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Aerial view of the city and palace of Versailles, France
Aerial view of the city and palace of Versailles. The palace and its gardens were built for Louis XIV, the Sun King, it lies southwest of Paris.
Image: ToucanWings

Location map of France. Where in the world is France?
Location map of France

Flag of France (Tricolore)
Flag of France

France in brief

Destination France, a Nations Online Project country profile of the "Grande Nation."

France is located on the western edge of Europe, bordered by the Bay of Biscay (North Atlantic Ocean) in the west, by the English Channel in the northwest, and by the North Sea in the north. France borders Belgium and Luxembourg in the northeast, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy in the east, the Mediterranean Sea, Monaco, Spain and Andorra in the south. In addition, France shares maritime borders with the United Kingdom.

Metropolitan France, or Mainland France, covers an area of 551,695 km²; it includes the island of Corsica. Compared, it is more than twice the size of the United Kingdom or more than twice the size of the U.S. state of Colorado.

France has a total population of 67.4 million people (in 2021), 65.2 million inhabitants in Metropolitan France (the European part of France plus Corsica), and about 2.2 million in its overseas regions (French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, and Reunion). Other major dependencies are French Polynesia and New Caledonia.

The largest city and capital is Paris. Spoken language is French (official).
French Republic | République française

Since prehistoric times, the region that is known today as France has been the scene of trade, travel, and invasions. Three basic European ethnic stocks--Celtic, Latin, and Teutonic (Frankish)--have blended over the centuries to make up France's present population.

Today France is one of the most modern countries in the world and is a leader among European nations.
Since 1958, it has constructed a presidential democracy, resistant to the instabilities experienced in earlier parliamentary democracies. In recent years, its reconciliation and cooperation with Germany have proved central to the economic integration of Europe, including the advent of the euro in January 1999.
Presently, France is at the forefront of European states seeking to exploit the momentum of monetary union to advance the creation of a more unified and capable European defense and security apparatus.
France is the most visited country in the world, with 89.4 million foreign tourists in 2018.



Country Profile

Official Name:
République française
short form: France
int'l long form: French Republic
int'l short form: France

ISO Country Code: FR - FRA - .fr

Time Zone: Central European Time (CET)
Local Time = UTC +1h
Actual Time: Sun-May-26  07:44
DST: March - October (UTC +2h)

Country Calling Code: +33

Capital City: Paris
The Romans called her Lutetia. more

Official Sites of France

French National Assembly building and Pont de la Concorde bridge, Paris
View of the French National Assembly from the Quai des Tuileries, with the Pont de la Concorde bridge across the River Seine in Paris.
Image: Jebulon

Political System of France
France's political system is that of a semi-presidential republic, defined by the Constitution. There is the separation of powers which consists of an executive branch, a legislative branch, and a judicial branch. The head of state and head of the executive is the President. The President and the government exercise executive power. The French Government consists of the Prime Minister and ministers. The Prime Minister is appointed by the President and is responsible to Parliament.


Note: External links will open in a new browser window.

Présidence de la République française
The Elysée Palace - President of France.
Official website of the French Government.
The official website of the French administration. A portal to French government agencies and services. (in French)

French Parliament
The French Congress is made up of two chambers, the National Assembly (the lower house) and the Senate.
Assemblée nationale
The French National Assembly.

Sénat français
The French Senate.

Ministère de l'Outre-Mer
The Ministry for the French Overseas Departments of French Guiana, French Polynesia, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Martinique, New Caledonia, and Réunion. (in French)

France Diplomatie - Ministère des Affaires Etrangères
Information about France in various languages by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Diplomatic Missions
French Mission to the United Nations
France is one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.
France in the United States
Embassy of France in Washington, D.C.
French Embassies and Consulates abroad (in French)
List of French diplomatic missions around the world.
Embassies and consulates in France
List of foreign missions in France.

INSEE - Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques
The National Institute of Statistics - France in facts and figures.

Official French weather and many advertisements.




