France Geography

FRANCE

France 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

France 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

France 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

France Area:

total: 643,801 sq km

land: 640,427 sq km

water: 3,374 sq km

551,500 sq km (metropolitan France) 549,970 sq km (metropolitan France) 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: 44

France Area – comparative:

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

Area comparison map:

France Land boundaries:

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

France Coastline:

4,853 km

metropolitan France: 3,427 km

France Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm

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

contiguous zone: 24 nm

continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation

France 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)

France 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

France Elevation:

mean elevation: 375 m

lowest point: Rhone River delta -2 m

highest point: Mont Blanc 4,810

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

France 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

France Land use:

agricultural land: 52.7% (2011 est.)

arable land: 33.4% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 1.8% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 17.5% (2011 est.)

forest: 29.2% (2011 est.)

other: 18.1% (2011 est.)

France Irrigated land:

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

metropolitan France: 26,000 sq km (2012)

France 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

France 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

France Environment – current issues:

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

France Environment – international agreements:

party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

France 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


Data for Educational Purpose Only.

Source: 

The World Factbook 2016-17. Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency, 2016.

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html


Other Pages Relating to Country France:

France at a Glance and One Page Summary

France Background and Introduction

France Geography

France People and Society

France Government

France Economy

France Energy Resources

France Communications System

France Transportation System

France Military and Security System

France Transnational Issues

France Capital Flag and Currency

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