France is the largest country
in the European Union it stretches 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
Rhône, 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 defense. The day-to-day running of the country is in the
hands of the prime minister. The president is elected by direct popular vote
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 fashion.
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; without any doubt one can admit that cooking and eating
are part of French culture and lifestyle.
France is about 80% the size of
Texas. In the Alps near the Italian and Swiss borders is Mont Blanc western
Europe's highest point (15,781 ft; 4,810 m). The forest-covered Vosges
Mountains are in the northeast, and the Pyrénées are along the
Metropolitan France is
generally cool winters and mild summers, but mild winters and hot summers
along the Mediterranean is occasional strong, cold, dry,
north-to-northwesterly wind known as mistral. French Guiana tropical, hot,
humid little seasonal temperature variation...........
French culture has originated
from an ancient civilization composed of a complex mix of Celtic,
Greco-Roman, and Germanic elements. Monuments, especially from the period of
Roman occupation, are numerous and include the amphitheatre at Arles, the
arénes in Paris, and the aqueduct at Pont du Gard...........
An independent nation in
Western Europe France is the center of a large overseas administration. It
is the third-largest European nation (after Russia and Ukraine)...........