Form of Government: Republic
Area: 543 940 sq km
Population: 64 812 052 inhab. (estimate 2019)
Density: 119.15 inhab./sq km
Coordinates: lat. 51° - 42° N; long. 5° W - 8° E
Capital: Paris (capital) 2 190 327 inhab. (2016); Paris 12 532 901 inhab. (2015), urban agglomeration
Currency: euro (100 cents)
Human development index: 0.901 (rank: 24)
President: Emmanuel Macron (REM), in office since 14 May 2017
Prime Minister: Édouard Philippe (REM), since 15 May 2017
National Assembly: seats (August 2019 update): REM (La République en Marche!, liberal), 304; LR (The Republicans, centre-right), 104; MoDem (Democratic Movement, centrist), 45; NG (New Left, socialist), 29; UDI and Independents group (centrist), 29; Liberties and Territories (moderate), 18; FI (La France Insoumise, radical left), 17; GDR (Democratic and Republican Left, radical left), 16; non-inscrits, 15
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

The fire at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris on 15 April 2019 deeply affected France’s national consciousness, which was already reeling after months of tension. Starting on 17 November 2018, the country was shaken by mass protests encouraged by the Yellow Vests movement. Rooted in an opposition to the rise in fuel taxes, established by Emmanuel Macron’s government, the reasons for the protests later varied, attacking Macron as a “president of the very rich” and his decisions in economic matters, which protestors believed benefitted the wealthy. Alongside many peaceful protests, there were also violent clashes in central areas of Paris, like the Champs-Elysées.
On the one hand, Macron made concessions following the protests, like cancelling the fuel tax and introducing increases to the lowest salaries and pensions. After having travelled throughout the country as part of a “national debate”, on 25 April 2019, he also announced further tax cuts. On the other hand, the government introduced a restrictive law against the more violent protests and did not renounce its objectives regarding the modernization of welfare and pensions. In the European elections on 26 May 2019, Macron’s La République En Marche! obtained 22.4% of the votes, narrowly losing to Marine Le Pen’s Eurosceptic National Rally (23.3%). The Greens surprisingly earned 13.4%.
On 11 December 2018, five people were killed in an isolated terrorist attack in Strasbourg, while there was a strong public reaction to the increase in cases of anti-Semitism.
In foreign policy, the privileged rapport with Germany was reaffirmed through the renewal of the Élysée Treaty on 22 January 2019, while diplomatic conflicts increased with Italy over immigration, the influence of Africa and contacts between representatives of the Italian government and the Yellow Vests. France temporarily recalled its ambassador to Rome on 7 February 2019. France finally intervened with aerial attacks in Burkina Faso (October 2018) and Chad (February 2019).

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.
Separatist movements are active in Corsica. Following the approval of the territorial reorder plan, as from 2016 the French Republic is formed by 96 Departments of Metropolitan France, 14 Metropolises (3 of which, Grand Paris, Lyon and Aix-Marseille-Provence 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. French Guiana and Martinique (since 2015) and Mayotte (since 2011) have been unique territorial collectivities, which exercise the competencies of the region and department. Corsica is expected to become a unique territorial collectivity by 2018.
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 nine years, one third 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.
In 2001, the armed forces became completely professional. In 2019, a Space Command within the air force was founded. 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 will allow the country 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 473 local tribunals, 181 courts of assize and 454 police tribunals; in the second instance there are 36 courts of appeal and 104 courts of assize; 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
Homicides1.4per 100 000 pop.2016

Administrative division

Administrative divisions
Paris2 190 327inhab.2016
Marseille862 211inhab.2016
Urban agglomerations
Paris12 532 901inhab.2015
Lyon2 291 763inhab.2015


Population by age and gender (% - 2018)

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 rate11.32018
Death rate9.22018
Foreigners, total4 687 431units2018
Portuguese541 246units2015
Ethnic groups


Breton, Corsican, German, Basque, Catalan, Flemish minorities
French (official)
Population by selected age groups
0-14 years18.5%2018
15-29 years17.7%2018



Economic situation.
The economy grew moderately in 2018, slowing to 1.5% in part because of widespread protests. Domestic consumption should support growth in years to come, though. The expansionist measures approved following the protests have led to an increase in the deficit to more than 3% of the GDP.

