough: le président de la République.

Another synonym: When in a DOM-TOM (any French territory outside of the Hexagon proper), the term used to talk about the mainland as opposed to Guadeloupe or wherever you currently are is typically la Métropole.

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    Note that Corsica is part of the métropole or France métropolitaine. Hexagone is not a precise geographical or administrative term, but I think that most French speakers will not consider that Corsica is part of the Hexagone (you might argue that for many Corsicans, it is not even part of France at all, but that is another story...) – Greg Jan 26 '18 at 11:07
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    It's not just for the president that you cannot use "hexagonal". I would never say "la république hexagonal", for example. Or "je suis hexagonal". "Hexagone" refers to geography, outside of this context it's not used much. – Najib Idrissi Jan 26 '18 at 12:34
  • @NajibIdrissi On peut très bien dire et écrire La République hexagonale, mais ce sera le plus souvent péjoratif. En revanche, je suis hexagonal, non, ou alors, il y a un sérieux problème ... :-) – jlliagre Jan 27 '18 at 1:58
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    @jlliagre Une recherche de "république hexagonale" (avec des guillemets) donne des résultats... intéressants. Non, on ne peut pas dire "république hexagonale" sans passer pour un illuminé. Je n'ai jamais entendu ou lu ça de ma vie (enfin, avant aujourd'hui, et je m'en serais bien passé vu ce que j'ai lu). – Najib Idrissi Jan 29 '18 at 20:03
  • @NajibIdrissi « Illuminés », feu André Collinot, Maitre de conférences à Paris 3, Professeur à l'Université Sorbonne nouvelle-Paris III. - Directeur du Centre de linguistique française de l'Université Sorbonne nouvelle-Paris III et Francine Mazière, Professeure émérite à l’Université Paris 13, membre du laboratoire d’Histoire des Théories Linguistiques (HTL Paris7/CNRS), et, antérieurement, normalienne, professeur dans le secondaire, universités de Limoges, Poitiers, Directrice des Etudes à l’ENS de Fontenay-Saint Cloud. apprécieront sûrement... – jlliagre Jan 29 '18 at 22:27

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