I love to travel, but hate to arrive.
— Albert Einstein, 1879 - 1955




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.


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 »

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Featured hotels in


FrancePavillon De La Rotonde 

3 Avenue Du Casino
Charbonnieres-les-Bains 69260

Price (US$): $276 - $339 / night

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Location. Pavillon De La Rotonde is located in Charbonnieres les Bains's West Lyon neighborhood, close to Casino Le Lyon Vert. Additional area points of interest include Roman Amphitheatres and Notre Dame Basilica. Hotel Features. Pavillon De La Rotonde's restaurant serves lunch and dinner. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available during limited hours. Recreational amenities include an indoor pool, a spa tub, a sauna, a fitness facility, and a steam room. The property's… more »

FranceL' Agapa Hôtel Spa Nuxe 

12 Rue Des Bons-Enfants
Perros-Guirec 22700

Price (US$): $175 - $498 / night

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Location. L' Agapa Hôtel Spa Nuxe is located in Perros Guirec's Cote de Granit Rose neighborhood, close to Perros Guirec Beach and Plomanac'h Lighthouse. Additional area points of interest include Golf de Saint Samson and Tregastel Beach. Hotel Features. L' Agapa Hôtel Spa Nuxe's restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available during limited hours. The hotel serves buffet breakfasts each morning in the restaurant (surcharges apply)… more »

FranceHôtel de Crillon 

10 Place de La Concorde
Paris 75008

Price (US$): $834 - $1979 / night

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Location. Located in central Paris, Hôtel de Crillon is a business friendly hotel within walking distance of Place de la Concorde, Elysee Palace, and Place de la Madeleine. Additional points of interest include Place Vendome and Luxembourg Palace. Hotel Features. Dining options at Hôtel de Crillon include 3 restaurants. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. The hotel serves hot and cold buffet breakfasts each morning (surcharges apply). Recreational… more »

FranceCap d Antibes Beach Hotel 

10 Boulevard Marechal Juin
Antibes 06160

Price (US$): $367 - $1866 / night

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Location. Cap d Antibes Beach Hotel is located on the beach in Antibes's Juan les Pins neighborhood, close to Pinede Garden, Juan les Pins Beach, and Palais des Congres de Juan les Pins. Other points of interest near this luxury hotel include Garoupe Beach and Picasso Museum. Hotel Features. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool. Spa amenities include massage/treatment rooms, facials, and body treatments. Complimentary wireless and wired high speed Internet access is available in… more »

FranceTerre Blanche Hotel Spa Golf Resort 

Domaine de Terre Blanche
Tourrettes 83440

Price (US$): $593 - $8003 / night

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Location. Terre Blanche Hotel Spa Golf Resort is located near the beach in Tourrettes and local attractions include Malpasset Dam. Other regional attractions include International Perfume Museum and Frejus Amphitheatre. Hotel Features. Dining options at Terre Blanche Hotel Spa Golf Resort include 5 restaurants. A poolside bar and a bar/lounge are open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. Recreational amenities include a golf course. Also located on site are an outdoor pool,… more »

Browse more hotels in France »


Full name
Republic of France
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


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


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



Ethnic groups

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


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


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

Government type



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


Internet users

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


474 (2010)

Ports and terminals

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

Other countries in the region