November 28, 2021
France (French: France), officially the Republic of France (French: République française) is a country in Western Europe, as well as a collection of islands and territories in other continents. France stretches in Europe from the Mediterranean to the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. The country borders Europe to Andorra, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Spain, Switzerland and Germany - and, via the Channel Tunnel, to the United Kingdom. (The latter border is the subject of a separate treaty between the two countries.) The overseas department of French Guiana borders Brazil and Suriname, while France and the Kingdom of the Netherlands share a border with Saint Martin.
France is a democracy organized as a unitary semi-presidential republic. It is an industrialized country, with the sixth largest economy in the world (2005). The country's main ideals are set out in the Declaration of Human and Citizens' Rights. France was one of the founders of the European Union and the United Nations. The country is a member of the Francophone Organization and the G8. The country is the largest in area in the EU and is the community's second largest economy after Germany. It is also one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and thus has a veto, and it is one of the eight confirmed states with nuclear weapons.
The name France comes from the Latin Francia, «the land of the Franks». Norwegian France has the same original meaning and is close to the German form Frankreich and Dutch Frankrijk. In addition to meaning the whole country of France, France can also refer specifically to the landscape of the Pays de France in the Île-de-France region of the Paris area. To distinguish between the historical empire of the Franks and modern France, the term "Frankish empire" is used about the former in Norwegian. (One example of the use of France in a regional sense is in the stadium name Stade de France, where "France" does not refer to the country, but to the landscape of the same name.)
While the French main territory ("la Métropole", or "France métropolitaine") is located in Western Europe, the Republic of France is also composed of territories in North America, the Caribbean, South America, the western and southern Indian Ocean, the Pacific and Antarctica.
France métropolitaine stretches from the Mediterranean to the North Sea and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It borders the United Kingdom, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Monaco, Andorra and Spain. The French Republic also shares borders with Brazil, Suriname and the Netherlands.
France consists of a number of different landscape types. To the north and west are coastal plains, where the country borders the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. To the south, the country borders the Pyrenees mountain range and to the southeast the Alps. In the French Alps you will find the highest mountain in Western Europe, Mont Blanc (4807 masl).
Inland there are elevated regions, such as the Massif Central or the Vosges. Around the rivers Loire, Rhône, Garonne and Seine there is an extensive river basin.
France has a long coastline: towards the English Channel and the Atlantic Ocean in the west and the Mediterranean Sea in the south. Large parts of France therefore have a coastal climate: mild and wet, and with less difference between summer and winter on the coast than inland. Warm air currents from the tropics give southern France a dry and warm climate. At the same time, collisions between the warm air currents from the south and cold air currents from the Arctic, forced in from the Atlantic Ocean, can cause very changeable weather. The heat record for Western Europe is registered in the south of France.
Climatic variation, large amounts of precipitation and warm air have given the country green deciduous forests with oak, beech, sycamore, ash, linden and hornbeam. The south of France has mostly pine, stone oak and cork oak forests. The drier areas are sparsely overgrown with low shrubs and thorn bushes, which can grow up to two meters high.
The Alps characterize the eastern parts of France. This mountain range is approx. 70 million years old, the result of a collision between two of Earth's