Form of Government: Republic
Area: 543 940 sq km
Population: 65 235 843 inhab. (estimate 2021)
Density: 119.93 inhab./sq km
Coordinates: lat. 51° - 42° N; long. 5° W - 8° E
Capital: Paris (capital) 2 175 601 inhab. (2018); Paris 12 628 266 inhab. (2017), urban agglomeration
Currency: euro (100 cents)
Human development index: 0.901 (rank: 26)
President: Emmanuel Macron (REM), in office since 14 May 2017
Prime Minister: Jean Castex (REM), since 3 July 2020
National Assembly: seats (August 2021 update): REM (La République en Marche!, liberal), 270; LR (The Republicans, centre-right), 103; MoDem (Democratic Movement, centrist), 57; Socialists, 29; Act Together (centrist), 22; UDI and Independents group (centrist), 19; FI (La France Insoumise, radical left), 17; Agir ensemble (centrist), 17; Liberties and Territories (moderate), 16; GDR (Democratic and Republican Left, radical left), 15; non-inscrits, 24; vacant, 6
Internet: (Institut national de la Statistique et des Études économiques)
Member of Council of Europe, EBRD, EU, NATO, OAS observer, OECD, OSCE, SPC, UN, WTO


France, République française
Useful information

International license plate code F
International dialling code 0033
Travel vaccinations requirement none
Electricity (Voltage) 230
Driving side rigth
Internet code .fr

GMT  +1
DST  +2
DST duration (start-end) late March-late October

Annual average temperature (°C) Paris 10.8; Ajaccio 14.8; Bordeaux 13.2; Brest 11.3; Lille 8.7; Lyon 11.7; Marseille 15; Nice 14.2; Toulouse 14
Average temperature in January/July (°C) Paris 5/19.5; Ajaccio 8.5/22; Bordeaux 6.5/21; Brest 6.5/17; Lille 3.5/18; Lyon 3/21; Marseille 7/24; Nice 8.5/22.5; Toulouse 5.5/22
Daily sunshine hours in June/December (average) Paris 8/1; Ajaccio 10.5/4; Bordeaux 8/2; Brest 7/2; Lille 7/1; Lyon 9.5/2; Marseille 11/4.5; Nice 10/5; Toulouse 8/2.5
Annual average precipitation (mm) Paris 655; Ajaccio 656; Bordeaux 1020; Brest 1172; Lille 725; Lyon 840; Marseille 559; Nice 765; Toulouse 665
Days of rainfall (annual average) Paris 110; Ajaccio 75; Bordeaux 129; Brest 158; Lille 129; Lyon 107; Marseille 58; Nice 62; Toulouse 101

Politics and current affairs

Between the end of 2020 and August 2021, France was forced to face several waves of COVID-19, the last of which was caused by the Delta variant. The French government introduced different restrictions across the departments, including curfews and closing specific cultural activities and services. The vaccination campaign, which started on 27 December 2020, resulted in 81.6% of the over-12 population receiving at least one dose (22 August 2021). In summer 2021, France was one of the first EU countries to introduce the “green pass” (passe sanitaire) obligation to access certain public places and transportation.
After two Islamist terrorist attacks, the French government introduced a controversial law against “religious separatism”, which was approved by the parliament on 23 July 2021. The law brought in increased state control over religious organizations and places of worship that incite theories of hatred and violence.
The administration elections (20/27 June 2021) were won by the traditional French parties (socialist and republican). Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement national (RN), initially among the favourites for the elections, failed to win a region. On 10 June 2021, President Macron announced that the Barkhane military operation in Mali, which had started in 2014, would come to an end.

