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Difference between revisions of "France"

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Revision as of 17:05, 12 November 2003

Flag
Fr-flag.png
Quick Facts
CapitalParis
Governmentrepublic
Currencyeuro (EUR)
Area547,030 sq km
Population59,765,983 (July 2002 est.)
LanguageFrench 100%, some regional dialects
ReligionRoman Catholic 83%-88%, Protestant 2%, Jewish 1%, Muslim 5%-10%, unaffiliated 4%


Contents

Destinations

Regions in France:

Cities in France:

The Basics

The rest of this article is an import from the CIA World Factbook 2002. It's a starting point for creating a real Wikitravel country article according to our country article template. Please plunge forward and edit it.

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 advent of the euro in January 1999. Presently, 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.


Geography

Fr-map.png
Map of France
Location 
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
Map references 
Europe
Area - comparative 
slightly less than twice the size of Colorado
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
Coastline 
3,427 km
Climate 
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
Terrain 
mostly flat plains or gently rolling hills in north and west; remainder is mountainous, especially Pyrenees in south, Alps in east
Elevation extremes 
lowest point: Rhone River delta -2 m
highest point: Mont Blanc 4,807 m

People

Population 
59,765,983 (July 2002 est.)
Nationality 
noun: Frenchman(men), Frenchwoman(women)
adjective: French
Ethnic groups 
Celtic and Latin with Teutonic, Slavic, North African, Indochinese, Basque minorities
Religions 
Roman Catholic 83%-88%, Protestant 2%, Jewish 1%, Muslim 5%-10%, unaffiliated 4%
Languages 
French 100%, rapidly declining regional dialects and languages (Provencal, Breton, Alsatian, Corsican, Catalan, Basque, Flemish)

Government

Country name 
conventional long form: French Republic
conventional short form: France
local long form: Republique Francaise
local short form: France
Government type 
republic
Capital 
Paris
Administrative divisions 
22 regions (regions, singular - region); Alsace, Aquitaine, Auvergne, Basse-Normandie, Bourgogne, Bretagne, Centre, Champagne-Ardenne, Corse, Franche-Comte, Haute-Normandie, Ile-de-France, Languedoc-Roussillon, Limousin, Lorraine, Midi-Pyrenees, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Pays de la Loire, Picardie, Poitou-Charentes, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, Rhone-Alpes
note: metropolitan France is divided into 22 regions (including the "territorial collectivity" of Corse or Corsica) and is subdivided into 96 departments; see separate entries for the overseas departments (French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Reunion) and the overseas territorial collectivities (Mayotte, Saint Pierre and Miquelon)
Dependent areas 
Bassas da India, Clipperton Island, Europa Island, French Polynesia, French Southern and Antarctic Lands, Glorioso Islands, Juan de Nova Island, New Caledonia, Tromelin Island, Wallis and Futuna
note: the US does not recognize claims to Antarctica
Independence 
486 (unified by Clovis)
National holiday 
Bastille Day, 14 July (1789)
Constitution 
28 September 1958, amended concerning election of president in 1962, amended to comply with provisions of EC Maastricht Treaty in 1992, Amsterdam Treaty in 1996, Treaty of Nice in 2000; amended to tighten immigration laws 1993

Economy

Economy - overview 
France is in the midst of a gradual transition, from a well-to-do modern economy that has featured extensive government ownership and intervention to one that relies more on market mechanisms. The government has partially or fully privatized many large companies, banks, and insurers, but still retains large stakes in several leading firms, including Air France, France Telecom, and Renault, and remains dominant in some sectors, particularly the power, public transport, and defense industries. The telecommunications sector is gradually being opened to competition. France's leaders remain committed to a capitalism in which they maintain social equity by means of laws, tax policies, and social spending that reduce income disparity and the impact of free markets on public health and welfare. The government has lowered income taxes and introduced measures to boost employment but has done little to reform an overly expensive pension system, rigid labor market, and restrictive bureaucracy which discourage hiring and make the tax burden one of the highest in Europe. In addition to the tax burden, the reduction of the workweek to 35 hours has drawn criticism for lowering the competitiveness of French businesses. The current economic slowdown has thrown the government's goal of balancing the budget by 2004 off track.
Currency 
euro (EUR); French franc (FRF)
note: on 1 January 1999, the European Monetary Union introduced the euro as a common currency to be used by financial institutions of member countries; on 1 January 2002, the euro became the sole currency for everyday transactions within the member countries
Currency code 
EUR; FRF
Exchange rates 
euros per US dollar - 1.1324 (January 2002), 1.1175 (2001), 1.0854 (2000), 0.9386 (1999); French francs per US dollar - 5.65 (January 1999), 5.8995 (1998), 5.8367 (1997)


Transnational Issues

Disputes - international 
Madagascar claims Bassas da India, Europa Island, Glorioso Islands, Juan de Nova Island, and Tromelin Island; Comoros claims Mayotte; Mauritius claims Tromelin Island; territorial dispute between Suriname and French Guiana; territorial claim in Antarctica (Adelie Land); Matthew and Hunter Islands, east of New Caledonia, claimed by France and Vanuatu
Illicit drugs 
transshipment point for and consumer of South American cocaine, Southwest Asian heroin, and European synthetics

Talk

French is the language of choice in France.

See also: French phrasebook

See Also

European Union

Variants

Actions

Destination Docents

In other languages