Traveling Luck for France
France is located in Western Europe, bordering the Bay of Biscay and English Channel, between Belgium and Spain, southeast of the UK; bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Italy and Spain.
France has borders with Andorra for 56.600000000000001km, Belgium for 620km, Switzerland for 573km, Germany for 451km, Spain for 623km, Italy for 488km, Luxembourg for 73km and Monaco for 4.4000000000000004km.
Land in France is mostly flat plains or gently rolling hills in north and west; remainder is mountainous, especially Pyrenees in south, Alps in east.
French land covers an area of 547030 square kilometers which is slightly less than twice the size of Colorado
As for the French climate; 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.
Frenchman(men), Frenchwoman(women) speak French 100%, rapidly declining regional dialects and languages (Provencal, Breton, Alsatian, Corsican, Catalan, Basque, Flemish).
Places of note in France
- Le Havre
- Le Mans
French National Map
Regions of France
- France (general)
- Pays de la Loire
- Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
Although ultimately a victor in World Wars I and II, France suffered extensive losses in its empire, wealth, manpower, and rank as a dominant nation-state. Nevertheless, France today is one of the most modern countries in the world and is a leader among European nations. Since 1958, it has constructed a presidential democracy resistant to the instabilities experienced in earlier parliamentary democracies. In recent years, its reconciliation and cooperation with Germany have proved central to the economic integration of Europe, including the introduction of a common exchange currency, the euro, in January 1999. At present, France is at the forefront of efforts to develop the EU's military capabilities to supplement progress toward an EU foreign policy.
France is in the midst of transition from a well-to-do modern economy that has featured extensive government ownership and intervention to one that relies more on market mechanisms. The government has partially or fully privatized many large companies, banks, and insurers. It retains controlling stakes in several leading firms, including Air France, France Telecom, Renault, and Thales, and is dominant in some sectors, particularly power, public transport, and defense industries. The telecommunications sector is gradually being opened to competition. France's leaders remain committed to a capitalism in which they maintain social equity by means of laws, tax policies, and social spending that reduce income disparity and the impact of free markets on public health and welfare. The government has lowered income taxes and introduced measures to boost employment and reform the pension system. In addition, it is focusing on the problems of the high cost of labor and labor market inflexibility resulting from the 35-hour workweek and restrictions on lay-offs. The tax burden remains one of the highest in Europe (nearly 50% of GDP in 2005). The lingering economic slowdown and inflexible budget items have pushed the budget deficit above the eurozone's 3%-of-GDP limit; unemployment stands at 10%.
French natural resources include coal, iron ore, bauxite, zinc, uranium, antimony, arsenic, potash, feldspar, fluorospar, gypsum, timber, fish
largest West European nation
French religion is Roman Catholic 83%-88%, Protestant 2%, Jewish 1%, Muslim 5%-10%, unaffiliated 4%.
Natural hazards in France include flooding; avalanches; midwinter windstorms; drought; forest fires in south near the Mediterranean.
- France shares with the rest of Europe a threat from international terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate and against civilian targets (see Safety and Security section).
- There have been a number of explosions and failed explosions in Corsica during 2006. You are advised to take care, particularly in town centres and near public buildings, and be wary of unattended packages. Please also see the Terrorism section of this advice for more details.
- There is, at present, an acute danger of avalanches in the French Alpine regions. You are therefore advised to exercise due care and attention and observe all written notices and warning instructions and, where and when appropriate, consider carrying avalanche search equipment.
- Police have issued warnings that counterfeit Euro notes are in circulation on the continent. You should be aware and take all precautions to ensure that notes you receive, from sources other than banks and legitimate Bureaux de Change, are genuine.
- More than 12 million British nationals visit mainland France every year. Most visits are trouble-free. The main types of incident for which British nationals require consular assistance in France are for petty crime and road traffic accidents. You should be alert to the dangers of street and car crime.
- We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake. Please see: Travel Insurance.
SAFETY AND SECURITY
LOCAL LAWS AND CUSTOMS
Rabies cases occasionally occur in France, and you should therefore avoid contact with cats and dogs.
Fires can be a regular occurrence in forested areas anywhere during the summer months but especially along the Mediterranean coast and on Corsica. The fires are generally extinguished quickly and efficiently by experienced French authorities, though short-term evacuations are sometimes necessary. Most visits to forested areas should remain trouble-free, but if you plan to stay in such an area you should familiarise yourself on arrival with local emergency procedures in the event of fire.
SPORTS ACTIVITIES AND WINTER SPORTS
Travellers to Andorra who transit France en route should be aware that conditions on the road from Toulouse to Andorra can quickly become difficult in severe winter weather and vehicles might be delayed. Those making this journey should ensure their hand luggage inside the vehicle contains water, food, warm clothing and any medical requirements they may need.
Alpine travellers should take out comprehensive insurance to cover extra medical costs, repatriation or, in the départements of Savoie and Haute-Savoie, possible transfer to Switzerland for hospital treatment. For sports activities such as skiing, potholing and mountaineering, travel insurance must include mountain rescue services and helicopter costs. You should be aware of the risks involved in the more hazardous sports activities. Be aware of weather forecasts and conditions, well equipped, not undertake the activity alone, study the itinerary and inform someone of your plans.
If you intend to go hill walking in any part of France including Corsica, you should ensure that you are well prepared and equipped to cope both with the terrain, high temperatures and a lack of shade in summer and low temperatures during the winter months.