France is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the north-east, by Germany, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and by Spain and Andorra to the southwest. It surrounds the Principality of Monaco to the south-east. The English Channel lies off its northwest coast, the Atlantic Ocean off its west coast and the Mediterranean Sea off its south coast.
Two main types of landscape predominate. In the west and north there are flat plains of rolling low-lying hills, ancient sedimentary land facing out onto the Atlantic Ocean and the English Channel, with a low-lying sandy coastline in the south and a rocky coastline in the north. Mountains dominate the central, eastern and south-eastern parts of France. The coasts facing the Mediterranean Sea are varied: high, jagged and rocky in the east, and low-lying, sandy, fringed with lagoons in the west.
Most of the watercourses flow into the Rhône and down to the Mediterranean. The Garonne, the Loire, and the Seine flow into the Atlantic Ocean. The Rhine flows briefly through part of France. Corsica, an island in the north-central Mediterranean, is mainly mountainous (Mount Cinto, 2706 m), with a rugged western coastline and a smooth eastern coastline.
The French climate is subject to western airflows from the Atlantic; the area south of the Massif Central and the Alps has a mainly Mediterranean climate; in the Alps, the Pyrenees and the Massif Central, the altitude influences the climate.


The current Fifth Republic is the legacy of the four preceding republics: the First (1792-1804), associated with the historic Revolution of 1789; the Second (1848-1852), emerged from the unrest in 1848 but was soon ended by a coup initiated by Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte; the Third Republic (1875-1940), created after the years of the Paris Commune and ending with occupation by the Nazis; the Fourth Republic (1946-1958), created after WWII, lasted until the serious crisis resulting from the war in Algeria.
In 1958, the threat of a military coup following the Algerian crisis encouraged the political powers to offer full powers to General Charles de Gaulle. De Gaulle held a referendum (28 September 1958) to approve a new Constitution and became head of state (21 December 1958). Since then, the presidency has alternated between Gaullists and socialists, before coming to Emmanuel Macron (2017-), who redefined strong political balances.
Following the approval of the territorial reorder plan (2016), as from 2020 the French Republic is formed by 96 Departments of Metropolitan France, 21 Metropolises (2 of which, Grand Paris and Aix-Marseille are by special statute) and 13 Regions (prior to the reform, which increased their powers and size, there were 22). It also includes overseas departments, territories and collectivities (DROM-COM): 5 departments and regions (DROM, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Réunion and Mayotte), 5 collectivities (COM, Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, Wallis and Futuna, French Polynesia, Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy), as well as New Caledonia, which enjoys a special statute, the overseas territory (TOM) of the Southern and Antarctic Lands and Clipperton Island. Mayotte (since 2011), French Guiana and Martinique (since 2015), and Corsica (since 2019) are unique territorial collectivities, which exercise the competencies of the region and department.
According to the 1958 Constitution (which has been altered several times), the President of the Republic is elected by direct universal suffrage for five years (according to the reform of 2009, he or she can be re-elected only once); the President presides over the Council of Ministers, appoints the Prime Minister and, on the latter’s advice, his ministers. It is a semi-presidential system and the government must be approved by the parliament. Parliament can also influence the appointment and the programme of the Prime Minister. Before the reform of the presidential mandate, reducing it to five years (in 2000) and before legislative elections were held at the same time as presidential elections, the system led several times to a President of the Republic having to “co-habit” with a prime Minister who was of a very different political majority.
Parliament is made up of two chambers. The National Assembly has 577 members representing Metropolitan France and DROM-COM-TOMs, being elected for five years under a single-member majority system with two rounds of voting.
The Senate has 336 members who represent Metropolitan France and DROM-COM-TOMs (elected for six years, half of whom are renewed every three years) plus 12 members representing French citizens abroad, the Assemblée des Français de l’étranger (AFE).

There are three armed forces (army, navy and air force) plus the Gendarmerie, a military police force with the role of maintaining public order; they are completely professional since 2001.
In 2019, a Space Command within the air force was founded. In 2020, France and Germany signed a deal to develop a new fighter jet prototype. France supports NATO as a political ally, but between 1966 and 2009 it did not participate in any combined military operation. The new multi-year military budget (2019-2025) includes a major increase in military spending, which aims to reach and maintain the spending objective required for NATO member countries (2% of the GDP).

The judicial system is based on the Napoleonic Codes. In 1994, a new penal code came into force (replacing the code of 1810). The system includes 164 judicial courts (created in 2020), 155 juvenile courts, 210 labour courts and 136 business courts; in the second instance there are 36 courts of appeal and a final appeal may be made before the Court of Cassation for matters of form and procedure. Same-sex marriage was made legal in 2013. Homosexual couples are also allowed to adopt.

