France is 643,801 km ².
The climate varies considerably by region, there are three different climate zones: a humid climate with often cool summers, for example, to the west of the line Bayonne-Lille, a semi-continental climate with cold winters and hot summers, for example, in Alsace, Lorraine, along the Rhone Valley and in the mountains (Alps, Pyrenees, Massif Central) and a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot summers in the south.
The French cuisine is world known and loved. There are various dishes. French dishes include bouillabaisse and cassoulet. The French wine (from different wine regions) and French cheese (about 400 species) are well known.
France is among the 20 most developed countries in the world.
The country borders are since the Peace of Nijmegen in 1678 relatively fixed and are natural boundaries.
In almost all departments there are several nature reserves with national parks, among other Armorique, Camargue, Les Ecrins National Park, Grands Causses, Monts d'Ardèche Cévennes National Park, Mercantour National Park, Parc National de la Vanoise and Verdon. There are in France several major rivers such as the Seine which flows through Paris. The longest river is the Loire, with 1012 km. A piece of the Rhine forms a natural border with Germany.
The French Republic is an unitary state and a democratic semi-presidential republic. Since 2011, France is divided into 27 regions, which in turn are divided into departments, arrondissements, cantons and municipalities. There are 5 overseas departments (départements d'outre-mer, DOM).
By the end of the 90s there were 40 French cities with over 100,000 inhabitants, but only Paris had more than one million. Approximately 75% of the population lives in urban areas.
French is the national language of France. There are also a number of regional languages and dialects.
Lascaux is the setting of a complex of caves in southwestern France famous for its Paleolithic cave paintings. The original caves are located near the village of Montignac, in the department of Dordogne. They contain some of the best-known Upper Paleolithic art. These paintings are estimated to be 17,300 years old. They primarily consist of images of large animals, most of which are known from fossil evidence to have lived in the area at the time. In 1979, Lascaux was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list along with other prehistoric sites in the Vézère valley.
Catholicism is by far the largest religion in France, 64% of the population is catholic. Since the separation of Church and State in 1905, the state no longer interfere with the hierarchy of the Church in France. Approximately 2% of the population is Protestant. As a result of immigration from Asia, Turkey and North Africa in the 20th century, France has also a large Muslim population: about 10%. There is also a small number of Jews.
The country code is +33.
The French road network includes toll roads. France has also an extensive rail network, including a network of high speed lines for the TGV from Paris that sinds1981is going in all directions and also to foreign countries. Via the Channel Tunnel is also a rail link with Britain. The Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Français (abbreviation: SNCF) is the French national railway company. Airports are in or near Paris, Lyon, Nice and Marseille.
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