This indepth profile of France includes facts on French geography, people, government, economy and transnational issues in France.
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 hybrid presidential-parliamentary governing system resistant to the instabilities experienced in earlier more purely parliamentary administrations. 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.
Three equal vertical bands of blue (hoist side), white and red; known as the ‘Le drapeau tricolore’ (French Tricolour), the origin of the flag dates to 1790 and the French Revolution; the design and/or colours are similar to a number of other flags, including those of Belgium, Chad, Ireland, Cote d’Ivoire, Luxembourg and the Netherlands; the official flag for all French dependent areas.
Location: Metropolitan France: Western Europe, bordering the Bay of Biscay and English Channel, between Belgium and Spain, southeast of the UK and 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.
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
Total area: 643,427 sq km; 551,500 sq km (metropolitan France)
Land area: 640,053 sq km; 549,970 sq km (metropolitan France)
Water area: 3,374 sq km; 1,530 sq km (metropolitan France)
Note: The first numbers include the overseas regions of French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Reunion.
Comparative area: Slightly less than the size of Texas.
Total land boundaries: Metropolitan France 2,889 km; French Guiana 1,183 km
Border countries: Metropolitan France: 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: Brazil 673 km, Suriname 510 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.
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 percent; permanent crops 2.03 percent; other 64.51 percent.
Note: French Guiana: arable land 0.13 percent, permanent crops 0.04 percent, other 99.83 percent (90 percent forest, 10 percent other); Guadeloupe: arable land 11.70 percent, permanent crops 2.92 percent, other 85.38 percent; Martinique: arable land 9.09 percent, permanent crops 10.0 percent, other 80.91 percent; Reunion: arable land 13.94 percent, permanent crops 1.59 percent, other 84.47 percent (2005)
Irrigated land: Total 26,190 sq km; metropolitan France 26,000 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 189 cu km (2005)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): Total 33.16 cu km/yr (16 percent/74 percent/10 percent); per capita 548 cu m/yr (2000)
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 issues: Some forest damage from acid rain; air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution from urban wastes, agricultural runoff.
Environment 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.
Note: Largest West European nation.
Population: Total 65,312,249; metropolitan France 62,814,233 (July 2011 est.)
0-14 years 18.5 percent (male 6,180,905/female 5,886,849);
15-64 years 64.7 percent (male 21,082,175/female 21,045,867);
65 years and over 16.8 percent (male 4,578,089/female 6,328,834) (2011 est.)
Median age: Total 39.9 years (male 38.4 years/female:41.5 years) (2011 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.5 percent (2011 est.)
Birth rate: 12.29 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Death rate: 8.76 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
Net migration rate: 1.46 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Urban population: 85 percent of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanisation: 1 percent annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Sex ratio: At birth 1.051 male(s)/female;
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female;
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female;
65 years and over: 0.72 male(s)/female;
total population 0.96 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
Infant mortality rate: Total 3.29 deaths/1,000 live births (male 3.61 deaths/1,000 live births/female 2.96 deaths/1,000 live births) (2011 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: Total population 81.19 years (male 78.02 years/female 84.54 years) (2011 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.96 children born/woman (2011 est.)
HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate: 0.4 percent (2009 est.)
People living with HIV/AIDS: 150,000 (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS deaths: 1,700 (2009 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 to 88 percent, Protestant 2 percent, Jewish 1 percent, Muslim 5 to 10 percent, unaffiliated 4 percent. Overseas departments: Roman Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, pagan.
Languages: French 100 percent, rapidly declining regional dialects and languages (Provencal, Breton, Alsatian, Corsican, Catalan, Basque, Flemish). Overseas departments: French, Creole patois.
Literacy (age 15+ can read and write): Total population 99 percent (male 99 percent/female 99 percent) (2003 est.)
School-life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): Total 16 years (male 16 years/female 16 years) (2008)
Education expenditures: 5.6 percent of GDP (2006)
Country name: Conventional long form: French Republic
Conventional short form: France
Local long form: Republique francaise
Local short form: France
Government type: Republic
Capital: Paris (geographic coordinates 48 52 N, 2 20 E); time zone UTC+1; daylight saving time (+1hr) begins last Sunday in March, ends last Sunday in October. (Applies to metropolitan France only, not to its overseas departments, collectivities or territories.)
Administrative divisions: 27 regions (regions, singular – region); Alsace, Aquitaine, Auvergne, Basse-Normandie (Lower Normandy), Bourgogne (Burgundy), 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, Mayotte, Midi-Pyrenees, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Pays de la Loire, Picardie, Poitou-Charentes, Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur, Reunion, Rhone-Alpes. Note: France is divided into 22 metropolitan regions (including the ‘territorial collectivity’ of Corse or Corsica) and 4 overseas regions (including French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte and Reunion) and is subdivided into 96 metropolitan departments and 5 overseas departments (which are the same as the overseas regions).