Air force20.9%2015
Crimes5 636.4per 100 000 pop.2009
Homicides1.2per 100 000 pop.2018

Administrative division

Administrative divisions
Paris2 175 601inhab.2018
Marseille868 277inhab.2018
Urban agglomerations
Paris12 628 266inhab.2017
Lyon2 323 221inhab.2017


Population by age and gender (% - 2020)

There are many foreign residents, especially from North Africa (Moroccans, Algerians and Tunisians), but also Portuguese, Italians, Spaniards, Chinese and Turks.
The law on nationality, in force since 1997, has made it automatic (on reaching the age of 18) for people born on French soil of foreign parents to acquire French citizenship, provided they have lived in France for at least five years. The 2018 reform of asylum and immigration rights reduced the times for examining migrant applications, increased times for detaining illegal aliens and simplified the procedures for deporting those with no right to stay in the country. At the same time, the law included an increase from 1 to 4 years for the duration of permits for subsidiary protection given to refugees.

Demographic statistics
Birth rate10.72020
Death rate10$2020
Foreigners, total5 137 398units2020
Portuguese548 364units2017
Ethnic groups


Breton, Corsican, German, Basque, Catalan, Flemish minorities
French (official)
Population by selected age groups
0-14 years18.3%2020
15-29 years17.7%2020



Economic situation.
The strict pandemic restrictions had a major impact on the French economy, whose GDP fell by 8.2% in 2020. The GDP is expected to grow by 5.8% in 2021. The exceptional measures to boost the economy resulted in a 2020 deficit that accounts for 9.2% of the GDP.

Economy - General data
Agricultural prod. index (2004-06=100)95.83index2016
Agricultural prod. index (2014-16=100)97.98index2019
Economy - Employment
Active population29 345 800units2020
Active population, Females48.5%2020
Economy - Unemployment
Unemployment rate8$%2020
Unemployment rate, Females48.7%2020
Economy - State budget
Expenses589 395M LCU2020
Revenues430 443M LCU2020
Employment by economic activity
GDP by economic activity
Financial data
Currency in circulation273.331BN LCU2020
International reserves224 236.418M US$2020


Primary sector
France is the largest agricultural producer in the EU and one of the largest exporters of foodstuffs. A large part of the cultivated land is used to grow cereals: mainly wheat and oats, but also barley, rye, maize, rice (mainly in the Camargue) and sorghum; other important crops include potatoes, vegetables and fruit.
France is one of the world’s main producers of wine. There are five great vine-growing areas: Champagne (sparkling wines), the Middle and Lower Loire, the south-west (Bordeaux and Médoc), the East (Burgundy) and the Mediterranean Midi. Cognac and Armagnac are famous for their brandies; liqueurs are made in Bordeaux, Paris (digestifs), Fécamp (bénédictine) and Isère (chartreuse). The main industrial crop is sugar beet; minor crops include flax and tobacco.
Timber production plays an important role in the economy. Cork-oak production is common in Provence, Gascony, Languedoc and southern Corsica.
Livestock farming contributes about one third of the income in the primary sector, with large numbers of beef and dairy cattle, pigs, rabbits and poultry. French cheeses are world famous and are exported widely.
French fishing numbers nearly 7800 boats and provides employment for about 13 500 people. The main port is Boulogne. The south Breton coast supply mainly sardines and shellfish. Fécamp, Saint-Malo and Dunkirk are equipped to fish cod off the coasts of Iceland, Newfoundland and Greenland. Oysters come from Arcachon, La Tremblade, Marennes and Cancale. Fishing provides the raw materials for a sizeable fish-processing industry: sardines, salted herring (Dunkirk), anchovies (Collioure and Marseille), tuna fish (Nantes) and anchovy fillets.

