Photos of 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-7, 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 withdraw French forces from 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.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.



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 halfway between northern Madagascar and northern Mozambique;

Reunion: Southern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar

Geographic coordinates

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

Map references

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)

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

comparison ranking: total 45

Area - comparative

slightly more than four times the size of Georgia; slightly less than the size of Texas

Area comparison map:
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 3,956 km

border countries (8): Andorra 55 km; Belgium 556 km; Germany 418 km; Italy 476 km; Luxembourg 69 km; Monaco 6 km; Spain 646 km; Switzerland 525 km

metropolitan France - total: 2751 km

French Guiana - total: 1205 km


4,853 km

metropolitan France: 3,427 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm (does not apply to the Mediterranean Sea)

continental shelf: 200m 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 the 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


highest point: Mont Blanc 4,810

lowest point: Rhone River delta -2 m

mean elevation: 375 m

note: 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

Natural resources

metropolitan France: coal, iron ore, bauxite, zinc, uranium, antimony, arsenic, potash, feldspar, fluorspar, gypsum, timber, arable land, fish; French Guiana: gold deposits, petroleum, kaolin, niobium, tantalum, clay

Land use

agricultural land: 52.7% (2018 est.)

arable land: 33.4% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 1.8% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 17.5% (2018 est.)

forest: 29.2% (2018 est.)

other: 18.1% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

14,236 sq km (2013)

Major lakes (area sq km)

fresh water lake(s): Lake Geneva (shared with Switzerland) - 580 sq km

Major rivers (by length in km)

Rhin (Rhine)  (shared with Switzerland [s], Germany, and Netherlands [m]) - 1,233 km;  Loire - 1,012 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: Loire (115,282 sq km), Seine (78,919 sq km), Rhine-Maas (198,735 sq km), (Adriatic Sea) Po (76,997 sq km), (Mediterranean Sea) Rhone (100,543 sq km)

Major aquifers

Paris Basin

Population distribution

much of the population is concentrated in the north and southeast; although there are many urban agglomerations throughout the country, Paris is by far the largest city, with Lyon ranked a distant second

Natural hazards

metropolitan France: flooding; avalanches; midwinter windstorms; drought; forest fires in south near the Mediterranean;

overseas departments: hurricanes (cyclones); flooding;

volcanism: Montagne Pelee (1,394 m) on the island of Martinique in the Caribbean is the most active volcano of the Lesser Antilles arc, it last erupted in 1932; a catastrophic eruption in May 1902 destroyed the city of St. Pierre, killing an estimated 30,000 people; La Soufriere (1,467 m) on the island of Guadeloupe in the Caribbean last erupted from July 1976 to March 1977; these volcanoes are part of the volcanic island arc of the Lesser Antilles that extends from Saba in the north to Grenada in the south

Geography - note

largest West European nation; most major French rivers - the Meuse, Seine, Loire, Charente, Dordogne, and Garonne - flow northward or westward into the Atlantic Ocean, only the Rhone flows southward into the Mediterranean Sea

People and Society


68,521,974 (2023 est.)

note: the above figure is for metropolitan France and five overseas regions; the metropolitan France population is 62,814,233

comparison ranking: 21


noun: Frenchman(men), Frenchwoman(women)

adjective: French

Ethnic groups

Celtic and Latin with Teutonic, Slavic, North African (Algerian, Moroccan, Tunisian), Indochinese, Basque minorities

note: overseas departments: Black, White, Mulatto, East Indian, Chinese, Amerindian


French (official) 100%, declining regional dialects and languages (Provencal, Breton, Alsatian, Corsican, Catalan, Basque, Flemish, Occitan, Picard); note - overseas departments: French, Creole patois, Mahorian (a Swahili dialect)

major-language sample(s):
The World Factbook, une source indispensable d'informations de base. (French)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.

French audio sample:


Roman Catholic 47%, Muslim 4%, Protestant 2%, Buddhist 2%, Orthodox 1%, Jewish 1%, other 1%, none 33%, unspecified 9% (2021 est.)

note: France maintains a tradition of secularism and has not officially collected data on religious affiliation since the 1872 national census, which complicates assessments of France's religious composition; an 1872 law prohibiting state authorities from collecting data on individuals' ethnicity or religious beliefs was reaffirmed by a 1978 law emphasizing the prohibition of the collection or exploitation of personal data revealing an individual's race, ethnicity, or political, philosophical, or religious opinions; a 1905 law codified France's separation of church and state

Age structure

0-14 years: 18.04% (male 6,322,021/female 6,040,773)

