Photos of France

Introduction

Background

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.

Geography

Location

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

Area

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

country comparison to the world: 45

Area - comparative

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

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

French Guiana - total: 1205

Coastline

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: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation

Climate

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)

Terrain

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

Elevation

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

26,420 sq km 26,950 sq km (2012)

metropolitan France: 26,000 sq km (2012)

Total renewable water resources

211 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

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

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

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

Population

68,084,217 (July 2021 est.)

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

country comparison to the world: 21

Nationality

noun: Frenchman(men), Frenchwoman(women)

adjective: French

Ethnic groups

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

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

Languages

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:

Religions

Christian (overwhelmingly Roman Catholic) 63-66%, Muslim 7-9%, Buddhist 0.5-0.75%, Jewish 0.5-0.75%, other 0.5-1.0%, none 23-28% (2015 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: 18.36% (male 6,368,767/female 6,085,318)

15-24 years: 11.88% (male 4,122,981/female 3,938,938)

25-54 years: 36.83% (male 12,619,649/female 12,366,120)

55-64 years: 12.47% (male 4,085,564/female 4,376,272)

65 years and over: 20.46% (male 6,029,303/female 7,855,244) (2020 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 62.4

youth dependency ratio: 28.7

elderly dependency ratio: 33.7

potential support ratio: 3 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 41.7 years

male: 40 years

female: 43.4 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 43

Birth rate

11.77 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 163

Death rate

9.58 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 43

Net migration rate

1.06 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 60

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

Urbanization

urban population: 81.2% of total population (2021)

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

Major urban areas - population

11.079 million PARIS (capital), 1.734 million Lyon, 1.614 million Marseille-Aix-en-Provence, 1.068 million Lille, 1.037 million Toulouse, 980,000 Bordeaux (2021)

Sex ratio

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: 1.02 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.77 male(s)/female

total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

28.8 years (2019 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

8 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 3.19 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 3.57 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 2.79 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 209

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 82.39 years

male: 79.31 years

female: 85.61 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 20

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 (2017 est.)

Physicians density

3.27 physicians/1,000 population (2018)

Hospital bed density

6 beds/1,000 population (2017)

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 (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

<500 (2019 est.)

Major infectious diseases

note: widespread ongoing transmission of a respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is occurring throughout France; as of 19 July 2021, France has reported a total of 5,753,579 cases of COVID-19 or 8,846.3 cumulative cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 population with 169.92 cumulative deaths per 100,000 population; as of 19 July 2021, 55.97% of the population has received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 16 years

male: 16 years

female: 16 years (2018)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 19.6%

male: 20.8%

female: 18.2% (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 75

Maternal mortality ratio

8 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 151

Environment

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

Air pollutants

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

methane emissions: 55.99 megatons (2020 est.)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 5.175 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

industrial: 18.15 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 3.113 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

211 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

Climate

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.)

Revenue from coal

coal revenues: 0% of GDP (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 99

Urbanization

urban population: 81.2% of total population (2021)

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

Major infectious diseases

note: widespread ongoing transmission of a respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is occurring throughout France; as of 19 July 2021, France has reported a total of 5,753,579 cases of COVID-19 or 8,846.3 cumulative cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 population with 169.92 cumulative deaths per 100,000 population; as of 19 July 2021, 55.97% of the population has received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine

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.)

Government

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

Capital

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

Independence

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

National holiday

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

Constitution

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; note - in May 2018, the prime minister submitted a bill to the National Assembly to amend several provisions of the constitution

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

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

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

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

head of government: Prime Minister Jean CASTEX (since 3 July 2020)

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 23 April with a runoff on 7 May 2017 (next to be held in April 2022); prime minister appointed by the president

election results:
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%

2012: Francois HOLLANDE elected president; percent of vote in first round - Francois HOLLANDE (PS) 28.6%, Nicolas SARKOZY (UMP) 27.2%, Marine LE PEN (FN) 17.9%, Jean-Luc MELENCHON (PG) 11.1%, Francois BAYROU (moDem) 9.1%, other 6.1%; percent of vote in second round - HOLLANDE 51.6%, SARKOZY 48.4%

