I dislike feeling at home when I am abroad.
— George Bernard Shaw, 1856 - 1950
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France

Background

France

Although ultimately a victor in World Wars I and II, France suffered extensive losses in its empire, wealth, manpower, and rank as a dominant nation-state. Nevertheless, France today is one of the most modern countries in the world and is a leader among European nations. Since 1958, it has constructed a hybrid presidential-parliamentary governing system resistant to the instabilities experienced in earlier more purely parliamentary administrations. In recent years, its reconciliation and cooperation with Germany have proved central to the economic integration of Europe, including the introduction of a common exchange currency, the euro, in January 1999.

About

France is a country located in Western Europe. Clockwise from the north, France borders Belgium and Luxembourg to the northeast, Germany and Switzerland to the east, Italy to the south-east and Spain to the south-west, across the Pyrenees mountain range (the small country of Andorra lies in between the two countries). The Mediterranean Sea lies to the south of France, with the Principality of Monaco forming a small enclave. To the west, France has a long Atlantic Ocean coastline, while to the north lies the English Channel, across which lies the last of France's neighbours, England (part of the United Kingdom).

France has been the world's most popular tourist destination for over twenty years (81.9 million in 2007) and it's geographically one of the most diverse countries in Europe. Its cities contain some of the greatest treasures in Europe, its countryside is prosperous and well tended and it boasts dozens of major tourist attractions, like Paris, the French Riviera, the Atlantic beaches, the winter sport resorts of the French Alps, the castles of the Loire Valley, Brittany and Normandy. The country is renowned for its gastronomy (particularly wines and cheeses), history, culture and fashion.

Read more about France in our France travel guide »

Featured journals from

France

Lan Stark's Even Greater Than the Last Great Adventure... Adventure!!

by LanStark

(or how I got to travel about, talk to lots of interesting - & most likely not so interesting - people - drink, eat, marvel at things & have a stupendous time!)

Jan 2018 - Apr 2018  »  Australia | United Kingdom | France

Beautiful British Virgin Islands - A Sparkling String of Jewels in the Caribbean Sea

by mwKable

Our Highly Anticipated and Much Needed Honeymoon!

Oct 2014 - Dec 2015  »  United States | France | British Virgin Islands

Travels

by DaniellaAdler

Aug 2011 - Jan 2015  »  Croatia | United States | France | South Africa

My Travel Tips

by vincenttabor

Different How To's When Traveling

May 2013  »  France

Spin the globe....summer 2018

by madjeanne

Temperature hit 100, gotta go!

May 2018 - Jul 2018  »  United States | Italy | Croatia | Montenegro | Greece | Turkey | Malta | Spain | France | Monaco

Arbury's on tour!

by Arburys

Road trip from UK to visit France and Spain.

Dec 2017  »  France | Spain

past

by travelblog

travels

Dec 2010  »  United Kingdom | France

The Erwin family's Europe trip!

by ErwinEurope

London, England

Jul 2017 - Aug 2017  »  United Kingdom | France | Germany

Paris and beyond

by BobAndSusan

Jun 2017  »  France

Featured hotels in

France

FranceHotel Villa Navarre 

59 Avenue Trespoey
Pau 64000
France

Price (US$): $193 - $413 / night

Check rates »

Location. Hotel Villa Navarre is located in Pau, close to Beaumont Park, Chateau de Pau, and Palais Beaumont. Nearby points of interest also include Musee des Beaux Arts and Musee Bernadotte. Hotel Features. Hotel Villa Navarre's restaurant serves lunch and dinner. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool, an indoor pool, a sauna, a fitness facility, and a steam room. Valet parking is complimentary. Additional property amenities include multilingual… more »

FranceLe Grand Hotel 

45 boulevard de la Croisette
Cannes 06400
France

Price (US$): $364 - $588 / night

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Location. Le Grand Hotel is located on the beach in Cannes, close to La Croisette, Cannes Harbour, and Palace of Festivals and Congress Hall. Other points of interest near this luxury hotel include Forville Provencal Food Market and Cannes City Hall. Hotel Features. Le Grand Hotel features a restaurant and a bar/lounge. Room service is available during limited hours. The hotel serves buffet breakfasts each morning (surcharges apply). Recreational amenities include a spa tub. This 5 star… more »

