Among the countries of Europe, France ranks third in size behind Russia and Ukraine.The capital of France is one of the most elegant cities in the world, Paris. France is a highly complex and diverse land. It includes a wide range of natural environments, cultural backgrounds, and economic activities. It is known only for being the fashion capital of the world, but it's diverse land, climate, vegetation, and animal life are features that are beautiful also.
France Fact SummaryOfficial Name. French Republic. The name France is derived from the Franks, a confederacy of Germanic tribes that conquered Gaul (ancient France).
Coat of Arms. In center RF represents the name Republique Francaise (French Republic); sides French flags; top Roman fasces; bottom oak and olive leaves, Legion of Honor medal.
National Emblem. Fleur-de-lis; adopted by Louis VII, 1179.
Motto. Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite (Liberty, Equality, Fraternity).
Anthem. 'La Marseillaise' adopted in 1792 (words and music by C. Rouget de Lisle).
Borders (excluding Corsica). Coast 1,870 miles (3,010 kilometers); land frontier 1,400 miles (2,250 kilometers).
Natural Regions. Aquitaine Basin, Massif Armoricain (Brittany), Cotentin Peninsula (Normandy), Paris Basin, Mediterranean Plain, Massif Central, Rhone-Saone Valley, Pyrenees, Alps-Jura, Northeast France (Alsace and Lorraine).
Major Ranges. Alps, Pyrenees, Jura, Ardennes, Vosges, Massif Central.
Notable Peaks. In Alps Mont Blanc, 15,771 feet (4,807 meters); in Pyrenees Pie de Vignemale, 10,820 feet (3,298 meters).
Major Rivers. Garonne, Loire, Marne, Rhine, Rhone, Saone, Seine.
Notable Lakes. Lake Geneva (partly in France), Annecy, Bourget.
Major Island. Corsica.
Climate. Maritime temperate, with Mediterranean along the southern coast, and continental in the mountains of the east.Back