A

Afghanistan
Albania
Algeria
American Samoa
Andorra
Angola
Anguilla
Antartica
Antigua & Barbuda
Arctic Ocean
Argentina
Armenia
Aruba
Ashmore & Cartier Islands
Atlantic Ocean
Australia
Austria
Azerbaijan

B

Bahamas
Bahrain
Baker Island
Bangladesh
Barbados
Bassas da India
Belarus
Belgium
Belize
Benin
Bermuda
Bhutan
Bolivia
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Botswanna
Bouvet Island
Brazil
British Indian Ocean
British Virgin Islands
Brunei
Bulgaria
Burkina Faso
Burma
Burundi

C

Cambodia
Cameroon
Canada
Cape Verde
Cayman Islands
Central African Republic
Chad
Chile
China
Christmas Island
Clipperton Island
Cocos Islands
Colombia
Comoros
Congo (DRC)
Congo
Cook Islands
Coral Sea Islands
Costa Rica
Cota D'Ivory
Croatia
Cuba
Cyprus
Czech Republich

D

Denmark
Dijouti
Dominica
Dominican Republic

E

East Timor
Ecuador
Egypt
El Salvador
Equatorial Guinea
Eritrea
Estonia
Ethiopia
Europa Islands

F

Falkland Islands
Faroe Islands
Fiji
Finland
France
French Guiana
French Polynesia
French Southern Antarctic Lands

G

Gabon
Gambia
Gaza Strip
Georgia
Germany
Ghana
Gibraltar
Glorioso Islands
Greece
Greenland
Grenada
Guadeloupe
Guam
Guatemala
Guernsey
Guinea Bissau
Guinea Bissau
Guyana

H

Haiti
Heard Island and McDonald Islands
Honduras
Hong Kong
Howland Island
Hungary

I

Iceland
India
Indian Ocean
Indonesia
Iran
Iraq
Ireland
Isle of Man
Isreal
Italy

J

Jamaica
Jan Mayen
Japan
Jarvis Island
Jersey
Johnston Atoll
Jordan
Juan de Nova

  France  
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This page was last updated on 15 November, 2007


Map of France



Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    France Top of Page
Background:

Although ultimately a victor in World Wars I and II, France suffered extensive losses in its empire, wealth, manpower, and rank as a dominant nation-state. Nevertheless, France today is one of the most modern countries in the world and is a leader among European nations. Since 1958, it has constructed a presidential democracy resistant to the instabilities experienced in earlier parliamentary democracies. In recent years, its reconciliation and cooperation with Germany have proved central to the economic integration of Europe, including the introduction of a common exchange currency, the euro, in January 1999. At present, France is at the forefront of efforts to develop the EU's military capabilities to supplement progress toward an EU foreign policy.

 

  
   Geography    France Top of Page
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
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
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
Reunion: World
Area:

total: 643,427 sq km; 547,030 sq km (metropolitan France)
land: 640,053 sq km; 545,630 sq km (metropolitan France)
water: 3,374 sq km; 1,400 sq km (metropolitan France)
note: the first numbers include the overseas regions of French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Reunion
Area - comparative:

slightly less than the size of Texas
Land boundaries:

metropolitan France - total: 2,889 km
border countries: Andorra 56.6 km, Belgium 620 km, Germany 451 km, Italy 488 km, Luxembourg 73 km, Monaco 4.4 km, Spain 623 km, Switzerland 573 km
French Guiana - total: 1,183 km
border countries: Brazil 673 km, Suriname 510 km
Saint Martin - total: 10.2 km
border countries: Netherlands Antilles (Sint Maarten) 10.2 km
Coastline:

total: 4,668 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)
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 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
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
Reunion: mostly rugged and mountainous; fertile lowlands along coast
Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Rhone River delta -2 m
highest point: Mont Blanc 4,807 m
Natural resources:

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

arable land: 33.46%
permanent crops: 2.03%
other: 64.51%
note: French Guiana - arable land 0.13%, permanent crops 0.04%, other 99.83% (90% forest, 10% other); Guadeloupe - arable land 11.70%, permanent crops 2.92%, other 85.38%; Martinique - arable land 9.09%, permanent crops 10.0%, other 80.91%; Reunion - arable land 13.94%, permanent crops 1.59%, other 84.47% (2005)
Irrigated land:

total: 26,190 sq km;
metropolitan France: 26,000 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards:

metropolitan France: flooding; avalanches; midwinter windstorms; drought; forest fires in south near the Mediterranean
overseas departments: hurricanes (cyclones), flooding, volcanic activity (Guadeloupe, Martinique, Reunion)
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-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
Geography - note:

largest West European nation
   People    France Top of Page
Population:

total: 63,713,926
note: 60,876,136 in metropolitan France (July 2007 est.)
Age structure:

