Area: 543,965 sq km (210,026 sq ml).
Currency: 1 Franc = 100 Centimes.
Religions: Roman Catholic 76.4% Christian 3.7% Atheist 3.4% Others 16.5%.
Ethnic Groups: French 86.8% Occitan 2.7% Arab 2.6% Others 7.9%.
|A country in western Europe,
bounded on the north by the English Channel (La Manche),
on the Atlantic Ocean, on the south by the Pyrenees and
the Mediterranean, and on the east by Belgium, Germany,
Luxembourg, Switzerland and Italy.
France is Europe's second largest country after Russia. In the north-west the Brittany penisula with its low granite hills, Normandy with its fertile uplands the broad Loire valley, and the Seine Basin, all enjoy a temperate climate. The north-east can be colder, but here there is agricultural land on chalk or limestone well drained by rivers. There are also deposits of coal. Southward the ground rises to the Massif Central, a region of high plateaux and rolling country set on volcanic rock. To the west lie the Bordeaux lowlands and the Gironde Estuary, to the south the plains of Languedoc, and to the east the Rhone Valley. Extending from south to north along France's eastern border are the Jura Mountains, the Vosages, and the western Alps, falling away on their northern slopes to Alsace-Lorraine.
[FRENCH GOVERNMENT TOURIST GUIDE]