Europe :: France

Introduction ::France

    France today is one of the most modern countries in the world and is a leader among European nations. It plays an influential global role as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, NATO, the G-8, the G-20, the EU and other multilateral organizations. France rejoined NATO's integrated military command structure in 2009, reversing de Gaulle's 1966 decision to take French forces out of NATO. Since 1958, it has constructed a hybrid presidential-parliamentary governing system resistant to the instabilities experienced in earlier, more purely parliamentary administrations. In recent decades, its reconciliation and cooperation with Germany have proved central to the economic integration of Europe, including the introduction of a common currency, the euro, in January 1999. In the early 21st century, five French overseas entities - French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, and Reunion - became French regions and were made part of France proper.

Geography ::France

    metropolitan France: 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
    French Guiana: Northern South America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Brazil and Suriname
    Guadeloupe: Caribbean, islands between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of Puerto Rico
    Martinique: Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean, north of Trinidad and Tobago
    Mayotte: Southern Indian Ocean, island in the Mozambique Channel, about half way between northern Madagascar and northern Mozambique
    Reunion: Southern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar
    metropolitan France: 46 00 N, 2 00 E
    French Guiana: 4 00 N, 53 00 W
    Guadeloupe: 16 15 N, 61 35 W
    Martinique: 14 40 N, 61 00 W
    Mayotte: 12 50 S, 45 10 E
    Reunion: 21 06 S, 55 36 E
    metropolitan France: Europe
    French Guiana: South America
    Guadeloupe: Central America and the Caribbean
    Martinique: Central America and the Caribbean
    Mayotte: Africa
    Reunion: World
    total: 643,801 sq km; 551,500 sq km (metropolitan France)
    country comparison to the world: 43
    land: 640,427 sq km; 549,970 sq km (metropolitan France)
    water: 3,374 sq km; 1,530 sq km (metropolitan France)
    note: the first numbers include the overseas regions of French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, and Reunion
    slightly less than the size of Texas
    metropolitan France - 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
    French Guiana - total: 1,183 km
    border countries: Brazil 673 km, Suriname 510 km
    total: 4,853 km
    metropolitan France: 3,427 km
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    contiguous zone: 24 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm (does not apply to the Mediterranean)
    continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation
    metropolitan France: 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
    French Guiana: tropical; hot, humid; little seasonal temperature variation
    Guadeloupe and Martinique: subtropical tempered by trade winds; moderately high humidity; rainy season (June to October); vulnerable to devastating cyclones (hurricanes) every eight years on average
    Mayotte: tropical; marine; hot, humid, rainy season during northeastern monsoon (November to May); dry season is cooler (May to November)
    Reunion: tropical, but temperature moderates with elevation; cool and dry (May to November), hot and rainy (November to April)
    metropolitan France: mostly flat plains or gently rolling hills in north and west; remainder is mountainous, especially Pyrenees in south, Alps in east
    French Guiana: low-lying coastal plains rising to hills and small mountains
    Guadeloupe: Basse-Terre is volcanic in origin with interior mountains; Grande-Terre is low limestone formation; most of the seven other islands are volcanic in origin
    Martinique: mountainous with indented coastline; dormant volcano
    Mayotte: generally undulating, with deep ravines and ancient volcanic peaks
    Reunion: mostly rugged and mountainous; fertile lowlands along coast
    lowest point: Rhone River delta -2 m
    highest point: Mont Blanc 4,807 m
    note: in order to assess the possible effects of climate change on the ice and snow cap of Mont Blanc, its surface and peak have been extensively measured in recent years; these new peak measurements have exceeded the traditional height of 4,807 m and have varied between 4,808 m and 4,811 m; the actual rock summit is 4,792 m and is 40 m away from the ice-covered summit
    metropolitan France: coal, iron ore, bauxite, zinc, uranium, antimony, arsenic, potash, feldspar, fluorspar, gypsum, timber, fish
    French Guiana: gold deposits, petroleum, kaolin, niobium, tantalum, clay
    arable land: 33.45%
    permanent crops: 1.86%
    other: 64.69%
    note: French Guiana - arable land 0.13%, permanent crops 0.04%, other 99.83% (90% forest, 10% other); Guadeloupe - arable land 11.70%, permanent crops 2.92%, other 85.38%; Martinique - arable land 9.09%, permanent crops 10.0%, other 80.91%; Reunion - arable land 13.94%, permanent crops 1.59%, other 84.47% (2011)
    total: 26,420 sq km 26,950 sq km
    metropolitan France: 27,230 sq km (2007)
    211 cu km (2011)
    total: 31.62 cu km/yr (19%/71%/10%)
    per capita: 512.1 cu m/yr (2009)
    metropolitan France: flooding; avalanches; midwinter windstorms; drought; forest fires in south near the Mediterranean
    overseas departments: hurricanes (cyclones); flooding; volcanic activity (Guadeloupe, Martinique, Reunion)
    some forest damage from acid rain; air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution from urban wastes, agricultural runoff
    party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, 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: none of the selected agreements
    largest West European nation

