Area: 551,670 sq. km. (220,668 sq. mi.); largest west European
country, about four-fifths the size of Texas.
Cities: Capital--Paris. Other cities--Marseille, Lyon,
Toulouse, Strasbourg, Nice, Rennes, Lille, Bordeaux.
Climate: Temperate; similar to that of the eastern U.S.
Population (Jan. 2005 est.): 62.4 million.
Annual growth rate (2004 est): 2.3%.
Ethnic groups: Celtic and Latin with Teutonic, Slavic, North
African, Sub-Saharan African, Indochinese, and Basque minorities.
Religion: Roman Catholic 90%.
Education: Years compulsory--10. Literacy--99%.
Health: Infant mortality rate--4.46/1,000.
Work force (2004): 24,720,000: Services—72.9%; industry
and commerce—24.4%; agriculture—2.7%.
Constitution: September 28, 1958.
Branches: Executive--president (chief of state); prime
minister (head of government). Legislative--bicameral
Parliament (577-member National Assembly, 319-member Senate).
Judicial--Court of Cassation (civil and criminal law), Council
of State (administrative court), Constitutional Council
Subdivisions: 22 administrative regions containing 96 departments
(metropolitan France). Four overseas departments (Guadeloupe,
Martinique, French Guiana, and Reunion); five overseas territories
(New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna Islands, and
French Southern and Antarctic Territories); and two special status
territories (Mayotte and St. Pierre and Miquelon).
Political parties: Union for a Popular Majority (UMP -- a synthesis
of center-right Gaullist/nationalist and free-market parties); Union
for French Democracy (a fusion of centrist and pro-European
parties); Socialist Party; Communist Party; National Front; Greens;
various minor parties.
Suffrage: Universal at 18.
GDP (2004 est.): $2.018 trillion.
Avg. annual growth rate (2004 est.): 2.3%.
Per capita GDP (2004 est.): $32,340.
Agriculture: Products--grains (wheat, barley, corn); wines
and spirits; dairy products; sugarbeets; oilseeds; meat and poultry;
fruits and vegetables.
Industry: Types--aircraft, electronics, transportation,
textiles, clothing, food processing, chemicals, machinery, steel.
Trade (est.): Exports (2004)--$341.3 billion: automobiles and
automobile spare parts, aircraft, pharmaceuticals, electronic
components, wine, electric components. Imports (2004)--$349.3
billion: crude oil, automobiles and automobile spare parts,
pharmaceuticals, natural gas, aircraft spare parts, electronics.
Major trading partners--EU and U.S.
Exchange rate: U.S. $1=euro 0.884 in 2003, and U.S. $1=euro 0.804 in