THE FRENCH REPUBLIC
With its capital, Paris located in Metropolitan France; the French Republic is a country with territory in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. France practices a unitary semi-presidential system with the executive branch having two leaders. The President of the French Republic is François Hollande, who is the Head of State, and the government is led by a president-appointed Prime Minister, currently Bernard Cazeneuve.
The French republic is divided into 18 regions (located in Europe and overseas), 5 overseas collectivities, 1 overseas territory, 1 special collectivity: New Caledonia and 1 uninhabited island directly under the authority of the Minister of Overseas France: Clipperton. The European part of France, called Metropolitan France, borders Belgium and Luxembourg in the northeast, Germany and Switzerland in the east, Italy and Monaco in the southeast, and Spain and Andorra in the south and southwest. The French Republic also comprises: the Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Martin, Saint Pierre, Saint Barthélemy and Miquelon in the Atlantic Ocean; French Guiana in South America; French Polynesia, Clipperton Island, Wallis and Futuna and New Caledonia in the Pacific Ocean; Scattered Islands in the Indian Ocean, Réunion island, Mayotte, Crozet Islands, St. Paul, Kerguelen Islands and Amsterdam islands in the Indian Ocean; and Adélie Land in the Antarctic.
The official language of France is French. The country has a total population of almost 67 million people with almost 65 million living in Metropolitan France.
France is considered a significant hub for international relations. It is a founding member of the United Nations and serves as one of the permanent members of the UN Security Council. It also hosts the headquarters of international organisations including the OECD, UNESCO, Interpol, the International Bureau of Weights and Measures, and la Francophonie. Additionally, it continues to maintain strong political and economic influence in its former African colonies (Françafrique), providing economic aid and troops for peace-keeping missions.
The economy of the French Republic is ranked as the world’s ninth largest and the European Union’s second largest economy by purchasing power parity and the world’s sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP. It has a mixed economy that combines extensive private enterprise with substantial state enterprise and government intervention and is part of the European single market which represents more than 500 million consumers.
France has long been a global centre of art, science, and philosophy. It hosts Europe’s fourth-largest number of cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites and receives around 83 million foreign tourists annually, the most of any country in the world. France, especially Paris, has some of the world’s largest and renowned museums, including the Louvre, which is the most visited art museum in the world, the Musée d’Orsay, mostly devoted to impressionism, and Beaubourg, dedicated to Contemporary art. The French Riviera (or Côte d’Azur), in south-east France, is the second leading tourist destination in the country, after Paris with more than 10 million tourists a year.