France is officially known as the France Republic, its chief territory is located in Western Europe and it limits with Belgium and Luxembourg to the north, Germany and Switzerland eastwards, Italy to the southeast and Spain to the Southwest. Thus it forms a bridge linking northern and southern Europe and it is a connection among the countries of the central part of the continent to those in the east. It has other islands and territories in separate continents.
The territory of France is compact and is often represented as a hexagon; it has an area of 550,000 sq. km., and ranks as a medium sized country on the world scale. However, it is the largest country in Western Europe, bigger than Spain, Germany or the United Kingdom. The French Republic comprises of about 220,000 square miles.
Thanks of its extensive network of modern communications France is a real hub in Europe. Metropolitan France comprises of territories from the Mediterranean Sea to the North Sea, via the English Channel. Metropolitan France also extends from the Rhine to the Atlantic Sea.
The capital of France is Paris. Other famous cities in France are Lyon, Tousole, Nice, Rennes, Lille, Marseille and Bordeaux.
France is one of the most developed countries, also is the sixth country economically strong in the world. It has substantial agricultural resources, a large industrial base, and a highly skilled work force. A dynamic services sector accounts for an increasingly large share of economic activity and is responsible for nearly all job creation in recent years. It is the sixth largest importer and the fifth largest exporter manufactured goods.
Principal French exports to the United States are aircraft and engines, beverages, electrical equipment, chemicals, cosmetics, and luxury products. Beef production is located in central France, while the production of fruits, vegetables, and wine ranges from central to southern France amd it is the eighth largest trading partner of the United States.
France is also the second largest receiver of foreign direct investments as compared to the other countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). France is the leader of the G7 countries in terms of productivity. And it was the first country to adapt the International System of Units. With a GDP of approximately $2 trillion.
France has extensive political and commercial relations with Asian countries, including China, Japan, and Southeast Asia. France is seeking to broaden its commercial presence in China and will pose a competitive challenge to U.S. business, particularly in aerospace, high-tech, and luxury markets. France and the United States share common values and have parallel policies on most political, economic, and security issues.
France has been very successful in developing dynamic telecommunications, aerospace, and weapons sectors. With virtually no domestic oil production, France has relied heavily on the development of nuclear power, which now accounts for about 80% of the country’s electricity production.
France has had a high level of immigration. More than 1 million Muslims emigrated in the 1960s and early 1970s from North Africa, especially Algeria. About 85% of the population is Roman Catholic, 10% Muslim, less than 2% Protestant, and about 1% Jewish.
The French language derives from the vernacular Latin spoken by the Romans in Gaul, although it includes many Celtic and Germanic words. Today it remains one of six official languages at the United Nations and has been a unifying factor in Africa, Asia, the Pacific, and the Caribbean. The language of French had not gained uniformity until after the Middles Ages. It was divided into several dialects.
France is therefore home to much world famous and prestigious Gothic art in basilicas and cathedrals. Gothic Art as well as Baroque architecture is said to have been born in France. It is the first tourist destination of the world. France also proudly covets its title of the world’s number one tourist destination.