France Geography: from the All Country Info reference guide to country facts

France Geography

France Geography: A summary of information about France Geography, from government research data as well as independent research and other sources.

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France: Geography

Location
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
Geographic coordinates
46 00 N, 2 00 E
Map references
Europe
Area
total: 547,030 sq km
land: 545,630 sq km
water: 1,400 sq km
note: includes only metropolitan France, but excludes the overseas
administrative divisions
Area - comparative
slightly less than twice the size of Colorado
Land boundaries
total: 2,889 km
border countries: Andorra 56.6 km, Belgium 620 km, Germany 451 km,
Italy 488 km, Luxembourg 73 km, Monaco 4.4 km, Spain 623 km,
Switzerland 573 km
Coastline
3,427 km
Maritime claims
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm (does not apply to the Mediterranean)
territorial sea: 12 nm
Climate
generally cool winters and mild summers, but mild winters and
hot summers along the Mediterranean
Terrain
mostly flat plains or gently rolling hills in north and west;
remainder is mountainous, especially Pyrenees in south, Alps in east
Elevation extremes
lowest point: Rhone River delta -2 m
highest point: Mont Blanc 4,807 m
Natural resources
coal, iron ore, bauxite, fish, timber, zinc, potash
Land use
arable land: 33%
permanent crops: 2%
permanent pastures: 20%
forests and woodland: 27%
other: 18% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land
16,300 sq km (1995 est.)
Natural hazards
flooding; avalanches
Environment - current issues
some forest damage from acid rain (major
forest damage occurred as a result of severe December 1999 windstorm);
air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution
from urban wastes, agricultural runoff
Environment - international agreements
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air
Pollution-Sulphur 85, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile
Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty,
Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species,
Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life
Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber
83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants,
Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol
Geography - note
largest West European nation; occasional strong,
cold, dry, north-to-northwesterly wind known as mistral
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