|Area||547,030 sq km|
|Population||59,765,983 (July 2002 est.)|
|Language||French 100%, some regional dialects|
|Religion||Roman Catholic 83%-88%, Protestant 2%, Jewish 1%, Muslim 5%-10%, unaffiliated 4%|
France is divided into 22 administrative regions, which themselves can be grouped into 7 main "cultural regions", which share common points.
- The Ile de France is the region surrounding the capital, Paris.
- The North is a region where the world wars have left scars. It includes Nord-Pas de Calais, Picardie, and Haute-Normandie.
- The North-East is a region where the European culture (and specially Germany culture) has merged with the French culture, giving interesting results. It includes Champagne-Ardennes, Alsace, Lorraine and Franche-Comte.
- The Great West is a oceanic region, with a culture more influenced by the ancient Gaelic and Anglo-Saxon people. It includes Bretagne, Basse-Normandie, and Pays de la Loire.
- The Center is an agricultural region, with valleys and old mountains. It includes Centre, Poitou-Charentes, Borgogne, Limousin, and Auvergne.
- The South-West is a region of sea and wine, with nice beaches over the atlantic ocean, as well as young, high mountains close to Spain. It includes Aquitaine and Midi-Pyrenees.
- The South-East is the main touristic region of the country, with a warm climate and sea, as well as tall mountains. It includes Rhone-Alpes, Languedoc-Roussillon and Provence-Alpes-Cotes d'Azur.
The biggest cities in France, and the cities which cannot be missed if you want to visit throughoutly the country, are listed below.
Some interesting destinations that cover several regions.
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.
Map of France
- 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
- 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
- 3,427 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
- Elevation extremes
- lowest point: Rhone River delta -2 m
highest point: Mont Blanc 4,807 m
- 59,765,983 (July 2002 est.)
- noun: Frenchman(men), Frenchwoman(women)
- Ethnic groups
- Celtic and Latin with Teutonic, Slavic, North African, Indochinese, Basque minorities
- Roman Catholic 83%-88%, Protestant 2%, Jewish 1%, Muslim 5%-10%, unaffiliated 4%
- French 100%, rapidly declining regional dialects and languages (Provencal, Breton, Alsatian, Corsican, Catalan, Basque, Flemish)
- Country name
- conventional long form: French Republic
conventional short form: France
local long form: Republique Francaise
local short form: France
- Government type
- 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
- 486 (unified by Clovis)
- National holiday
- Bastille Day, 14 July (1789)
- 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 - 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.
- 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
- Exchange rates
- euros per US dollar - 1.1324 (January 2002), 1.1175 (2001), 1.0854 (2000), 0.9386 (1999);
- 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
French is the language of choice in France.
See also: French phrasebook