of France

Location: Western Europe, bordering the Bay of Biscay and English Channel, between Belgium and Spain southeast of the UK; bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Italy and Spain

Map references: Europe

total area: 547,030 sq km
land area: 545,630 sq km
comparative area: slightly more than twice the size of Colorado
note: includes Corsica and the rest of metropolitan France, but excludes the overseas administrative divisions

Land boundaries: total 2,892.4 km, Andorra 60 km, Belgium 620 km, Germany 451 km, Italy 488 km, Luxembourg 73 km, Monaco 4.4 km, Spain 623 km, Switzerland 573 km

Coastline: 3,427 km (mainland 2,783 km, Corsica 644 km)

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

International disputes: Madagascar claims Bassas da India, Europa Island, Glorioso Islands, Juan de Nova Island, and Tromelin Island; Comoros claims Mayotte; Mauritius claims Tromelin Island; Seychelles claims Tromelin Island; Suriname claims part of French Guiana; Mexico claims Clipperton Island; territorial claim in Antarctica (Adelie Land); Saint Pierre and Miquelon is focus of maritime boundary dispute between Canada and France

Climate: generally cool winters and mild summers, but mild winters and hot summers along the Mediterranean

Terrain: mostly flat plains or gently rolling hills in north and west; remainder is mountainous, especially Pyrenees in south, Alps in east

Natural resources: coal, iron ore, bauxite, fish, timber, zinc, potash

Land use: arable land: 32%
permanent crops: 2%
meadows and pastures: 23%
forest and woodland: 27%
other: 16%

Irrigated land: 11,600 sq km (1989 est.)

Environment: current issues: some forest damage from acid rain; air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution from urban wastes, agricultural runoff

natural hazards: flooding

international agreements: party to - Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Wetlands, Whaling; signed, but not ratified - Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Desertification, Law of the Sea

Note: largest West European nation; occasional warm tropical wind known as mistral


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