France facts and figures


Although ultimately a victor in World Wars I and II, France suffered extensive losses in its empire, wealth, manpower, and rank as a dominant nation-state. Nevertheless, France today is one of the most modern countries in the world and is a leader among European nations. Since 1958, it has constructed a presidential democracy resistant to the instabilities experienced in earlier parliamentary democracies. In recent years, its reconciliation and cooperation with Germany have proved central to the economic integration of Europe, including the introduction of the euro in January 2002. At present, France is at the forefront of European states seeking to exploit the momentum of monetary union to advance the creation of a more unified and capable
European defense and security apparatus.

Western Europe, bordering the Bay of Biscay and English Channel, between
Belgium and Spain, southeast of the UK; bordering the Mediterranean Sea,
between Italy and Spain


total: 547,030 sq km

land: 545,630 sq km

note: includes only metropolitan France; excludes the overseas administrative

water: 1,400 sq km

Land boundaries:

total: 2,889 km

border countries: Andorra 56.6 km, Belgium 620 km, Germany 451 km, Italy
488 km, Luxembourg 73 km, Monaco 4.4 km, Spain 623 km, Switzerland 573 km


generally cool winters and mild summers, but mild winters and hot summers
along the Mediterranean; occasional strong, cold, dry, north-to-northwesterly
wind known as mistral


mostly flat plains or gently rolling hills in north and west; remainder
is mountainous, especially Pyrenees in south, Alps in east

Land use:

arable land: 33.3%

permanent crops: 2.11%

other: 64.59% (1998 est.)

60,180,529 (July 2003 est.)


noun: Frenchman(men), Frenchwoman(women)

adjective: French


French 100%, rapidly declining regional dialects and languages (Provencal,
Breton, Alsatian, Corsican, Catalan, Basque, Flemish)