People and Society ::France

    noun: Frenchman(men), Frenchwoman(women)
    adjective: French
    Celtic and Latin with Teutonic, Slavic, North African, Indochinese, Basque minorities
    overseas departments: black, white, mulatto, East Indian, Chinese, Amerindian
    French (official) 100%, rapidly declining regional dialects and languages (Provencal, Breton, Alsatian, Corsican, Catalan, Basque, Flemish)
    overseas departments: French, Creole patois, Mahorian (a Swahili dialect)
    Roman Catholic 83%-88%, Protestant 2%, Jewish 1%, Muslim 5%-10%, unaffiliated 4%
    overseas departments: Roman Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, pagan
    65,951,611 (July 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 21
    note: the above figure is for metropolitan France and five overseas regions; the metropolitan France population is 62,814,233
    0-14 years: 18.7% (male 6,314,779/female 6,029,258)
    15-24 years: 11.9% (male 4,017,893/female 3,840,268)
    25-54 years: 38.9% (male 12,877,039/female 12,764,229)
    55-64 years: 12.6% (male 4,020,974/female 4,287,381)
    65 years and over: 17.9% (male 5,029,801/female 6,769,989) (2013 est.)
    total dependency ratio: 56.5 %
    youth dependency ratio: 28.5 %
    elderly dependency ratio: 27.9 %
    potential support ratio: 3.6 (2013)
    total: 40.6 years
    male: 39.1 years
    female: 42.1 years (2013 est.)
    0.47% (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 153
    12.6 births/1,000 population (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 158
    8.96 deaths/1,000 population (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 68
    1.1 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 55
    urban population: 85% of total population (2010)
    rate of urbanization: 1% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    PARIS (capital) 10.41 million; Marseille-Aix-en-Provence 1.457 million; Lyon 1.456 million; Lille 1.028 million; Nice-Cannes 977,000 (2009)
    at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.74 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2013 est.)
    28.6 (2006 est.)
    8 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 159
    total: 3.34 deaths/1,000 live births
    country comparison to the world: 215
    male: 3.67 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 2.99 deaths/1,000 live births (2013 est.)
    total population: 81.56 years
    country comparison to the world: 15
    male: 78.45 years
    female: 84.82 years (2013 est.)
    2.08 children born/woman (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 117
    note: percent of women aged 20-49 (2008)
    11.9% of GDP (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 8
    3.5 physicians/1,000 population (2008)
    6.9 beds/1,000 population (2009)
    urban: 100% of population
    rural: 100% of population
    total: 100% of population (2010 est.)
    urban: 100% of population
    rural: 100% of population
    total: 100% of population (2010 est.)
    0.4% (2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 75
    150,000 (2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 33
    1,700 (2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 56
    18.2% (2008)
    country comparison to the world: 108
    5.9% of GDP (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 40
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 99%
    male: 99%
    female: 99% (2003 est.)
    total: 16 years
    male: 16 years
    female: 17 years (2011)
    total: 22.1%
    country comparison to the world: 50
    male: 21.2%
    female: 23.2% (2011)