Dependent areas: Clipperton Island, French Polynesia, French Southern and Antarctic Lands, Mayotte, New Caledonia, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin, Wallis and Futuna. Note: the US does not recognise claims to Antarctica; New Caledonia has been considered a ‘sui generis’” collectivity of France since 1998, 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; amended many times. Note: amended concerning election of president in 1962; amended to comply with provisions of 1992 EC Maastricht Treaty, 1997 Amsterdam Treaty, 2003 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
- 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 31.2 percent, Segolene Royal 25.9 percent, Francois Bayrou 18.6 percent, Jean-Marie le Pen 10.4 percent, others 13.9 percent; second round: Sarkozy 53.1 percent and Royal 46.9 percent.
Legislative branch: Bicameral Parliament or Parlement consists of the Senate or Senat (343 seats; 323 for metropolitan France and overseas departments, 2 for New Caledonia, 2 for French Polynesia, 1 for Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, 1 for Saint-Barthelemy, 1 for Saint-Martin, 1 for Wallis and Futuna, and 12 for French nationals abroad; members indirectly elected by an electoral college to serve six-year terms; one third elected every three years); note – between 2006 and 2011, 15 new seats will be added to the Senate for a total of 348 seats – 328 for metropolitan France and overseas departments, 2 for New Caledonia, 2 for French Polynesia, 1 for Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, 1 for Saint-Barthelemy, 1 for Saint-Martin, 1 for Wallis and Futuna, and 12 for French nationals abroad; Mayotte’s previously held 2 seats as an overseas collectivity are now included in the total as an overseas department; 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 overseas dependencies; members elected by popular vote under a single-member majority system to serve five-year terms)
- Elections: Senate – last held 21 September 2008 (next to be held in September 2014); National Assembly – last held 10 and 17 June 2007 (next to be held in June 2012).
- Election results: Senate – percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – UMP 151, PS 102, PCF 22, MoDem 11, NC 11, Greens 5, PG 2, other 39; National Assembly – percent of vote by party – UMP 46.4 percent, PS 42.2 percent, miscellaneous left wing parties 2.5 percent, PCF 2.3 percent, NC 2.1 percent, PRG 1.6 percent, miscellaneous right wing parties 1.2 percent, the Greens 0.4 percent, other 1.2 percent; seats by party – UMP 313, PS 186, NC 22, miscellaneous left wing parties 15, PCF 16, miscellaneous right wing parties 9, PRG 7, the Greens 3, 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: Democratic Movement or MoDem [Francois BAYROU] (previously Union for French Democracy or UDF); French Communist Party or PCF [Pierre LAURENT]; Greens [Cecile DUFLOT]; Left Party or PG [Jean-Luc MELENCHON]; 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 Anticapitalist Party or NPA [Olivier BESANCENOT]; New Center or NC [Herve MORIN]; Radical Party [Jean-Louis BORLOO]; Rally for France or RPF [Charles PASQUA]; Republican and Citizen Movement or MRC [Jean Pierre CHEVENEMENT]; Socialist Party or PS [Martine AUBRY]; Union for a Popular Movement or UMP [Jean-Francois COPE]; Worker’s Struggle or LO [Nathalie ARTHAUD]
Political pressure groups and leaders: Confederation francaise democratique du travail or CFDT, left-leaning labor union with approximately 803,000 members; Confederation francaise de l’encadrement – Confederation generale des cadres or CFE-CGC, independent white-collar union with 196,000 members; Confederation francaise des travailleurs chretiens of CFTC, independent labor union founded by Catholic workers that claims 132,000 members; Confederation generale du travail or CGT, historically communist labor union with approximately 700,000 members; Confederation generale du travail – Force ouvriere or FO, independent labor union with an estimated 300,000 members; Mouvement des entreprises de France or MEDEF, employers’ union with 750,000 companies as members (claimed)
French Guiana: conservationists; gold mining pressure groups; hunting pressure groups
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 for an Independent Guadeloupe or MPGI; The Socialist Renewal Movement
Martinique: Caribbean Revolutionary Alliance or ARC; Central Union for Martinique Workers or CSTM; Frantz Fanon Circle; League of Workers and Peasants; Proletarian Action Group or GAP
International organisation participation: ADB (non-regional member), AfDB (non-regional member), Arctic Council (observer), Australia Group, BDEAC, BIS, BSEC (observer), CBSS (observer), CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, FZ, G-20, G-5, G-7, G-8, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, InOC, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MINURCAT, 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, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, Union Latina, UNITAR, UNMIL, UNOCI, UNOMIG, UNRWA, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WADB (non-regional), WCL, WCO, WEU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC.