15-64 years: 60.53% (male 20,846,592/female 20,632,418)

65 years and over: 21.42% (2023 est.) (male 6,409,883/female 8,270,287)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 63.1

youth dependency ratio: 28.3

elderly dependency ratio: 34.8

potential support ratio: 2.9 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 41.7 years

male: 40 years

female: 43.4 years (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 43

Population growth rate

0.31% (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 164

Birth rate

11.56 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 162

Death rate

9.51 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 46

Net migration rate

1.06 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 64

Population distribution

much of the population is concentrated in the north and southeast; although there are many urban agglomerations throughout the country, Paris is by far the largest city, with Lyon ranked a distant second


urban population: 81.8% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 0.67% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

11.208 million PARIS (capital), 1.761 million Lyon, 1.628 million Marseille-Aix-en-Provence, 1.079 million Lille, 1.060 million Toulouse, 1.000 million Bordeaux (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female

total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2023 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

28.9 years (2020 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

8 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 150

Infant mortality rate

total: 3.1 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 3.48 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 2.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: total 210

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 82.79 years

male: 79.75 years

female: 85.97 years (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: total population 19

Total fertility rate

2.02 children born/woman (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 103

Gross reproduction rate

0.99 (2023 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

12.2% of GDP (2020)

Physicians density

3.27 physicians/1,000 population (2019)

Hospital bed density

5.9 beds/1,000 population (2018)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2020 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

21.6% (2016)

comparison ranking: 87

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 11.44 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 2.52 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 6.44 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 2.3 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0.18 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 8

Tobacco use

total: 33.4% (2020 est.)

male: 34.9% (2020 est.)

female: 31.9% (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 19

Education expenditures

5.5% of GDP (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 56


total population: NA

male: NA

female: NA

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 16 years

male: 16 years

female: 16 years (2020)

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 20.1%

male: 19.9%

female: 20.3% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 82


Environment - current issues

some forest damage from acid rain; air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution from urban wastes, agricultural runoff

Environment - international agreements

party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Heavy Metals, Air Pollution-Multi-effect Protocol, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protection, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping-London Convention, Marine Dumping-London Protocol, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 2006, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements


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 the 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)

Land use

agricultural land: 52.7% (2018 est.)

arable land: 33.4% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 1.8% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 17.5% (2018 est.)

forest: 29.2% (2018 est.)

other: 18.1% (2018 est.)


urban population: 81.8% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 0.67% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Revenue from forest resources

0.03% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 136

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 184

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 11.64 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 55.99 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 33.399 million tons (2015 est.)

municipal solid waste recycled annually: 7,434,617 tons (2015 est.)

percent of municipal solid waste recycled: 22.3% (2015 est.)

Major lakes (area sq km)

fresh water lake(s): Lake Geneva (shared with Switzerland) - 580 sq km

Major rivers (by length in km)

Rhin (Rhine)  (shared with Switzerland [s], Germany, and Netherlands [m]) - 1,233 km;  Loire - 1,012 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: Loire (115,282 sq km), Seine (78,919 sq km), Rhine-Maas (198,735 sq km), (Adriatic Sea) Po (76,997 sq km), (Mediterranean Sea) Rhone (100,543 sq km)

Major aquifers

Paris Basin

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 5.31 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 17.78 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 3.18 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

211 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)


Country name

conventional long form: French Republic

conventional short form: France

local long form: Republique francaise

local short form: France

etymology: name derives from the Latin "Francia" meaning "Land of the Franks"; the Franks were a group of Germanic tribes located along the middle and lower Rhine River in the 3rd century A.D. who merged with Gallic-Roman populations in succeeding centuries and to whom they passed on their name

Government type

semi-presidential republic


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

time zone note: applies to metropolitan France only; for its overseas regions the time difference is UTC-4 for Guadeloupe and Martinique, UTC-3 for French Guiana, UTC+3 for Mayotte, and UTC+4 for Reunion

etymology: name derives from the Parisii, a Celtic tribe that inhabited the area from the 3rd century B.C., but who were conquered by the Romans in the 1st century B.C.; the Celtic settlement became the Roman town of Lutetia Parisiorum (Lutetia of the Parisii); over subsequent centuries it became Parisium and then just Paris

