France Key Travel Facts
France is located in the Western part of Europe, bordering the Bay of Biscay and the English Channel, between Belgium and Spain, Southeast of the UK, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Italy and Spain.
France is slightly smaller than twice the size of Colorado and stretches over an area of 547,030 sq km, which 545,630 sq km of it is land and 1,400 sq km is water.
France has generally cool winters and mild summers, but mild winters and hot summers along the Mediterranean Sea. Occasional strong, cold, dry, north-to-northwesterly wind known as mistral are present. The terrain of France is mostly flat plains or gently rolling hills in the north and west, and the remainders are mountainous especially the Pyrenees in the south and the Alps in the east.
Natural Resources and Hazards
Known natural resources in France are coal, iron ore, zinc, uranium, antimony, arsenic, potash, feldspar, fluorspar, gypsum, timber and fish. Some natural hazards in France are flooding, avalanches, midwinter windstorms, drought and forest fires in the south near the Mediterranean Sea.
Population and Employment
France has a population of 60,656,178 (July 2005 est.), and the average life expectancy at birth is 79.6 years. There is an average of 27.7 million people working in France - agriculture 4.1%, industry 24.4% and services 71.5%. The unemployment rate has a low average of only 10.1% (2004 est.)
Most of the France population is Roman Catholics at a percentage of 83 - 88%, the remainders are Protestant 2%, Jewish 1%, Muslim 5 - 10%, and unaffiliated 4%.
The flag of France has three equal vertical bands of blue, white and red, known as the 'Le drapeau tricolore' (French Tricolor), the origin of this flag dates back to 1790.
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. It retains controlling stakes in several leading firms, including Air France, France Telecom, Renault, and Thales, and is dominant in some sectors, particularly power, public transport, and defense industries. France has a real GDP growth rate of 2.1% (2004 est.) and a purchasing power parity of $1.737 trillion (2004 est.).
Agricultural Products and Main Industries
The main agricultural products of France are wheat, cereals, sugar beets, potatoes, wine grapes, beef, dairy products and fish. The main industries are machinery, chemicals, automobiles, metallurgy, aircraft, electronics, textiles, food processing and tourism.
France has a diverse infrastructure with a railway total of 39,519km, a highway total of 893,100km, a waterway total of 8.500km, 15 ports and harbors, and 478 airports.
The capital of France is Paris with a population of 12,200,000 (2004 est.) people.
GMT plus 1 hour.