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1UpTravel - Geography Info and Facts of Countries : . - France


France Geography and Facts

Location: Western Europe, bordering the Bay of Biscay and English Channel, between Belgium and Spain, southeast of the UK; bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Italy and Spain

Geographic coordinates: 46 00 N, 2 00 E

Map references: Europe

Area:
total: 547,030 sq km
land: 545,630 sq km
water: 1,400 sq km
note: includes only metropolitan France, but excludes the overseas administrative divisions

Area - comparative: slightly less than twice the size of Colorado

Land boundaries:
total: 2,889 km
border countries: Andorra 56.6 km, Belgium 620 km, Germany 451 km, Italy 488 km, Luxembourg 73 km, Monaco 4.4 km, Spain 623 km, Switzerland 573 km

Coastline: 3,427 km

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm (does not apply to the Mediterranean)
territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: generally cool winters and mild summers, but mild winters and hot summers along the Mediterranean

Terrain: mostly flat plains or gently rolling hills in north and west; remainder is mountainous, especially Pyrenees in south, Alps in east

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Rhone River delta -2 m
highest point: Mont Blanc 4,807 m

Natural resources: coal, iron ore, bauxite, fish, timber, zinc, potash

Land use:
arable land: 33%
permanent crops: 2%
permanent pastures: 20%
forests and woodland: 27%
other: 18% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 16,300 sq km (1995 est.)

Natural hazards: flooding; avalanches

Environment - current issues: some forest damage from acid rain (major forest damage occurred as a result of severe December 1999 windstorm); air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution from urban wastes, agricultural runoff

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol

Geography - note: largest West European nation; occasional strong, cold, dry, north-to-northwesterly wind known as mistral


Geography

The largest Western European nation,(France) covers 543,965 square kilometers (210,026 square miles), a territory about four-fifths the size of Texas.

France is bordered by the English Channel to the northwest, Belgium and Luxembourg to the northeast, Germany and Switzerland to the east, Italy to the southeast, the Mediterranean Sea and Spain to the south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west.


Climate

The climate of France is temperate, but wide regional contrasts exist. Broadly, the areas along the Atlantic coast respond to ocean air that makes summers pleasant, but not too hot, and winters mild, though rainy.

In Mediterranean coastal areas, semitropical conditions prevail, bringing hot, dry summers and warm, wet winters.

As for the interior of the country, the climate takes on a more continental character: winters are cold, and summers are hot ( though rarely above 32 C or 90 F ).

Generally, temperatures in the northern two-thirds of the country swing from 2 C or 35 F to 27 C or 80 F throughout the year.


Background: Although ultimately a victor in World Wars I and II, France lost many men, much wealth, its extensive empire, and its rank as a dominant nation-state.

France has struggled since 1958—arguably with success—to construct a presidential democracy resistant to the severe instabilities inherent in the parliamentary democracy of early 20th century France.

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.

Today, 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.



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