Maps of France

France political map
Map of France (click map to enlarge)
Image: ©


Map of France
Political Map of France.
Google Earth Google Map France
Searchable map and satellite view of France.
Google Earth Google Map Paris
Searchable map and satellite view of France's capital.
Google Earth Google Map Eiffel Tower
Satellite view of the Eiffel Tower.
Google Earth Google Map Palace of Versailles
Annotated map and satellite view of the Palace of Versailles.

Cities: Bordeaux, Cannes, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier, Nantes, Nice, Strasbourg, Toulouse

Map of Europe
Political Map of Europe.
Map of the Mediterranean Sea
Political Map of the Mediterranean Sea region.


News from France

French newspaper

French Media

The country's most popular medium is television.
TF1, the most popular domestic station, is privately owned by the TF1 Group.
France Télévisions, the French public television station, is financed by a TV licence fee and advertising revenues.

France has more than 100 daily newspapers and most of them are in private hands and not linked to political parties.
But - editorial independence is insufficiently protected against conflicts of interest involving media owners and the tendency for businessmen to acquire media outlets for influence purposes. Journalists are also exposed to a climate of hostility fed by politicians using aggressive language, and to harassment on social media, where they are favourite targets of trolls of all kinds hiding behind their screens and pseudonyms. [1]

Online News from France

Agence France-Presse - news and photo agency.
La Croix
French general-interest Roman Catholic newspaper.
National and international news. (in French)
Les Echos
Business and Finance Information. (in French)
Le Figaro
French daily with national and international news. (in French)
Le Monde
National and international news. (in French)
great site Le Monde diplomatique
International news and background information.
Le Parisien
National and international news. (in French)
National and international news. (in French)
Regional and national news. (in French)
Paris Match
Magazine Paris Match. (in French)
La Tribune
Business and Finance Information. (in French)

France 24 
French state-owned international news network.
France Info
French public news channel.
La Chaîne Info news channel. (part of TF1 Group)

International News sources
Le Temps
Swiss Le Temps with articles about France. (in French)

France | World | The Guardian
UK newspaper with articles about France.


Arts & Culture of France

The Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris is an art museum in a high-tech architecture style building.
The Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris is an art museum in a high-tech architecture style building. There are offshoot branches of the museum in Metz, France, and Malaga, Spain.
Image: Sean X Liu

Arts & Culture

Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication
The homepage of the French Ministry of Culture. offers insight into French culture.

great site Réunion des Musées Nationaux – Grand Palais
The French cultural umbrella organization merged with the Grand Palais, France's exhibition hall in Paris.

great site Musée du Louvre
The Louvre museum.

Centre Georges Pompidou
Modern Art Museum in Paris.

Public information library at the Georges Pompidou Centre (BPI)
Paris first free public library at the Centre Georges Pompidou art complex.

La bibliothèque nationale de France
The National Library of France.

royal Chateau de Versailles
Reflections of the French Monarchy.

Festival International du Film de Cannes
Cannes International Film Festival, the Official Site.

La Grotte de Lascaux
The Cave of Lascaux.

Jules Verne Museum
The Jules Verne Museum in Nantes.

French Museums
List of Links to the most important French Museums.

Asterix and Obelix Official Site.



Business & Economy of France

Barges on the Seine river, with the Central Business District of Paris in the background
Barges on the Seine river between the Bois de Boulogne and Suresnes, La Défense, the Central Business District of Paris on the horizon.
Image: Pline

The French economy
The French economy is a highly developed and free-market-orientated business model. The government has partially or fully privatized many large companies, including Air France, France Telecom (now Orange S.A.), Renault, and Thales (now Thales Group).
Key sectors are the chemical industry (Air Liquide, Groupe Roullier), energy (France runs 58 nuclear plants operated by Électricité de France (EDF), with a total capacity of 63.1 GWe.). Other chief branches are automotive (Peugeot, Renault), banking (BNP PARIBAS, Société Générale, Crédit Agricole), insurance (AXA), retail (Carrefour, Auchan), and the petroleum industry (Total S.A.).