Administrative divisions

18 regions (regions, singular - region); Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, Bourgogne-Franche-Comte (Burgundy-Free County), Bretagne (Brittany), Centre-Val de Loire (Center-Loire Valley), Corse (Corsica), Grand Est (Grand East), Guadeloupe, Guyane (French Guiana), Hauts-de-France (Upper France), Ile-de-France, Martinique, Mayotte, Normandie (Normandy), Nouvelle-Aquitaine (New Aquitaine), Occitanie (Occitania), Pays de la Loire (Lands of the Loire), Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, Reunion

note: France is divided into 13 metropolitan regions (including the "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)

Dependent areas

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 Government 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)

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)


history: many previous; latest effective 4 October 1958

amendments: proposed by the president of the republic (upon recommendation of the prime minister and Parliament) or by Parliament; proposals submitted by Parliament members require passage by both houses followed by approval in a referendum; passage of proposals submitted by the government can bypass a referendum if submitted by the president to Parliament and passed by at least three-fifths majority vote by Parliament’s National Assembly; amended many times, last in 2008

Legal system

civil law; review of administrative but not legislative acts

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of France

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Emmanuel MACRON (since 14 May 2017)

head of government: Prime Minister Élisabeth BORNE (since 16 May 2022)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president at the suggestion of the prime minister

elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 10 April 2022 with a runoff held on 24 April 2022 (next to be held in April 2027); prime minister appointed by the president

election results:
Emmanuel MACRON reelected in second round; percent of vote in first round - Emmanuel MACRON (LREM) 27.8%, Marine LE PEN (RN) 23.2%, Jean-Luc MELENCHON (LFI) 22%, Eric ZEMMOUR (Reconquete) 7.1%, Valerie PECRESSE (LR) 4.8%, Yannick JADOT (EELV) 4.6%, other 10.6%; percent of vote in second round - MACRON 58.5%, LE PEN 41.5%

2017: Emmanuel MACRON elected president in second round; percent of vote in first round - Emmanuel MACRON (EM) 24%, Marine LE PEN (FN) 21.3%, Francois FILLON (LR) 20%, Jean-Luc MELENCHON (FI) 19.6%, Benoit HAMON (PS) 6.4%, other 8.7%; percent of vote in second round - MACRON 66.1%, LE PEN 33.9%

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament or Parlement consists of:
Senate or Senat (348 seats - 328 for metropolitan France and overseas departments and regions of Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, Reunion, and Mayotte, 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 departmental electoral colleges using absolute majority vote in 2 rounds if needed for departments with 1-3 members, and proportional representation vote in departments with 4 or more members; members serve 6-year terms with one-half of the membership renewed every 3 years)
National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (577 seats - 556 for metropolitan France, 10 for overseas departments, and 11 for citizens abroad; members directly elected by absolute majority vote in 2 rounds if needed to serve 5-year terms)

Senate - last held on 24 and 27 September 2020 (next to be held in September 2023)
National Assembly - last held on 12 and 19 June 2022 (next to be held in June 2027)

election results:
Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by political caucus (party or group of parties) - NA; composition - men 226, women 122, percent of women 35.1%
National Assembly - percent of vote by party/coalition in the first round - ENS 25.8%, NUPES 25.7%, RN 18.7%, UDC 11.3%, other 18.5%; seats by party/coalition in the first round - NUPES 4, ENS 1; percent of vote in the second round - ENS 38.6%, NUPES 31.6%, RN 17.3%, UDC 7.3%, other 5.2%, seats by party/coalition in the second round - ENS 244, NUPES 127, RN 89, UDC 64, other 48; composition - men 362, women 215, percent of women 37.3%

Judicial branch

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 over by the Court of Cassation and 15 appointed members; judges appointed for life; Constitutional Council members - 3 appointed 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; administrative courts

note: in April 2021, the French Government submitted a bill on judicial reform to Parliament

Political parties and leaders

Citizen and Republican Movement or MRC [Jean-Luc LAURENT]
Debout la France or DLF [Nicolas DUPONT-AIGNAN]
Democratic Movement or MoDem [Francois BAYROU]
Ecologist Pole or PE
Ensemble or ENS [Richard Ferrand] (electoral coalition including RE, MoDem, Horizons, PRV)
Europe Ecology - the Greens or EELV [Marine TONDELIER]
French Communist Party or PCF [Fabien ROUSSEL]
Horizons [Hubert VALADE]
La France Insoumise or FI [Jean-Luc MELENCHON]
Liberties, Independents, Overseas and Territories or LIOT [Bertrand PANCHER, Christopher NAEGELEN]
Movement of Progressives or MDP [Robert HUE]
National Rally or RN [Jordan BARDELLA] (formerly National Front or FN)
New Democrats or LND [Aurelien TACHE, Emilie CARIOU] (formerly Ecology Democracy Solidarity or EDS)
New Ecological and Social People's Union or NUPES [collective leadership] (electoral coalition including FI, PE, PS, PCF)
Radical Party of the Left or PRV [Laurent HENART]
Reconquete or REC [Eric ZEMMOUR]
Renaissance or RE [Stephane SEJOURNE] 
Resistons! [Jean LASSALLE]
Socialist Party or PS [Olivier FAURE]
The Patriots or LP [Florian PHILIPPOT]
The Republicans or LR [Eric CIOTTI]
Union of Democrats and Independents or UDI [Jean-Christophe LAGARDE]
Union of Right and Center or UDC [Christian JACOB] (electoral coalition including LR, UDI)

