Metropolitan France (French: France métropolitaine or la Métropole) (also known as European France or Mainland France) is the part of France in Europe. It comprises mainland France and Corsica, as well as other islands in the Atlantic Ocean, the English Channel (French: la Manche) and the Mediterranean Sea.
Overseas France (la France d'outre-mer, l'Outre-mer or colloquially les DOM-TOM) is the collective name for the part of France outside Europe: French overseas regions (départements et régions d'outre-mer or DROM), territories (territoires d'outre-mer or TOM), collectivities (collectivités d'outre-mer or COM) and the sui generis collectivity (collectivité sui generis) of New Caledonia. Metropolitan France and Overseas France together form the French Republic. Metropolitan France accounts for 82.0% of the land territory, 3.3% of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ), and 95.9% of the population of the French Republic.
The five overseas regions (departments)— French Guiana, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Réunion, and Mayotte—have the same political status as metropolitan France's regions. Metropolitan France and these five overseas regions together are sometimes called la France entière ("the whole of France") by the French administration. But this France entière does not include the French overseas collectivities and territories that have more autonomy than do the overseas departments. In Overseas France, a person from metropolitan France is often called a métro, short for métropolitain.
The term "metropolitan France" dates from the country's colonial period (from the 16th to the 20th centuries), when France was referred to as la Métropole (literally "the Metropolis"), as distinguished from its colonies and protectorates, known as les colonies or l'Empire. Similar terms existed to describe other European colonial powers (e.g. "metropolitan Britain", "España metropolitana"). This application of the words "metropolis" and "metropolitan" came from Ancient Greek "metropolis" (from μήτηρ mētēr "mother" and πόλις pólis "city, town"), which was the name for a city-state that created colonies across the Mediterranean (e.g. Marseille was a colony of the city-state of Phocaea; therefore Phocaea was the "metropolis" of Marseille). By extension "metropolis" and "metropolitan" came to mean "motherland", a nation or country as opposed to its colonies overseas.
Today, some people in overseas France object to the use of the term la France métropolitaine due to its colonial history. They prefer to call it "the European territory of France" (le territoire européen de la France), as the Treaties of the European Union do. Likewise, they oppose treating overseas France and metropolitan France as separate entities. For example, INSEE used to calculate its statistics (demography, economy, etc.) for metropolitan France only, and to analyze separate statistics for the overseas departments and territories. People in the overseas departments have opposed this separate treatment, arguing that the then four overseas departments were fully part of France.
As a result, since the end of the 1990s INSEE has included the four overseas departments in its figures for France (such as total population or GDP). The fifth overseas department, Mayotte, has been included in the figures for France since the mid-2010s too. INSEE refers to metropolitan France and the five overseas departments as la France entière ("the whole of France"). "The whole of France" includes the five overseas departments, but does not include the other overseas collectivities and territories that have more autonomy than the departments. Other branches of the French administration may have different definitions of what la France entière is. For example, in contrast to INSEE, when the Ministry of the Interior releases election results, they use the term la France entière to refer to the entire French Republic, including all of overseas France, and not just the five overseas departments.
Note that since INSEE now calculates statistics for la France entière, this practice has spread to international institutions. For instance, the French GDP published by the World Bank includes metropolitan France and the five overseas departments. The World Bank refers to this total as "France"; it does not use the phrase "the whole of France", as INSEE does.
Metropolitan France covers a land area of 543,940 km² (210,016 sq. miles),[a] while overseas France covers a land area of 119,396 km² (46,099 sq. miles), for a total of 663,336 km² (256,115 sq. miles) in the French Republic (excluding Adélie Land in Antarctica where sovereignty is suspended since the signing of the Antarctic Treaty in 1959). Thus, metropolitan France accounts for 82.0% of the French Republic's land territory.
At sea, the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of metropolitan France covers 333,691 km2 (128,839 sq mi), while the EEZ of overseas France covers 9,825,538 km2 (3,793,661 sq mi), for a total of 10,159,229 km2 (3,922,500 sq mi) in the French Republic (excluding Adélie Land). Thus, metropolitan France accounts for 3.3% of the French Republic's EEZ.
