France country profile27 August 2006
by eub2 -- last modified 08 June 2012
France is one of the largest countries in Europe, stretching from the North Sea to the Mediterranean. France is a founder Member State of the European Union.
France is one of the largest countries in Europe, stretching from the North Sea to the Mediterranean. The landscape is diverse, with mountains in the east and south, including the Alpine peak of Mont Blanc (4 810 m) which is western Europe's highest point. Lowland France consists of four river basins, the Seine in the north, the Loire and the Garonne flowing westwards and the Rhone which flows from Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean Sea.
The president of the Republic has an important political role. He chairs the meetings of the Council of Ministers (cabinet), and retains overall responsibility in key areas of foreign affairs and defence. The day-to-day running of the country is in the hands of the prime minister. The president is elected by direct suffrage for a period of five years. The parliament consists of a National Assembly, directly elected every five years, and a Senate whose members are chosen by an electoral college.
France has an advanced industrial economy and an efficient farm sector. Main activities include automobile manufacture, aerospace, information technology, electronics, chemicals and pharmaceuticals and fashionware.
France has produced some of the continent's most influential writers and thinkers from Descartes and Pascal in the 17th century, to Rousseau and Voltaire in the 18th, Balzac, Baudelaire and Flaubert in the 19th and Sartre and Camus in the 20th. In the last two centuries it has given the art world the works of Renoir, Monet, Cezanne, Gauguin, Matisse and Braque, to name but a few.
French cuisine is one of the finest in Europe; cooking and eating are part of French culture and lifestyle.Area: 547 026 km2
Population: 65,6 million (July 2011 est.)
Capital city: Paris
National day: 14 July
EU-membership: 18 April 1951
Head of State: President Francois
Hollande (since 15 May 2012)Head of Government: Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault (since 16 May 2012)
Assemblée Nationale, 577 members, elections every 5 years, no threshold
Sénat, 331 members
GDP: $2.257 billion (July 2012 est.)GDP per capita in PPS: $35,613(July 2012 est.)
Economic growth in real terms: + 1.7% (2011)
Head of State:
Map of France
Source: European Commission, CIA - The World Factbook