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France today is one of the most modern countries in the world and is a leader among European nations. It plays an influential global role as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, NATO, the G-8, the G-20, the EU and other multilateral organizations. France rejoined NATO's integrated military command structure in 2009, reversing de Gaulle's 1966 decision to take French forces out of NATO. Since 1958, it has constructed a hybrid presidential-parliamentary governing system resistant to the instabilities experienced in earlier more purely parliamentary administrations. In recent decades, its reconciliation and cooperation with Germany have proved central to the economic integration of Europe, including the introduction of a common exchange currency, the euro, in January 1999. In the early 21st century, five French overseas entities - French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, and Reunion - became French regions and were made part of France proper.


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Government

Country name
Conventional long form French Republic
Conventional short form France
Local long form Republique francaise
Local short form France

Government type
Republic

Capital
Name Paris
Geographic coordinates 48 52 N, 2 20 E
Time difference
UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Daylight saving time
+1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Note
Applies to metropolitan France only, not to its overseas departments, collectivities, or territories

Administrative divisions
27 regions (regions, singular - region); Alsace, Aquitaine, Auvergne, Basse-Normandie (Lower Normandy), Bourgogne (Burgundy), Bretagne (Brittany), Centre, Champagne-Ardenne, Corse (Corsica), Franche-Comte, Guadeloupe, Guyane (French Guiana), Haute-Normandie (Upper Normandy), Ile-de-France, Languedoc-Roussillon, Limousin, Lorraine, Martinique, Mayotte, Midi-Pyrenees, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Pays de la Loire, Picardie, Poitou-Charentes, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, Reunion, Rhone-Alpes
Note
France is divided into 22 metropolitan regions (including the "territorial collectivity" of Corse or Corsica) and 5 overseas regions (French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, and Reunion) and is subdivided into 96 metropolitan departments and 5 overseas departments (which are the same as the overseas regions)

Dependent areas
Clipperton Island, French Polynesia, French Southern and Antarctic Lands, New Caledonia, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Wallis and Futuna
Note
The US does not recognize claims to Antarctica; New Caledonia has been considered a "sui generis" collectivity of France since 1998, a unique status falling between that of an independent country and a French overseas department

Independence
No official date of independence: 486 (Frankish tribes unified under Merovingian kingship); 10 August 843 (Western Francia established from the division of the Carolingian Empire); 14 July 1789 (French monarchy overthrown); 22 September 1792 (First French Republic founded); 4 October 1958 (Fifth French Republic established)

National holiday
Fete de la Federation, 14 July (1790); note - although often incorrectly referred to as Bastille Day, the celebration actually commemorates the holiday held on the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille (on 14 July 1789) and the establishment of a constitutional monarchy; other names for the holiday are Fete Nationale (National Holiday) and quatorze juillet (14th of July)

Constitution
Adopted by referendum 28 September 1958; effective 4 October 1958; amended many times
Note
Amended in 1962 concerning election of president; amended to comply with provisions of 1992 EC Maastricht Treaty, 1997 Amsterdam Treaty, 2003 Treaty of Nice; amended in 1993 to tighten immigration laws; amended in 2000 to change the seven-year presidential term to a five-year term; amended in 2005 to make the EU constitutional treaty compatible with the Constitution of France and to ensure that the decision to ratify EU accession treaties would be made by referendum

Legal system
Civil law; review of administrative but not legislative acts

International law organization participation
Has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Suffrage
18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state
President Francois HOLLANDE (since 15 May 2012)
Head of government
Prime Minister Jean-Marc AYRAULT (since 16 May 2012)
Cabinet
Council of Ministers appointed by the president at the suggestion of the prime minister
Elections
President elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 22 April and 6 May 2012 (next to be held in the spring of 2017); prime minister appointed by the president
Election results
Francois HOLLANDE elected; first round: percent of vote - Francois HOLLANDE 28.6%, Nicolas SARKOZY 27.2%, Marine LE PEN 17.9%, Lean-Luc MELENCHON 11.1%, Francois BAYROU, 9.1%, others 6.1%; second round: HOLLANDE 51.6%, SARKOZY 48.4%

Legislative branch
Bicameral Parliament or Parlement consists of the Senate or Senat (348 seats; 328 for metropolitan France and overseas departments, 2 for New Caledonia, 2 for French Polynesia, 1 for Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, 1 for Saint-Barthelemy, 1 for Saint-Martin, 1 for Wallis and Futuna, and 12 for French nationals abroad; members indirectly elected by an electoral college to serve six-year terms; one third elected every three years); and the National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (577 seats; 555 for metropolitan France, 15 for overseas departments, 7 for overseas dependencies; members elected by popular vote under a single-member majority system to serve five-year terms)
Elections
Senate - last held on 25 September 2011 (next to be held in September 2014); National Assembly - last held on 10 and 17 June 2012 (next to be held in June 2017)
Election results
Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PS/Greens 140, UMP 132, UDF 31, PCF/MRC 21, PRG 17, other 7; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - PS 48.5%, UMP 33.6%, miscellaneous left wing parties 3.8%, The Greens 3.0%, miscellaneous right wing parties 2.6%, NC 2.1%, PRG 2.1%, FDG 1.7%, other 2.6%; seats by party - PS 280, UMP 194, miscellaneous left wing parties 22, The Greens 17, miscellaneous right wing parties 15, NC 12, PRG 12, FDG 10, other 15