According to INSEE, 65,018,000 people lived in metropolitan France as of January 2018, while 2,790,000 lived in overseas France, for a total of 67,808,000 inhabitants in the French Republic. Thus, metropolitan France accounts for 95.9% of the French Republic's population.
In the second round of the 2017 French presidential election, 35,467,327 French people cast a ballot (meaning a turnout of 74.56%). 33,883,463 of these (95.53% of the total voters) cast their ballots in metropolitan France (turnout: 76.26%), 1,003,910 (2.83% of the total voters) cast their ballots in overseas France (turnout: 53.59%), and 579,954 (1.64% of the total voters) cast their ballots in foreign countries (French people living abroad; turnout: 45.84%).
The French National Assembly is made up of 577 deputies, 539 of whom (93.4% of the total) are elected in metropolitan France, 27 (4.7% of the total) in overseas France, and 11 (1.9% of the total) by French citizens living in foreign countries.
Mainland France (French: la France continentale), or just "the mainland" (French: le continent), does not include the French islands in the Atlantic Ocean, English Channel or Mediterranean Sea, the largest of which is Corsica.
In Corsica, people from the mainland part of Metropolitan France are referred to as les continentaux.
A casual synonym for the mainland part of Metropolitan France is l'Hexagone ("the Hexagon"), for its approximate shape, and the adjective hexagonal may be a casual synonym of French (usually understood as metropolitan only, except in topics related to the foreign affairs and national politics of France as a whole).
The Bay of Biscay (; French: Golfe de Gascogne, Spanish: Golfo de Vizcaya, Occitan: Golf de Gasconha, Breton: Pleg-mor Gwaskogn, Basque: Bizkaiko Golkoa) is a gulf of the northeast Atlantic Ocean located south of the Celtic Sea. It lies along the western coast of France from Point Penmarc'h to the Spanish border, and the northern coast of Spain west to Cape Ortegal.
The south area of the Bay of Biscay washes over the northern coast of Spain and is known as the Cantabrian Sea.
The average depth is 1,744 metres (5,722 ft) and the greatest depth is 4,735 metres (15,535 ft).Communes of France
The commune (French pronunciation: [kɔmyn]) is a level of administrative division in the French Republic. French communes are analogous to civil townships and incorporated municipalities in the United States and Canada, Gemeinden in Germany, comuni in Italy or ayuntamiento in Spain. The United Kingdom has no exact equivalent, as communes resemble districts in urban areas, but are closer to parishes in rural areas where districts are much larger. Communes are based on historical geographic communities or villages and are vested with significant powers to manage the populations and land of the geographic area covered. The communes are the fourth-level administrative divisions of France.
Communes vary widely in size and area, from large sprawling cities with millions of inhabitants like Paris, to small hamlets with only a handful of inhabitants. Communes typically are based on pre-existing villages and facilitate local governance. All communes have names, but not all named geographic areas or groups of people residing together are communes ("lieu dit" or "bourg"), the difference residing in the lack of administrative powers. Except for the municipal arrondissements of its largest cities, the communes are the lowest level of administrative division in France and are governed by elected officials (mayor and a "conseil municipal") with extensive autonomous powers to implement national policy.Cotentin Peninsula
The Cotentin Peninsula (French pronunciation: [kɔtɑ̃tɛ̃]), also known as the Cherbourg Peninsula, is a peninsula in Normandy that forms part of the northwest coast of France. It extends north-westward into the English Channel, towards Great Britain. To its west lie the Channel Islands and to the southwest lies the Brittany Peninsula.
The peninsula lies wholly within the department of Manche, in the region of Normandy.Demographics of France
The demography of France (DOF) is monitored by the Institut national d'études démographiques (INED) and the Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques (INSEE). As of 1 January 2018, 67.19 million people lived in France (67,186,638), including all the five overseas departments (2,141,000), but excluding the overseas collectivities and territories (604,000). 65,017,000 of these lived in Metropolitan France, which is mainland France located in Europe.
