France is situated in Western Europe and covers 551,500 km². The Overseas Départements and Territories cover 120,000 km². These
are Guadeloupe, French Guyana, Martinique, Reunion, Mayotte, New Caledonia, French Polynesia, St. Pierre and Miquelon, Wallis and Futuna.
The country is roughly shaped as a hexagon. Its shores lie on the North Sea, the English Channel, the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean. The Pyrenees Mountains constitute a natural border with Spain; the Jura Mountains and the Alps with Italy and Switzerland; the Rhine River with Germany. France shares borders with Belgium to the North and Luxemburg to the North-East. The climate of Metropolitan France is temperate and it rains regularly. Many rivers water the land. The terrain determines the following climates: oceanic, mountain and Mediterranean.
France is a “Republic - one and indivisible” with a parliamentarian system of governance: the National Assembly and the Senate vote bills. The President of the Republic is elected by universal suffrage for five years. The members of Government are appointed by the Prime Minister and have power of decision.
In 2000, France relinquished minting its own currency and introduced the Euro which proved more stable than the French Franc; also, the Government was no longer able to use its national currency to influence the economy.
On January 1st, 2010, nearly 63 million inhabitants lived in continental France, plus a little over 2.5 million in the Overseas Départements and Territories. The fertility rate is approximately two children per woman, which is above the European average. However the increase in life expectancy has resulted in an aging population. The number of people over age 60 has grown from 17% to 22% between 1980 and 2009 and the number of centenarians is increasing. Children born on French soil and children who have at least one French parent are offered French nationality. Another 100,000 people are granted French nationality each year. They are considered French citizens regardless of their origin or religion.
French demographic projections indicate that within one single generation, migration will become the sole growth factor for the French population. France has been made richer thanks to the extensive contributions of foreign cultures.