Government ::France

    conventional long form: French Republic
    conventional short form: France
    local long form: Republique francaise
    local short form: France
    name: Paris
    geographic coordinates: 48 52 N, 2 20 E
    time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
    note: applies to metropolitan France only, not to its overseas departments, collectivities, or territories
    27 regions (regions, singular - region); Alsace, Aquitaine, Auvergne, Basse-Normandie (Lower Normandy), Bourgogne (Burgundy), Bretagne (Brittany), Centre, Champagne-Ardenne, Corse (Corsica), Franche-Comte, Guadeloupe, Guyane (French Guiana), Haute-Normandie (Upper Normandy), Ile-de-France, Languedoc-Roussillon, Limousin, Lorraine, Martinique, Mayotte, Midi-Pyrenees, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Pays de la Loire, Picardie, Poitou-Charentes, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, Reunion, Rhone-Alpes
    note: France is divided into 22 metropolitan regions (including the "territorial collectivity" of Corse or Corsica) and 5 overseas regions (French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, and Reunion) and is subdivided into 96 metropolitan departments and 5 overseas departments (which are the same as the overseas regions)
    Clipperton Island, French Polynesia, French Southern and Antarctic Lands, New Caledonia, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Wallis and Futuna
    note: the US does not recognize claims to Antarctica; New Caledonia has been considered a "sui generis" collectivity of France since 1998, a unique status falling between that of an independent country and a French overseas department
    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)
    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)
    adopted by referendum 28 September 1958; effective 4 October 1958; amended many times
    note: amended in 1962 concerning election of president; amended to comply with provisions of 1992 EC Maastricht Treaty, 1997 Amsterdam Treaty, 2003 Treaty of Nice; amended in 1993 to tighten immigration laws; amended in 2000 to change the seven-year presidential term to a five-year term; amended in 2005 to make the EU constitutional treaty compatible with the Constitution of France and to ensure that the decision to ratify EU accession treaties would be made by referendum
    civil law; review of administrative but not legislative acts
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: President Francois HOLLANDE (since 15 May 2012)
    head of government: Prime Minister Jean-Marc AYRAULT (since 16 May 2012)
    cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president at the suggestion of the prime minister
    (For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
    elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 22 April and 6 May 2012 (next to be held in the spring of 2017); prime minister appointed by the president
    election results: Francois HOLLANDE elected; first round: percent of vote - Francois HOLLANDE 28.6%, Nicolas SARKOZY 27.2%, Marine LE PEN 17.9%, Jean-Luc MELENCHON 11.1%, Francois BAYROU, 9.1%, others 6.1%; second round: HOLLANDE 51.6%, SARKOZY 48.4%
    bicameral Parliament or Parlement consists of the Senate or Senat (348 seats; 328 for metropolitan France and overseas departments, 2 for New Caledonia, 2 for French Polynesia, 1 for Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, 1 for Saint-Barthelemy, 1 for Saint-Martin, 1 for Wallis and Futuna, and 12 for French nationals abroad; members indirectly elected by an electoral college to serve six-year terms; one third elected every three years); and the National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (577 seats; 555 for metropolitan France, 15 for overseas departments, 7 for overseas dependencies; members elected by popular vote under a single-member majority system to serve five-year terms)
    elections: Senate - last held on 25 September 2011 (next to be held in September 2014); National Assembly - last held on 10 and 17 June 2012 (next to be held in June 2017)
    election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PS/Greens 140, UMP 132, UDF 31, PCF/MRC 21, PRG 17, other 7; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - PS 48.5%, UMP 33.6%, miscellaneous left wing parties 3.8%, Greens 3.0%, miscellaneous right wing parties 2.6%, NC 2.1%, PRG 2.1%, FDG 1.7%, other 2.6%; seats by party - PS 280, UMP 194, miscellaneous left wing parties 22, Greens 17, miscellaneous right wing parties 15, NC 12, PRG 12, FDG 10, other 15
    highest court(s): Court of Cassation or Cour de Cassation (consists of the court president, 6 divisional presiding judges, 120 trial judges, and 70 deputy judges organized into 6 divisions - 3 civil, 1 commercial, 1 labor, and 1 criminal); Constitutional Council (consists of 9 members)
