France

Driving Directions France

FRANCE is the largest country in Western Europe with coastlines on the English Channel, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Atlantic Ocean. It shares borders with Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and Spain.

The lowest parts of the country are the great basins and low-lying plains of the north and southwest, which rise to meet the Massif Central, an extensive upland area, and the higher Alps’ mountains, Jura, and the Pyrenees. Mont Blanc on the FranceItaly border is the highest point in the Alps at 4,807 meters or 15,770 feet.

Driving Directions



France’s princi­pal rivers are the Seine, Rhone, Loire, and Garonne, along with their many tributaries. Many of these are navigable and are used commercially for the transport of freight.

The climate ranges from moder­ate maritime in the northwest to the Mediterranean in the south. France has a long cultural history of art, literature, sculpture, and music and is famous for its immense Gothic churches.

Farming is possible in all parts of France with forestry and fishing, also providing some employment. The western shores are ideal for rearing livestock, while the Paris Basin provides good arable land. In the southwest around Bordeaux, vineyards produce some of the world’s best wines. Wines and spirits are a valuable export for France, although they also produced for the home market.

France has valuable mineral reserves, including iron ore, petroleum, coal, natural gas, salt, zinc, potash, uranium, and lead. France’s main industrial area is in the north and east, and the main industries are iron and steel, engineering, chemicals, textiles, and electrical goods.

Google maps™ France


Although France’s topography is varied, it can be broken down into three major types of terrain. At the center of the country are the four Hercynian Massifs, with the Massif Central at their center. The higher mountain peaks of the Pyrenees, the Jura, and the Alps rise in the south and east, forming natural borders with Spain, Switzerland, and Italy. Between these geographical features are the low-lying plains of the Paris Basin and the regions to the west.

The following ten regions have been identified based on geographical and cultural factors: the Nord; the Paris Basin; the East; Burgundy and the Upper Rhine; the Alps; Mediterranean France; Aquitaine and the Pyrenees; the Massif Central; the Loire Valley and Atlantic France; and Armorica. An additional area of France is the large island of Corsica in the Mediterranean Sea.

The North Atlantic Ocean lies to the west of France, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Besides, a small portion of its northern coast borders the North Sea.

Did you know about France?

Scientists named the Jurassic Period (which occurred 145 to 208 million years ago) for France’s Jura Mountains because fossils discovered there date back to this era.

Click here for France Google maps, MapQuest & more detailed country facts.