International organization participation

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-5, G-7, G-8, G-10, G-20, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, 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, MINUSMA, MINUSTAH, MONUSCO, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club, PCA, PIF (partner), Schengen Convention, SELEC (observer), SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNHRC, UNIDO, UNIFIL, Union Latina, UNMIL, UNOCI, UNOOSA, UNRWA, UN Security Council (permanent), UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, Wassenaar Arrangement, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Laurent BILI (since 19 April 2023)

chancery: 4101 Reservoir Road NW, Washington, DC 20007

telephone: [1] (202) 944-6000

FAX: [1] (202) 944-6166

email address and website:

consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, Washington, DC

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Denise Campbell BAUER (since 5 February 2022); note - also accredited to Monaco

embassy: 2 avenue Gabriel, 75008 Paris

mailing address: 9200 Paris Place, Washington DC  20521-9200

telephone: [33] (1) 43-12-22-22, [33] (1) 42-66-97-83

FAX: [33] (1) 42-66-97-83

email address and website:

consulate(s) general: Marseille, Strasbourg

consulate(s): Bordeaux, Lyon, Rennes

Flag description

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: for the first four years, 1790-94, the order of colors was reversed, red-white-blue, instead of the current blue-white-red; 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

National symbol(s)

Gallic rooster, fleur-de-lis, Marianne (female personification of the country); national colors: blue, white, red

National anthem

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

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 51 (44 cultural, 6 natural, 1 mixed); note - includes one site in New Caledonia and one site in French Polynesia

selected World Heritage Site locales: Chartres Cathedral (c); Palace and Park of Versailles (c); Prehistoric Sites and Decorated Caves of the Vézère Valley (c); Pyrénées - Mont Perdu (m); Cistercian Abbey of Fontenay (c); Paris, Banks of the Seine (c); The Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes (c); Pont du Gard (Roman Aqueduct) (c); Amiens Cathedral (c); Palace and Park of Fontainebleau (c); Historic Fortified City of Carcassonne (c); Gulf of Porto: Calanche of Piana, Gulf of Girolata, Scandola Reserve (n)


Economic overview

high-income, advanced and diversified EU economy and euro user; strong tourism, aircraft manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, and industrial sectors; strong US partner; ongoing pension reform protests and civil unrest; transitioning to a green economy via "France 2030" strategy

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$3.048 trillion (2021 est.)
$2.854 trillion (2020 est.)
$3.095 trillion (2019 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 9

Real GDP growth rate

6.82% (2021 est.)
-7.78% (2020 est.)
1.84% (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 62

Real GDP per capita

$45,000 (2021 est.)
$42,200 (2020 est.)
$45,900 (2019 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 36

GDP (official exchange rate)

$2.716 trillion (2019 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

1.64% (2021 est.)
0.48% (2020 est.)
1.11% (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 171

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: AA (2014)

Moody's rating: Aa2 (2015)

Standard & Poors rating: AA (2013)

note: The year refers to the year in which the current credit rating was first obtained.

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 1.7% (2017 est.)

industry: 19.5% (2017 est.)

services: 78.8% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: agriculture 183; industry 151; services 35

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 54.1% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 23.6% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 22.5% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0.9% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 30.9% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -32% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

wheat, sugar beets, milk, barley, maize, potatoes, grapes, rapeseed, pork, apples


machinery, chemicals, automobiles, metallurgy, aircraft, electronics, textiles, food processing, tourism

Industrial production growth rate

6.98% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: 61

Labor force

31.132 million (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: 20

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 2.8% (2016 est.)

industry: 20% (2016 est.)

services: 77.2% (2016 est.)