    judge selection and term of office: Court of Cassation judges appointed by the president of the republic from nominations from the High Council of the Judiciary, presided by the Court of Cassation and 15 appointed members; judge term of appointment NA; Constitutional Council members appointed - 3 by the president of the republic and 3 each by the National Assembly and Senate presidents; members serve 9-year, non-renewable terms with one third of the membership renewed every 3 years
    subordinate courts: appellate courts or Cour d'Appel; regional courts or Tribunal de Grande Instance; first instance courts or Tribunal' d'instance
    Centrist and Republican Union or UCR [Francois ZOCCHETTO] (previously Centrist Union
    Democratic Movement or MoDem [Francois BAYROU] (previously Union for French Democracy or UDF)
    Europe Ecology - The Greens or EELV [Pascal DURAND]
    French Communist Party or PCF [Pierre LAURENT]
    Left Front Coalition or FDG [Jean-Luc MELENCHON]
    Left Party or PG [Jean-Luc MELENCHON and Martine BILLARD]
    Left Radical Party or PRG [Jean-Michel BAYLET] (previously Radical Socialist Party or PRS and the Left Radical Movement or MRG)
    Movement for France or MPF [Philippe DE VILLIERS]
    National Front or FN [Marine LE PEN]
    New Anticapitalist Party or NPA [collective leadership; main spokesperson Christine POUPIN]
    New Center or NC [Herve MORIN]
    Radical Party [Jean-Louis BORLOO]
    Rally for France or RPF [Charles PASQUA]
    Republican and Citizen Movement or MRC [Jean-Luc LAURENT]
    Socialist Party or PS [Haerlem DESIR]
    United Republic or RS [Dominique DE VILLEPIN]
    Union for a Popular Movement or UMP [Jean-Francois COPE]
    Worker's Struggle (Lutte Ouvriere) or LO [collective leadership; spokespersons Nathalie ARTHAUD and Arlette LAQUILLER]
    Confederation francaise democratique du travail or CFDT, left-leaning labor union with approximately 803,000 members
    Confederation francaise de l'encadrement - Confederation generale des cadres or CFE-CGC, independent white-collar union with 196,000 members
    Confederation francaise des travailleurs chretiens of CFTC, independent labor union founded by Catholic workers that claims 132,000 members
    Confederation generale du travail or CGT, historically communist labor union with approximately 700,000 members
    Confederation generale du travail - Force ouvriere or FO, independent labor union with an estimated 300,000 members
    Mouvement des entreprises de France or MEDEF, employers' union with 750,000 companies as members (claimed)
    French Guiana:
    gold mining pressure groups
    hunting pressure groups
    Christian Movement for the Liberation of Guadeloupe or KLPG
    General Federation of Guadeloupe Workers or CGT-G
    General Union of Guadeloupe Workers or UGTG
    Movement for an Independent Guadeloupe or MPGI
    The Socialist Renewal Movement
    Caribbean Revolutionary Alliance or ARC
    Central Union for Martinique Workers or CSTM
    Frantz Fanon Circle
    League of Workers and Peasants
    Proletarian Action Group or GAP
    ADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Arctic Council (observer), Australia Group, BDEAC, BIS, BSEC (observer), CBSS (observer), CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EITI (implementing country), EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, FATF, FZ, G-20, G-5, G-7, G-8, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, InOC, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINURSO, MINUSTAH, MONUSCO, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PIF (partner), Schengen Convention, SELEC (observer), SPC, UN, UN Security Council, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, Union Latina, UNMIL, UNOCI, UNRWA, UNSC (permanent), UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
    chief of mission: Ambassador Francois M. DELATTRE
    chancery: 4101 Reservoir Road NW, Washington, DC 20007
    telephone: [1] (202) 944-6000
    FAX: [1] (202) 944-6166
    consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco
    chief of mission: Ambassador Charles H. RIVKIN
    embassy: 2 Avenue Gabriel, 75382 Paris Cedex 08
    mailing address: PSC 116, APO AE 09777
    telephone: [33] (1) 43-12-22-22
    FAX: [33] (1) 42 66 97 83
    consulate(s) general: Marseille, Strasbourg
    three equal vertical bands of blue (hoist side), white, and red; known as the "Le drapeau tricolore" (French Tricolor), the origin of the flag dates to 1790 and the French Revolution when the "ancient French color" of white was combined with the blue and red colors of the Parisian militia; the official flag for all French dependent areas
    note: the design and/or colors are similar to a number of other flags, including those of Belgium, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, and Netherlands
    Gallic rooster and Marianne
    name: "La Marseillaise" (The Song of Marseille)

