France Geography

What is the terrain and geography like in France?


The landscape is varied; about two-thirds is flat plains or gently rolling hills, and the rest is mountainous. A broad plain covers most of northern and western France from the Belgian border in the northeast to Bayonne in the southwest, and it rises to uplands in Normandy, Brittany, and the east. This large plain is bounded on the south by the steeply rising ridges of the Pyrénées, on the southeast by the mountainous plateau of the Massif Central, and on the east by the rugged Alps, the low ridges of the Jura, and the rounded summits of the densely forested Vosges. The principal rivers are the Rhône in the south, the Loire and the Garonne in the west, the Seine in the north, and the Rhine, which forms part of France’s eastern border with Germany.

Geography - note

The largest West European nation

France Use of Natural Resources

Geographic Location Europe
Total Area 248,572 Square Miles
643,801 Square Kilometers
Land Area 247,269 Square Miles
640,427 Square Kilometers
Water Area 1,303 Square Miles
3,374 Square Kilometers
Land Boundaries 1,795 Miles
2,889 Kilometers
Irrigated Land 10,201 Square Miles
26,420 Square Kilometers
Border Countries Andorra 56.6 km, Belgium 620 km, Germany 451 km, Italy 488 km, Luxembourg 73 km, Monaco 4.4 km, Spain 623 km, Switzerland 573 km
Coastline 3,016 Miles
4,853 Kilometers
Geographic Coordinates Metropolitan France: 46 00 N, 2 00 E

French Guiana: 4 00 N, 53 00 W

Guadeloupe: 16 15 N, 61 35 W

Martinique: 14 40 N, 61 00 W

Mayotte: 12 50 S, 45 10 E

Reunion: 21 06 S, 55 36 E
Terrain Metropolitan France: mostly flat plains or gently rolling hills in the north and west; the remainder is mountainous, especially the Pyrenees in the south, Alps in east

French Guiana: low-lying coastal plains rising to hills and small mountains

Guadeloupe: Basse-Terre is volcanic in origin with interior mountains; Grande-Terre is a low limestone formation; most of the seven other islands are volcanic in origin

Martinique: mountainous with indented coastline; dormant volcano

Mayotte: generally undulating, with deep ravines and ancient volcanic peaks

Reunion: mostly rugged and mountainous; fertile lowlands along the coast
Highest Point 4,807 Meters
Highest Point Location Mont Blanc 4,807 m
Lowest Point -2 Meters
Lowest Point Location Rhone River delta -2 m
Natural Resources Metropolitan France: coal, iron ore, bauxite, zinc, uranium, antimony, arsenic, potash, feldspar, fluorspar, gypsum, timber, fish

French Guiana: gold deposits, petroleum, kaolin, niobium, tantalum, clay
Time Zone UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

time zone note: applies to metropolitan France only; for its overseas regions the time difference is UTC-4 for Guadeloupe and Martinique, UTC-3 for French Guiana, UTC+3 for Mayotte, and UTC+4 for Reunion
Daylight saving time +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

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