Business France
The official website for international business development.

The French economy is diversified across all sectors. The government has partially or fully privatized many large companies, including Air France, France Telecom (now Orange S.A.), Renault, and Thales (now Thales Group). But the French government still maintains a strong presence in some sectors, particularly in power (EDF), public transport (SNCF), and the defense industries.

Banque de France
The French Central Bank.

Euronext Paris (Bourse de Paris)
Association of French Stock Exchanges (Euronext France).

Organisation du réseau des Chambres de Commerce et d'Industrie CCI
Chambers of Commerce and Industry of France.
CCIP - Chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie de Paris
Chamber of Commerce and Industry Paris.


Air France
The French Airline.

Aéroports de Paris
Official site for Orly and Roissy (Charles de Gaulle) airports.
Côte d'Azur International Airport
The third-largest airport in France in terms of passengers.
Marseille Provence Airport
Marseille-Marignane Airport is the fifth busiest French airport by passenger traffic.
Saint-Exupéry International Airport
Lyon's international airport.

High-speed passenger train linking London, Paris, and Brussels.
The French Railroad.
A very fast French train. France's intercity high-speed rail service.

French products
From jewelry, fashion and perfume to foie gras, mustard and cheese, France offers a range of world-class products.

Typical French vehicles.
Typical French cars.
More typical French cars.

Fashion & Cosmetics
Christian Dior
Fashion & Fragrance.
Christian Lacroix
International Fashion Magazine.
Jean-Paul Gaultier
Parfums Givenchy.
Le monde de Lancôme.
Louis Vuitton
Luxury Accessories.
Internet Fashion Magazine.
Prêt à porter Paris
Virtual Catwalk.
International Fashion Magazine.
Yves Saint Laurent
Haute couture.
Christian Louboutin
French fashion designer whose footwear 
French high fashion luxury goods manufacturer
Christian Dior
French luxury goods company

Wines & Champagne
Château Lafite Rothschild
Château-Margaux Moët & Chandon
Dom Pérignon.
Champagne from the Épernay region.
Champagne Pommery
Another Champagne house located in Reims.
Louis Roederer Champagne
The producer of champagne based in Reims, France, was founded in 1776.
The oldest established Champagne house.
The Counts of Champagne.
Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin
More Champagne.

Arts de la table.
French yogurt.
French Table Water from Évian-les-Bains.




Tourism in France

Château de Chambord castle in Loir-et-Cher department in France
Château de Chambord, the castle in French Renaissance architecture style, is situated in the Loir-et-Cher department in the Loire Valley region of France.
Image: Daniel Jolivet

Destination France - Travel and Tour Guides


Discover France:
France is the most visited country in the world and maintains the third largest income in the world from more than 89.4 million foreign tourists (in 2018).

Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs
The site of the French Ministry provides travel and tourism information.
The official website of the French tourism bureau offers comprehensive information for vacation, accommodation and leisure activities in France. (English version of the French Government Tourist Office)
France’s official wine tourism portal.

Beyond the French Riviera
Travel in the Provence beyond the Côte d'Azur and French Riviera.

A guide to tourist destinations in France.

The official website of Paris. (in French)

Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau
The official travel and tourism guide to Paris.

Paris Magazine. (in French)

The Eiffel Tower
The official site of Eiffel Tower.

More Cities of France:
Paris (the City of Light)

Cities in France
List of links to official French city tourist sites.




