France, officially the French Republic, is a member state of the European Union located in Western Europe. Strictly speaking there are several overseas territories and various islands belonging to the French Republic. These territories and islands are located on other continents as well as in the Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans. Furthermore it has to be stressed that with its main ideals established within the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, France represents a so-called unitary semi-presidential republic. This means that the president and the prime minister are both active participants in the day-to-day administration of the state.
In Europe, the French Republic is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Monaco, Spain, and Andorra. So geographically France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea as well as from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. Moreover France is linked to the United Kingdom by the Channel Tunnel passing underneath the English Channel. Because of the geometric shape of its territory, the French Republic is often described as “L’Hexagone” (“The Hexagon”).
France, which is very popular for its exquisite french room design including plissee, tissues and curtains, represents the largest state within the European Union by area and the third largest European state. It is one of those countries which have a high level of development according to criteria such as for instance standard of living, public education level and nominal GDP. Consequently France can be seen as one of the most globalized nations: In 2009, France got the second best international reputation. Besides, France does also have one of the world’s highest life expectancies – this because of the fact that the state possesses a great system of universal health care which is largely financed by the government. Strictly speaking the French healthcare system is rated as the best in the world.
With its 82 million foreign tourists coming annually to France, it is the most visited country in the world. By far with its approximately twelve million inhabitants Paris can be seen as the most important and largest French city. Moreover the metropolitan areas around Marseille, Lille, and Lyon do also have more than one million inhabitants.