France is located in western Europe next to the Bay of Biscay, the English Channel, and the Mediterranean Sea. It’s the largest country in Western Europe, followed by Spain. Metropolitan France has an area of 551,500 km². France has a population of 67 million people (est. 2020); 64.8 million people in Metropolitan France and 2.2 million in its overseas regions. The Geography Map of France consists of a terrain that is mostly flat plains or gently rolling hills in the north and west. The remaining sections of France are mostly mountainous.
France shares a border to the northwest by the English Channel (La Manche), to the northeast by Belgium and Luxembourg, to the east by Germany, Switzerland, and Italy, to the south by the Mediterranean (with Monaco as a coastal enclave between Nice and the Italian frontier), to the southwest by Spain and Andorra, and to the west by the Atlantic Ocean. The country also shares maritime borders with the United Kingdom.
Geography Facts of France
- Continent: Europe
- Region: Western Europe
- Geographical Coordinates: 46 00 N, 2 00 E
- Population: 67,364,357 (2018) Note: This figure is for metropolitan France and five overseas regions; the metropolitan France population is 62,814,233
- Total Area: 248,573 square miles (643,801 square kilometers)
- General Terrain: mostly flat plains or gently rolling hills in north and west; the remainder is mountainous, especially the Pyrenees in the south, the Alps in the east.
- Highest Point: Mont Blanc at 15,781 feet (4,810 meters)
- Lowest Point: Rhone River delta at -6 feet (-2 meters)
- Major Landforms: French Alps, Jura Mountains, Pyrenees, Massif Central plateau, Gorges du Verdon canyon, Loire Valley, Corsica Island
- Major Bodies of Water: Seine River, Loire River, Meuse River, Rhone River, Gulf of Lion, Bay of Biscay, English Channel, Strait of Dover, Etang de Berre lagoon, Lac du Bourget, Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic Ocean
The Geography Map of France has a varied landscape, which includes low-lying plains, plateaus, older mountain blocks called massifs, the higher Alps and Pyrenées mountain ranges, and 4,853 kilometers of coastline. Two-thirds of France is mountains and hills, with the Alps, Pyrenees, and Vosges ranges. The country’s highest point and the second-highest point in Europe are located here; Mont Blanc at 15,770 ft. (4,807m) (marked on the map above).
In addition to these features of Metropolitan France, there are the geographic features of la France d’outre-mer, French-administered territories that include the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, Guyane, located on the northern coast of South America and, in the Indian Ocean, the island of Réunion and the archipelago Mayotte. This varied geography brings with it different topographies, weather patterns, and plant and animal life.
Mountains of France
There are two significant mountain ranges in the Geography Map of France, both of which form natural barriers used to create national boundaries. The Alps, the range where we find Mont Blanc, divide France and Italy in the southeastern corner of France. In the southwestern corner, the Pyrenees Mountains separate France from Spain.
Besides the high mountain ranges of the Alps and Pyrenees, there are other notable mountain ranges, including the Massif Central a range of extinct volcanoes, the Vosges near Germany, the Jura shared with Switzerland, or the hilly Ardennes on the Belgian border.
Rivers of France
The longest river in France is the Loire, at 630 miles (1,020 km) in length. Other major rivers of France are the Rhine on the German border, the Rhône going to the Mediterranean Sea from Lake Geneva, the Seine cutting through Paris, and the Garonne collecting water on the southwest plains from the Massif Central and the Pyrenees.
Climate of France
The climate of Metropolitan France varies by location, but most of the country has cool winters and mild summers, while the Mediterranean region has mild winters and hot summers. Paris, the capital and largest city of France, has an average January low temperature of 36 degrees (2.5 C) and an average July high of 77 degrees (25 C).