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)

elections:
Senate - last held on 24 September 2017 (next to be held on 24 September 2020)
National Assembly - last held on 11 and 18 June 2017 (next to be held in June 2022)

election results:
Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by political caucus (party or group of parties)  - LR 144, PS 73, UC 51. LREM 23, RDSE 22, CRCE 16, RTLI 13, other 6; composition - men 246, women 102, percent of women 29.3%
National Assembly - percent of vote by party first round - LREM 28.2%, LR 15.8%. FN 13.2%, FI 11%, PS 7.4%, other 24.4%; percent of vote by party second round - LREM 43.1%, LR 22.2%, FN 8.8%, MoDEM 6.1%, PS 5.7%. FI 4.9%, other 9.2%; seats by political caucus (party or group of parties) - LREM 306, LR 104, MoDEM 46, UDI/Agir 29, PS 29, UDI 18, FI 17, Liberties and Territories 16, PCF 16, other 14; composition - men 349, women 228, percent of women 39.5%; note - total Parliament percent of women 35.7%

Judicial branch

highest courts: 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

Presidential majority Parties [Edouard PHILIPPE]
     Democratic Movement or MoDem [Francois BAYROU]
     La Republique en Marche! or LREM [Richard FERRAND]
     Movement of Progressives or MDP  Robert HUE]
Parliamentary right Parties [Francois BAROIN]
     Hunting, Fishing, Nature and Tradition or CPNT [Eddie PUYJAION]
     The Republicans or LR [Annie GENEVARD]
     Union of Democrats and Independents or UDI [Jean-Christophe    CAMBADELIS]
     
Parliamentary left Parties [Bernard CAZENEUVE]
     Sociatlist Party or PS [Jean-Christophe CAMBADEMAND]
     Radical Party of the Left or PRG [Sylvia PINEL]
     Citizen and Republican Movement or MRC [Jean-Luc LAURENT]
     Martinican Progressive Party or PPM [Aiem CESAIRE]
Debout la France or DLF [Nicolas DUPONT-AIGNAN]
Ecology Democracy Solidarity or EDS [Paula FORTEZA, Matthieu ORPHELIN
(splinter party formed in May 2020 by defectors of LREM)
Europe Ecologists - the Greens or EELV [David CORMAND]
French Communist Party or PCF [Pierre LAURENT]
La France Insoumise or FI [Jean-Luc MELENCHONLIS]
National Front or FN [Marine LE PEN]

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, UNIDO, UNIFIL, Union Latina, UNMIL, UNOCI, UNRWA, UN Security Council (permanent), UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Philippe Noel Marie Marc ETIENNE (since 8 July 2019)

chancery: 4101 Reservoir Road NW, Washington, DC 20007

telephone: [1] (202) 944-6000

FAX: [1] (202) 944-6166

email address and website:
info@ambafrance-us.org

https://franceintheus.org/

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 (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Brian AGGELER (since 20 January 2021); 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:
Citizeninfo@state.gov

https://fr.usembassy.gov/

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); 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

Economy

Economic overview

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. France is the most visited country in the world with 89 million foreign tourists in 2017. France's leaders remain committed to a capitalism in which they maintain social equity by means of laws, tax policies, and social spending that mitigate economic inequality.

France's real GDP grew by 1.9% in 2017, up from 1.2% the year before. The unemployment rate (including overseas territories) increased from 7.8% in 2008 to 10.2% in 2015, before falling to 9.0% in 2017. Youth unemployment in metropolitan France decreased from 24.6% in the fourth quarter of 2014 to 20.6% in the fourth quarter of 2017.

France’s public finances have historically been strained by high spending and low growth. In 2017, the budget deficit improved to 2.7% of GDP, bringing it in compliance with the EU-mandated 3% deficit target. Meanwhile, France's public debt rose from 89.5% of GDP in 2012 to 97% in 2017.