Diplomatic representation in the US: Chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Note – Francois Delattre has been named the next ambassador to the US by the French Government
Chancery: 4101 Reservoir Road NW, Washington, DC 20007
Telephone:  (202) 944-6000
FAX:  (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 Charles H. RIVKIN
Embassy: 2 Avenue Gabriel, 75382 Paris Cedex 08
Mailing address: PSC 116, APO AE 09777
Telephone:  (1) 43-12-22-22
FAX:  (1) 42 66 97 83
Consulate(s) general: Marseille, Strasbourg
Name: “La Marseillaise” (The Song of Marseille)
Lyrics/music: Claude-Joseph ROUGET de Lisle
note: adopted 1795, restored 1870; originally known as “Chant de Guerre pour l’Armee du Rhin” (War Song for the Army of the Rhine), the National Guard of Marseille made the song famous by singing it while marching into Paris in 1792 during the French Revolutionary Wars
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 privatised 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 defence industries.
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. 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.
France has weathered the global economic crisis better than most other big EU economies because of the relative resilience of domestic consumer spending, a large public sector, and less exposure to the downturn in global demand than in some other countries. Nonetheless, France’s real GDP contracted 2.5 percent in 2009, but recovered somewhat in 2010, while the unemployment rate increased from 7.4 percent in 2008 to 9.5 percent in 2010.
The government pursuit of aggressive stimulus and investment measures in response to the economic crisis, however, are contributing to a deterioration of France’s public finances. The government budget deficit rose sharply from 3.4% of GDP in 2008 to 7.8 pecernt of GDP in 2010, while France’s public debt rose from 68 percent of GDP to 84 percent over the same period. Paris is terminating stimulus measures, eliminating tax credits, and freezing most government spending to bring the budget deficit under the 3 percent euro-zone ceiling by 2013, and to highlight France’s commitment to fiscal discipline at a time of intense financial market scrutiny of euro zone debt levels. President SARKOZY – who secured passage of pension reform in 2010 – is expected to seek passage of some tax reforms in 2011, but he may delay additional, more costly, reforms until after the 2012 election.
GDP (purchasing power parity): USD 2.16 trillion (2010 est.); USD 2.126 trillion (2009 est.); [data are in 2010 US dollars]
GDP (official exchange rate): USD 2.555 trillion (2010 est.)
GDP real growth rate: 1.6 percent (2010 est.); -2.5 percent (2009)
GDP per capita (PPP): USD 33,300 (2010 est.); USD 33,000 (2009 est.); USD 34,000 (2008 est.) [data are in 2010 US dollars]
GDP composition by sector: Agriculture: 1.8 percent; industry 19.2 percent; services 79 percent (2010 est.)
Labour force: 28.21 million (2010 est.)
Labour force by occupation: Agriculture 3.8 percent; industry 24.3 percent; services 71.8 percent (2005)
Unemployment rate: 9.5 percent (2010 est.); 9.1 percent (2009 est.)
Population below poverty line: 6.2 percent (2004)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: Lowest 10 percent: 3 percent; highest 10 percent: 24.8 percent (2004)
Distribution of family income (Gini index): 32.7 (2008); 32.7 (1995)
Investment (gross fixed): 19.9 percent of GDP (2010 est.)
Budget: Revenues USD 1.241 trillion; expenditures USD 1.441 trillion (2010 est.)
Public debt: 83.5 percent of GDP (2010 est.); 77.6 percent of GDP (2009 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1.5 percent (2010 est.)
Central bank discount rate: 1.75 percent (31 December 2010); 1.75 percent (31 December 2009)
Commercial bank prime lending rate: 7.46 percent (2009)
Stock of narrow money: USD 858.6 billion (31 December 2010 est)
Stock of broad money: USD 2.292 trillion (31 December 2010 est)
Stock of domestic credit: USD 4.319 trillion (31 December 2009)
Market value of publicly traded shares: USD 1.972 trillion (31 December 2009)
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: 3.5 percent (2010 est.)
Electricity production: 535.7 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity consumption: 447.2 billion kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity exports: 58.69 billion kWh (2008)
Electricity imports: 10.68 billion kWh (2008)
Oil production: 70,820 bbl/day (2009)
Oil consumption: 1.875 million bbl/day (2009)
Oil exports: 597,800 bbl/day (2008)
Oil imports: 2.386 million bbl/day (2008)
Proved oil reserves: 101.2 million bbl (1 January 2010 est.)
Natural gas production: 877 million cu m (2009 est.)
Natural gas consumption: 44.84 billion cu m (2009 est.)
Natural gas exports: 1.931 million cu m (2009 est.)
Natural gas imports: 45.85 billion cu m (2009 est.)
Proved natural gas reserves: 7.079 billion cu m (1 January 2010 est.)
Current account balance: USD -53.29 billion (2010 est.)
Exports: USD 508.7 billion (2010 est.)