UNESCO World Heritage Sites

The Historic Fortified City of Carcassonne  France
Aerial-view of the medieval citadel of Carcassonne in the Occitanie region of Southern France. The Historic Fortified City of Carcassonne is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Image: Chensiyuan

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in France
There are 45 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in France, 39 cultural, five natural, one mixed, and 37 sites inscribed on the Tentative List, an inventory of those properties which a state party intends to consider for nomination. (see UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in France)

World Heritage Site Decorated Cave of Pont d’Arc
Cave paintings in the Cave of Pont d’Arc, France
Artistic creation of the Aurignacian people in the Cave of Pont d’Arc.
Image: © SRA DRAC RA

The Decorated Cave of Pont d’Arc, known as Grotte Chauvet-Pont d’Arc, is located in a limestone cliff of the Ardèche River in Southern France.
The site contains the earliest and best preserved known cave paintings in the world. The pictorial drawings were carbon-dated to as early as the Aurignacian period (30,000 to 32,000 BP). The cave was closed off by a rock fall approximately 20,000 years BP and remained sealed until its rediscovery in 1994.

World Heritage Site Gulf of Porto
Cave paintings in the Cave of Pont d’Arc, France
Gulf of Porto, the Calanches of Piana, Corsica.
Image: © SRA DRAC RA

Gulf of Porto: Calanche of Piana, Gulf of Girolata, Scandola Reserve.

The Gulf of Porto is part of the Réserve Naturelle de Scandola which occupies the Scandola peninsula at the north-western coast of Corsica. The vegetation of the nature reserve is scrubland populated by seagulls, cormorants and sea eagles. The clear waters of the gulfs, with their islets and inaccessible caves, host a rich marine life.

World Heritage Site Chartres Cathedral
Chartres Cathedral interior, Chartres, France
Chartres Cathedral interior.
Image: Denis Doukhan

The cathedral of Notre-Dame d'Chartres is considered to be the high point of French Gothic art and one of the most authentic and complete works of religious architecture of the early 13th century. The Roman Catholic church is located in the city of Chartres in northwestern France, about 90 km (56 mi) by road southwest of Paris. The cathedral is famous for its architectural innovations, its numerous sculptures and its more than 150 stained glass windows.



Education in France

Campus and mainbuilding of the École Polytechnique
Campus and mainbuilding of the École Polytechnique in Palaiseau in the southern suburbs of Paris.
Image: École Polytechnique

Grandes écoles and Universities

Campus France
Campus France is a public organization which promotes French higher education and vocational training for foreigners.

ENA - École Nationale d'Administration
The National School of Administration is a French grande école, created in 1945 by French President, Charles de Gaulle.

École Centrale Paris
École Centrale Paris was the first grande école. In 2015, École Centrale Paris merged with Supélec to form CentraleSupélec, a constituent institute of the University of Paris-Saclay.

École Polytechnique
École Polytechnique is one of the most prestigious engineering schools in France.

Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Paris - ESSEC
Selective French business school with campuses in Paris, Berlin, London, Madrid, Turin, and Warsaw.

Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris
Sciences Po is a recognized university for politics and international studies in Paris.

Université de Montpellier
The University of Montpellier was the first faculty of medicine in France and is one of the oldest universities in Europe, founded in 1220 (in French)

Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne
Paris1 is a multidisciplinary university established in 1971 - following the division of the University of Paris (founded: c. 1150).
Université Panthéon-Assas
Paris II Assas is a research university specialized in law and economics in Paris.

What is a French Grande École?
About the French elite education by the Grandes Ecoles.
List of universities and colleges in France
by Wikipedia.

Science & Research
French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS)
CNRS is a French state research organization and the largest fundamental science agency in Europe.
The French Space Agency (CNES)
CNES is the French government space agency.
Sophia Antipolis Science Park
The technology park or more a high-tech cluster near Cannes/Nice.


Environment & Nature

Lake Gentau in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques
Lake Gentau in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques of France.
Image: Cptcv

French National Parks
Calanques National Park
The park is located in Bouches-du-Rhône, between Marseille, Cassis, and La Ciotat in Southern France.
Cévennes National Park
A French NP in the mountainous area of the Cévennes. The Causses and the Cévennes, Mediterranean agro-pastoral Cultural Landscape is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Ecrins National Park
A National Park in the Dauphiné Alps south of the city of Grenoble.
Mercantour National Park
Mercantour NP is situated in the Maritime Alps. Within the park lies the Vallée des Merveilles, the valley is famous for the largest number of outdoor Bronze Age rock paintings in Europe.
Port-Cros National Park
A NP on the island of Port-Cros, east of Toulon.
Pyrénées National Park
A French national park along the border of France and Spain in the Pyrénées mountains.
Vanoise National Park
A French national park in the French Alps.

