Extreme points of France: Wikis

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Coordinates: 46°00′N 2°00′E / 46°N 2°E / 46; 2

The lands making up the French Republic, shown at the same geographic scale.
Map of metropolitan France

France is a country in Western Europe, bordering the Atlantic Ocean (Bay of Biscay) and English Channel between Belgium and Spain, southeast of the UK; and bordering the Mediterranean Sea between Italy and Spain. Mainland France's roughly hexagonal shape has lent itself to a popular French nickname: l'Hexagone. France is the largest West European nation.



  • Total area: 674,843 km2
    • (Whole territory of the French Republic, including all the overseas departments and territories, but excluding the disputed French territory of Terre Adélie in Antarctica)
  • Metropolitan France: 551,695 km2
    • (Metropolitan - i.e. European - France only, French National Geographic Institute data)
  • Metropolitan France: 543,965 km2
    • (Metropolitan - i.e. European - France only, French Land Register data, which exclude lakes, ponds, glaciers larger than 1 km2, and estuaries)


  • Land boundaries:
  • Border countries:
  • Coastline: 3,427 km (metropolitan), 378 km (French Guiana), 306 km (Guadeloupe), 350 km (Martinique), 207 km (Réunion)
  • Maritime claims:
    • Contiguous zone: 24 nmi (44.4 km; 27.6 mi)
    • Continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
    • Exclusive economic zone: 200 nmi (370.4 km; 230.2 mi); does not apply to the Mediterranean
    • Territorial sea: 12 nmi (22.2 km; 13.8 mi)

Internal divisions

Regions and departments of France.

Metropolitan (i.e. European) France is divided into 22 régions (although strictly speaking Corsica is in fact a territorial collectivity, not a région, but is referred to as a region in common speech), which are subdivided into 96 départements, which are further divided into 329 arrondissements, which are further divided into 3,879 cantons, which are further divided into 36,568 communes (as of 1/1/2004). The current number is unknown.

The French Republic is further made up of the following:


Mostly flat plains or gently rolling hills in north and west.

Elevation extremes:

Natural resources

Coal, iron ore, bauxite, fish, timber, potash, and zinc

Land use

  • Arable land: 33%
  • Permanent crops: 2%
  • Permanent pastures: 20%
  • Forests and woodland: 27%
  • Other: 18% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 16,300 km² (1995 est.)

Natural hazards

Flooding; avalanches; forest fires; Earthquakes


Environmental issues

Some forest damage from acid rain (major forest damage occurred as a result of severe December 1999 windstorm); air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution from urban wastes, agricultural runoff, high pesticide use (honeybee mortality)

International environmental agreements

  • Party to:

Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling

  • Signed, but not ratified:

Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol

Cities and towns

Cities and major towns, or those of historical significance, include:

Abbeville, Ajaccio, Albertville, Albi, Amiens, Angers, Angoulême, Aurillac, Avignon, Bastia, Besançon, Bordeaux, Belfort, Brest, Brive, Caen, Cahors, Calais, Cannes, Carcassonne, Chamonix, Charleville-Mézières, Châtellerault, Cherbourg, Chinon, Clermont-Ferrand, Colmar, Deauville, Dieppe, Digne-les-Bains, Dijon, Dole, Domremy, Dreux, Dunkerque, Évreux, Grenoble, La Baule, La Rochelle, Le Havre, Lille, Limoges, Lyon, Marseille, Mende, Metz, Mont-de-Marsan, Montauban, Montpellier, Nancy, Nantes, Nice, Nîmes,Niort, Orléans, Paris, Pau, Périgueux, Perpignan, Poitiers, Quimper, Reims, Rennes, Rodez, Roubaix, Rouen, Saint-Gaudens, Saint-Étienne, Saint-Nazaire, Saint-Tropez, Saumur, Sète, Soissons, Strasbourg, Tarbes, Toulon, Toulouse, Tours, Tourcoing, Troyes, Valence, Versailles, Vichy

Picture from space

Metropolitan France, viewed from the NASA Shuttle Topography Radar Mission

This image of metropolitan France was generated with data from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM). For this broad view the resolution of the data was reduced, resampled to a Mercator projection and the French border outlined. The variety of landforms comprising the country is readily apparent.

The upper central part of this scene is dominated by the Paris Basin, which consists of a layered sequence of sedimentary rocks. Fertile soils over much of the area make good agricultural land. The Normandie coast to the upper left is characterized by high, chalk cliffs, while the Brittany coast (the peninsula to the left) is highly indented where deep valleys were drowned by the sea, and the Biscay coast to the southwest is marked by flat, sandy beaches.

To the south, the Pyrenees form a natural border between France and Spain, and the south-central part of the country is dominated by the ancient Massif Central. Subject to volcanism that has only subsided in the last 10,000 years, these central mountains are separated from the Alps by the north-south trending Rhone River Basin.

Two visualization methods were combined to produce the image: shading and color coding of topographic height. The shade image was derived by computing topographic slope in the northwest-southeast direction, so that northwest slopes appear bright and southeast slopes appear dark. Color coding is directly related to topographic height, with green at the lower elevations, rising through yellow and tan, to white at the highest elevations.

Elevation data used in this image were acquired by the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour, launched on Feb. 11, 2000. SRTM used the same radar instrument that comprised the Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C/X-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR) that flew twice on the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 1994. SRTM was designed to collect 3-D measurements of the Earth's surface. To collect the 3-D data, engineers added a 60-meter (approximately 200-foot) mast, installed additional C-band and X-band antennas, and improved tracking and navigation devices.

  • Location: 42 to 51.5° north, 5.5 west to 8° east.
  • Orientation: north toward the top, Mercator projection.
  • Image Data: shaded and colored SRTM elevation model.
  • Original Data Resolution: 1 arcsecond (~30 meters).
  • Date Acquired: February 2000.
  • Image Courtesy SRTM Team NASA/JPL/NIMA

Extreme points

This is a list of the extreme points of France; the points that are farther northnorth, southsouth, easteast or westwest than any other location.

France (metropolitan)

France (mainland)

France (including départements d'outre mer)

France (territory of the French Republic, including collectivités territoriales and pays et territoires d'outre-mer)

See also

External links

  • (French) GéoPortail - Geography portal of France, high altitude imagery, maps ...
  • A detailed map of France showing all régions and numbered départements, including their préfectures.

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