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France
Date: 2015-9-11 18:16:10

Brief Introduction to France

 

France today is one of the most modern countries in the world and is a leader among European nations. It plays an influential global role as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, NATO, the G-8, the G-20, the EU and other multilateral organizations. France is a founding member of the United Nations, where it serves as one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. It is a member of numerous international institutions, including the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Trade Organization (WTO), and La Francophonie. France is a founding and leading member state of the European Union (EU).

 

 

France rejoined NATO's integrated military command structure in 2009, reversing DE GAULLE's 1966 decision to withdraw French forces from NATO. Since 1958, it has constructed a hybrid presidential-parliamentary governing system resistant to the instabilities experienced in earlier, more purely parliamentary administrations.

 

 

In recent decades, its reconciliation and cooperation with Germany have proved central to the economic integration of Europe, including the introduction of a common currency, the euro, in January 1999. In the early 21st century, five French overseas entities - French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, and Reunion - became French regions and were made part of France proper.

 

The European part of France, called Metropolitan France, extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. France spans 640,679 square kilometers (247,368 sq mi) and has a total population of 67 million.

 

 

Throughout its long history, France has been a leading global center of culture, producing numerous artists, thinkers, and inventors. It hosts the world's fourth-largest number of cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites and receives around 83 million foreign tourists annually—the most of any country in the world.

 

 

France remains a great power with significant cultural, economic, military, and political influence in Europe and around the world. It is a developed country with the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest by purchasing power parity.

 

 

In terms of total wealth, France is the wealthiest nation in Europe and fourth in the world. It also possesses the world's second-largest exclusive economic zone (EEZ), covering 11,035,000 square kilometres (4,261,000 sq mi).

 

 

French citizens enjoy a high standard of living, and the country performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, civil liberties, and human development.

 

 

Capital: Paris

 

 

Flag: The national flag is a tricolor of blue, white, and red vertical stripes.

 

 

Anthem: La Marseillaise.

 

 

Monetary Unit: The euro replaced the franc as the official currency in 2002. The euro is divided into 100 cents. There are coins in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents and 1 euro and 2 euros. There are notes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 euros. €1 = $1.1463 (or $1 = €0.8704) as of 2015.

 

 

Weights and Measures: The metric system is the legal standard.

 

 

Holidays: New Year's Day, 1 January; Labor Day, 1 May; World War II Armistice Day, 8 May; Bastille Day, 14 July; Assumption, 15 August; All Saints' Day, 1 November; World War I Armistice Day, 11 November; Christmas, 25 December. Movable holidays include Easter Monday, Ascension, and Pentecost Monday.

 

Time: 1 pm = noon GMT.