Land use
arable land34.941%2018
Agriculture - products - Cereals
barley13 565.421000 t2019
cereals, total70 378.891000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Roots and tubers
potatoes8 560.411000 t2019
roots and tubers, total8 560.411000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Vegetables
artichokes38.031000 t2019
asparagus19.991000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Pulses
beans, dry11.0461000 t2018
beans, green337.951000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Grape
grapes5 489.651000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Olive
olives23.521000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Oilcrops
rapeseed3 523.31000 t2019
soybeans428.531000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Coconut palm
coconuts4.0821000 t2018
Agriculture - products - Aromatics
mustard seed16.7081000 t2018
Agriculture - products - Industrial crops
hops0.771000 t2019
sugar beet38 024.391000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Flax
flax fibre and tow850.351000 t2019
linseed45.51000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Fiber plants
hemp tow waste78.051000 t2019
hempseed125.3621000 t2018
Agriculture - products - Fruits
apples1 753.51000 t2019
apricots134.81000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Nuts
almonds1.131000 t2019
hazelnuts11.661000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Citrus fruits
citrus fruits61.791000 t2019
grapefruits8.51000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Tropical fruits
avocados2.081000 t2019
bananas206.871000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Others
mushrooms87.561000 t2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Cereals
barley1 944.191000 ha2019
maize1 506.11000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Roots and tubers
potatoes207.161000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Vegetables
artichokes5.461000 ha2019
cabbages6.71000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Pulses
beans, dry4.9891000 ha2018
beans, green27.821000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Grape
grape755.471000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Olive
olive17.721000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Oilcrops
rapeseed1 107.041000 ha2019
soybeans163.81000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Coconut palm
coconuts1.0751000 ha2018
Agriculture - areas harvested - Aromatics
mustard seed6.5131000 ha2018
Agriculture - areas harvested - Industrial crops
hops0.51000 ha2019
sugar beet446.61000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Flax
flax fibre and tow121.671000 ha2019
linseed21.841000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Fiber plants
hemp tow waste14.551000 ha2019
hempseed16.5111000 ha2018
Agriculture - areas harvested - Fruits
apples50.371000 ha2019
apricots12.281000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Nuts
almonds1.181000 ha2019
hazelnuts5.191000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Citrus fruits
citrus fruits4.611000 ha2019
grapefruits0.391000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Tropical fruits
avocados0.241000 ha2019
bananas7.781000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Others
mushrooms4.861000 ha2019


timber49 869 3702019
Livestock - Cattle
cattle18 150.621000 heads2019
cattle and buffaloes18 150.621000 heads2019
Livestock - Pigs
pigs13 5101000 heads2019
Livestock - Sheep
sheep7 1051000 heads2019
Livestock - Goats
goats1 2421000 heads2019
Livestock - Equines
asses30.461000 heads2018
asses and mules58.4481000 heads2018
Livestock - Poultry
birds281 4381000 heads2019
Livestock - Beekeeping
honey15.7551000 t2019
Livestock - Livestock products
butter422.91000 t2019
cheese1 9531000 t2019
crustaceans and molluscs236 282.4t2019