Export commodities: Machinery and transportation equipment, aircraft, plastics, chemicals, pharmaceutical products, iron and steel, beverages.
Export partners: Germany 15.8 percent, Italy 8.16 percent, Spain 7.8 percent, UK 7.04 percent, Belgium 7.44 percent, US 5.65 percent, Netherlands 3.99 percent (2009)
Imports: USD 577.7 billion (2010 est.); USD 535.8 billion (2009 est.)
Import commodities: Machinery and equipment, vehicles, crude oil, aircraft, plastics, chemicals.
Import partners: Germany 19.41 percent, Belgium 11.61 percent, Italy 7.97 percent, Spain 6.68 percent, UK 4.9 percent, US 4.72 percent, China 4.44 percent (2009)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: USD 133.1 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
External debt: USD 4.698 trillion (30 June 2010);
Stock of direct foreign investment (at home): USD 1.207 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment (abroad): USD 1.837 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)
Euros (EUR) per US dollar – 0.755 (2010 est.), .7198 (2009)
Telephones lines in use: 36.441 million; 35.5 million (metropolitan France) (2009)
Mobile telephones: 60.95 million; 59.543 million (metropolitan France) (2009)
Telephone system: Highly developed.
Domestic: extensive cable and microwave radio relay; extensive use of fibre-optic cable; domestic satellite system. International: country code 33; numerous submarine cables provide links throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, the Middle East, and US; satellite earth stations – more than 3 (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.
Broadcast media: A mix of both publicly-operated and privately-owned TV stations; state-owned France Televisions operates 4 networks, one of which is a network of regional stations, and has part-interest in several thematic cable/satellite channels and international channels; a large number of privately-owned regional and local TV stations; multi-channel satellite and cable services provide a large number of channels; public broadcaster Radio France operates 7 national networks, a series of regional networks, and operates services for overseas territories and foreign audiences; Radio France Internationale (RFI), under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is a leading international broadcaster; a large number of commercial FM stations, with many of them consolidating into commercial networks (2008)
Internet country code: Metropolitan France .fr; French Guiana .gf; Guadeloupe .gp; Martinique .mq; Reunion .re
Internet hosts: 15,182,001 million (2010
Internet users: 45,262 million; 44,625 million (metropolitan France) (2009)
Airports: 475 (2010)
Airports with paved runways: Total 297; over 3,047 m 14
2,438 to 3,047 m 27
1,524 to 2,437 m 98
914 to 1,523 m 83
under 914 m 77 (2009)
Airports with unpaved runways: Total 177
914 to 1,523 m 69
under 914 m 108 (2010)
Heliports: 1 (2010)
Pipelines: Gas 14,688 km; oil 2,943 km; refined products 5,080 km (2009)
Railways: Total 29,213 km
standard gauge 29,046 km 1.435-m gauge (15,164 km electrified)
narrow gauge 167 km 1.000-m gauge (2008)
Roadways: Total 1,027,183 (2007)
Waterways: Metropolitan France: 8,501 km (1,621 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) (2008)
Merchant marine: Total: 167
By type: bulk carrier 2, cargo 8, chemical tanker 36, container 25, liquefied gas 12, passenger 11, passenger/cargo 44, petroleum tanker 17, refrigerated cargo 1, roll on/roll off 11
Foreign-owned: 57 (Belgium 7, China 5, Denmark 12, French Polynesia 12, Germany 1, New Caledonia 3, Norway 1, NZ 1, Singapore 3, Spain 1, Sweden 6, Switzerland 5)
Registered in other countries: 146 (Bahamas 19, Belgium 5, Bermuda 1, Canada 1, Cyprus 16, Egypt 1, Hong Kong 3, Indonesia 1, Italy 2, Luxembourg 16, Malta 13, Morocco 4, Netherlands 2, Norway 4, Panama 13, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 2, Singapore 3, South Korea 1, Taiwan 1, UK 33, US 4, unknown 1) (2010)
Ports and terminals: Calais, Dunkerque, Le Havre, Marseille, Nantes, Paris, Rouen
Military branches: Army (Armee de Terre; includes Marines, Foreign Legion, Army Light Aviation), Navy (Marine Nationale, includes Naval Air, Maritime Gendarmerie (Coast Guard)), Air Force (Armee de l’Air, includes Air Defense), National Gendarmerie (2011)
Military service age and obligation: 17-40 years of age for male or female voluntary military service; no conscription; 12-month service obligation; women serve in noncombat military posts. (2010)
Manpower available for military service: Males age 16-49 14,543,662; females age 16-49 14,238,434 (2010 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: Males age 16-49 12,025,341; females age 16-49 11,721,827 (2010 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually: Male 396,050; female 377,839 (2010 est.)
Military expenditures: 2.6 percent of GDP (2005 est.)
International disputes: 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.
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.
CIA World Factbook / Expatica