Unemployment rate

8.06% (2021 est.)
8.01% (2020 est.)
8.41% (2019 est.)

note: includes overseas territories

comparison ranking: 94

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 20.1%

male: 19.9%

female: 20.3% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 82

Average household expenditures

on food: 13.2% of household expenditures (2018 est.)

on alcohol and tobacco: 3.7% of household expenditures (2018 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 3.6%

highest 10%: 25.4% (2013)


revenues: $1.427 trillion (2019 est.)

expenditures: $1.509 trillion (2019 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-2.6% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 116

Public debt

123.01% of GDP (2020 est.)
104.99% of GDP (2019 est.)
101.62% of GDP (2018 est.)

note: data cover general government debt and include 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 intragovernmental debt; intragovernmental 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

comparison ranking: 14

Taxes and other revenues

24.69% (of GDP) (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 54

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

$9.947 billion (2021 est.)
-$46.341 billion (2020 est.)
$13.699 billion (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 26


$920.864 billion (2021 est.) note: data are in current year dollars
$751.384 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars
$892.016 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

comparison ranking: 4

Exports - partners

Germany 14%, United States 8%, Italy 7%, Spain 7%, Belgium 7%, United Kingdom 7% (2019)

Exports - commodities

aircraft, packaged medicines, cars and vehicle parts, wine, beauty products, gas turbines (2021)


$957.717 billion (2021 est.) note: data are in current year dollars
$796.353 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars
$916.214 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

comparison ranking: 4

Imports - partners

Germany 18%, Belgium 9%, Italy 9%, Spain 7%, China 7%, Netherlands 6%, United Kingdom 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

cars, crude petroleum, refined petroleum, packaged medicines, aircraft machinery (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$244.28 billion (31 December 2021 est.)
$224.236 billion (31 December 2020 est.)
$189.006 billion (31 December 2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 15

Debt - external

$6.356 trillion (2019 est.)
$6.058 trillion (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 3

Exchange rates

euros (EUR) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
0.845 (2021 est.)
0.876 (2020 est.)
0.893 (2019 est.)
0.847 (2018 est.)
0.885 (2017 est.)


Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2021)


installed generating capacity: 138.611 million kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 472.699 billion kWh (2020 est.)

exports: 64.425 billion kWh (2020 est.)

imports: 19.613 billion kWh (2020 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 36.203 billion kWh (2020 est.)

comparison rankings: installed generating capacity 9; consumption 10; exports 3; imports 12; transmission/distribution losses 9

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 8% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 68.4% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 2.5% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 7.3% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 11.7% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0.2% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 2% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

Nuclear energy

Number of operational nuclear reactors: 56 (2023)

Number of nuclear reactors under construction: 1

Net capacity of operational nuclear reactors: 61.37GW (2021)

Percent of total electricity production: 70% (2021)

Percent of total energy produced: 77% (2021)

Number of nuclear reactors permanently shut down: 6


production: 2.312 million metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 10.712 million metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 35,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 7.891 million metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 metric tons (2019 est.)


total petroleum production: 81,500 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 1,688,500 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 1,064,700 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 61.7 million barrels (2021 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production

1.311 million bbl/day (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 15

Refined petroleum products - exports

440,600 bbl/day (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 19

Refined petroleum products - imports

886,800 bbl/day (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 8

Natural gas

production: 16.226 million cubic meters (2019 est.)

consumption: 38.192 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

exports: 9.104 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

imports: 46.11 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 7.787 billion cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

338.425 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 26.971 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 225.865 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 85.589 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 18

Energy consumption per capita

151.053 million Btu/person (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 34


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 38 million (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 59 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 5

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 73 million (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 110 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 23

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: France's telecom market is one of the largest in Europe; there is a multi-year Engage 2025 plan which is focused on growth in the developing markets, and on the greater use of artificial intelligence and data; there are many MVNOs in the market; LTE networks provide near universal coverage, and carry about 95% of mobile data traffic; operators have launched 5G services, and these have been supported by the late-2020 auction of spectrum in the 3.5GHz range; France’s fixed broadband market is increasingly focused on fiber, which accounted for 71% of all fixed lines at the beginning of 2021; growth in the fiber sector has been stimulated by households securing faster data packages during the pandemic; the number of DSL lines has fallen sharply as customers migrate to fiber infrastructure (2021)

domestic: nearly 59 per 100 persons for fixed-line and over 110 per 100 for mobile-cellular subscriptions (2021)

