France

Capital:

Paris

Population:

65,350,000

Official Languages:

French

Time Zone:

+1 / Summer +2

Dialing Code:

+33

 

Government:

constitutional republic

Area:

674,843 km2

largest city:

Paris

Currency :

Euro

ISO 3166 code:

FR

France Flag

Basic Info

France, officially the French Republic, is a unitary semi-presidential republic located mostly in Western Europe, with several overseas regions and territories. Metropolitan France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. From its shape, it is often referred to in French as l'Hexagone ("The Hexagon").


France Location in World Map

Geography

Metropolitan France is situated mostly between latitudes 41° and 51° N (Dunkirk is just north of 51°), and longitudes 6° W and 10° E, on the western edge of Europe, and thus lies within the northern temperate zone.


From southwest to northeast, France shares borders with Spain, Andorra, Monaco, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Luxembourg, and Belgium. France also borders Suriname to its west and Brazil to its east and south, by way of the overseas region of French Guiana, which is considered an integral part of the republic (like Alaska and Hawaii are to the United States, or Kaliningrad is to Russia). Corsica and the French mainland form Metropolitan France; Guadeloupe, Martinique, Réunion, and Mayotte form, with French Guiana, the overseas regions. These two integral groupings, along with several overseas collectivities and one territory, comprise the French Republic. The collectivity of Saint Martin borders Sint Maarten, a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; however, since, Saint Martin is significantly autonomous of the French government, this is not considered an international border.


Climate

Metropolitan France is situated mostly between latitudes 41° and 51° N (Dunkirk is just north of 51°), and longitudes 6° W and 10° E, on the western edge of Europe, and thus lies within the northern temperate zone


France's total land area, with its overseas departments and territories (excluding Adélie Land), is 674,843 km2 (260,558 sq mi), 0.45% of the total land area on Earth. However, France possesses the second-largest Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the world, covering 11,035,000 km2 (4,260,637 sq mi), approximately 8% of the total surface of all the EEZs of the world, just behind the United States (11,351,000 km2/4,382,646 sq mi) and ahead of Australia (8,232,000 km2/3,178,393 sq mi). According to a different calculation cited by the Pew Research Center,


the EEZ of France would be 10,084,201 km2 (3,893,532 sq mi), still behind the United States (12,174,629 km2/4,700,651 sq mi), and still ahead of Australia (8,980,568 km2/3,467,417 sq mi) and Russia (7,566,673 km2/2,921,509 sq mi). The north and northwest have a temperate climate, while a combination of maritime influences, latitude and altitude produce a varied climate in the rest of Metropolitan France.


Religion

France is a secular country, and freedom of religion is a constitutional right. French religious policy is based on the concept of laïcité, a strict separation of Church and State under which public life is kept completely secular. France was historically regarded as the "eldest daughter" of the Roman Catholic Church. The French Revolution saw a radical shift in the status of the Church with the launch of a brutal de-Christianization campaign. After the back and forth of Catholic royal and secular republican governments over the 19th century, laïcité was established with the Jules Ferry laws of the 1880s and the 1905 law on the Separation of the Churches and the State. The French government does not keep statistics on religious adherence, nor on ethnicity or on political affiliation. However, some unofficial survey estimates exist.


Administrative divisions

The following is a list of the fifteen largest urban areas of France, based on population data gathered at the 2006 census. The classification of the population is sometimes different from the INSEE number. See The Map


Classif.

Urban area

Population -2006

Yearly percent change (1999–2006)

1

Paris

12 089 098

0.70%

2

Lyon

2 118 132

0.80%

3

Marseille

1 780 095

0.80%

4

Lille

1 264 716

0.30%

5

Toulouse

1 256 887

1.90%

6

Bordeaux

1 120 149

1.10%

7

Nice

1 091 903

0.90%

8

Nantes

763 118

1.00%

9

Strasbourg

638 670

0.60%

10

Toulon

595 884

0.80%

11

Rennes

571 753

1.30%

12

Douai-Lens

546 723

–0.2%

13

Grenoble

531 440

0.50%

14

Rouen

523 236

0.10%

15

Montpellier

510 391

1.50%


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