FranceChâteau de l'Ile & Spa 

4 Quai Heydt
Ostwald 67540
France

Price (US$): $201 - $849 / night

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Location. Located in Ostwald, Château de l'Ile & Spa is on a river and close to Meineau Stadium, Ponts Couverts, and Alsatian Museum. Nearby points of interest also include L'Oeuvre Notre Dame Museum and Rohan Palace. Hotel Features. Dining options at Château de l'Ile & Spa include 2 restaurants. Room service is available during limited hours. The hotel serves hot and cold buffet breakfasts each morning in the brasserie (surcharges apply). Recreational amenities include an indoor pool, a… more »

FranceGrand Hôtel Barriere 

46 avenue George V
Dinard BP 35801
France

Price (US$): $266 - $316 / night

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Location. Grand Hôtel Barriere is located in Dinard's Cote d'Emeraude neighborhood, close to Dinard Beach, St. Malo Citadelle, and St. Vincent Cathedral. Nearby points of interest also include Solidor Tower and Petit Be. Hotel Features. Grand Hôtel Barriere's restaurant serves breakfast and dinner. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available. The hotel serves buffet breakfasts (surcharges apply). Recreational amenities include an indoor pool, a health club, a sauna, a steam… more »

FranceSofitel Golfe Ajaccio Thalassa Sea & Spa 

Domaine de la Pointe, Golfe d'Ajaccio
Porticcio
Grosseto-Prugna 20166
France

Price (US$): $193 - $397 / night

Check rates »

Location. Sofitel Golfe Ajaccio Thalassa Sea & Spa is located on the beach in Grosseto Prugna's Porticcio neighborhood, close to Ajaccio Citadel. Other points of interest are Ajaccio Cathedral and Musee Fesch. Hotel Features. Sofitel Golfe Ajaccio Thalassa Sea & Spa features a restaurant and a bar/lounge. Room service is available 24 hours a day. Recreational amenities include a health club, a spa tub, a sauna, and a steam room. The property's full service health spa has massage/treatment… more »

Browse more hotels in France »

France

Full name
Republic of France
Capital
Paris
Geographic coordinates

46 00 N, 2 00 E

Area comparative

slightly less than the size of Texas

Border countries

Brazil 673 km, Suriname 510 km

Climate

Generally cool winters and mild summers, but mild winters and hot summers along the Mediterranean; occasional strong, cold, dry, north-to-northwesterly wind known as mistral

Terrain

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

Lowest point

Rhone River delta -2 m

Highest point

Mont Blanc 4,807 m

Population

64,768,389

Ethnic groups

Celtic and Latin with Teutonic, Slavic, North African, Indochinese, Basque minorities

Religions

Roman Catholic 83%-88%, Protestant 2%, Jewish 1%, Muslim 5%-10%, unaffiliated 4%

Languages

French (official) 100%, rapidly declining regional dialects and languages (Provencal, Breton, Alsatian, Corsican, Catalan, Basque, Flemish)

Government type

republic

Independence

no official date of independence 486 (Frankish tribes unified under Merovingian kingship); 10 August 843 (Western Francia established from the division of the Carolingian Empire); 14 July 1789 (French monarchy overthrown); 22 September 1792 (First French Republic founded); 4 October 1958 (Fifth French Republic established)

National holiday

Fete de la Federation, 14 July (1790); note - although often incorrectly referred to as Bastille Day, the celebration actually commemorates the holiday held on the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille (on 14 July 1789) and the establishment of a constitutional monarchy; other names for the holiday are Fete Nationale (National Holiday) and quatorze juillet (14th of July)

Chief of state

President Nicolas SARKOZY (since 16 May 2007)

Head of government

Prime Minister Francois FILLON (since 17 May 2007)

Internet country code

.fr

Internet users

45.262 million; 44.625 million (metropolitan France) (2009)

Airports

474 (2010)

Ports and terminals

Calais, Dunkerque, Le Havre, Marseille, Nantes, Paris, Rouen

Other countries in the region