Secondary sector
The last coal mine (at Creutzwald, in the Moselle) was closed down in 2004. The deposits in Lorraine and Nord have also been inactive for many years. Hydrocarbons are extracted in only rather limited quantities: oil is extracted in Alsace, in south-west France and in the Paris Basin; natural gas is extracted at Lacq, Meillon-Saint-Faust, Saint-Marcet and Boulogne-sur-Gesse.
France imports almost all of the natural gas consumed. Various interconnectors with Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Spain are active. The South European Pipeline system starts at the oil terminal in the Rhône estuary and runs through Strasbourg to Karlsruhe in Germany. Once important, uranium mining ceased in 2001; today, the material is primarily imported from Canada and Niger, where France enjoys privileged access thanks to its colonial past.
Bauxite was discovered in 1822 in southern France, near Les Baux-de-Provence, where the name of the mineral comes from: in 1991 mining was completely stopped due to the exhaustion of resource. Today the contribution of the mineral industry to the economy is small. Salt, gypsum, kaolin, granite and dolomite are mined.
France is among the largest net exporter of energy due to its low generation costs and investment in nuclear technology. About 70% of the electricity produced is nuclear, followed by fossil energy sources (coal and natural gas) and by renewable energy sources, the latter of which are constantly growing. During 2018 the government launched a multi-year closure plan for some reactors, with the aim of lowering the share of energy from nuclear power to 50% by 2035.
There are 56 reactors in operation across 18 power plants: Belleville, Blayais, Bugey, Cattenom, Chinon, Chooz, Civaux, Cruas, Dampierre, Flamanville, Golfech, Gravelines, Nogent, Paluel, Penly, Saint-Alban, Saint-Laurent-des-Eaux and Tricastin. The additional reactor in Flamanville, under construction since 2007, has been subject to lengthy delays which led to a serious increase in costs. In 2020, the assembly of an experimental fusion reactor ITER began in Saint-Paul-lès-Durance, as part of an international project involving the EU, China, the USA, Russia and India.
Affected in recent years by floods and record-breaking heat waves, France aims to recover its leading role in the fight against climate change and invest more in renewable energy. Plans were approved to close all its coal plants by 2022, bring the percentage of renewable energy production to 40% by 2030 and, in general, drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions over the next few decades.
The economic crisis had the effect of reducing the number of businesses and employees in the traditional sectors of industry and a progressive conversion of investments and job openings towards the environment, energy and digital transition sectors.
The principal iron and steel industry has historically developed in the large Lorraine basin; the northern and central area follow, respectively, in order of importance. Large coke-producing plants are located in Lorraine, and in Nord. Aluminium is produced especially in the Alpine areas; the alumina required comes from workshops on the national territory. Other products include copper, lead, zinc, cadmium, magnesium and tin. Oil refineries are in operation in the lower reaches of the Seine, in Normandy and in the estuary of the Rhône. Regasification terminals are located in Montoir-de-Bretagne, Fos Tonkin, Fos Cavaou and Dunkirk.
The chemical industry remains a constant component of the economy, and is among the most important for added value and export. The primary chemical industries are largely concentrated on the outskirts of Paris and Lyon and in the Nord region. The Rhône Alpes region produces the highest amount of chemical products. Normandy is the top producer of fertilizers, additives for fuel and plastic materials. Picardy is the leader in international chemicals, the cosmetic industry and perfumeries; it is comprised of small and medium businesses specialised in products with a high turnover. The main chemicals produced include ammonia, nitric acid, phosphate and nitrogenous fertilizers, chlorine. France also produces plastics and resins: polyvinyl chloride or PVC, polyethylene and polystyrene. Other important chemical products include dyes, pharmaceuticals and perfumery products. Cement factories are widespread in the whole country.
Despite the economic crisis after 2008 and the closure of several plants, the engineering industry remains highly developed in the railway construction, automotive, ship-building, aeronautical, and agricultural and textile machinery segments. The greatest industrial concentrations of this kind are located around Paris and Lyon, where there are also plants manufacturing weapons, aeronautical components and textile machinery. Locomotives and railway carriages are produced in the east and north, also textile machinery. Some large plants of the aeronautical industry are located near Paris, at Toulouse (home of the Airbus company) and Bordeaux. Shipyards are located at Saint-Nazaire, La Ciotat, Dunkirk, La Seyne, Nantes, La Rochelle and Le Havre.
In 2019, the European Commission rejected the merger between the French Alstom and German Siemens owing to competition in the railway mechanics sector. On the contrary, in 2020, Alstom’s bid to take over parts of Bombardier Transportation was given the go-ahead. France and Germany are pushing for reforms to EU regulations in order to nurture industrial powerhouses in Europe.
The automotive industry is sizeable, employing 229 000 people (7% of the industrial workforce). In 2020, the production of new cars collapsed to 927 718 vehicles (-44.3% on 2019). Its major production plants are located around Paris, in Franche Comté, Rhône-Alpes, Brittany (Rennes), Maine (Le Mans), Normandy (Cléon, Sandouville and Caen) and in the Nord region, but many factories are facing closure. The sector also had to face the negative events concerning the historic brand Renault, after the failure of its merger with FCA in 2018, which instead turned to PSA (Peugeot) for the birth of a new group, Stellantis.
The textile and clothing industries play a primary role in exports, with areas dedicated to the manufacture of wool, silk and linen. Artificial and synthetic textile fibres are made in factories concentrated in the south-east of the country; there are other synthetic textile plants around Paris, in Normandy, in the north and also at Albi, Valence and Besançon. The leather industry is widespread. Some regions and towns stand out for the quantity and excellence of their products (shoes, gloves, travelling accessories, made mainly in Paris). Paper, glass and tobacco manufacturing plants are also active, as are sugar refineries.
Other particularly famous products include porcelain from Sèvres and Limoges; mirrors and crystal from Baccarat, Nancy, Saint-Louis-les-Bitche, Wingen-sur-Moder, Choisy-le-Roi, Vitry-sur-Seine, Bayel, Fains and Bordeaux; and clocks and watches from Besançon. The sectors of fashion and luxury items play a major role, with investments all over the world.