In March 2017, the population of France officially reached the 67,000,000 mark. It had reached 66,000,000 in early 2014. Between the years 2010-17, the population of France grew from 64,613,000 to 66,991,000 (i.e. about 2.4 million people in a span of 7 years), making France one of the fastest-growing countries in Europe. The population of France is growing by 1,000,000 people every three years- an average annual increase of 340,000 people, or +0.6%.France was historically Europe's most populous country. During the Middle Ages, more than one-quarter of Europe's total population was French; by the seventeenth century, this had decreased slightly to one-fifth. By the beginning of the twentieth century, other European countries, such as Germany and Russia, had caught up with France and overtaken it in number of people. However, the country's population sharply increased with the baby boom following World War II. According to INSEE, since 2004, 200,000 immigrants entered the country annually. One out of two was born in Europe and one in three in Africa. Between 2009-2012, the number of Europeans entering France increased sharply (plus 12% per year on average).The national birth rate, after dropping for a time, began to rebound in the 1990s and currently the country's fertility rate is close to the replacement level. According to a 2006 INSEE study, "the natural increase is close to 300,000 people, a level that has not been reached in more than thirty years." With a total fertility rate of 1.96 in 2016, France however remains the most fertile country in the European Union. Among the 802,000 babies born in metropolitan France in 2010, 80.1% had two French parents, 13.3% had one French parent, and 6.6% had two non-French parents. For the same year, 27.3% of newborns in metropolitan France had at least one foreign-born parent and 23.9% had at least one parent born outside of Europe (parents born in overseas territories are considered as being born in France).Between 2006-08, about 40% of newborns in France had one foreign-born grandparent (11% born in another European country, 16% born in the Maghreb and 12% born in another region of the world). Censuses on race and ethnic origin were banned by the French Government in 1978, since the term "race" in France invokes associations with Nazi Germany.Fauna of Metropolitan France
This article is about the fauna of Metropolitan France, including Corsica. For the animal life in the French Overseas territories, see : Fauna of French Guiana, Fauna of French Polynesia, Fauna of Martinique, Fauna of Réunion, Fauna of Guadeloupe, Fauna of Mayotte and Fauna of Saint Pierre and Miquelon.
Birds : see List of birds of Metropolitan France
Mammals : see List of mammals of Metropolitan France
Fishes : see List of fish of Metropolitan France
Reptiles : see List of reptiles of Metropolitan France
Amphibians : see List of amphibians of Metropolitan France
Insects : : see List of insects of Metropolitan France
Mollusks : see List of non-marine molluscs of Metropolitan FranceFrench Guiana
French Guiana ( or , French: Guyane; French pronunciation: [ɡɥijan]) is an overseas department and region of France, on the north Atlantic coast of South America in the Guyanas. It borders Brazil to the east and south and Suriname to the west. Since 1981, when Belize became independent from the United Kingdom, French Guiana has been the only territory of the mainland Americas that is still part of a European country.
With a land area of 83,534 km2 (32,253 sq mi), French Guiana is the second-largest region of France (it is more than one-seventh the size of Metropolitan France) and the largest outermost region within the European Union. It has a very low population density, with only 3.6 inhabitants per square kilometre (9.3/sq mi). (Its population is less than 1/200 the population of Metropolitan France.) Half of its 296,711 inhabitants in 2019 lived in the metropolitan area of Cayenne, its capital. 98.9% of the land territory of French Guiana is covered by forests, a large part of which is primeval rainforest. The Guiana Amazonian Park, which is the largest national park in the European Union, covers 41% of French Guiana's territory.
Since December 2015 both the region and the department have been ruled by a single assembly within the framework of a new territorial collectivity, the French Guiana Territorial Collectivity (French: collectivité territoriale de Guyane). This assembly, the French Guiana Assembly (French: assemblée de Guyane), has replaced the former regional council and departmental council, which were both disbanded. The French Guiana Assembly is in charge of regional and departmental government. Its president is Rodolphe Alexandre.
Before European contact, the territory was originally inhabited by Native Americans, most speaking the Arawak language, of the Arawakan language family. The people identified as Lokono. The first French establishment is recorded in 1503, but France did not establish a durable presence until colonists founded Cayenne in 1643. Guiana was developed as a slave society, where planters imported Africans as enslaved laborers on large sugar and other plantations in such number as to increase the population. Slavery was abolished in the colonies at the time of the French Revolution. Guiana was designated as a French department in 1797. But, after France gave up most of its territory in North America in 1803, it developed Guiana as a penal colony, establishing a network of camps and penitentiaries along the coast where prisoners from metropolitan France were sentenced to forced labor.During World War II and the fall of France to German forces, Félix Éboué was one of the first to support General Charles de Gaulle of Free France, as early as June 18, 1940. Guiana officially rallied Free France in 1943. It abandoned its status as a colony and once again became a French department in 1946.
