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France Geography Profile 2017

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Locationmetropolitan France: Western Europe, bordering the Bay of Biscay and English Channel, between Belgium and Spain, southeast of the UK; 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
Mayotte: Southern Indian Ocean, island in the Mozambique Channel, about halfway between northern Madagascar and northern Mozambique
Reunion: Southern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar
Geographic coordinatesmetropolitan 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
Mayotte: 12 50 S, 45 10 E
Reunion: 21 06 S, 55 36 E
Map referencesmetropolitan France: Europe
French Guiana: South America
Guadeloupe: Central America and the Caribbean
Martinique: Central America and the Caribbean
Mayotte: Africa
Reunion: World
Areatotal: 643,801 sq km; 551,500 sq km (metropolitan France)
land: 640,427 sq km; 549,970 sq km (metropolitan France)
water: 3,374 sq km; 1,530 sq km (metropolitan France)
note: the first numbers include the overseas regions of French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, and Reunion
Area - comparativeslightly more than four times the size of Georgia; slightly less than the size of Texas
Land boundariesmetropolitan France - total: 2,751 km
border countries (8): Andorra 55 km, Belgium 556 km, Germany 418 km, Italy 476 km, Luxembourg 69 km, Monaco 6 km, Spain 646 km, Switzerland 525 km
French Guiana - total: 1,205 km
border countries (2): Brazil 649 km, Suriname 556 km
Coastlinetotal: 4,853 km
metropolitan France: 3,427 km
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm (does not apply to the Mediterranean Sea)
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Climatemetropolitan 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
Mayotte: tropical; marine; hot, humid, rainy season during northeastern monsoon (November to May); dry season is cooler (May to November)
Reunion: tropical, but temperature moderates with elevation; cool and dry (May to November), hot and rainy (November to April)
Terrainmetropolitan 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
Mayotte: generally undulating, with deep ravines and ancient volcanic peaks
Reunion: mostly rugged and mountainous; fertile lowlands along coast
Elevation extremesmean elevation: 375 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Rhone River delta -2 m
highest point: Mont Blanc 4,807 m
note: to assess the possible effects of climate change on the ice and snow cap of Mont Blanc, its surface and peak have been extensively measured in recent years; these new peak measurements have exceeded the traditional height of 4,807 m and have varied between 4,808 m and 4,811 m; the actual rock summit is 4,792 m and is 40 m away from the ice-covered summit
Natural resourcesmetropolitan France: coal, iron ore, bauxite, zinc, uranium, antimony, arsenic, potash, feldspar, fluorspar, gypsum, timber, arable land, fish
French Guiana: gold deposits, petroleum, kaolin, niobium, tantalum, clay
Land useagricultural land: 52.7%
arable land 33.4%; permanent crops 1.8%; permanent pasture 17.5%
forest: 29.2%
other: 18.1% (2011 est.)
Irrigated landtotal: 26,420 sq km 26,950 sq km
metropolitan France: 26,000 sq km (2012)
Population distributionmuch of the population is concentrated in the north and southeast; although there are many urban agglomerations throughout the country, Paris is by far the largest city, with Lyon ranked a distant second
Natural hazardsmetropolitan France: flooding; avalanches; midwinter windstorms; drought; forest fires in south near the Mediterranean
overseas departments: hurricanes (cyclones); flooding; volcanic activity (Guadeloupe, Martinique, Reunion)
Environment - current issuessome forest damage from acid rain; air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution from urban wastes, agricultural runoff
Environment - international agreementsparty 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
Geography - notelargest West European nation; most major French rivers - the Meuse, Seine, Loire, Charente, Dordogne, and Garonne - flow northward or westward into the Atlantic Ocean, only the Rhone flows southward into the Mediterranean Sea

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on July 9, 2017

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