Location, Location, Location: France is located in Western Europe between the English Channel and the Mediterranean Sea. The terrain consists mainly of flat plains and rolling hills, with the French Alps and Pyrenees rising in the east and south, respectively.
Government: France is governed as a republic with a president and written constitution.
Size Matters: The total land area of France is 643,427 sq km, the largest country within the European Union.
Cities: France is divided into 26 administrative regions, which are further divided into 100 departments. The national capital and largest city is Paris.
Did You Know? France is the most visited country in the world, typically receiving over 80 million tourists each year.
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Population: As of July 2009 France’s population was estimated at 64,057,792, standing 2nd in the European Union and the 21st most populous nation in the world.
Business Environment: France was ranked the 31st best country in the world for business in a 2009 Doingbusiness.com ranking.
Top Industries: In terms of paid jobs, the labor force in 2005 was divided between services (71.8%), industry (24.3%) and agriculture (3.8%).
Taxes: France sanctions a Corporate Income Tax of 33%; an Individual Income Tax of 5.5-40%; and a Value Added Tax of 19.6%.
Quality of Life: In a recent “Quality of Living Global City Ranking” by Mercer, Paris ranked 33rd and Lyon ranked 37th.
Weather: France maintains fairly temperate climates throughout, with relatively cool winters and mild summers.
K-12: In the Programme for International Student Assessment 2006 ranking of 59 developed countries, French K-12 education ranked as “average” in mathematics, science and reading.
College Education: According to US News and World Reports 2008 world college rankings, the top universities in France include Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris (#28), Ecole Polytechnique (#34) and Ecole Normale Superieure, Lyon (#140).
In General: France boasts the eighth largest economy in the world in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The French economy typically entails a unique blend of private jurisdiction and government control; since the early 1990’s the government has been selling off ownership in various large industries but still retains considerable influence in key sectors.
Services: French tourism, which ranks first in the world, is the leading sector of the services industry, with tourism-related occupations employing a majority of the nation’s workforce. Insurance, finance and real estate also play a valuable role in the services sector.
Industry: France boasts a large, diverse industrial sector led specifically by telecommunications, aerospace and defense, shipbuilding, pharmaceuticals, and construction and civil engineering. This nation serves as one of the primary manufacturing importers and exporters.
Agriculture: France is the European Unions’s leading agricultural producer. Northern France includes an abundance of wheat farms, the western region focuses in dairy and livestock, and southern France boasts internationally acclaimed fruits, vegetables and wine.
A Closer Look: Major multi-national corporations based in France include Louis Vuitton, Air France and the AXA Group.
Sources: In addition to specific citations noted in this “Career Information” section, supplementary source materials include: the CIA World Factbook, Worldwidetax.com and Wikipedia.com.