After De Gaulle was elected as president of France, he established the Guiana Space Centre in 1965. It is now operated by the CNES, Arianespace and the European Space Agency (ESA).
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, several hundred Hmong refugees from Laos immigrated to French Guiana, fleeing displacement after United States involvement in the Vietnam War. In the late 1980s, more than 10,000 Surinamese refugees, mostly Maroons, arrived in French Guiana, fleeing the Surinamese Civil War. More recently, French Guiana has received large numbers of Brazilian and Haitian economic migrants. Illegal and ecologically destructive gold mining by Brazilian garimpeiros is a chronic issue in the remote interior rain forest of French Guiana.Fully integrated in the French central state in the 21st century, Guiana is a part of the European Union, and its official currency is the euro. The region has the highest nominal GDP per capita in South America. A large part of Guiana's economy derives from jobs and businesses associated with the presence of the Guiana Space Centre, now the European Space Agency's primary launch site near the equator. As elsewhere in France, the official language is standard French, but each ethnic community has its own language, of which French Guianese Creole, a French-based creole language, is the most widely spoken.
The region still faces such problems as poor infrastructure, high costs of living, high levels of crime and common social unrest.Geography of France
The geography of France consists of a terrain that is mostly flat plains or gently rolling hills in the north and west and mountainous in the south (including the Pyrenees) and the east (the highest points being in the Alps).Gironde estuary
The Gironde is a navigable estuary (often falsely referred to as a river), in southwest France and is formed from the meeting of the rivers Dordogne and Garonne just downstream of the centre of Bordeaux. Covering around 635 km2 (245 sq mi), it is the largest estuary in western Europe.The Gironde is approximately 80 km (50 mi) long and 3–11 km (2–7 miles) wide and the French département Gironde is named after it. The Gironde is subject to very strong tidal currents and great care is needed when navigating the estuary by any size or type of boat.Gulf of Lion
The Gulf of Lion (French: golfe du Lion, Spanish: golfo de León, Italian: Golfo del Leone, Occitan: golf del/dau Leon, Catalan: golf del Lleó, Medieval Latin: sinus Leonis, mare Leonis, Classical Latin: sinus Gallicus) is a wide embayment of the Mediterranean coastline of Languedoc-Roussillon and Provence in France, reaching from the border with Catalonia in the west to Toulon.
The chief port on the gulf is Marseille. Toulon is another important port. The fishing industry in the gulf is based on hake (Merluccius merluccius), being bottom-trawled, long-lined and gill-netted and currently declining from over-fishing.
Rivers that empty into the gulf include the Tech, Têt, Aude, Orb, Hérault, Vidourle, and the Rhône.
The continental shelf is exposed here as a wide coastal plain, and the offshore terrain slopes rapidly to the Mediterranean's abyssal plain. Much of the coastline is composed of lagoons and salt marsh.
This is the area of the cold, blustery winds called the Mistral and the Tramontane.Gulf of Morbihan
The Gulf of Morbihan is a natural harbour on the coast of the Département of Morbihan in the south of Brittany, France. This English name is taken from the French version: le golfe du Morbihan. It is more accurately called 'the Morbihan' directly from its Breton name which is Ar Mor Bihan, meaning 'the little sea' (Compare the Welsh y môr bychan), as opposed to the Atlantic Ocean outside, (Ar Mor Bras). Legend says that there are as many islands in the Gulf as there are days of the year. However, this is untrue and the gulf has about 40, depending on the tide. Many islands are private property, except the largest two, l'Île-aux-Moines and l'Île-d'Arz.
The area around the gulf features an extraordinary range of megalithic monuments. There are passage dolmens, stepped pyramids with underground dolmen chambers, stone circles, and giant menhirs, among others. The site best known to outsiders is Carnac, where remains of a dozen rows of huge standing stones run for over ten kilometers. The passage grave of Gavrinis, on a small island in the Gulf, is one of the most important such sites in Europe. Some of the ruins have been dated to at least 3300 BC — 200 years older than England's Stonehenge.Les Grangettes
Les Grangettes is a commune in the Doubs department in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region in eastern France.List of French regions and overseas collectivities by GDP
This article lists French regions and overseas collectivities by gross domestic product (GDP).