Economy - General data
Agricultural prod. index (2004-06=100)95.83index2016
Balance of trade-90 776.7M US$2018
Economy - Employment
Active population29 823 900units2018
Active population, Females48.3%2018
Economy - Unemployment
Unemployment rate9.1%2018
Unemployment rate, Females48.5%2018
Economy - State budget
Expenses538 051M LCU2018
Revenues465 442M LCU2018
Employment by economic activity
GDP by economic activity
Financial data
Currency in circulation231.74BN LCU2018
International reserves166 483.4M US$2018


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 more than half 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 7100 boats and provides employment for about 10 000 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 land35.55%2015
Agriculture - products - Cereals
barley10 545.4271000 t2017
cereals, total64 495.9561000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Roots and tubers
potatoes7 342.2031000 t2017
roots and tubers, total7 377.9031000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Vegetables
artichokes41.941000 t2017
asparagus19.7931000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Pulses
beans, dry7.6431000 t2017
beans, green53.4921000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Grape
grapes5 915.8821000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Olive
olives28.8111000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Oilcrops
rapeseed5 2001000 t2017
soybeans4121000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Coconut palm
coconuts1.8581000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Aromatics
mustard seed14.161000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Industrial crops
hops0.7641000 t2017
sugar beet34 381.0641000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Flax
flax fibre and tow578.6451000 t2017
linseed421000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Fiber plants
hemp tow waste1.1651000 t2017
hempseed82.7071000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Fruits
apples1 710.7551000 t2017
apricots148.51000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Nuts
almonds0.7991000 t2017
hazelnuts10.8331000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Citrus fruits
citrus fruits53.8661000 t2017
grapefruits5.9581000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Tropical fruits
avocados2.1151000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Others
mushrooms99.0961000 t2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Cereals
barley1 670.8311000 ha2017
maize1 614.1181000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Roots and tubers
potatoes173.4861000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Vegetables
artichokes7.5441000 ha2017
cabbages6.8391000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Pulses
beans, dry3.7541000 ha2017
beans, green8.3551000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Grape
grape743.9241000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Olive
olive17.7471000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Oilcrops
rapeseed1 4081000 ha2017
soybeans1411000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Coconut palm
coconuts0.931000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Aromatics
mustard seed5.7481000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Industrial crops
hops0.4811000 ha2017
sugar beet387.8781000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Flax
flax fibre and tow81.681000 ha2017
linseed221000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Fiber plants
hemp tow waste0.7051000 ha2017
hempseed12.3331000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Fruits
apples42.6781000 ha2017
apricots12.7681000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Nuts
almonds1.1421000 ha2017
hazelnuts5.5151000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Citrus fruits
citrus fruits4.8281000 ha2017
grapefruits0.3461000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Tropical fruits
avocados0.2421000 ha2017


timber51 232 4162017
Livestock - Cattle
cattle19 233.2441000 heads2017
cattle and buffaloes19 233.2441000 heads2017
Livestock - Pigs
pigs12 301.2931000 heads2017
Livestock - Sheep
sheep6 935.1851000 heads2017
Livestock - Goats
goats1 223.8161000 heads2017
Livestock - Equines
asses301000 heads2017
asses and mules57.0381000 heads2017
Livestock - Poultry
birds209 8991000 heads2017
Livestock - Beekeeping
honey11.4141000 t2013
Livestock - Silk farming
silk, raw01000 t2014
Livestock - Livestock products
butter405.31000 t2014
cheese1 886.0441000 t2014
crustaceans and molluscs210 806t2017


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 98% of the natural gas consumed, through various interconnectors with Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Spain. 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.
Iron ore mining is not very widespread whereas bauxite is very important. The largest deposits of bauxite are at Brignoles (Var), Bédarieux (Hérault) and Les Baux-de-Provence (near Arles), where the name of the mineral comes from.
France is among the largest net exporter of energy due to its low generation costs and investment in nuclear technology. Over 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, although they still represent a marginal share. 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 58 reactors in operation across 19 power plants: Belleville, Blayais, Bugey, Cattenom, Chinon, Chooz, Civaux, Cruas, Dampierre, Fessenheim, 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 Saint-Paul-lès-Durance, the experimental fusion reactor ITER is under construction, 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 of Maurienne and the Tarantaise. The alumina required comes from the factories at La Barasse, Gardanne, Saint-Louis-des-Agalades and Salindres. 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 in all of Europe; 80% of the national production of additives for fuel and 50% of plastic materials are produced there. 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 (made at plants around Paris and in the main textile areas), pharmaceuticals (at Paris and Lyon) and perfumery products. Cement factories are widespread in the whole country.
The engineering industry is very 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. In 2019, the European Commission rejected the merger between the French Alstom and German Siemens owing to competition in the railway mechanics sector.
The automotive industry is sizeable, employing 224 000 people (7% of the industrial workforce) and producing around 1.7 million cars a year. 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, first affected by the arrest in Japan of the top manager of its alliance with Nissan, Carlos Ghosan, on 19 September 2018, and later by the failure of its merger with FCA.
Some large plants of the aeronautical industry are located near Paris, at Toulouse (hone of the Airbus company) and Bordeaux. Shipyards are located at Saint-Nazaire, La Ciotat, Dunkirk, La Seyne, Nantes, La Rochelle and Le Havre.
The textile and clothing industries play a primary role in exports. The wool industry is located in the north and to a lesser extent in Normandy and in the Pyrenees. The silk industry is concentrated in the department of Rhône, at Lyon and Saint-Étienne. The linen industry is common in the Nord region and especially in Picardy. 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: for tanning, Millau, Annonay, Romans, Grenoble, Marseilles, Paris and Niort; for shoes the Paris area, the region of Cholet, Isère, Marseilles, Rouen, Nancy, Lyon, Nîmes, Bordeaux, Romans, Limoges and Fougères; for gloves, Grenoble, Millau, Saint-Junien, Niort, Vendôme and Chaumont; travelling accessories are 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 gas16M m³2017
oil, crude777.41000 t2018
Mineral resources - Metal ores
bauxite691000 t2012
Mineral resources - Non-metal ores
barite301000 t2006
feldspar6501000 t2014
Mineral resources - Rocks
diatomite751000 t2018
dolomite2481000 t2016


