Metropolitan France covers an area of 551,500 km2, and spans 1,000 km from north to south and east to west.
With the exception of its border with Belgium and Luxembourg in the north, the country is mainly surrounded by coastlines and natural borders, including the Rhine River, the Jura Mountains, the Alps and the Pyrenees. France has four very distinct seasons and a wide variety of natural features and landscapes – which is what makes it so appealing – including snowy mountains, sunny coasts, green forests, and vineyards. There is always something to discover in France.
France has been a republic with a semi-presidential system since the adoption of the Fifth Republic in 1958. Its motto has been “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” since 1875 and the tricolour, which appeared in 1794, has been its official flag since 1830.
Its capital is Paris and its official language has been French since 1539. Traditionally used as a language of diplomacy, French is one of the six official languages of the United Nations. It is also one of the three working languages of the European Union, along with German and English.
France in the world
Founding member of the UNO in 1945, France is also is one of the European Union’s six founding members. Its currency has been the euro since 2002.
With 67 million inhabitants, France is the European Union’s second most populated country after Germany and slightly more populated than the United Kingdom and Italy. France has the sixth-largest economy in the world and is a global leader in the food, tourism, aeronautics, automotive, luxury goods and nuclear energy sectors.
France and tourism
It has 1,200 museums welcoming more than 50 million people every year as well as 45 sites on the World Heritage List.
The gastronomic meal of the French was inscribed on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List in 2010.
France is teeming with restaurants and cafés, which testifies to its extremely rich and diverse cuisine.
Among European countries, France has an amazingly varied natural environment.
From the bocage of Normandy, vast rolling landscapes of Champagne and Beauce, alpine summits, northern boreal forests to the dry garrigue of the Mediterranean coast – not to forget the arid highlands of the Causses and the extremely varied coastline along the North Sea, English Channel, Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.
The country has six national parks, 43 regional parks and hundreds of protected areas listed by the official European Natura 2000 programme, not to mention hundreds of other sites of great natural beauty off the beaten track.
In June, in Paris and the Ile-de-France region
Temperatures in Paris and the Ile-de-France region vary between 16°C and 23°C, with an average temperature of 19°C, and there is an occasional heat wave.