    lyrics/music: Claude-Joseph ROUGET de Lisle
    note: adopted 1795, restored 1870; originally known as "Chant de Guerre pour l'Armee du Rhin" (War Song for the Army of the Rhine), the National Guard of Marseille made the song famous by singing it while marching into Paris in 1792 during the French Revolutionary Wars

Economy ::France

    The French economy is diversified across all sectors. The government has partially or fully privatized many large companies, including Air France, France Telecom, Renault, and Thales. However, the government maintains a strong presence in some sectors, particularly power, public transport, and defense industries. With at least 79 million foreign tourists per year, France is the most visited country in the world and maintains the third largest income in the world from tourism. France's leaders remain committed to a capitalism in which they maintain social equity by means of laws, tax policies, and social spending that reduce income disparity and the impact of free markets on public health and welfare. France's real GDP contracted 2.6% in 2009, but recovered somewhat in 2010 and 2011, before stagnating in 2012. The unemployment rate increased from 7.4% in 2008 to 10.3% in 2012. Youth unemployment shot up to 24.2% during the third quarter of 2012 in metropolitan France. Lower-than-expected growth and high unemployment costs have strained France's public finances. The budget deficit rose sharply from 3.4% of GDP in 2008 to 7.5% of GDP in 2009 before improving to 4.8% of GDP in 2012, while France's public debt rose from 68% of GDP to 90% over the same period. Under President SARKOZY, Paris implemented some austerity measures to bring the budget deficit under the 3% euro-zone ceiling by 2013 and to highlight France's commitment to fiscal discipline at a time of intense financial market scrutiny of euro-zone debt. Socialist Party candidate Francois HOLLANDE won the May 2012 presidential election, after advocating pro-growth economic policies, the separation of banks' traditional deposit taking and lending activities from more speculative businesses, increasing the top corporate and personal tax rates, and hiring an additional 60,000 teachers during his five-year term. The government's attempt to introduce a 75% wealth tax on income over one million euros for two years was struck down by the French Constitutional Council in December 2012 because it applied to individuals rather than households. France ratified the EU fiscal stability treaty in October 2012 and HOLLANDE's government has maintained France's commitment to meeting the budget deficit target of 3% of GDP during 2013 even amid signs that economic growth will be lower than the government's forecast of 0.8%. Despite stagnant growth and fiscal challenges, France's borrowing costs declined during the second half of 2012 to euro-era lows.
    $2.291 trillion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 10
    $2.29 trillion (2011 est.)
    $2.252 trillion (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    $2.609 trillion (2012 est.)
    0% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 182
    1.7% (2011 est.)
    1.7% (2010 est.)
    $36,100 (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 40
    $36,300 (2011 est.)
    $35,900 (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    17.5% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 88
    18.7% of GDP (2011 est.)
    17.7% of GDP (2010 est.)
    household consumption: 57.7%
    government consumption: 24.7%
    investment in fixed capital: 19.8%
    investment in inventories: 0%
    exports of goods and services: 27.4%
    imports of goods and services: -29.6%
    (2012 est.)
    agriculture: 2%
    industry: 18.8%
    services: 79.2% (2012 est.)
