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FRANCE
 
   
   
 

France Identity Card

Country name:
~ conventional long form: French Republic
~ conventional short form: France
~ local long form: Republique Francaise
~ local short form: France
 
Area: 547,030 sq km
Coastline: 3,427 km
Highest point: Mont Blanc 4,807 m
Population: 60,656,178
Density: 110/km2
Population growth rate: 0.37%
Language: French
Religions: Mostly Roman Catholic
Government type: republic
Capital: Paris
GDP - per capita: $28,700
Inflation rate: 2.3%
Currency (code): euro (EUR)
Vehicle Country Id-Code: F
ISO CODE Alpha2: FR
ISO CODE Alpha3: FRA
ISO NUMERIC CODE: 250
Calling code: +33
Internet country code: .fr
Time Zone: + 1.0 H

 
 
 
 

Eiffel Tower

Fascinating aroma cast a magic spell in the air, waves of silk and satin caressing the mannequins, gigantic splendour of architecture and illuminations captivating your senses. Wake up to the land of luxury and opulence on earth, France. The largest republic of Europe, France is situated on the western part of the continent. It’s territory is extended with a collection of overseas islands and territories located in other continents. Paris, the hub of designer houses and garments is the capital city. The name France originates from the Germanic tribe called Franks that occupied the region after the fall of the Roman Empire. Frenchmen also call the Metropolitan France as the “Hexagon” due to its resemblance o the geometrical shape. It shares its borders with Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Monaco, Andorra, and Spain. The United Kingdom lies just across the English Channel.
Be it for the path breaking revolutions, leading the World Wars or delving in to the depth of ‘High Couture’, France resembles a rich wild dream. From the fluttering of the eyelids, soft-spoken words to the calculated body moves, it is sophistication personified for France. Giordani, Gucci, Armani-the names that define the global fashion statements are nestled in this country. After recovering from the atrocities of World Wars I and II, France today dominates the European union with its wealth and industry resources. It is also a founding member of the United Nations and one of the eight acknowledged nuclear powers of the world. France has also got the privilege to wield veto power being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.


French Alps

Geography

The geographical visage of France is liberal enough to accommodate nearly every element of nature. Vast oceans, rolling hills, dense forests and meandering rivers feature in healthy dose throughout the terrain of France. On one side it is spread out from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea. Another part extends from the Rhine River to the Atlantic Ocean. The total area of France is 211,208 sq mi (547,030 sq km) and the population is approximately 60,656,178. Most of the citizens of France are Roman Catholics with little percentage of Muslim and Jewish and about all of them speak French.
The forest-covered Vosges Mountains guard the northeast of France while the Pyrénées are along the Spanish border. Except for extreme northern France, the country is made up of four river basins and a plateau. Out of these, three of the streams flow west—the Seine into the English Channel, the Loire into the Atlantic, and the Garonne into the Bay of Biscay. The Rhône River curves its path to south into the Mediterranean. In the Alps near the Italian and Swiss borders is situated France’s as well as Western Europe's highest point, Mont Blanc (15,781 fts; 4,810 mts.).
The Massif Central, the Jura, the Vosges, or the Ardennes beholds the Rocky Mountains and forest areas. Apart from the mainland in Western Europe, the geographical jurisdiction of France also comprises of territories in North America, the Caribbean, South America, the western and southern Indian Ocean, the northern and southern Pacific Ocean and Antarctica. All these far-off regions are basically a conglomeration of tiny islands.
Apart from the capital city of Paris, Bordeaux, Lyon, Toulouse, Nice, Nantes and Strasbourg are other prominent destinations of this country. Situated by the side of the serene coastline of Mediterranean Sea, Marseille is France's largest commercial port. This port city is home to around 1,516,340 inhabitants and is located in the former province of Provence.


Mont Saint Michel

Climate

The weather in France is fairly moderate and enjoyable. The winters are quite cool and summers are mild. But Jura and Savoie regions experience snowfalls in winter months. The Mediterranean coast experiences very mild winters and very hot summers. The northern area, especially Brittany has higher rainfalls. There are four climatic zones in France: temperate maritime, mid-latitude continental, mountainous and mediterranean.
Temperate maritime climatic zones characterize mild winters with 45° F temperature in January, cool summers with 61° F in July and frequent rainfall throughout half of the year. The western part of France having coastal plain experiences this type of climatic conditions. In the interior of France, mid-latitude continental type of climatic zone is found. This includes climatic conditions like scorching summer with 64° F temperature, chilly winter with 36° F temperature and rare rainfalls.
At a higher altitude is found the mountainous type of climate with extreme and long cold spells. As the altitude increases the amount of precipitation also increases leading to incessant snow fall during winter months. The temperature ranges from 28° F in January to 63°F in July with an annual precipitation of 23 inches. The region around 20-60 kms. wide, spreading along the mediterranean coast experiences mediterranean type of climate featuring hot and dry summer, mild and humid winter and little rainfall throughout the whole year.