Mineral resources - Energy minerals
natural gas16$M m³2019
oil, crude645.31000 t2020
Mineral resources - Metal ores
bauxite69$1000 t2012
Mineral resources - Non-metal ores
feldspar6501000 t2014
gypsum3 0001000 t2020
Mineral resources - Rocks
diatomite75$1000 t2020
dolomite793.51000 t2018


Electric energy - Generated
- nuclear382 403M kWh2019
- other renew.61 604.48M kWh2019
Electric energy - Installed capacity
- nuclear63 1301000 kW2019
- other renew.29 256.91000 kW2019
Electric energy - Total production and capacity
total net generation546 331.12M kWh2019
total installed capacity133 456.981000 kW2018


Industry - Iron and Steel, Metallurgy
alumina3001000 t2019
aluminium497.31000 t2019
Industry - Machinery and transport equipment
bikes302 513no.2019
cars927 718no.2020
Industry - Electrical and electronics
air conditioners188 052no.2019
computers45 254no.2016
Industry - Petrochemicals
bitumen2 0561000 t2018
petrol17 196.11000 t2014
Industry - Chemicals
ammonia8841000 t2019
artificial and synthetic tow49.51000 t2007
Industry - Textiles
carpets12 7051000 m²2019
cotton fabrics448M m²2003
Industry - Clothing and footwear
footwear8 341 356pairs2019
Industry - Food and beverages
beer of barley2 237.51000 t2018
coconut oil0.0821000 t2018
Industry - Tobacco
cigarettes46 500M units2005
cigarettes - t834.61000 t2017
Industry - Paper and wood products
chemical pulp1 535.2861000 t2019
newsprint527.4521000 t2019
Industry - Glass and other non-metallic mineral products
cement19 605.51000 t2019
sheet glass - t68.71000 t2019
Industry - Various
chemicals production35 905.574M US$2018
food, beverages and tobacco production53 225.286M US$2018


Tertiary sector
Foreign trade.
The country, still in trade deficit, imports principally raw materials, semi-finished products and vehicles, but exports a great deal of farm produce, foodstuffs and manufactured products, especially hi-tech goods.
Fifteen commercial agreements with China were signed on 25 March 2019, without, however, joining the Belt and Road Initiative.

Main exports (M US$ - 2017)
machinery 60 726, aircraft and parts thereof 51 630, electrical and electronic equipment and appliances 41 779, pharmaceuticals 31 358, vehicles and parts thereof 28 714, chemicals 26 799, iron and steel 22 504, cars 22 112, plastics 21 393, cosmetics and perfumes 17 761, orthopaedic/electro-medical apparatus and precision instruments 15 875, cereals 10 865, apparel and accessories 10 718, wine 10 320, petroleum products 9 024, jewels and precious stones 7 962, spirits and non-alcoholic beverages 7 847, leather goods 7 460, cheese and dairy products 6 815, tyres and rubber articles 6 478, paper and paperboard 6 320, cereals 5 576, aluminium 5 336

Financeand banking.

The Paris stock exchange is part of the NYSE Euronext Group.
The banking system, which is highly diversified and efficient, owns some of Europe’s largest banks. Tensions arose with the USA regarding the approval of a tax on digital services by web giants, leading the USA to threaten sanctions on French exports.
Paris has subsequently postponed the collection of the tax until an agreement is drawn up.

Composition of goods exports
manufactures80.503% of goods exports2019
food products12.351% of goods exports2019
International trade by country - Merchandise Export
Germany69 891M US$2020
Italy37 139M US$2020
International trade by country - Merchandise Import
Germany101 023M US$2020
Belgium56 005M US$2020
Merchandise Export
2020488 345M US$ -
2019570 951M US$ -
Merchandise Import
2020582 351M US$ -
2019654 658M US$ -


Tourism. France is the world’s most popular holiday destination. Paris is the top attraction; other key attractions include the seaside resorts of the Côte d’Azur (such as Nice, Cannes and Antibes), the ski resorts of Haute-Savoie (Val Thorens and Chamonix), the Camargue, the chateaux of the Loire, the pretty villages of Normandy and Brittany and the Disneyland Resort, the theme park near Paris. Most tourists come from the European Union and the US, although there has been an increase in visitors from the emerging markets (pre-COVID-19 situation).