French Environmental Organizations
Agir pour l'environnement
Action for the Environment is a French organization for mobilizing citizens to protect the environment.

Europe Écologie Les Verts
The Green party of France.

International Group for the Environment, Renewable Energy, and Solidarity.

Réseau Action Climat
RAC-F is the French representative of Climate Action Network International (CAN-I)

Sortir du Nucléaire
is an organization which regularly campaigns against the use of nuclear power in France and in the world. The website of the French federation of anti-nuclear groups offers also a map of the 58 nuclear power plants and other nuclear installations in France.


France History

Liberty Leading the People. Painting by Eugène Delacroix
Liberty Leading the People. The romantic history painting commemorates the French Revolution of 1830. Musée du Louvre.
Painting: Eugène Delacroix (1798–1863)

Archives nationales France

The French national archives.

History of France
France's history at a glance.

Commander Bonaparte's home page.

Creating French Culture
The relationship between power and culture in French history.
(A Library of Congress Exhibition with treasures from the Bibliothèque nationale de France)

Encyclopædia Britannica French Revolution
Causes, Facts, and a Summary by the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

French Revolution - The UK National Archives
How did the British react to July 1789?




Cliffs of Bonifacio on Corsica
Cliffs of Bonifacio, a town at the southern tip of the island of Corsica, France.
Image: JustinPoulsen

Corsica (French name Corse) is a mountainous Mediterranean island 200 km southeast of Nice on the French mainland, 100 km west of Italy, and just north of the Italian island of Sardinia. The 4th-largest Mediterranean island is part of France since 1768, but still has a distinct Italian culture.
340,000 people live on Corsica (in 2020); major towns are Ajaccio, Bastia, Calvi, Corte, and Sartène. The island was the birthplace of Napoleon I.

Cullettivita di Corsica - Collectivité de Corse
Official website of the island.

Island Guides
Official website for tourism in France.

Corsica Guide
Corsica Directory.
Go to Corsica
Complete guide for staying and leisure, hundreds of accommodation links.
Corsica travel and holidays magazine

Pascal Paoli University of Corsica
The French university in Corte is the only university on the island of Corsica.



Additional Information

Selected country profiles of France published by international organizations.


Amnesty International: France
Amnesty International is a non-governmental organization focused on human rights.

BBC Country Profile: France
Country profiles by the British public service broadcaster.

EU Member Countries: France
EU member countries in brief, France.

FAO: France
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

Freedom House: France
The U.S. government-funded non-profit organization whose goal is to promote liberal democracies worldwide.

GlobalEDGE: France
The Global Business Knowledge Portal about France.

The Heritage Foundation: France
Index of Economic Freedom by The Heritage Foundation, an American conservative think tank.

Human Rights Watch: France
HRW conducts research and advocacy on human rights.

OEC: France
The Observatory of Economic Complexity provides the latest trade data.

Reporters Without Borders: France
RSF (Reporters sans frontières) is an international NGO that defends and promotes media freedom.

Wikipedia: France
Wikipedia's France page in many languages.

The CIA World Factbook -- France
The CIA World Factbook's France Page.


Overseas Departments of France: Guadeloupe | Martinique | French Guiana | Réunion
Overseas Countries: French Polynesia | New Caledonia

Other Countries in Western Europe
Austria | Belgium | Germany | Liechtenstein | Luxembourg | Monaco | Netherlands | Switzerland

Countries in the Mediterranean:
Albania | Algeria | Bosnia and Herzegovina | Croatia | Cyprus | Egypt | Gaza Strip | Greece | Israel | Italy | Lebanon | Libya | Malta | Monaco | Montenegro | Morocco | Portugal | Slovenia | Spain | Syria | Tunisia | Turkey