A country that has once led the economic, political, human and intellectual advancement of Europe still has much to offer.
France’s political and economical capital is the city of Paris and it’s also the largest in population and its language is French which is based on Latin of the Roman Empire.
Some Historical Sides
During the 17th and 18th centuries, France colonised great parts of North America and South Asia; during the 19th and early 20th centuries, France built the second largest empire of the time, including large portions of North, West and Central Africa, Southeast Asia, and many Caribbean and Pacific Islands. In the middle-east and during the heydays of the Islamic Empire, Frenchmen have led the waves of Crusades to Levantine and Egypt. After the decline of the middle-ast, France has left their mark in Bonaparte's campaign to Egypt believing he could start a new Eastern Empire based in Cairo.
Its current President Nicolas Sarkozy leads the executive power in a semi-presidential system (hybrid between Parliamentary and Presidential systems). Both President and Prime Minister François Fillon are of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) political party. France’s Constitution has been formulated by their Fifth Republic on 1958 and their Parliament is made up of 2 houses: Upper House (Senate and similar to Magless elShoura (Arabic: مجلس الشورى) in Egypt) and Lower House (National Assembly and similar to Magless elShaab (Arabic: مجلس الشعب) in Egypt).
France’s area is large by European standard and is near 700,000 square kilometers with about 550,000 square kilometers in European mainland and Corsica island (called "Metropolitan" areas in France).
Population on 2011 is estimated to be near 66 millions with about 95% living in Metropolitan areas with an average density of 116 capita per square kilometers.
The overseas regions and collectivities form part of the French Government responsibilities. They are: Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, Réunion and Mayotte, Saint Pierre and Miquelon. As well as Overseas territories: New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna.
What are Communes, Departments and Regions?
In France, Marseille is a 'Commune' which is similar to 'Parish', 'City' or 'Town' in England, and 'Madinah' (Arabic: مدينة) in Egypt (such as Alexandria). A 'Region' of France is like a 'Region' in England and a 'Mohafaza' in Egypt. The commune of Paris and all its attached urban areas (such as Maadi and Shoubra elKheima to Cairo in Egypt) are part of the Region of Île-de-France (literally means the Island of France) but sometimes called Région Parisienne (the Paris Region) or simply PR.
Between the larger 'Region' and smaller 'Commune', there's a division called 'Department'. So the commune of Marseille is part of the department of Bouches-du-Rhône which is part of the region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur.
List of the largest communes in France as per 2011:
Population 2006 census
a.k.a. Région Parisienne (the Paris Region)
3LyonRhôneRhône-Alpes472,3054ToulouseHaute-GaronneMidi-Pyrénées437,7155NiceAlpes-MaritimesProvence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur347,060 6NantesLoire-AtlantiquePays de la Loire282,8537StrasbourgBas-RhinAlsace272,9758MontpellierHéraultLanguedoc-Roussillon251,6349BordeauxGirondeAquitaine232,26010LilleNordNord-Pas-de-Calais226,014
With Euro as their currency, France’s 2010 GDP is €1.8 trillion (US$ 2,582 billion according to IMF) which makes it 5th largest economy in the world after USA, China, Japan and Germany. Compare this 2010 IMF GDP to Turkey’s US$ 742 billion (rank 17th of world’s countries economies), Indonesia’s US$ 707 billion (rank 18th), Saudia’s US$ 444 billion (rank 23rd), Egypt’s at US$ 218 billion (rank 40th), Israel at US$ 213 billion (rank 42nd), and Iraq’s US$ 84 billion (rank 62nd).
Countries Standard Time and Codes
France is in a Time zone of GMT+1. Compare to Egypt’s GMT+2. France adopts Summer Daylight saving time as rest of Europe (although increasingly many countries have stopped using it) and from the first hour of last Sunday in March to the first hour of last Sunday in October the time becomes GMT+2.
Frances websites end with the TLD .fr and do not commit to .com or .org like rest of the world. Telephone numbers start with +33.
Like many other countries, French language is the official language of France but other languages exist.
Catalan, Alsatian, Corsican, Breton, Gallo, Occitan, Tahitian, some languages of New Caledonia.
Not officially recognized
Basque, Flemish, Franco-Provençal, Lorraine Franconian, Creole, Martiniquan Creole, etc.
Immigrant Languages You May Meet in France
Maghrebi Arabic, Berber, Turkish, Dutch, Portuguese, Italian, and Spanish.