A Western European country, France is bathed by the
English Channel to the north, the Bay of Biscay to
the west and the Mediterranean Sea and Monaco to the
south, and borders Belgium and Luxembourg to the
northeast, Germany and Switzerland to the east. ,
Italy to the southeast and Spain and Andorra to the
southwest. It has an area of 551 500 km 2 (including
the island of Corsica in the Mediterranean Sea).
The main cities are Paris, the capital, with 10.9
million inhabitants (2018), Lyon (1.69 million inhab.),
Marseille (1.59 million inhab.), Lille (1.05 million
inhab.), Toulouse (997 000 inhab.) And Bordeaux (945
The territory of France presents marked contrasts in
terms of relief: in the Southeast and Southwest,
respectively, the mountain ranges of the Alps and the
Pyrenees; in the central part, the Central Massif; in
the Northeast, ancient reliefs (Jura, Vosgos,
Ardennes); in the North and West, vast plains crossed by
rivers (Seine, Loire, Garonne). It is in the French Alps
that the highest point in Western Europe is found, Monte
Branco, with 4807 meters of altitude.
France's location conditions the country's diversity
and climatic variation, which has a temperate
maritime climate in the Northwest, and a
Mediterranean climate in the South. To the east,
towards the border with Germany, the climate
reflects the influence of continentality, translated
into greater temperature variations between summer
and winter and the greater amount of rainfall that
occurs in summer.
As for the highlands of the Pyrenees, the Alps,
snowfall is frequent in winter, with even perpetual
snows at the highest points.
France is one of the most developed countries in
Europe and the World, part of the G7, the group of
the seven richest countries in the World.
With 3/5 of arable land, France is the leader of the
European agricultural sector, with cereals, sugar
beet, wine products, fruits, vegetables and dairy
products standing out. Forestry also plays an
important role in the French economy thanks to the
extensive forested area (about 90 000 km 2 ).
French industry is highly rated worldwide,
especially with regard to the automotive,
aeronautical, metallurgical and textile industries,
as well as those linked to chemicals and food
The tertiary sector is the most important sector for
the French economy, as it employs 2/3 of the active
population and represents more than 60% of GDP. This
is not unrelated to the development recorded in
activities such as tourism (France has numerous
tourist attractions, ranging from the variety of
landscapes to the famous French cuisine, passing
through the excellent weather conditions and its
historical and cultural wealth), transport and
communications and financial activity. France's main
trading partners are Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium
and the United Kingdom.
The population, in 2017, was 62 814 233 inhabitants,
and the birth and death rates were, respectively,
12.2% o and 9.3% o . Average
life expectancy is 81.9 years.
The population of French origin represents 93.6% of
the population, followed by the Portuguese (1.1%),
Algerian (1.1%), Moroccan (1%), Italian (0.4%) and
Spanish (0.4%). In terms of religion, Catholicism
dominates (66%), followed by Islam (8%). The
official language is French.
Art and Culture
France has been known for centuries for its enormous
cultural wealth. From painting to sculpture, from
literature to cinema, this country was the birthplace of
numerous artistic currents and the list of famous names
that, over the years, have served as a point of
reference for many artists around the globe, is huge:
Victor Hugo, Pierre -Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, Edgar
Degas, François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, etc.