Overview

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Photo: F. de La Mure / M.A.E.
Hamlet in Côtes d’Armor

Area

- Metropolitan France: 550,000 sq. km
- Total: 641,000 sq. km
- France is the largest country in Western Europe (almost one fifth of the total area of the European Union), with a vast maritime zone (exclusive economic zone extending over 11 million sq. km).

Relief

- Plains cover two thirds of the total land area of metopolitan France.
- Main mountain ranges: the Alps (of which the highest peak, Mont Blanc, rising to 4,808 metres, is the highest mountain in Western Europe), Pyrenees, Jura, Ardennes, Massif Central and Vosges.
- Coastline: Bordered by four seas (North Sea, Channel, Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean), France has 5,500 km of coastline.

Climate

Three types:
- Oceanic in the west (warm summers, cool winters)
- Mediterranean in the south (hot summers, warm winters)
- Continental in central and eastern France (hot summers, cold winters)

Environment

Farms and forests cover 48 million hectares, i.e. 82% of the total area of metropolitan France.

Approximately 22% of French territory is covered by forests, placing France third in the European Union in terms of land under forest, behind Sweden and Finland. The amount of forested areas in France has doubled in the last 200 years and has expanded by 46% since 1945.

Metropolitan France boasts 136 different kinds of trees - which is exceptional for a European country - and the number of large animals is on the rise: in 20 years, the deer population has doubled and the number of roe deer has tripled.

In order to conserve and develop France’s natural heritage, the government has established:
- 7 national parks
- 156 nature reserves
- 516 designated areas for protected species
- 429 protected coastal areas
- France also has 37 regional nature parks covering more than 7% of the country.

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Photo : F. de La Mure / M.A.E.
Barn in Savoie

Approximately €47.7 billion is allocated to the protection of the environment - €755.00 per inhabitant. Three quarters of this goes on waste water management and waste disposal.

France is a state party to many international treaties and conventions concerning the environment, among them United Nations agreements on climate, biodiversity and desertification.

www.environnement.gouv.fr

Population

- 65.9 million inhabitants (2013)
- Density: 102 inhabitants per sq. km
- France has 57 urban areas with over 100,000 inhabitants.

The five largest are:

Urban areas - Population in 2013
1. Paris 10.4 million
2. Marseille 1.47 million
3. Lyon 1.45 million
4. Lille 1.05 million
5. Nice 977,000

Administrative Organization

The French Republic comprises:
- Metropolitan France, divided into 22 regions and subdivided into 96 departments
- Five overseas departments (DOM) - Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guyane (French Guiana), Mayotte and Réunion
- Five overseas collectivities - French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Saint-Barthélémy, Saint-Martin
- one territory with special status: New Caledonia
- and another collectivity: the French Southern and Antarctic Territories

www.outre-mer.gouv.fr

Dernière modification : 11/09/2014

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