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Mainland France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is sometimes referred to as L’Hexagone (“The Hexagon”) because of the shape of its territory.

France is a unitary semi-presidential republic. The head of state is the President, who is also a politician. The Prime Minister is secondary to the President. This slightly strange system was chosen by General Charles de Gaul in 1970. The main ideals are expressed in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.

Metropolitan France is bordered (clockwise from the North) by Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Monaco, Andorra, and Spain. The overseas departments and collectives of France share land borders with Brazil and Suriname (bordering French Guiana), and the Netherlands Antilles (bordering Saint Martin). France is linked to the United Kingdom by the Channel Tunnel, which passes under the English Channel.

France is the largest country in the European Union and the second largest in Europe. It has been one of the world’s most powerful countries for many centuries. During the 17th and 18th centuries, France colonized much of North America. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, France built one of the largest colonial empires of the time. This included large parts of North, West and Central Africa, Southeast Asia, and many Pacific Islands. France is a developed country and has a large economy.

It is the most visited country in the world, with 82 million foreign visitors every year.

France was one of the first members of the European Union, and has the largest land area of all members. It is also a founding member of the United Nations, and a member of the Francophonie, the G8, NATO, and the Latin Union. It is one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. France has the largest number of nuclear weapons with active warheads, and the largest number of nuclear power plants, in the European Union.

France’s official language is French, which is also official in 29 other countries. Some other French speaking countries include the Congo, Quebec (in Canada), and Mauritius.

France has two mountain ranges near its borders: the Alps in the east and the Pyrenees in the south. The climate of southern France is similar to Greece which both have Mediterranean climate. There are many rivers in France, including the Seine and the Loire. In the north and the west of France, there are low hills and river valleys.

In France there are many different climates. The Atlantic has a major effect on the weather in the north and west. This means the temperature is about the same most of the year. In the east, winters are cold and the weather is good. Summers are hot and stormy. In the south, winters are cool and wet. Summers are hot and dry. The north has a temperate climate similar to that of the United Kingdom and other Northern European countries.

France has the second-largest exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the world. It covers 11,035,000 km2 (4,260,637 sq mi). Only the United States has a larger one .

The name “France” comes from the Latin word Francia ‘, which means “land of the Franks”.

The borders of modern France are about the same as those of ancient Gaul. Celtic Gauls inhabited Ancient Gaul. Julius Caesar conquered Gaul for Rome in the 1st century BC. Eventually, the Gauls adopted Roman speech (Latin, from which the French language evolved) and Roman culture. Christianity first appeared in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD. It became firmly established by the fourth and fifth centuries.


Text adapted from Simple Wikipedia, which is in the public domain.


French is an official language in how many countries?