France ( or ; ), officially the French Republic, is a unitary semi-presidential republic located mostly in Western Europe, with several overseas regions and territories. Metropolitan France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. From its shape, it is often referred to in French as ("The Hexagon").
France is the largest country in Western Europe and the third-largest in Europe as a whole. It possesses the second-largest exclusive economic zone in the world. France has been a major power with strong cultural, economic, military, and political influence in Europe and around the world. France has its main ideals expressed in the 18th-century Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. From the 17th to the early 20th century, France built the second-largest colonial empire of the time, ruling large portions of first North America and India and then Northwest and Central Africa; Madagascar; Indochina and southeast China; and many Caribbean and Pacific Islands.
France is a developed country, possessing the world's fifth-largest and Europe's second-largest economy by nominal GDP. It is also the world's ninth-largest by GDP at purchasing power parity. France is the wealthiest nation in Europe – and the fourth-wealthiest in the world – in aggregate household wealth. French citizens enjoy a high standard of living, high public education level, and one of the world's longest life expectancies. France has been listed as the world's "best overall health care" provider by the World Health Organization. It is the most-visited country in the world, receiving 79.5 million foreign tourists annually.
France has the world's fifth-largest nominal military budget, as well as (in terms of personnel) the largest military in the EU, the third-largest deployable force in NATO, and the 26th-largest military in the world. France also possesses the third-largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world – with around 300 active warheads – and the world's second-largest diplomatic corps (behind the United States). France is a founding member of the United Nations, one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, and a member of the Francophonie, the G8, G20, NATO, OECD, WTO, and the Latin Union. It is also a founding and leading member state of the European Union and the largest EU state by area. In 2011, France was listed 20th on the Human Development Index and, in 2010, 24th on the Corruption Perceptions Index.
How places in France are organized
France was organized into provinces (labeled "former provinces") until 1790, when it was divided into 83 départements. The départments are now located in régions. The standard at WeRelate is to title French place pages according to the départment in which they were located in 1965, with also-located-in links to the former province and other départments in which they have been or are currently located. The year 1965 is chosen because it is the year used by the Family History Library Catalog.
All places in France
Further information on historical place organization in France