    wheat, cereals, sugar beets, potatoes, wine grapes; beef, dairy products; fish
    machinery, chemicals, automobiles, metallurgy, aircraft, electronics; textiles, food processing; tourism
    -1% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 146
    29.78 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 21
    agriculture: 3.8%
    industry: 24.3%
    services: 71.8% (2005)
    10.3% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 111
    9.2% (2011 est.)
    7.8% (2010)
    lowest 10%: 3%
    highest 10%: 24.8% (2004)
    32.7 (2008)
    country comparison to the world: 101
    32.7 (1995)
    revenues: $1.353 trillion
    expenditures: $1.48 trillion (2012 est.)
    51.9% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 12
    -4.8% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 163
    90.2% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 17
    85.8% of GDP (2011 est.)
    note: data cover general government debt, and includes debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities, as well as intra-governmental debt; intra-governmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement, medical care, and unemployment; debt instruments for the social funds are not sold at public auctions
    calendar year
    2.2% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 51
    2.3% (2011 est.)
    1.5% (31 December 2012)
    country comparison to the world: 116
    1.75% (31 December 2010)
    note: this is the European Central Bank's rate on the marginal lending facility, which offers overnight credit to banks in the euro area
    3.44% (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 173
    3.43% (31 December 2011 est.)
    $938.3 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 7
    $908.2 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    note: see entry for the European Union for money supply in the euro area; the European Central Bank (ECB) controls monetary policy for the 17 members of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of money circulating within their own borders
    $2.571 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 7
    $2.499 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $3.627 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 7
    $3.448 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $1.569 trillion (31 December 2011)
    country comparison to the world: 8
    $1.926 trillion (31 December 2010)
    $1.972 trillion (31 December 2009)
    -$58.7 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 188
    -$54.44 billion (2011 est.)
    $567.1 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 6
    $593.5 billion (2011 est.)
    machinery and transportation equipment, aircraft, plastics, chemicals, pharmaceutical products, iron and steel, beverages
    Germany 16.7%, Belgium 7.5%, Italy 7.5%, Spain 6.9%, UK 6.9%, US 5.6%, Netherlands 4.3% (2012)
    $641.3 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 7
    $681.6 billion (2011 est.)
    machinery and equipment, vehicles, crude oil, aircraft, plastics, chemicals
    Germany 19.5%, Belgium 11.3%, Italy 7.6%, Netherlands 7.4%, Spain 6.6%, UK 5.1%, China 4.9% (2012)
    $184.5 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 15
    $171.9 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $5.165 trillion (31 December 2012)
    country comparison to the world: 5
    $5.004 trillion (31 December 2011)
    $1.119 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 6
    $1.054 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $1.683 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 4
    $1.619 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)
    euros (EUR) per US dollar -
    0.7778 (2012 est.)
    0.7185 (2011 est.)
    0.755 (2010 est.)
    0.7198 (2009 est.)
    0.6827 (2008 est.)

