Quick Facts about France

france-map

Official Name
Republic of France (République française in French)

What is the origin of France’s name?
“France” comes from the Latin word Francia, meaning “country of the Franks.” The “Franks” might refer to Germanic words for “javelin” or “free.”

What is France’s motto?
Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

Capital
Paris

Largest City
Paris

Area
674,843 square kilometres / 260,558 square miles

Highest Point
Mont Blanc (4,808 metres)

Lowest Point
Rhone River delta (-2 metres)

Coastline
2,129 miles

Population
66.03 million (2013)

GDP (PPP) per capita
$38,530 (2013)

Form of Government (as at November 2015)
Republic

Administrative Units
27 regions

National Holiday
Bastille Day – July 14

Head of State (as at November 2015)
President Francois Hollande

Head of Government (as at November 2015)
Manuel Valls

Currency
Euro

Major Languages
French

Major Religions
Roman Catholic, Protestant

What countries border (Metropolitan) France?
Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Monaco, Spain, Andorra, United Kingdom (using the Channel Tunnel)

What are the major rivers in France?
Seine, Loire, Garonne, Rhone

What are the major mountain ranges of France?
Alps, Massif Central, Pyrenees

What is the national anthem of France?
La Marseillaise


Why was the Eiffel Tower built?

The Eiffel Tower was built as an entrance arch for the 1889 World’s Fair by Gustave Eiffel. Though today the Eiffel Tower is a major icon of Paris and France, it initially drew criticism from the public. The city of Paris had only planned to keep the tower for 20 years after the World’s Fair, but it was used for communication purposes as a radio transmitter.