Since entering office in May 2017, President Emmanuel MACRON launched a series of economic reforms to improve competitiveness and boost economic growth. President MACRON campaigned on reforming France’s labor code and in late 2017 implemented a range of reforms to increase flexibility in the labor market by making it easier for firms to hire and fire and simplifying negotiations between employers and employees. In addition to labor reforms, President MACRON’s 2018 budget cuts public spending, taxes, and social security contributions to spur private investment and increase purchasing power. The government plans to gradually reduce corporate tax rate for businesses from 33.3% to 25% by 2022.

Real GDP growth rate

1.49% (2019 est.)

1.81% (2018 est.)

2.42% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 154

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

1.1% (2019 est.)

1.8% (2018 est.)

1% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 71

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: AA (2014)

Moody's rating: Aa2 (2015)

Standard & Poors rating: AA (2013)

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$3,097,061,000,000 (2019 est.)

$3,051,034,000,000 (2018 est.)

$2,997,296,000,000 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars

country comparison to the world: 9

GDP (official exchange rate)

$2,715,574,000,000 (2019 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$46,184 (2019 est.)

$45,561 (2018 est.)

$44,827 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars

country comparison to the world: 37

Gross national saving

23.4% of GDP (2019 est.)

23.1% of GDP (2018 est.)

22.8% of GDP (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 80

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 1.7% (2017 est.)

industry: 19.5% (2017 est.)

services: 78.8% (2017 est.)

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.)

Ease of Doing Business Index scores

Overall score: 76.8 (2020)

Starting a Business score: 93.1 (2020)

Trading score: 100 (2020)

Enforcement score: 73.5 (2020)

Agricultural products

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

Industries

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

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 2.8% (2016 est.)

industry: 20% (2016 est.)

services: 77.2% (2016 est.)

Unemployment rate

8.12% (2019 est.)

8.69% (2018 est.)

note: includes overseas territories

country comparison to the world: 129

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 3.6%

highest 10%: 25.4% (2013)

Budget

revenues: 1.392 trillion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 1.459 trillion (2017 est.)

Public debt

96.8% of GDP (2017 est.)

96.6% of GDP (2016 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

country comparison to the world: 20

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$18.102 billion (2019 est.)

-$16.02 billion (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 197

Exports

$969.077 billion (2019 est.)

$952.316 billion (2018 est.)

$910.613 billion (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 5

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, gas turbines, wine (2019)

Imports

$1,021,633,000,000 (2019 est.)

$995.937 billion (2018 est.)

$965.949 billion (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 5

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

$156.4 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$138.2 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 16

Debt - external

$6,356,459,000,000 (2019 est.)

$6,058,438,000,000 (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 3

Exchange rates

euros (EUR) per US dollar -

0.82771 (2020 est.)

0.90338 (2019 est.)

0.87789 (2018 est.)

0.885 (2014 est.)

0.7634 (2013 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2020)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 37.797 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 55.89 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 5

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 72.04 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 106.53 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 22

Telecommunication systems

general assessment:

one of the largest mobile phone markets in Europe; LTE has universal coverage with extensive 5G; one of the largest broadband subscriber bases in Europe; regional government and telecom companies have invested in higher bandwidth with fiber infrastructure improvements, an investment of more than 20 billion euros; operator investment in developing markets, and on the greater use of artificial intelligence and data; satellite broadband connectivity across France; Paris adopted smart city technology; importer of broadcast equipment from China (2021)

(2020)

domestic: 58 per 100 persons for fixed-line and 111 per 100 for mobile-cellular subscriptions (2019)

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)

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced downturn, particularly in mobile device production; many network operators delayed upgrades to infrastructure; progress towards 5G implementation was postponed or slowed in some countries; consumer spending on telecom services and devices was affected by large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home became evident, and received some support from governments

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: 55,265,718

percent of population: 82.04% (July 2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 16

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 29.76 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 44.01 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 7

Transportation

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 mt-km (2018)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 294 (2017)

over 3,047 m: 14 (2017)

2,438 to 3,047 m: 25 (2017)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 97 (2017)

914 to 1,523 m: 83 (2017)

under 914 m: 75 (2017)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 170 (2013)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)

914 to 1,523 m: 64 (2013)

under 914 m: 105 (2013)

Heliports

1 (2013)

