Last update: February 20th, 2020 at 8:00 am
This Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image from the Aqua satellite on March 31, 2003, shows pollution swirling above the Atlantic Ocean off the west coast of France (bottom right). At top center is the southern part of the United Kingdom, with Ireland to the west.
France, officially the French Republic (French: République française, pronounced (listen)), is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans.
The country’s 18 integral regions (five of which are situated overseas) span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.02 million (as of July 2019). France is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country’s largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.