INSEE and affiliate statistical offices in the overseas collectivities produce estimates of GDP in France's 13 regions and 5 overseas collectivities every year, and in some overseas collectivities where GDP estimates are made only every few years.
In 2011, France (whose territory in the national accounts refers to Metropolitan France plus the four old overseas regions of Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, and Réunion, but excludes Mayotte and the six overseas collectivities) had a GDP of US$2,778 bn, 98.2% of which was produced in Metropolitan France, and 1.8% in the four overseas regions.List of Lepidoptera of Metropolitan France
Lepidoptera of France consist of both the butterflies and moths recorded from Metropolitan France.
According to a recent estimate, there are a total of 5,109 Lepidoptera species present in France, including Corsica and Monaco.List of islands of France
This is a list of islands of France, including both metropolitan France and French overseas islands.List of non-marine molluscs of Metropolitan France
This article is about the non-marine molluscs fauna of Metropolitan France. For the non-marine molluscs in the French Overseas territories, see : List of non-marine molluscs of French Guiana, List of non-marine molluscs of French Polynesia, List of non-marine molluscs of Martinique, List of non-marine molluscs of Réunion, List of non-marine molluscs of Guadeloupe and List of non-marine molluscs of Mayotte.
The non-marine molluscs of France are a part of the molluscan fauna of Metropolitan France (including Corsica).
There are 695 species of non-marine molluscs living in the wild in continental France.Maquis shrubland
Maquis (French) or macchia (Italian: macchia mediterranea) is a shrubland biome in the Mediterranean region, typically consisting of densely growing evergreen shrubs.Massif Central
The Massif Central (French pronunciation: [masif sɑ̃tʁal]; Occitan: Massís Central) is a highland region in the middle of Southern France, consisting of mountains and plateaus. It covers about 15% of mainland France.
Subject to volcanism that has subsided in the last 10,000 years, these central mountains are separated from the Alps by a deep north–south cleft created by the Rhône River and known in French as the sillon rhodanien (literally "Rhône furrow"). The region was a barrier to transport within France until the opening of the A75 motorway, which not only made north–south travel easier, but also opened up the massif itself.Overseas department and region
The overseas departments and regions of France (French: département et régions d’outre-mer or DROM) are departments of France which are outside metropolitan France, the European part of France. They have nearly the same political status as metropolitan departments, although special constitutional provisions allow them greater autonomy and they are excluded from certain domestic statistics, such as the unemployment rate.
As integral parts of France and the European Union, overseas departments are represented in the National Assembly, Senate, and Economic and Social Council, vote to elect members of the European Parliament (MEP), and also use the euro as their currency.
The overseas departments and regions are not the same as the overseas collectivities, which have a semi-autonomous status.
Each overseas department is the sole department in its own overseas region (French: région d'outre-mer) with powers identical to the regions of metropolitan France. Because of the one-to-one correspondence, informal usage does not distinguish the two, and the French media uses the term département d’outre-mer (DOM) almost exclusively.
Since March 2011, the five overseas departments and regions of France are:
French Guiana in South America;
Guadeloupe and Martinique in the Caribbean;
Mayotte and Réunion in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Africa.Guadeloupe and Réunion each have separate departmental and regional councils, while in Mayotte, Guiana and Martinique, the two layers of government are consolidated so one body wields both sets of powers. The overseas departments acquired these additional powers in 1982, when France's decentralisation policy dictated that they be given elected regional councils and other regional powers, however the term "overseas region" was only introduced with the French constitutional amendment of 28 March 2003.Paris-Plages
Paris-Plages ("Paris Beaches"; till 2006 Paris-Plage in the singular) is a plan run by the office of the mayor of Paris that creates temporary artificial beaches each summer along the river Seine in the centre of Paris, and, since 2007, along the Bassin de la Villette in the northeast of Paris. Every July and August, roadways on the banks of the Seine are closed off and host various activities, including sandy beaches and palm trees.