Energy ::France

Communications ::France

    39.883 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 7
    59.84 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 21
    general assessment: highly developed
    domestic: extensive cable and microwave radio relay; extensive use of fiber-optic cable; domestic satellite system
    international: country code - 33; numerous submarine cables provide links throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, the Middle East, and US; satellite earth stations - more than 3 (2 Intelsat (with total of 5 antennas - 2 for Indian Ocean and 3 for Atlantic Ocean), NA Eutelsat, 1 Inmarsat - Atlantic Ocean region); HF radiotelephone communications with more than 20 countries
    overseas departments: country codes: French Guiana - 594; Guadeloupe - 590; Martinique - 596; Mayotte - 262; Reunion - 262 (2011)
    a mix of both publicly operated and privately owned TV stations; state-owned France Televisions operates 4 networks, one of which is a network of regional stations, and has part-interest in several thematic cable/satellite channels and international channels; a large number of privately owned regional and local TV stations; multi-channel satellite and cable services provide a large number of channels; public broadcaster Radio France operates 7 national networks, a series of regional networks, and operates services for overseas territories and foreign audiences; Radio France Internationale (RFI), under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is a leading international broadcaster; a large number of commercial FM stations, with many of them consolidating into commercial networks (2008)
    metropolitan France - .fr; French Guiana - .gf; Guadeloupe - .gp; Martinique - .mq; Mayotte - .yt; Reunion - .re
    17.266 million (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 7
    45.262 million; 44.625 million (metropolitan France) (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 8

Transportation ::France

    464 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 17
    total: 294
    over 3,047 m: 14
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 25
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 97
    914 to 1,523 m: 83
    under 914 m: 75 (2013)
    total: 170
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
    914 to 1,523 m: 64
    under 914 m:
    105 (2013)
    1 (2013)
    gas 15,322 km; oil 2,939 km; refined products 5,084 km (2013)
    total: 29,640 km
    country comparison to the world: 9
    standard gauge: 29,473 km 1.435-m gauge (15,361 km electrified)
    narrow gauge: 167 km 1.000-m gauge (63 km electrified) (2008)
    total: 1,028,446 km (metropolitan France; includes 11,416 km of expressways)
    country comparison to the world: 7
    note: there are another 5,100 km of roadways in overseas departments (2010)
    metropolitan France: 8,501 km (1,621 km accessible to craft of 3,000 metric tons) (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 16
    total: 162
    country comparison to the world: 36
    by type: bulk carrier 3, cargo 7, chemical tanker 34, container 27, liquefied gas 12, passenger 10, passenger/cargo 41, petroleum tanker 16, refrigerated cargo 1, roll on/roll off 11
    foreign-owned: 50 (Belgium 7, Bermuda 5, Denmark 11, French Polynesia 11, Germany 1, New Caledonia 3, Singapore 3, Sweden 4, Switzerland 5)
    registered in other countries: 151 (Bahamas 15, Belgium 7, Bermuda 1, Canada 1, Cyprus 16, Egypt 1, Hong Kong 4, Indonesia 1, Ireland 2, Italy 2, Luxembourg 15, Malta 8, Marshall Islands 7, Mexico 1, Morocco 3, Netherlands 2, Norway 5, Panama 7, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 2, Singapore 3, South Korea 2, Taiwan 2, UK 39, US 4, unknown 1) (2010)
    major seaport(s): Brest, Calais, Dunkerque, Le Havre, Marseille, Nantes,
    river port(s): Paris, Rouen (Seine); Strasbourg (Rhine); Bordeaux (Garronne)
    container port(s): Le Havre (2,215,262)(2011)
    cruise/ferry port(s): Calais, Cherbourg, Le Havre

Military ::France

Transnational Issues ::France

    Madagascar claims the French territories of Bassas da India, Europa Island, Glorioso Islands, and Juan de Nova Island; Comoros claims Mayotte; Mauritius claims Tromelin Island; territorial dispute between Suriname and the French overseas department of French Guiana; France asserts a territorial claim in Antarctica (Adelie Land); France and Vanuatu claim Matthew and Hunter Islands, east of New Caledonia
    refugees (country of origin): 23,225 (Sri Lanka); 12,666 (Cambodia); 12,585 (Democratic Republic of the Congo); 11,767 (Russia); 11,506 (Serbia); 10,887 (Turkey); 8,605 (Vietnam); 7,335 (Laos) (2012)
    stateless persons: 1,210 (2012)
    metropolitan France: transshipment point for South American cocaine, Southwest Asian heroin, and European synthetics
    French Guiana: small amount of marijuana grown for local consumption; minor transshipment point to Europe
    Martinique: transshipment point for cocaine and marijuana bound for the US and Europe