France

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Geography:
France is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Monaco, Spain, Andorra, and the UK by the Channel Tunnel. It is located in the continent of Europe. They are in the timezone of UTC/GMT +1 Hour. The borders inside of France are the only ones that have changed, the outside perimeter has been the same since France was declared a country. Paris is the capital city and also the largest. Lyon is the second biggest city in France. People do travel from country to country, because they are all so close together, and it doesn't take much time to get places, like it does here.

Paris is located where it is because it is suspected that the place was first chosen because of the possibilities of crossing the Seine river, and for the shelter the islands provided. The Romans used the spot in the same way and Paris became a cross between roads and the river, itself a important way of communication. The tourists who come to see the sights improve development, by spending tons of money, and boosting the economy. They do get in the way a lot though because at some times there are so many of them, and everybody is trying to sell them stuff, and there are lots of mobs, and pick picketers because tourists are known to have lots of money.

France has a total area of 632,834 square kilometres. Of this 543695 is part of metropolitan France. Five major rivers flow entirely or partially in France: Loire, 1,012km; Rhine, French section, 150km (total 1,320); Garonne, 575km; Seine, 776km; Rhône, 812km. There is 7,000km of coastlines surrounding France. Some popular sites in france are; on the Channel, the cliffs at Étretat, Mont Saint-Michel (3.5 million visitors a year); on the Atlantic, Pointe du Raz (over 1 million) and Pilat dune; on the Mediterranean, the calanque fjords in Cassis and the bay of Saint-Trope (Massif des Maures), the French Riviera, Nice, Cannes (Massif de l’Estérel), and places like the Eiffel Tower in Paris. There are two ancient (mountains) massifs, Massif Central and Vosges, and three younger ranges, Alps, Jura and Pyrenees.

The population of France is 63.8 million on 1 January 2008. Second largest in the European Union after Germany (82.3 million) and ahead of the United Kingdom and Italy.The Paris urban area, population 10 million, is the largest in the EU (ahead of London); equal in second place in France are Lyon and Marseille-Aix-en-Provence, population 1.35 million, and fourth, Lille, 1.1 million. France is divided into 27 administrative regions. 22 are in metropolitan France (21 are on the continental part of metropolitan France; one is the territorial collectivity of Corsica), and five are overseas regions. The regions are further subdivided into 101 departments which are numbered (mainly alphabetically). This number is used in postal codes and vehicle number plates amongst others. The 101 departments are subdivided into 341 arrondissements which are, in turn, subdivided into 4,051 cantons. These cantons are then divided into 36,697 communes, which are municipalities with an elected municipal council.

Tourism provides a big boost to the Lyon economy with one billion euros in 2007 and 3.5 million hotel nights in 2006 provided by non-residents. Approximately 60% of tourists visit for business with the rest for leisure. In January 2009 Lyon ranked first in France for hostels business. The festivals most important for attracting tourists are the Fête des lumières, the Nuits de Fourvière every summer, the Biennale d'art contemporain and the Nuits Sonores.



Climate and Environment:
France was one of the first countries to create a Ministry of the Environment, in 1971. Although France is one of the most industrialized and developed countries, it is ranked only seventeenth by carbon dioxide emissions, behind such less populous nations as Canada, Saudi Arabia or Australia. This situation results from the French government's decision to invest in nuclear power in 1974...
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