There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.
— Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850 - 1894
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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 Royal Riviera 

3 Avenue Jean Monnet
Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat 06230
France

Price (US$): $176 - $490 / night

Check rates »

Location. Hotel Royal Riviera is located on the beach in Saint Jean Cap Ferrat's Beaulieu sur Mer Cap Ferrat neighborhood, close to Baie des Fourmis Beach, Passable Beach, and Castle Park. Other points of interest near this luxury hotel include Villa Kerylos and Villa Ephrussi. Hotel Features. Hotel Royal Riviera features a beach bar, a poolside bar, a bar/lounge, and a snack bar/deli. The hotel serves continental breakfasts (surcharges apply). Recreational amenities include a health club, a… more »

FranceSofitel Strasbourg Grande Ile 

4 Place Saint Pierre Le Jeune
Strasbourg 67000
France

Price (US$): $242 - $1211 / night

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Location. Located in central Strasbourg, Sofitel Strasbourg Grande Ile is a business friendly hotel within walking distance of Saint Pierre le Jeune Church, Kleber Square, and Place Broglie. Additional points of interest include Gutenberg Square and Republic Square. Hotel Features. Sofitel Strasbourg Grande Ile's restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. The hotel serves Hot and cold buffet breakfasts each… more »

FranceCour des Loges 

6 rue du Boeuf
Lyon 69005
France

Price (US$): $875 - $876 / night

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Location. Located in central Lyon, Cour des Loges is near the airport and within walking distance of Lyon History Museum, Lyon Courthouse, and St. Jean Cathedral. Nearby points of interest also include Notre Dame Basilica and Gallo Roman Museum. Hotel Features. Dining options at Cour des Loges include 2 restaurants. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available during limited hours. Recreational amenities include an indoor pool, a sauna, and a fitness facility. The property's… more »

FranceL' Hotel de Sers 

41 Avenue Pierre 1er de Serbie
Paris 75008
France

Price (US$): $574 - $3648 / night

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Location. L' Hotel de Sers is located in Paris's 8th Arrondissement neighborhood, close to Paris Museum of Modern Art, Arc de Triomphe, and Grand Palais. Nearby points of interest also include Eiffel Tower and Louvre Museum. Hotel Features. L' Hotel de Sers's restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and weekend brunch. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Recreational amenities include a health club, a sauna, and a steam room. This 5 star property offers small meeting rooms, limo/town car service,… more »

FranceSofitel Paris La Defense 

33 Voie des Sculpteurs
Puteaux 92060
France

Price (US$): $275 - $525 / night

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Location. Sofitel Paris La Defense is a business friendly hotel located in Puteaux's La Defense neighborhood, close to Les Quatre Temps Shopping Center, CNIT Convention Center, and Palais des Congres de Paris. Additional points of interest include Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower. Hotel Features. Dining options at Sofitel Paris La Defense include 2 restaurants. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. Recreational amenities include a health club. This 5 star… 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