International Tourism
Expenditures60 726M US$2019
Number of arrivals89 322 000units2018


The road network is particularly complex around Paris and along the main Paris-Lyon-Marseilles motorway. The railway network includes high-speed train (TGV) services connecting the main urban centres; connections with other European high-speed networks are linking the country with Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Spain.
In June 2018, Parliament approved a radical reform project for the railway system, which will gradually bring an end to SNCF’s monopoly, paving the way for competition, and will modernize employment contracts for railway workers. The reform was opposed by the unions. A railway line that runs under the English Channel has been operating since 1994, connecting France to the United Kingdom. Paris, with its two main airports of Roissy (CDG) and Orly, is the second-largest air hub in Europe (after London) and one of the largest in the world.

Media and telecommunication.
The telecommunication sector is highly developed, technologically advanced and one of the most dynamic and competitive in the nation’s economy. Mobile telephone and connectivity services are among the most efficient in Europe and are provided by major companies that are competitive and active in international markets.
The infrastructure offering internet and telephone connectivity is extensive, allowing for the market to develop innovative services that favour consumers and businesses. Television services, watched over by the Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel (CSA), include public channels (France Télévisions group) and various private channels.

Communication - Transport
Civil aviation, km flown867 500 000km flown2004
Civil aviation, passengers carried71 289.31000 units2019
Communication - Media and telecommunication
Broadband subscribers456.934per 1000 pop.2019
Computers652per 1000 pop.2008

Social and welfare

Education, culture & research.
Since 2016 France has been divided into 17 academic regions, which group together the scholastic districts (Academies) responsible for primary, secondary and higher education at a local level, aiming to guarantee coherence in matters of regional jurisdiction. In 2004, a new law on secularity came into force, which bans religious symbols in state schools.
Education is compulsory and free from 6 to 16 years of age. Primary education lasts for five years and is followed by the first cycle of secondary teaching, which lasts for four years. Upper secondary school (for pupils aged between 15 and 18 who intend to continue their studies) is based around two key options: lengthy general or professional courses (three years) and shorter professional-type (commercial, industrial, administrative) courses (lasting between one and three years). There are three levels of university education: the Diplôme d’études universitaires (for which two more years of study are required), the Licence (three years), and the Maîtrise (four years).
In the spring of 2018, Parliament approved a controversial reform (Loi Vidal) that established limited enrolment at universities. In 2019, the closure of the ENA was announced, the grande école where many of France’s top executives traditionally study.

Social security.
The social welfare system covers illness, unemployment, maternity, invalidity, dependant family allowance and retirement pensions.
The 2019 attempt at pension reform, which aimed at rationalising the 42 different social security schemes currently in existence, was fiercely resisted. The reform was temporarily frozen in March 2020 due to the economic crisis resulting from the pandemic.

95% of doctors work for the national healthcare service, which reimburses the partial or total cost of medical expenses. Since 2018, early childhood vaccines recommended by the health authorities have been made mandatory.

Social statistics - Education
Expected years of schooling15.796years2018
Gradautes, percentage37.905%2019
Social statistics - Students and Teachers by level
Students, primary level4 302 412units2018
Students, secondary level6 109 604units2018
Social statistics - Social protection
Social protection spending42.95% of total expenses2019
Social protection spending30.987% of GDP2019
Social statistics - Health
Hospital beds6.1per 1000 pop.2019
Physicians3.5per 1000 pop.2019
Social statistics - Diseases
HIV0.3% of adults2019
HIV, total0.2%2001
Museums1 222units2018
Museums, visitors66 000 000units2018
Research and development spending2.19% of GDP2019
Other social indicators
Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking100%2019
Access to electricity100%2019
Household consumption expenditure
clothing, footwear3.5%2019