Judicial branch
Supreme Court of Appeals or Cour de Cassation (judges are appointed by the president from nominations of the High Council of the Judiciary); Constitutional Council or Conseil Constitutionnel (three members appointed by the president, three appointed by the president of the National Assembly, and three appointed by the president of the Senate); Council of State or Conseil d'Etat

Political parties and leaders
Centrist Union or UDF [Nicolas ABOUT]; Democratic Movement or MoDem [Francois BAYROU] (previously Union for French Democracy or UDF); French Communist Party or PCF [Pierre LAURENT]; Greens [Cecile DUFLOT]; Left Front or FDG [Jean-Luc MELENCHON]; Left Party or PG [Jean-Luc MELENCHON]; Left Radical Party or PRG [Jean-Michel BAYLET] (previously Radical Socialist Party or PRS and the Left Radical Movement or MRG); Movement for France or MPF [Philippe DE VILLIERS]; National Front or FN [Marine LE PEN]; New Anticapitalist Party or NPA [Myriam MARTIN and Christine POUPIN]; New Center or NC [Herve MORIN]; Radical Party [Jean-Louis BORLOO]; Rally for France or RPF [Charles PASQUA]; Republican and Citizen Movement or MRC [Jean-Luc LAURENT]; Socialist Party or PS [Martine AUBRY]; United Republic or RS [Dominique DE VILLEPIN]; Union for a Popular Movement or UMP [vacant]; Worker's Struggle or LO [Nathalie ARTHAUD]

Political pressure groups and leaders
Confederation francaise democratique du travail or CFDT, left-leaning labor union with approximately 803,000 members; Confederation francaise de l'encadrement - Confederation generale des cadres or CFE-CGC, independent white-collar union with 196,000 members; Confederation francaise des travailleurs chretiens of CFTC, independent labor union founded by Catholic workers that claims 132,000 members; Confederation generale du travail or CGT, historically communist labor union with approximately 700,000 members; Confederation generale du travail - Force ouvriere or FO, independent labor union with an estimated 300,000 members; Mouvement des entreprises de France or MEDEF, employers' union with 750,000 companies as members (claimed)
French Guiana
Conservationists; gold mining pressure groups; hunting pressure groups
Guadeloupe
Christian Movement for the Liberation of Guadeloupe or KLPG; General Federation of Guadeloupe Workers or CGT-G; General Union of Guadeloupe Workers or UGTG; Movement for an Independent Guadeloupe or MPGI; The Socialist Renewal Movement
Martinique
Caribbean Revolutionary Alliance or ARC; Central Union for Martinique Workers or CSTM; Frantz Fanon Circle; League of Workers and Peasants; Proletarian Action Group or GAP
Reunion NA

International organization participation
ADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Arctic Council (observer), Australia Group, BDEAC, BIS, BSEC (observer), CBSS (observer), CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, FATF, FZ, G-20, G-5, G-7, G-8, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, InOC, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MINURSO, MINUSTAH, MONUSCO, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PIF (partner), Schengen Convention, SELEC (observer), SPC, UN, UN Security Council, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, Union Latina, UNITAR, UNMIL, UNOCI, UNRWA, UNSC (permanent), UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the us
Chief of mission
Ambassador Francois M. DELATTRE
Chancery
4101 Reservoir Road NW, Washington, DC 20007
Telephone [1] (202) 944-6000
FAX [1] (202) 944-6166
Consulate(s) general
Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco

Diplomatic representation from the us
Chief of mission Ambassador Charles H. RIVKIN
Embassy
2 Avenue Gabriel, 75382 Paris Cedex 08
Mailing address PSC 116, APO AE 09777
Telephone [33] (1) 43-12-22-22
FAX [33] (1) 42 66 97 83
Consulate(s) general Marseille, Strasbourg

Flag description
Three equal vertical bands of blue (hoist side), white, and red; known as the "Le drapeau tricolore" (French Tricolor), the origin of the flag dates to 1790 and the French Revolution when the "ancient French color" of white was combined with the blue and red colors of the Parisian militia; the official flag for all French dependent areas
Note
The design and/or colors are similar to a number of other flags, including those of Belgium, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, and Netherlands

National symbol(s)
Gallic rooster

National anthem
Name
"La Marseillaise" (The Song of Marseille)
Lyrics/music Claude-Joseph ROUGET de Lisle
Note
Adopted 1795, restored 1870; originally known as "Chant de Guerre pour l'Armee du Rhin" (War Song for the Army of the Rhine), the National Guard of Marseille made the song famous by singing it while marching into Paris in 1792 during the French Revolutionary Wars


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  France (Paris):


  GPS points from France (Paris)

Sainte-euphraise-et-clairizet Champagne-ardenne

Souchay Centre

Pradelles Midi-pyrenees

Etang Miclos Centre


Bilac Pays De La Loire

Chaussot Bourgogne

Bois Retif Bourgogne




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