Area 550,000 sq. km France is the largest country in Western Europe (almost one fifth of the European Union), with a vast maritime zone.
Plains cover two thirds of the total area. Principal mountains: the Alps Pyrenees Jura Ardennes Massif Central VosgesThe highest peak of the Alps, Mont Blanc, 4,808 metres, is the highest mountain in Western Europe
Coastline(length:2900 miles)Bordered by four seasNorth Sea (Mer du Nord), Channel (La Manche), Atlantic OceanMediterraneanThree types of climates:Mediterranean in the south Oceanic in the west Continental in central and eastern France
Farms and forests :->82% of the total area ofFrance7 national parks 156 nature reserves516 designated areas for protected species 429 protected coastal areas €47.7 billion is allocated to the protection of the environment(€755.00 per inhabitant)France is party to many international treaties and conventions concerning the environment.
Population:63.8 million inhabitants(98.1 inhabitants per sq. km) ->57 urban areas with over 100,000 inhabitants. The five largest are:1. Paris 9.6 million2. Lille 1.7 million 3. Lyon 1.4 million 4. Marseille 1.3 million 5. Toulouse 1 million
The French Republic : Mainland France (22 regions ,96 departments )4 overseas departments (DOM) - Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guyane (French Guiana) and Réunion 7 overseas territories – French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna, Mayotte (will be a department in 2011), Saint Pierre and Miquelon,Saint-Barthélémy, Saint Martin…) and one territory with special status: New Caledonia
Palais de l’Elysée (Official residence of the President of the Republic)
Palais du Luxembourg (Housing the Senate) in Paris Paris Court House (Palais de Justice)
Ministry of Foreign AffairsLa Bourse, Paris Stock Exchange
14 July, is a national holidayfirst celebrated in 1792.This date commemoratesthe capture of the royalprison, the Bastille, byrevolutionaries in 1789It is intended to unite allFrench people in theirloyalty to their country.Nowadays, July 14 iscelebrated with a mixture ofsolemn military parades andeasygoing dancing andfireworks.
National Anthem:La Marseillaise started life as a revolutionary battle song and a hymnto freedom. It gradually gained acceptance as a national anthem.Nowadays it is performed at most official events.
Les Bergers d’Arcadie –Nicolas Poussin (1629) La Courtisane amoureuse - Pierre Subleyras (1699-1749)