international: country code - 33; landing points for Circe South, TAT-14, INGRID, FLAG Atlantic-1, Apollo, HUGO, IFC-1, ACE, SeaMeWe-3 & 4, Dunant, Africa-1, AAE-1, Atlas Offshore, Hawk, IMEWE, Med Cable, PEACE Cable, and TE North/TGN-Eurasia/SEACOM/Alexandros/Medex submarine cables providing links throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Africa 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 (2019)

overseas departments: country codes: French Guiana - 594; landing points for Ella Link, Kanawa, Americas II to South America, Europe, Caribbean and US; Guadeloupe - 590; landing points for GCN, Southern Caribbean Fiber, and ECFS around the Caribbean and US; Martinique - 596; landing points for Americas II, ECFS, and Southern Caribbean Fiber to South America, US and around the Caribbean;  Mayotte - 262; landing points for FLY-LION3 and LION2 to East Africa and East African Islands in Indian Ocean; Reunion - 262; landing points for SAFE, METISS, and LION submarine cables to Asia, South and East Africa, Southeast Asia and nearby Indian Ocean Island countries of Mauritius, and Madagascar (2019)

Broadcast media

a mix of both publicly operated and privately owned TV stations; state-owned France television stations operate 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, 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

Internet country code

metropolitan France - .fr; French Guiana - .gf; Guadeloupe - .gp; Martinique - .mq; Mayotte - .yt; Reunion - .re

Internet users

total: 55.9 million (2021 est.)

percent of population: 86% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 19

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 30.627 million (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 47 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 7


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 19 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 553

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 70,188,028 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 4,443,790,000 (2018) mt-km


464 (2021)

comparison ranking: total 15

Airports - with paved runways


civil airports: 64

military airports: 22

joint use (civil-military) airports: 5

other airports: 204

note: paved runways have a concrete or asphalt surface but not all have facilities for refueling, maintenance, or air traffic control; the length of a runway required for aircraft to safely operate depends on a number of factors including the type of aircraft, the takeoff weight (including passengers, cargo, and fuel), engine types, flap settings, landing speed, elevation of the airport, and average maximum daily air temperature; paved runways can reach a length of 5,000 m (16,000 ft.), but the “typical” length of a commercial airline runway is between 2,500-4,000 m (8,000-13,000 ft.)

Airports - with unpaved runways


note: unpaved runways have a surface composition such as grass or packed earth and are most suited to the operation of light aircraft; unpaved runways are usually short, often less than 1,000 m (3,280 ft.) in length; airports with unpaved runways often lack facilities for refueling, maintenance, or air traffic control


1 (2021)


15,322 km gas, 2,939 km oil, 5,084 km refined products (2013)


total: 27,860 km (2020) 16,660 km electrified

narrow gauge: -5 km

comparison ranking: total 9


total: 1,053,215 km (2011)

paved: (2011)

urban: 654,201 km (2011)

non-urban: 399,014 km (2011)

comparison ranking: total 7


metropolitan France: 8,501 km (1,621 km navigable by craft up to 3,000 metric tons) (2010)

Merchant marine

total: 549

by type: container ship 32, general cargo 49, oil tanker 26, other 442 (2022)

note: includes Monaco

comparison ranking: total 40

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s):
Atlantic Ocean: Brest, Calais, Dunkerque, Le Havre, Nantes
Mediterranean Sea: Marseille

container port(s) (TEUs): Le Havre (3,018,550) (2021)

LNG terminal(s) (import): Dunkerque, Fos Cavaou, Fos Tonkin, Montoir de Bretagne

river port(s): Bordeaux (Garronne); Nantes - Saint Nazaire (Loire); Paris, Rouen (Seine); Strasbourg (Rhine)

cruise/ferry port(s): Calais, Cherbourg, Le Havre

Transportation - note

note 1: begun in 1988 and completed in 1994, the Channel Tunnel (nicknamed the Chunnel) is a 50.5-km (31.4-mi) rail tunnel beneath the English Channel at the Strait of Dover that runs from Folkestone, Kent, England to Coquelles, Pas-de-Calais in northern France; it is the only fixed link between the island of Great Britain and mainland Europe

note 2: France operates two icebreakers, one PC 3 or 4 class icebreaker based in French Polynesia for operations in Antarctica and one PC 5 or 6 class icebreaker based in the North Atlantic
note - PC indicates a Polar Class vessel: PC 3 - year-round operation in second-year ice which may include multi-year ice inclusions (ice thickness up to 2.5 m); PC 4 - year-round operation in thick first-year ice which may include old ice inclusions (ice thickness up to 120 cm); PC 5 - year-round operation in medium first-year ice which may include old ice inclusions (ice thickness up to 70-120 cm); PC 6 - summer/autumn operation in medium first-year ice which may include old ice inclusions (ice thickness up to 30-70 cm)