Paris view (from Eiffel Tower)

History

Arc de Triomphe

France graces one of the most important positions in the pages of world history. The revolutions, movements, leaderships that arose in this country changed the course of global politics forever. According to archeological excavations, France has witnessed human habitation since Paleolithic times. The Celts, who were later called Gauls by the Romans, migrated from the Rhine valley into what is now known as France. In about 600 B.C. the Greeks and Phoenicians established settlements along the Mediterranean, most notably at Marseille. Julius Caesar conquered part of Gaul in 57–52 B.C., and the Roman reign continued until Franks invaded in the 5th century A.D.
It was with the Treaty of Verdun in 843, the territories of Europe were divided among the three grandsons of Charlemagne. The division roughly corresponded to France, Germany, and Italy of today. Charlemagne's descendants ruled France until 987, when the crown passed to Hugh Capet, a Duke of France, who controlled only a region surrounding Paris. His descendants, the Capetian, Valois and Bourbon dynasties, ruled France for next hundred of years.
The famous French Revolution began in 1789 and outspread bloodbath all over the country. It started with the establishment of the First Republic and ended with a new authoritarianism under Napoléon Bonaparte. Napoléon successfully defended the infant republic from foreign attack and then made himself first consul in 1799 and emperor in 1804. After conquering several surrounding countries, the fall of Napoléon rule came in 1815. The French monarchy re-emerged in 1830, but a civil uprising established the constitutional July Monarchy followed by the Second Republic in 1848. Prince Louis Napoléon, a nephew of Napoléon I, declared the Second Empire in 1852 and took the throne as Napoléon III. In 1870 after the Franco-Prussian war, Louis-Napoléon was ultimately unseated and the Third Republic was established.
The World Wars were the platforms where France displayed its power to the hilt and was one of the forerunning countries. Beginning in 1919, the French foreign policy was caught in a tangle with Germany. With rise of Adolf Hitler, in the following four years of hostile occupation reduced northeast France to ruins.
At the end of both World War I and World War II, France incurred huge losses and nearly irreparable damages. After World War II, the Fourth Republic was established. Finally, in 1958, the current semi-presidential Fifth Republic was established under the leadership of General de Gaulle.


Versailles Palace

Economy

Though France belonged to the winning side of World Wars, by the time it ended there were deep scars left behind on the economic status and working population of the country. To face it, strategic decision making processes and large scale development measures were taken up by subsequent authorities in power. It ensured a steady growth in all sectors of the economy. The policies allowed extensive privatization of enterprises. Still, the government retains considerable influence over key segments like infrastructure sectors, railway, electricity, aircraft, and telecommunication firms.
France was one of the leading EU members to launch the Euro on January 1, 1999. The euro coins and banknotes completely replaced the French franc in early 2002. It also ranked as the fifth-largest economy in the world in 2004. Its membership in G8 and reconciliation with Germany have proved to be a prosperous move for Europe. France also enjoys the reputation to be one of the largest importer and exporter of manufactured goods in the world. The main agricultural products include wheat, cereals, sugar beets, potatoes, wine grapes, beef, dairy products and fish. France is the leader in aerospace industry led by Airbus and is the only European power to have its own national spaceport. The main labour force is of 27.7 million approximately with 71.5% in services, in industry 24.4% and 4.1% in agriculture. In 2003, the GDP per hour worked in France was 47.2 USD.
France is also ranked as the most popular tourist destination in the world with over 75 million footfalls in 2003. The beauty and tranquillity of beaches, seaside and ski resorts and rural regions lure in visitors from all over the globe. The rich collection of art works and numerous museums are art connoisseurs delight. Taking advantage of the situation, the hospitality industry all over France do brisk business. Hotels, apartment houses, hostels and other forms of accommodations have sprung up like mushroom to welcome the tourists and teeming line of foreign students.


Honfleur Normandy

Politics

France is a democracy organised as a unitary semi-presidential republic. It was with the emergence of the Fifth Republic in September 28, 1958 that the constitution was approved by a referendum. This move established the authority of the executive.
According to the constitution, the President of France will be elected directly by the public for a 5-year term in power. The presidential power includes nomination of the prime minister, presiding over the cabinet, heading the armed forces, and deciding on treaties.
The National Assembly (Assemblée Nationale), a bicameral parliament, embodies the principal legislative body. The deputies of this Assembly are directly elected to 5-year terms. The Assembly wields the power to dismiss a cabinet and plays a key role in determining the choice of government. It is also the final deciding authority in the event of a disagreement between the houses. The Senate with 321 seats is also part of this system. An electoral college chooses senators for 9-year terms that also include representatives from the overseas territories of France. The government also plays a vital role in determining the various issues and agenda of Parliament.
Administratively, metropolitan France is divided into 22 regions (including the "territorial collectivity" of Corse or Corsica) and is subdivided into 96 departments. France's foreign policy
is largely defined by its membership in the European Union. And today France plays a pivotal role in shaping the European political, defence and security apparatus.


Rogliano, Corsica
 



 

 

 
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