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: www.insee.fr (Institut national de la Statistique et des Études économiques)
Member of Council of Europe, EBRD, EU, NATO, OAS observer, OECD, OSCE, SPC, UN, WTO
International license plate code F
International dialling code 0033
Travel vaccinations requirement none
Electricity (Voltage) 230
Driving side rigth
Internet code .fr
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.
|Paris||2 190 327||inhab.||2016|
|Paris||12 532 901||inhab.||2015|
|Lyon||2 291 763||inhab.||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.
|Foreigners, total||4 687 431||units||2018|
|Breton, Corsican, German, Basque, Catalan, Flemish minorities|
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.
|Agricultural prod. index (2004-06=100)||95.83||index||2016|
|Balance of trade||-90 776.7||M US$||2018|
|Active population||29 823 900||units||2018|
|Active population, Females||48.3||%||2018|
|Unemployment rate, Females||48.5||%||2018|
|Expenses||538 051||M LCU||2018|
|Revenues||465 442||M LCU||2018|
|Currency in circulation||231.74||BN LCU||2018|
|International reserves||166 483.4||M US$||2018|
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.
|barley||10 545.427||1000 t||2017|
|cereals, total||64 495.956||1000 t||2017|
|potatoes||7 342.203||1000 t||2017|
|roots and tubers, total||7 377.903||1000 t||2017|
|beans, dry||7.643||1000 t||2017|
|beans, green||53.492||1000 t||2017|
|grapes||5 915.882||1000 t||2017|
|rapeseed||5 200||1000 t||2017|
|mustard seed||14.16||1000 t||2017|
|sugar beet||34 381.064||1000 t||2017|
|flax fibre and tow||578.645||1000 t||2017|
|hemp tow waste||1.165||1000 t||2017|
|apples||1 710.755||1000 t||2017|
|citrus fruits||53.866||1000 t||2017|
|barley||1 670.831||1000 ha||2017|
|maize||1 614.118||1000 ha||2017|
|beans, dry||3.754||1000 ha||2017|
|beans, green||8.355||1000 ha||2017|
|rapeseed||1 408||1000 ha||2017|
|mustard seed||5.748||1000 ha||2017|
|sugar beet||387.878||1000 ha||2017|
|flax fibre and tow||81.68||1000 ha||2017|
|hemp tow waste||0.705||1000 ha||2017|
|citrus fruits||4.828||1000 ha||2017|
|timber||51 232 416||m³||2017|
|cattle||19 233.244||1000 heads||2017|
|cattle and buffaloes||19 233.244||1000 heads||2017|
|pigs||12 301.293||1000 heads||2017|
|sheep||6 935.185||1000 heads||2017|
|goats||1 223.816||1000 heads||2017|
|asses and mules||57.038||1000 heads||2017|
|birds||209 899||1000 heads||2017|
|silk, raw||0||1000 t||2014|
|cheese||1 886.044||1000 t||2014|
|crustaceans and molluscs||210 806||t||2017|
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.
|natural gas||16||M m³||2017|
|oil, crude||777.4||1000 t||2018|
|- nuclear||386 453||M kWh||2016|
|- hydro||59 307||M kWh||2016|
|- nuclear||63 130||1000 kW||2016|
|- thermal||21 276||1000 kW||2016|
|total net generation||529 111.74||M kWh||2016|
|total installed capacity||130 794||1000 kW||2016|
|cars||1 763 000||no.||2018|
|bitumen||1 706||1000 t||2016|
|petrol||17 196.1||1000 t||2014|
|ammonia||1 000||1000 t||2018|
|artificial and synthetic tow||49.5||1000 t||2007|
|carpets||9 780||1000 m²||2016|
|cotton fabrics||448||M m²||2003|
|footwear||53 304 000||pairs||2004|
|beer of barley||1 389.4||1000 t||2014|
|cottonseed oil||0.2||1000 t||2014|
|cigarettes||46 500||M units||2005|
|chemical pulp||1 613||1000 t||2017|
|chemi-mechanical pulp||1 613||1000 t||2017|
|cement||15 900||1000 t||2016|
|sheet glass - t||1 547||1000 t||2005|
|chemicals production||32 854.6||M US$||2016|
|food, beverages and tobacco production||45 209.5||M US$||2016|
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.
|manufactures||80.299||% of goods exports||2017|
|food products||12.433||% of goods exports||2017|
|Germany||83 212||M US$||2018|
|United States||45 310||M US$||2018|
|Germany||102 253||M US$||2018|
|China||59 037||M US$||2018|
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.
|Expenditures||50 329||M US$||2017|
|Number of arrivals||86 861 000||units||2017|
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.
|Civil aviation, km flown||867 500 000||km flown||2004|
|Civil aviation, passengers carried||68 316.5||1000 units||2017|
|Broadband subscribers||437.506||per 1000 pop.||2017|
|Computers||652||per 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.
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.
|Expected years of schooling||15.5||years||2016|
|Teachers, primary level||229 471||units||2013|
|Teachers, secondary level||457 049||units||2013|
|Social protection spending||43.2||% of total expenses||2016|
|Social protection spending||31.2||% of GDP||2018|
|Hospital beds||6||per 1000 pop.||2016|
|Physicians||3.5||per 1000 pop.||2018|
|HIV||0.5||% of adults||2017|
|Museums, visitors||63 171 088||units||2017|
|Research and development spending||2.19||% of GDP||2017|
|Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking||100||%||2016|
|Access to electricity||100||%||2017|