France or officially the French Republic is made up of 22 regions and 100
departments it has a population of 61,044,684 (2006 figures) which equates to
approximately 112 people per square km. Apart from the main language of French
there are also several regional dialects these include Provencal, Breton,
Alsatian, Corsican, Catalan, Basque & Flemish. Its name derives from the
medieval Latin name of Francia which literally means Land of the Franks, this
was originally the Frankish Empire which stretched from Eastern Germany to
modern day southern France
France has a land area of 545,630 sq km and borders eight countries: Andorra, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Spain and Switzerland.
The government in France is based on a presidential system and it has two main
political parties the left wing The Socialist Party - Parti Socialiste or PS and
the right wing the Union for a Popular Movement - Union pour un Mouvement
The constitution of France is based on the equality of all citizens, the rejection of class privileges such as those that existed before the French Revolution; the presumption of innocence, freedom of speech, freedom of opinion, freedom of religion and the accountability of government agents to the citizenry. Its emblem is a silhouette of a woman's head with the motto Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite. The woman in the emblem is Marianne she symbolises liberty and reason and is depicted in most town halls, postage stamps and on the French Euro coins, Marianne is the national emblem of France.
Climate & TerrainThe weather in France varies with a more temperate climate similar to England in the North, while in the Southern and Mediterranean areas of France the winters are milder and the summers are hot. The Mediterranean areas are also prone to the Mistral a cold north wind that blows southwards down from the mountains its speed can reach 85 miles an hour!
The terrain in France differs enormously, the north and west are mainly flat plains or rolling hills while to the east and south it is mountainous. The main mountain ranges are the Pyrennees which runs between the border of Spain and France and the Alps which is the highest mountain range in Europe, the Alps run from the Gulf of Genoa to the river Danube in Vienna.