Military and Security

Military and security forces

French Armed Forces (Forces Armées Françaises): Army (l'Armee de Terre; includes Foreign Legion), Navy (Marine Nationale), Air and Space Force (l'Armee de l’Air et de l’Espace); includes Air Defense), National Guard (Reserves), National Gendarmerie (2023)

note: under the direction of the Ministry of the Interior, the civilian National Police and the National Gendarmerie maintain internal security; the National Gendarmerie is a paramilitary police force that is a branch of the Armed Forces and therefore part of the Ministry of Defense but under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Interior; it also has additional duties to the Ministry of Justice; the Gendarmerie includes the National Gendarmerie Intervention Group (Groupe d'intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale or GIGN), an elite national-level tactical police unit set up in 1973 in response to the 1972 Munich massacre

Military expenditures

1.9% of GDP (2023 est.)
1.9% of GDP (2022 est.)
1.9% of GDP (2021)
2% of GDP (2020)
1.8% of GDP (2019)

comparison ranking: 71

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 210,000 active-duty troops (120,000 Army; 35,000 Navy; 40,000 Air Force; 15,000 other, such as joint staffs, administration, logistics, procurement, medical service, etc.); approximately 100,000 National Gendarmerie; approximately 75,000 National Guard (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the French military's inventory consists mostly of domestically produced weapons systems, including some jointly produced with other European countries; there is a limited mix of armaments from other Western countries, particularly the US; France has a large and sophisticated defense industry capable of manufacturing the full spectrum of air, land, and naval military weapons systems (2023)

note: two major future acquisition programs for the French military included the Franco-German-Spanish Future Combat Air System, or FCAS (known in France as the système combat aérien du futur, or SCAF) and a next-generation tank development project with Germany known as the Main Ground Combat System, or MGCS

Military service age and obligation

18-25 years of age for voluntary military service for men and women; no conscription (abolished 2001); 12-month service obligation (2022)

note 1: in 2019, women comprised approximately 16% of the uniformed armed forces 

note 2: men between the ages of 17.5 and 39.5 years of age, of any nationality, may join the French Foreign Legion; those volunteers selected for service sign five-year contracts

note 3: in 2018, Parliament passed a law that would require military service for all genders beginning in 2024; President MACRON included the measure in his platform hoping that it would reinvigorate a sense of civic duty; the service would include two components: the first would take place around age 16 and include one month of training and civic service, while the second component would last between three months and a year and be more geared towards defense and security duties; France began a pilot for the program in 2019

Military deployments

approximately 300 Central African Republic; approximately 1,000 Chad; 300 Comoros; approximately 900 Cote d'Ivoire; approximately 1,400 Djibouti; 300 Estonia (NATO); approximately 2,000 French Guyana; approximately 900 French Polynesia; approximately 1,000 French West Indies; 350 Gabon; approximately 500 Middle East (Iraq/Jordan/Syria); 650 Lebanon (UNIFIL); approximately 1,400 New Caledonia; approximately 1,500 Niger; approximately 1,700 Reunion Island; approximately 800 Romania (NATO); approximately 350 Senegal; approximately 650 United Arab Emirates (2023)

note: in response to Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, some NATO countries, including France, have sent additional troops to the battlegroups deployed in NATO territory in eastern Europe

Military - note

the French military is a large, experienced, and professional force with a long history, a global footprint, and a wide range of missions and responsibilities; it operates under France’s overall defense and national security strategy, currently defined through the five major strategic functions of anticipation, prevention, deterrence, protection, and intervention; the military’s responsibilities include protecting French territory, population, and interests, and fulfilling France’s commitments to NATO, European security, and international peacekeeping operations under the UN; it is the largest military in the EU and has a leading role in the EU security framework, as well as in NATO; in recent years, it has actively participated in coalition peacekeeping and other security operations in regions such as Africa, the Middle East, and the Balkans, frequently taking a lead role in these operations; the military has more than 30,000 troops deployed worldwide and regularly conducts large-scale exercises and participates in a variety of bi-lateral and multinational exercises; it also has a domestic security mission, including providing enhanced security at sensitive sites and large events and support during national crises or disasters, such as fighting forest fires; in recent years, defense responsibilities have expanded to include cyber and space domains 

