Population: 66,616,416 (2014 est.)
President: François Hollande
Prime Minister: Manuel Valls
Currency: Euro (€) (EUR)
Area: 674,843 km2 (260,558 mi2)
Dialing Code: +33
Electricity Adapter: 230 V, 50 Hz, Plug/Socket Types: C & E
Time Zone: Central European Time (UTC+1); Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
France is a country in Western Europe, bordered by Ireland and the U.K. to the north, across the English Channel, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy to the east, Spain to the southwest, and Algeria to the south, though over a great expanse of the Mediterranean Sea. Paris is the capital and largest city, and consistently the most visited city in the world.
The French seem to live a very refined lifestyle, and they like to show it. They know how to eat, drink, appreciate art and architecture, and keep things in perspective, and they do this all with class. There are no small number of museums to visit throughout the country, and France has a very good grasp on their relatively-dated history.
Paris, with its numerous cafes, boutiques, and restaurants where many an artist and author got their starts, needs no introduction. But France is much, much more than Paris. There are so many things to do and see for any kind of traveler throughout the country. There is that bastion of the wealthy, the French Riviera, popular for glamorous (read: expensive, pretentious) Saint-Tropez and the Cannes Film Festival. There are many beautiful resorts in the French Alps, and many great vinicultural activities in the valleys of Central France. Castles dot the countryside and add to the beauty of the country.
The French know their food, and that can almost be said objectively. They have a very sophisticated way of cooking and eating, and have elevated both to a near art form. From common fare such as their cheese, champagnes, baguettes, crêpes, and quiches, French standards have been adopted all over the world. French food is very diverse, rivaling the Chinese in the myriad styles and options available. It is said that to understand the French culture and people, you must first understand their food.
Weather in the country varies, as the country is relatively large, being the second-largest in area in Europe (after Russia). Generally, France has a temperate climate with both mild winters and mild summers, but there are exceptions, such as the French Alps and Alsace. The Mediterranean coast offers hotter summers than the rest of France.