France Facts, More Details About The French

France is a wonderful country. Here are some facts about France and the French, their economy, transport and population. If you need extra information about France, the French culture, architecture, food and wine delights consumed in France and many other topics, please visit our specific France information page, that is updated and enriched regularly.

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General Information

Official Name République Française
Motto Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité
National Anthem La Marseillaise
Currency Euro
Capital Paris
Internet domain .fr
International dialing code 33
Time GMT/ UTC +1 (Central European Time)
Electricity 220 V, 50 Hz
National Holiday 14 July

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Population In 2000: 60.4 million inhabitants + 4 million foreign residents (of whom 1.5 million EU nationals). The French account for 16% of the European Union's population.
Largest Cities Paris (10 million), Lyon (1.4 million), Marseille - Aix en Provence (1.4 million), Lille (1.2 million), Toulouse (1.1 million).
Life Expectancy 2nd best life expectancy in the world: 74 years (men), 82 years (women).
Languages French + local dialects: Breton, Provencal, Alsatian, Corsican, Catalan, Basque, Flemish.


Main Facts France is the world's fifth largest economic power but the economic and financial crisis threatens dramatically this position. The French are the leading producers and exporters of farm products in Europe. France is also the world's fourth largest exporter of goods and is second when it comes to services and agriculture.
The French Agriculture Number of farms: 680,000. Farmers/ farm workers: 910,000. Utilised agricultural area: 54% of metropolitan France.
Products sold by France Cereals (1st in the EU, 5th in the world), Wine (2nd in the world and EU, Milk (2nd in the EU, 5th in the world).
Energy consumption Oil: 31.7%, Electricity: 35.5%, Gas 13.6%, Coal 6.4%.
Leading Economic Sectors in France Respectively: Agri-food, Construction - Civil Engineering, Automobiles, Chemicals, Telecommunications, Materials Processing, Fashion - Luxury, Pharmaceuticals.
Main Banks Crédit Agricole, Société Générale and BNP.
Main French Insurance Companies AXA, (Europe's largest insurance company), CNP and AGF.


Road Network One of the best road networks in the world if not the best. Very dense network and longest in the EU with 965,916 km, including 9,011 km of motorways (2nd in Europe).
Rail network 31,000+ km of tracks. World speed record for a train with 515 km/h with the famous TGV high-speed train. Normal commercial operations: the train travel at around 270 km/h. 295 million passengers per year.
Aviation More than 100 million passengers per year.
Merchant ships fleet 210 ships transport 91.5 million tons each year. Marseille is the largest harbour in France and on the Mediterranean and the 3rd largest in Europe.

Source: INSEE, French Institute for Stats and Economic Surveys

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