the first permanent French Army was established in the 15th century; the French Army (or Land Army) today has 12 divisional-level commands, which includes commands for aviation and special forces and two combat divisions comprised of six brigades of airborne, armored, light armored, marine infantry, and mountain infantry forces, as well as a bi-national Franco-German mechanized brigade; the Army also has some garrison units for France’s overseas possessions

the French Navy (created in 1626) operates worldwide and conducts missions ranging from policing illegal fishing to combat operations involving air and missile strikes; it is a key component of France’s nuclear deterrent; the Navy is organized into a surface force, a submarine and strategic force, naval aviation, a marine and commando force, and a maritime gendarmerie; its principal warships include an aircraft carrier, about 20 destroyers or frigates of various types, six ocean-going patrol ships, three helicopter carrier/amphibious assault ships, six nuclear-powered attack submarines, and four nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (note – France became a nuclear power in 1960)

French military aviation was officially established in 1912 although its roots go back to the formation of a military balloon unit in 1794; France was the first country to categorize air squadrons into fighter, bomber, and reconnaissance types; the current Air and Space Force is organized into commands for air, air defense, space, and strategic operations; it has over 550 fixed and rotary wing aircraft, including about 200 domestically made fighters and multipurpose fighter aircraft

in 2010, France and the UK signed a declaration on defense and security cooperation that included greater military interoperability and a Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (CJEF), a deployable, combined Anglo-French military force for use in a wide range of crisis scenarios, up to and including high intensity combat operations; the CJEF has no standing forces, but would be available at short notice for French-UK bilateral, NATO, EU, UN, or other operations; combined training exercises began in 2011; as of 2020, the CJEF was assessed as having full operating capacity with the ability to rapidly deploy over 10,000 personnel capable of high intensity operations, peacekeeping, disaster relief, and humanitarian assistance

the French Foreign Legion, established in 1831, is a military force that is open to foreign recruits willing to serve in the French military for service in France and abroad; the Foreign Legion is an integrated part of the French Army and is comprised of approximately 8,000 personnel; its combat units are a mix of armored cavalry and airborne, light, mechanized, and motorized infantry regiments (2023)


Space agency/agencies

National Center for Space Studies (Centre National D'études Spatiales, CNES; established 1961); established a military Space Command (Le Commandement de l’Espace, CDE) under the Air and Space Force, 2020 (2023)

Space launch site(s)

Guiana Space Center (Kourou, French Guiana; also serves as the spaceport for the ESA); note – prior to the completion of the Guiana Space Center in 1969, France launched rockets from Algeria (2023)

Space program overview

has one of Europe’s largest space programs and is a key member of the European Space Agency (ESA), as well as one of its largest contributors; has independent capabilities in all areas of space categories except for autonomous manned space flight; can build, launch, and operate a range of space/satellite launch vehicles (SLVs) and spacecraft, including exploratory probes and a full spectrum of satellites; trained astronauts until training mission shifted to ESA in 2001; develops a wide range of space-related technologies; hosts the ESA headquarters; participates in international space programs such as the Square Kilometer Array Project (world’s largest radio telescope) and International Space Station (ISS); cooperates with a broad range of space agencies and commercial space companies, including those of China, Egypt, individual ESA member countries, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Russia, the UAE, the US, and several African countries; has a large commercial space sector involved in such areas as satellite construction and payloads, launch capabilities, and a range of other space-related capabilities and technologies (2023)

note: further details about the key activities, programs, and milestones of the country’s space program, as well as government spending estimates on the space sector, appear in Appendix S


Terrorist group(s)

Terrorist group(s): Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps/Qods Force; Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS); al-Qa'ida

note: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix-T

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

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 and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 55,681 (Afghanistan), 39,091 (Syria), 33,834 (Sri Lanka), 33,148 (Russia), 31,935 (Democratic Republic of the Congo), 24,223 (Sudan), 21,225 (Guinea), 18,008 (Serbia and Kosovo), 17,032 (Turkey), 13,974 (Iraq), 12,286 (Cote d'Ivoire), 11,489 (Eritrea), 11,012 (Cambodia), 10,543 (China), 10,236 (Albania), 10,210 (Somalia), 8,858 (Bangladesh), 8,124 (Mauritania), 8,101 (Mali), 7,991 (Vietnam), 6,913 (Bosnia and Herzegovina), 6,910 (Haiti), 6,808 (Angola), 6,498 (Laos), 6,417 (Armenia), 6,111 (Nigeria), 5,896 (Georgia) (mid-year 2022); 118,994 (Ukraine) (as of 31 October 2022)

stateless persons: 3,633 (2022)

Illicit drugs

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