Electric energy - Generated
- nuclear386 453M kWh2016
- hydro59 307M kWh2016
Electric energy - Installed capacity
- nuclear63 1301000 kW2016
- thermal21 2761000 kW2016
Electric energy - Total production and capacity
total net generation529 111.74M kWh2016
total installed capacity130 7941000 kW2016


Industry - Iron and Steel, Metallurgy
alumina3001000 t2016
aluminium6501000 t2016
Industry - Machinery and transport equipment
bikes599 427no.2016
cars1 763 000no.2018
Industry - Electrical and electronics
computers45 254no.2016
fridges544 000no.2003
Industry - Petrochemicals
bitumen1 7061000 t2016
petrol17 196.11000 t2014
Industry - Chemicals
ammonia1 0001000 t2018
artificial and synthetic tow49.51000 t2007
Industry - Textiles
carpets9 7801000 m²2016
cotton fabrics448M m²2003
Industry - Clothing and footwear
footwear53 304 000pairs2004
Industry - Food and beverages
beer of barley1 389.41000 t2014
cottonseed oil0.21000 t2014
Industry - Tobacco
cigarettes46 500M units2005
cigars531M units2003
Industry - Paper and wood products
chemical pulp1 6131000 t2017
chemi-mechanical pulp1 6131000 t2017
Industry - Glass and other non-metallic mineral products
cement15 9001000 t2016
sheet glass - t1 5471000 t2005
Industry - Various
chemicals production32 854.6M US$2016
food, beverages and tobacco production45 209.5M US$2016


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

Finance and banking.
The banking system, which is highly diversified and efficient, owns some of Europe’s largest banks. In 2018, Société Générale stipulated an agreement with the United States Department of the Treasury for the payment of 1.4 billion dollars over the violation of American sanctions.
Tensions also arose with the USA regarding the approval in July 2019 of a tax on digital services by web giants.
The Paris stock exchange is part of the NYSE Euronext Group.

Composition of goods exports
manufactures80.299% of goods exports2017
food products12.433% of goods exports2017
International trade by country - Merchandise Export
Germany83 212M US$2018
United States45 310M US$2018
International trade by country - Merchandise Import
Germany102 253M US$2018
China59 037M US$2018
Merchandise Export
2018581 816M US$ -
2017535 188M US$ -
Merchandise Import
2018672 593M US$ -
2017618 649M 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.

International Tourism
Expenditures50 329M US$2017
Number of arrivals86 861 000units2017


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 (France’s position is critical of Italy’s indecision regarding the Turin-Lyon high-speed railway), Switzerland and Spain.
In June 2018, Parliament approved a radical reform project for the railway system, which will 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 carried68 316.51000 units2017
Communication - Media and telecommunication
Broadband subscribers437.506per 1000 pop.2017
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. In 2017-18, the government launched a reform plan of subsidies and social protection, which aims for greater efficiency in spending and for supporting flexibility in employment.

95% of doctors work for the national healthcare service, which reimburses the partial or total cost of medical expenses. The government announced its intention to make the vaccines recommended by the health authorities obligatory in early childhood beginning in 2018.

Social statistics - Education
Expected years of schooling15.5years2016
Gradautes, percentage35.2%2017
Social statistics - Students and Teachers by level
Teachers, primary level229 471units2013
Teachers, secondary level457 049units2013
Social statistics - Social protection
Social protection spending43.2% of total expenses2016
Social protection spending31.2% of GDP2018
Social statistics - Health
Hospital beds6per 1000 pop.2016
Physicians3.5per 1000 pop.2018
Social statistics - Diseases
HIV0.5% of adults2017
HIV, total0.2%2001
Museums1 199units2017
Museums, visitors63 171 088units2017
Research and development spending2.19% of GDP2017
Other social indicators
Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking100%2016
Access to electricity100%2017
Household consumption expenditure
clothing, footwear3.6%2018