0-14 years: 18.6% (male 6,063,181/female 5,776,272)
15-64 years: 65.2% (male 20,798,889/female 20,763,283)
65 years and over: 16.2% (male 4,274,290/female 6,038,011) (2007 est.)
Median age:

total: 39 years
male: 37.5 years
female: 40.4 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate:

0.588% (2007 est.)
Birth rate:

12.91 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate:

8.55 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate:

1.52 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.002 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.708 male(s)/female
total population: 0.956 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate:

total: 3.41 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 3.76 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.04 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 80.59 years
male: 77.35 years
female: 84 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate:

1.98 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

0.4% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

120,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:

less than 1,000 (2003 est.)
Nationality:

noun: Frenchman(men), Frenchwoman(women)
adjective: French
Ethnic groups:

Celtic and Latin with Teutonic, Slavic, North African, Indochinese, Basque minorities
overseas departments: black, white, mulatto, East Indian, Chinese, Amerindian
Religions:

Roman Catholic 83%-88%, Protestant 2%, Jewish 1%, Muslim 5%-10%, unaffiliated 4%
overseas departments: Roman Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, pagan
Languages:

French 100%, rapidly declining regional dialects and languages (Provencal, Breton, Alsatian, Corsican, Catalan, Basque, Flemish)
overseas departments: French, Creole patois
Literacy:

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (2003 est.)
   Government    France Top of Page
Country name:

conventional long form: French Republic
conventional short form: France
local long form: Republique francaise
local short form: France
Government type:

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
Administrative divisions:

26 regions (regions, singular - region); Alsace, Aquitaine, Auvergne, Basse-Normandie (Lower Normandy), Bourgogne, Bretagne (Brittany), Centre, Champagne-Ardenne, Corse (Corsica), Franche-Comte, Guadeloupe, Guyane (French Guiana), Haute-Normandie (Upper Normandy), Ile-de-France, Languedoc-Roussillon, Limousin, Lorraine, Martinique, Reunion, Midi-Pyrenees, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Pays de la Loire, Picardie, Poitou-Charentes, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, Rhone-Alpes
note: France is divided into 22 metropolitan regions (including the "territorial collectivity" of Corse or Corsica) and 4 overseas regions and is subdivided into 96 metropolitan departments and 4 overseas departments
Dependent areas:

Bassas da India, Clipperton Island, Europa Island, French Polynesia, French Southern and Antarctic Lands, Glorioso Islands, Juan de Nova Island, Mayotte, New Caledonia, Tromelin Island, Wallis and Futuna
note: the US does not recognize claims to Antarctica; New Caledonia has been considered a "sui generis" collectivity of France since 1999, a unique status falling between that of an independent country and a French overseas department
Independence:

486 (Frankish tribes unified); 843 (Western Francia established from the division of the Carolingian Empire)
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:

adopted by referendum 28 September 1958, effective 4 October 1958
note: amended concerning election of president in 1962; amended to comply with provisions of 1992 EC Maastricht Treaty, 1996 Amsterdam Treaty, 2000 Treaty of Nice; amended to tighten immigration laws in 1993; amended in 2000 to change the seven-year presidential term to a five-year term; amended in 2005 to make the EU constitutional treaty compatible with the Constitution of France and to ensure that the decision to ratify EU accession treaties would be made by referendum
Legal system:

civil law system with indigenous concepts; review of administrative but not legislative acts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:

18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:

chief of state: President Nicolas SARKOZY (since 16 May 2007)
head of government: Prime Minister Francois FILLON (since 17 May 2007)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president at the suggestion of the prime minister
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (changed from seven-year term in October 2000); election last held 22 April and 6 May 2007 (next to be held spring 2012); prime minister nominated by the National Assembly majority and appointed by the president
election results: Nicolas SARKOZY wins the election; First Round: percent of vote - Nicolas SARKOZY 31.18%, Segolene ROYAL 25.87%, Francois BAYROU 18.57%, Jean-Marie LE PEN 10.44%, others 13.94%; Second Round: SARKOZY 53.1% and ROYAL 46.9%
Legislative branch:

bicameral Parliament or Parlement consists of the Senate or Senat (331 seats, 305 for metropolitan France, 9 for overseas departments, 5 for dependencies, and 12 for French nationals abroad; members are indirectly elected by an electoral college to serve nine-year terms; one third elected every three years); note - between 2006 and 2010, 15 new seats will be added to the Senate for a total of 346 seats - 326 for metropolitan France and overseas departments, 2 for New Caledonia, 2 for Mayotte, 1 for Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, 3 for overseas territories, and 12 for French nationals abroad; starting in 2008, members will be indirectly elected by an electoral college to serve six-year terms, with one-half elected every three years; and the National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (577 seats, 555 for metropolitan France, 15 for overseas departments, 7 for dependencies; members are elected by popular vote under a single-member majority system to serve five-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held 26 September 2004 (next to be held in September 2008); National Assembly - last held 10 and 17 June 2007 (next to be held on June 2012)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UMP 156, PS 97, UDF 33, PCF 23, RDSE 15, other 7; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - UMP 46.37%, PS 42.25%, miscellaneous left wing parties 2.47%, PCF 2.28%, NC 2.12%, PRG 1.65%, miscellaneous right wing parties 1.17%, the Greens 0.45, other 1.24%; seats by party - UMP 313, PS 186, NC 22, miscellaneous left wing parties 15, PCF 15, miscellaneous right wing parties 9, PRG 7, the Greens 4, other 6
Judicial branch:

Supreme Court of Appeals or Cour de Cassation (judges are appointed by the president from nominations of the High Council of the Judiciary); Constitutional Council or Conseil Constitutionnel (three members appointed by the president, three appointed by the president of the National Assembly, and three appointed by the president of the Senate); Council of State or Conseil d'Etat
Political parties and leaders:

Citizen and Republican Movement or MRC [Jean Pierre CHEVENEMENT]; Democratic and European Social Rally or RDSE [Jacques PELLETIER] (mainly Radical Republican and Socialist Parties, and PRG); French Communist Party or PCF [Marie-George BUFFET]; Greens [Yann WEHRLING]; Left Radical Party or PRG [Jean-Michel BAYLET] (previously Radical Socialist Party or PRS and the Left Radical Movement or MRG); Movement for France or MPF [Philippe DE VILLIERS]; National Front or FN [Jean-Marie LE PEN]; New Center of NC [Herve MORIN]; Rally for France or RPF [Charles PASQUA]; Socialist Party or PS [Francois HOLLANDE]; Union for French Democracy or UDF [Francois BAYROU]; Union for a Popular Movement or UMP [Nicolas SARKOZY]; Radical Party [Jean-Louis BORLOO]
Political pressure groups and leaders:

historically-Communist labor union (Confederation Generale du Travail) or CGT, approximately 700,000 members (claimed); left-leaning labor union (Confederation Francaise Democratique du Travail) or CFDT, approximately 889,000 members (claimed); independent labor union (Confederation Generale du Travail - Force Ouvriere) or FO, 300,000 members (est.); independent white-collar union (Confederation Generale des Cadres) or CGC, 196,000 members (claimed); employers' union (Mouvement des Entreprises de France) or MEDEF, 750,000 companies as members (claimed)
French Guiana: NA
Guadeloupe: Christian Movement for the Liberation of Guadeloupe or KLPG; General Federation of Guadeloupe Workers or CGT-G; General Union of Guadeloupe Workers or UGTG; Movement of Independent Guadeloupe or MPGI; The Socialist Renewal Movement
Martinique: Caribbean Revolutionary Alliance or ARC; Central Union for Martinique Workers or CSTM [Marc PULVAR]; Frantz Fanon Circle; League of Workers and Peasants; Proletarian Action Group or GAP
Reunion: NA
International organization participation:

ABEDA, ACCT, AfDB, Arctic Council (observer), AsDB, Australia Group, BDEAC, BIS, BSEC (observer), CBSS (observer), CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, FZ, G- 5, G- 7, G- 8, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IFTU, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, InOC, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, MIGA, MINURSO, MINUSTAH, MONUC, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PIF (partner), Schengen Convention, SECI (observer), SPC, UN, UN Security Council, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, Union Latina, UNITAR, UNMEE, UNMIL, UNMOVIC, UNOCI, UNOMIG, UNRWA, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WADB (nonregional), WCL, WCO, WEU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Pierre VIMONT
chancery: 4101 Reservoir Road NW, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 944-6000
FAX: [1] (202) 944-6166
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Craig R. STAPLETON
embassy: 2 Avenue Gabriel, 75382 Paris Cedex 08
mailing address: PSC 116, APO AE 09777
telephone: [33] (1) 43-12-22-22
FAX: [33] (1) 42 66 97 83
consulate(s) general: Marseille, Strasbourg
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; the design and/or colors are similar to a number of other flags, including those of Belgium, Chad, Ireland, Cote d'Ivoire, Luxembourg, and Netherlands; the official flag for all French dependent areas
   Economy    France Top of Page
Economy - overview:

France is in the midst of transition from a well-to-do modern economy that has featured extensive government ownership and intervention to one that relies more on market mechanisms. The government has partially or fully privatized many large companies, banks, and insurers, and has ceded stakes in such leading firms as Air France, France Telecom, Renault, and Thales. It maintains a strong presence in some sectors, particularly power, public transport, and defense industries. The telecommunications sector is gradually being opened to competition. France's leaders remain committed to a capitalism in which they maintain social equity by means of laws, tax policies, and social spending that reduce income disparity and the impact of free markets on public health and welfare. The government in 2006 focused on introducing measures that attempt to boost employment through increased labor market flexibility; however, the population has remained opposed to labor reforms, hampering the government's ability to revitalize the economy. The tax burden remains one of the highest in Europe (nearly 50% of GDP in 2005). The lingering economic slowdown and inflexible budget items probably pushed the budget deficit above the eurozone's 3%-of-GDP limit in 2006; unemployment hovers near 9%. With at least 75 million foreign tourists per year, France is the most visited country in the world and maintains the third largest income in the world from tourism.
GDP (purchasing power parity):

$1.902 trillion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):

$2.151 trillion (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:

2.2% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):

$31,200 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 2%
industry: 20.7%
services: 77.2% (2006 est.)
Labor force:

27.75 million (2006 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 4.1%
industry: 24.4%
services: 71.5% (1999)
Unemployment rate:

8.7% (December 2006 est.)
Population below poverty line:

6.2% (2004)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 3%
highest 10%: 24.8% (2004)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:

26.7 (2002)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):

1.7% (2006 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):

20.5% of GDP (2006 est.)
Budget:

revenues: $1.152 trillion
expenditures: $1.211 trillion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2006 est.)
Public debt:

64.2% of GDP (2006 est.)
Agriculture - products:

wheat, cereals, sugar beets, potatoes, wine grapes; beef, dairy products; fish
Industries:

machinery, chemicals, automobiles, metallurgy, aircraft, electronics; textiles, food processing; tourism
Industrial production growth rate:

0.2% (2006 est.)
Electricity - production:

543.6 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - consumption:

451.5 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports:

68.33 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports:

8.035 billion kWh (2005)
Oil - production:

73,500 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption:

1.97 million bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports:

474,200 bbl/day (2005)
Oil - imports:

1.89 million bbl/day (2005)
Oil - proved reserves:

159 million bbl (1 January 2006)
Natural gas - production:

1.4 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:

47.26 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports:

863.2 million cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports:

47.02 billion cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves:

341 billion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance:

-$28.32 billion (2006 est.)
Exports:

$483.1 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports - commodities:

machinery and transportation equipment, aircraft, plastics, chemicals, pharmaceutical products, iron and steel, beverages
Exports - partners:

Germany 15.6%, Spain 9.6%, Italy 8.9%, UK 8.2%, Belgium 7.2%, US 6.7%, Netherlands 4% (2006)
Imports:

$520.8 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports - commodities:

machinery and equipment, vehicles, crude oil, aircraft, plastics, chemicals
Imports - partners:

Germany 19%, Belgium 11%, Italy 8.3%, Spain 7%, Netherlands 6.7%, UK 6.5%, US 4.6% (2006)
Economic aid - donor:

ODA, $10.1 billion (2006)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$98.24 billion (2006 est.)
Debt - external:

$3.461 trillion (30 June 2006)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:

$697.4 billion (2006 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:

$1.005 trillion (2006 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:

$1.71 trillion (2005)
Currency (code):

euro (EUR)
note: on 1 January 1999, the European Monetary Union introduced the euro as a common currency to be used by financial institutions of member countries; on 1 January 2002, the euro became the sole currency for everyday transactions within the member countries
Exchange rates:

euros per US dollar - 0.7964 (2006), 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004), 0.886 (2003), 1.0626 (2002)
Fiscal year:

calendar year
   Communications    France Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:

34.63 million; 33.897 million (metropolitan France) (2006)
Telephones - mobile cellular:

53.023 million; 51.662 million (metropolitan France) (2006)
Telephone system:

general assessment: highly developed
domestic: extensive cable and microwave radio relay; extensive introduction of fiber-optic cable; domestic satellite system
international: country code - 33; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (with total of 5 antennas - 2 for Indian Ocean and 3 for Atlantic Ocean), NA Eutelsat, 1 Inmarsat (Atlantic Ocean region); HF radiotelephone communications with more than 20 countries
overseas departments: country codes: French Guiana - 594; Guadeloupe - 590; Martinique - 596; Reunion - 262
Radio broadcast stations:

AM 41, FM about 3,500 (this figure is an approximation and includes many repeaters), shortwave 2 (1998)
Television broadcast stations:

584 (plus 9,676 repeaters) (1995)
Internet country code:

metropolitan France - .fr; French Guiana - .gf; Guadeloupe - .gp; Martinique - .mq; Reunion - .re
Internet hosts:

12.556 million; 12.555 million (metropolitan France) (2007)
Internet users:

31.295 million; 30.838 million (metropolitan France) (2007)
   Transportation    France Top of Page
Airports:

476 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways:

total: 292
over 3,047 m: 14
2,438 to 3,047 m: 27
1,524 to 2,437 m: 97
914 to 1,523 m: 80
under 914 m: 74 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 184
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 72
under 914 m: 108 (2007)
Heliports:

3 (2007)
Pipelines:

gas 14,588 km; oil 3,024 km; refined products 4,889 km (2006)
Railways:

total: 29,370 km
standard gauge: 29,203 km 1.435-m gauge (14,778 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 167 km 1.000-m gauge (2006)
Roadways:

total: 956,303 km (includes 5,083 km of roads in the overseas departments)
paved: 951,220 km (metropolitan France; including 10,490 km of expressways) (2004)
Waterways:

metropolitan France: 8,500 km (1,686 km accessible to craft of 3,000 metric tons)
French Guiana: 3,760 km (460 km navigable by small oceangoing vessels and coastal and river steamers, 3,300 km by native craft) (2006)
Merchant marine:

total: 141 ships (1000 GRT or over) 5,777,107 GRT/7,533,631 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 2, cargo 1, chemical tanker 31, container 25, liquefied gas 14, passenger 3, passenger/cargo 32, petroleum tanker 22, roll on/roll off 7, vehicle carrier 4
foreign-owned: 56 (Belgium 6, China 5, Denmark 3, Germany 1, Italy 2, Japan 5, Norway 17, NZ 1, Saudi Arabia 1, Singapore 2, Sweden 10, Switzerland 3)
registered in other countries: 145 (Antigua and Barbuda 1, Australia 1, Bahamas 43, Belgium 1, Bermuda 1, Cameroon 1, Gibraltar 1, Hong Kong 1, Indonesia 1, Isle of Man 2, Italy 5, South Korea 8, Liberia 5, Luxembourg 14, Malta 4, Morocco 13, Netherlands 1, Norway 3, Panama 15, Singapore 1, St Vincent and The Grenadines 7, Taiwan 1, UK 9, Wallis and Futuna 6) (2007)
Ports and terminals:

Basse-Terre (Guadeloupe), Bordeaux, Calais, Degrad de Cannes (French Guiana), Dunkerque, Fort-de-France (Martinique), La Pallice, La Trinite (Martinique), Le Havre, Le Port (Reunion), Marin (Martinique), Marseille, Nantes, Paris, Pointe-a-Pitre (Guadeloupe), Rouen, Strasbourg
   Military    France Top of Page
Military branches:

Army (includes marines, Foreign Legion, light aviation), Navy (includes naval air), Air Force (includes air defense), National Gendarmerie
Military service age and obligation:

17 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription ended in 1996; women serve in noncombat military posts (2005)
Manpower available for military service:

males age 17-49: 13,676,509
females age 17-49: 13,504,539 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:

males age 17-49: 11,262,661
females age 17-49: 11,079,472 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:

males age 17-49: 389,204
females age 17-49: 372,719 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:

2.6% (2005 est.)
   Transnational Issues    France Top of Page
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
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

This page was last updated on 15 November, 2007


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