Maharajah of the road
Located in Europe between Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy ans Spain, France is well known for its superb gastronomy, wine, fashion, culture and landscape diversity.
Geography: Two thirds of France is mountains and hills, with the Alps, Pyrenees and Vosges ranges. Mont Blanc in the Alps is the highest mountain in Europe. The Mediterranean coast includes the popular tourist area, the French Riviera. Its hot, dry summers and mild winters make it a popular beach area.
Culture: The culture of France has been shaped by geography, by profound historical events, and by foreign and internal forces and groups. France, and in particular Paris, has played an important role as a center of high culture and of decorative arts. From the late nineteenth century, France has also played an important role in modern art, cinema, fashion and cuisine. French culture today is marked both by great regional and socioeconomic differences and by strong unifying tendencies.
Economy: France is a mixed economy which is the fifth largest economy in the world. France's economy combines extensive private enterprise (nearly 2.5 million companies registered)with substantial (though declining) government intervention. With 81,9 million tourists in 2007, France is ranked as the first tourist destination in the world.
Politics: The French Republic is a unitary semi-presidential republic with strong democratic traditions. The constitution of the Fifth Republic was approved by referendum on 28 September 1958. It greatly strengthened the authority of the executive in relation to parliament.