General Information


550.000 square kilometers

The widest country of Western Europe (close to a fifth of the surface of the European Union), having a vast maritime zone (exclusive economic zone extending over 11 million square kilometers).


• Plains: 2/3 of the total surface area.

• Main mountainous solid masses: the Alps (whose culminating point, Mont Blanc is higher than the of Western Europe - 4.807 meters), the Pyrenees, the Jura, the Ardennes, the Massif Central and the Vosges.

• Coastal shores: opened on four maritime spaces (the North Sea, the English Channel, the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean), France has 5,500 km of coastal shores.


Three types:

oceanic (in the west),

Mediterranean (in the south),

continental (center ).

The production, agricultural and forest areas cover a surface of 48 million hectares, i.e 82 % of the metropolitan territory.

The main forest area alone represents nearly 30% of the territory and constitutes the third solid mass of the European Union after Sweden and Finland. The surface area of the French forest region has increased by 46% since 1945 and doubled in 200 years.
While there are 136 species of trees in France, which is exceptional for a European country, the number of large animals has been within growing: in 20 years, the population of stags has doubled and that of stag tripled.

In order to safeguard and emphasize the important of natural heritage of France, the State has been established:
7 national parks,
156 natural reserves,
516 biotopes protection zones ,

In addition to the 429 sites protected by the Academy from the sea by the Academy,
there are 43 regional natural parks covering more than 12 % of the territory.

In 2006,47,7 billion Euros were assigned to environmental protection, i.e. 755 Euros per capita. Waste water and waste management accounted for the 3/4 of the total expenditure.

At the international level, France signed many treaties and conventions, including those of the United Nations on climate, biodiversity and desertification.



63.1 million Inhabitants (2006).

Density: 98.1 hab /km2.

France counts 57 urban units of more than 100.000 inhabitants.

The five first are:

urban units Population in 2005

1. Paris 9.6 let us millions

2. Lille 1,7 million

3. Lyon 1,4 million

4. Marseilles 1.3 million

5. Toulouse 1 million

Administrative organization

The French Republic consists of:

the metropolis (made up of 22 areas and 96 departments),
four overseas departments (DOM): Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guyana, Reunion, and
seven overseas communities: French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna, Mayotte, Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, southern and Antarctic French Lands, St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, Saint Martin’s day,
and a community of sui generis: New Caledonia.


Dernière modification : 19/07/2011

top of the page