France Travel Information

Photo France, officially the French Republic (French, République Française), major industrialized nation in western Europe. France is the third largest country in Europe, after Russia and Ukraine, and the fourth most populous. The French Republic includes ten overseas possessions, most of them remnants of France’s former colonial empire. Paris is the nation’s capital and largest city.
France is highly urbanized. Three-quarters of the population lives in cities, including more than ten million people in the metropolitan area of Paris, the most densely populated region in France. The French are among the healthiest, wealthiest, and best-educated people in the world. A comprehensive social welfare system is in place, guaranteeing all citizens a minimal standard of living and health care. Most citizens speak French, the principal language. The dominant religion is Roman Catholicism.

The economy of France is large, diverse, and one of the most highly developed in the European Union (EU). It is a leading manufacturing nation, producing goods such as automobiles, electrical equipment, machine tools, and chemicals. France is the EU’s most important agricultural nation—shipping cereals, wine, cheese, and other agricultural products to the rest of Europe and the world. In recent decades service industries, including banking, retail and wholesale trade, communications, health care, and tourism, have come to dominate the French economy.

France is one of the oldest states in the Western world and its history is rich and varied. Little is known of France’s earliest inhabitants. Cave paintings in southwestern France dated to about 15,000 bc reveal the existence of a sophisticated and creative people. By the 8th century bc hordes of Celts, among other tribes, began entering and settling in France. A Celtic word, Gaul, was a name used in antiquity for the region of France. The Romans incorporated France in the 1st century bc and ruled the region until the Roman Empire collapsed in the 5th century ad.

Important: Travel to France may require a travel visa. Whether a visa is required for travel depends on citizenship and purpose of journey. Please be sure to review Travisa's France visa instructions for details. Visa instructions for other countries are available on our do I need a visa page.

Country Statistics

Full country name: French Republic
Capital city: Paris
Area: 643,801 sq km
Population: 65,630,692
Ethnic groups: Celtic and Latin with Teutonic, Slavic, North African, Indochinese, Basque minorities
Languages: French
Religions: Roman Catholic 83%-88%, Protestant 2%, Jewish 1%, Muslim 5%-10%, unaffiliated 4%
Government: republic
Chief of State: President Francois HOLLANDE
Head of Government: Prime Minister Jean-Marc AYRAULT
GDP: 2.214 trillion
GDP per captia: 35,100
Annual growth rate: 1.7%
Inflation: 2.3%
Agriculture: wheat, cereals, sugar beets, potatoes, wine grapes
Major industries: machinery, chemicals, automobiles, metallurgy, aircraft, electronics
Natural resources: metropolitan France: coal, iron ore, bauxite, zinc, uranium, antimony, arsenic, potash, feldspar, fluorspar, gypsum, timber, fish
Location: metropolitan France: Western Europe, bordering the Bay of Biscay and English Channel, between Belgium and Spain, southeast of the UK
Trade Partners - exports: Germany 16.7%, Italy 8.3%, Spain 7.4%, Belgium 7.4%, UK 6.7%, US 5%, Netherlands 4.3%
Trade Partners - imports: Germany 19.1%, Belgium 11.3%, Italy 7.7%, Netherlands 7.5%, Spain 6.6%, UK 5.1%, China 4.8%