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About France

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 Réunion: tropical, but temperature moderates with elevation.

about-france

Economy:
A member of the G8 group of leading industrialised countries, it is ranked as the fifth largest economy by nominal GDP.[140] France joined 11 other EU members to launch the euro on 1 January 1999, with euro coins and banknotes completely replacing the French franc. France derives 79% of its electricity from nuclear power, the highest percentage in the world.

France has a mixed economy which combines extensive private enterprise (nearly 2.5 million companies registered) with substantial (though declining state enterprise and government intervention (see dirigisme). The government retains considerable influence over key segments of infrastructure sectors, with majority ownership of railway, electricity, aircraft, nuclear power and telecommunications.It has been gradually relaxing its control over these sectors since the early 1990s.The government is slowly corporatizing the state sector and selling off holdings in France Télécom, Air France, as well as the insurance, banking, and defence industries.France has an important aerospace industry led by the European consortium Airbus, and has its own national spaceport, the Centre Spatial Guyanais.

According to the WTO, in 2009 France was the world's sixth-largest exporter and the fourth-largest importer of manufactured goods.In 2008, France was the third-largest recipient of foreign direct investment among OECD countries at ranking behind Luxembourg (where foreign direct investment was essentially monetary transfers to banks located in that country) and the United States , but above the United Kingdom Germany or Japan In the same year, French companies invested 220 billion outside of France, ranking France as the second most important outward direct investor in the OECD, behind the United States (311.8 billion), and ahead of the United Kingdom (111.4 billion), Japan (128 billion) and Germany (156.5 billion).With in 2010 39 of the 500 biggest companies of the world, Frances ranks 4th in the Fortune Global 500, behind the USA, Japan and China, but ahead of Germany.

France is the smallest emitter of carbon dioxide among the seven most industrialized countries in the world, due to its heavy investment in nuclear power.[150] As a result of large investments in nuclear technology, most of the electricity produced in the country is generated by 59 nuclear power plants (78% in 2006,[151] up from only 8% in 1973, 24% in 1980, and 75% in 1990). In this context, renewable energies (see the power cooperative Enercoop) are having difficulties taking off the ground.

Geography:
While Metropolitan France is located in Western Europe, France also has a number of territories in North America, the Caribbean, South America, the southern Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, and Antarctica.These territories have varying forms of government ranging from overseas department to overseas collectivity. France's overseas departments and collectivities share land borders with Brazil and Suriname (bordering French Guiana), and the Netherlands Antilles (bordering Saint-Martin).

Metropolitan France covers 547,030 square kilometres (211,209 sq mi),having the largest area among European Union members. France possesses a wide variety of landscapes, from coastal plains in the north and west to mountain ranges of the Alps in the south-east, the Massif Central in the south-central and Pyrenees in the south-west. At 4,810.45 metres (15,782 ft)above sea level, the highest point in Western Europe, Mont Blanc, is situated in the Alps on the border between France and Italy. Metropolitan France also has extensive river systems such as the Seine, the Loire, the Garonne, and the Rhône, which divides the Massif Central from the Alps and flows into the Mediterranean Sea at the Camargue. Corsica lies off the Mediterranean coast.

France's total land area, with its overseas departments and territories (excluding Adélie Land), is 674,843 km2 (260,558 sq mi), 0.45% of the total land area on Earth. However, France possesses the second-largest Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the world,[48] covering 11,035,000 km2 (4,260,637 sq mi), approximately 8% of the total surface of all the EEZs of the world, just behind the United States (11,351,000 km2/4,382,646 sq mi) and ahead of Australia (8,232,000 km2/3,178,393 sq mi).The north and northwest have a temperate climate, while a combination of maritime influences, latitude and altitude produce a varied climate in the rest of Metropolitan France.In the south-east a Mediterranean climate prevails.

Government:
The French Republic is a unitary semi-presidential republic with strong democratic traditions. The constitution of the Fifth Republic was approved by referendum on 28 September 1958.It greatly strengthened the authority of the executive in relation to parliament. The executive branch itself has two leaders: the President of the Republic, currently Nicolas Sarkozy, who is head of state and is elected directly by universal adult suffrage for a 5-year term (formerly 7 years),and the Government, led by the president-appointed Prime Minister, currently François Fillon.

The French parliament is a bicameral legislature comprising a National Assembly (Assemblée Nationale) and a Senate.The National Assembly deputies represent local constituencies and are directly elected for 5-year terms. The Assembly has the power to dismiss the cabinet, and thus the majority in the Assembly determines the choice of government. Senators are chosen by an electoral college.

The Senate's legislative powers are limited; in the event of disagreement between the two chambers, the National Assembly has the final say. The government has a strong influence in shaping the agenda of Parliament.

French politics are characterised by two politically opposed groupings: one left-wing, centred around the French Socialist Party, and the other right-wing, centred previously around the Rassemblement pour la République (RPR) and now its successor the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP).The executive branch is currently composed mostly of the UMP.

Language:
French 100%, rapidly declining regional dialects and languages (Provençal, Breton, Alsatian, Corsican, Catalan, Basque, Flemish)

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