With a surface area of approximately 550,000 sq km, France is Europe's largest country.
The population in 1999 was counted at just over 60 million people, with Paris, the capital, having more than 2 million inhabitants. Our population density is 109 inhabitants per sq km, with an average population increase of 350,000 per year, which is equivalent to an annual rise of 0.6%.
France's official language is French, with other languages such as Alsacien, Basque, Breton, Catalan, Corse, Occitan also spoken, in addition to various regional dialects.
The French mainland itself is divided into 22 administrative regions, 95 departments with over 36,000 cities. Globally, there are over 122 million French-speakers.
The geographical shape of France is often described as hexagonal - with the distance north-south very similar to that of east-west (approximately 950 km). Infact, no location in France is further than 500 km from the sea.
Much of the country is coastal (2,700km of coastline) with the remaining 2,900km boardering 5 different countries.
France's four largest rivers are the Seine (776 km), the Loire (1,012 km), the Garonne (580 km) and the Rhône (522 km).
The French island of Corsica, is located 180 km from the Côte d'Azur in the Mediterranean sea. Corsica's geographical area is nearly 9,000 sq km, measuring 183 from north to south, and 85 from east to west.
France also has 4 non-metropolitan departments (Guadeloupe, Guyane, Martinique and Reunion), 3 territories (New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna, French Polynesia) and 2 territorial collectives (Mayotte, St Pierre and Miquelon).
Our mountainous regions consist of the sharp peaks of the Alps (a region covering 500 sq km), the Pyrenees the Jura, the Massif Central and the Vosges.
Glaciers can be found both in the Alps and in the Pyrenees, the largest being the 'Mer de Glace' (the Sea of Ice) in the Alpine mountain 'Mont Blanc', stretching to 18 km.