Pipelines

15322 km gas, 2939 km oil, 5084 km refined products (2013)

Railways

total: 29,640 km (2014)

standard gauge: 29,473 km 1.435-m gauge (15,561 km electrified) (2014)

narrow gauge: 167 km 1.000-m gauge (63 km electrified) (2014)

country comparison to the world: 10

Roadways

total: 1,053,215 km (2011)

urban: 654,201 km (2011)

non-urban: 399,014 km (2011)

country comparison to the world: 7

Waterways

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

Merchant marine

total: 545

by type: container ship 30, general cargo 50, oil tanker 28, other 437 (2020)

note: includes Monaco

country comparison to the world: 41

Ports and terminals

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

container port(s) (TEUs): Le Havre (2,822,910) (2019)

LNG terminal(s) (import): 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

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

Military and Security

Military and security forces

French Armed Forces (Forces Armées Françaises): Army (Armee de Terre; includes Foreign Legion), Navy (Marine Nationale), Air and Space Force (Armee de l’Air et de l’Espace); includes Air Defense), National Guard (Reserves), National Gendarmerie (paramilitary police force that is a branch of the Armed Forces but under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Interior; also has additional duties to the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Justice) (2021)

Military expenditures

2.04% of GDP (2020 est.)

1.83% of GDP (2019)

1.81% of GDP (2018)

1.78% of GDP (2017)

1.79% of GDP (2016)

country comparison to the world: 55

Military and security service personnel strengths

the French military has approximately 205,000 active duty troops (115,000 Army; 35,000 Navy; 40,000 Air Force; 15,000 other, such as joint staffs, medical service, etc.); approximately 100,000 National Gendarmerie; approximately 75,000 National Guard (2020)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the French military's inventory consists almost entirely 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; since 2010, the US is the leading foreign supplier of military hardware to France; France has a defense industry capable of manufacturing the full spectrum of air, land, and naval military weapons systems (2020)

Military deployments

5,100 Burkina Faso/Chad/Mali/Niger (Operation Barkhane, Task Force Takuba; note - in July 2021, France announced that it would withdraw about 2,000 personnel from this force by the beginning of 2022); approximately 300 Central African Republic; 900 Cote D'Ivoire; 1,400 Djibouti; 300 Baltics (NATO); 2,000 French Guyana; 900 French Polynesia; 1,000 French West Indies; 350 Gabon; est. 500 Middle East (Iraq/Jordan/Syria); 950 Lebanon (UNIFIL); 1,400-1,500 New Caledonia; 1,700 Reunion Island; 350 Senegal; 650 United Arab Emirates (2020-2021)

note - France has been a contributing member of the EuroCorps since 1992

Military service age and obligation

18-25 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; no conscription (abolished 2001); 1-year service obligation; women serve in noncombat posts (2019)

Military - note

France was one of the original 12 countries to sign the North Atlantic Treaty (also known as the Washington Treaty), which created NATO in 1949; in 1966, President Charles DE GAULLE decided to withdraw France from NATO’s integrated military structure, reflecting his desire for greater military independence, particularly vis-à-vis the US, and the refusal to integrate France’s nuclear deterrent or accept any form of control over its armed forces; it did, however, sign agreements with NATO setting out procedures in the event of Soviet aggression; beginning with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, France distanced itself from the 1966 decision and has regularly contributed troops to NATO’s military operations, being one of the largest troop-contributing states; in 2009 it officially announced its decision to fully participate in NATO structures

Terrorism

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): 24,293 (Afghanistan), 23,821 (Sri Lanka), 18,473 (Sudan), 18,244 (Syria), 17,512 (Democratic Republic of the Congo), 16,412 (Russia), 14,141 (Serbia and Kosovo), 11,863 (Turkey), 11,038 (Guinea), 11,021 (Cambodia), 8,829 (Iraq), 7,735 (Vietnam), 6,918 (China), 6,464 (Laos), 6,372 (Eritrea), 6,156 (Bangladesh), 5,675 (Mauritania), 5,652 (Cote d'Ivoire), 5,169 (Mali) (2019)

stateless persons: 2,068 (2020)

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