Metropolitan France (French : France métropolitaine or la Métropole) (also known as European France or Mainland France) is the part of France in Europe. It comprises mainland France and Corsica, as well as other islands in the Atlantic Ocean, the English Channel (French : la Manche) and the Mediterranean Sea.
French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.
France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.
Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia.
Overseas France (la France d'outre-mer, l'Outre-mer or colloquially les DOM-TOM) is the collective name for the part of France outside Europe: French overseas regions (départements et régions d'outre-mer or DROM),territories (territoires d'outre-mer or TOM), collectivities (collectivités d'outre-mer or COM) and the sui generis collectivity (collectivité sui generis) of New Caledonia. Metropolitan France and Overseas France together form the French Republic. Metropolitan France accounts for 82.0% of the land territory, 3.3% of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ), and 95.9% of the population of the French Republic.
Overseas France consists of all the French-administered territories outside the European continent, mostly relics of the French colonial empire. These territories have varying legal status and different levels of autonomy, although all have representation in both France's National Assembly and Senate, which together make up the French Parliament. Their citizens have French nationality and vote for the president of France. They have the right to vote in elections to the European Parliament. Overseas France includes island territories in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans, French Guiana on the South American continent, and several periantarctic islands as well as a claim in Antarctica.
The term overseas territory is an administrative division of France and is currently only applied to the French Southern and Antarctic Lands.
The French overseas collectivities, like the French regions, are first-order administrative divisions of France, but have a semi-autonomous status. The COMs include some former French overseas colonies and other French overseas entities with a particular status, all of which became COMs by constitutional reform on 28 March 2003. The COMs should not be confused with the overseas regions and overseas departments, which have the same status as Mainland France but are just located outside Europe. As integral parts of France, overseas collectivities are represented in the National Assembly, Senate and Economic and Social Council. Only one COM, Saint Martin, is part of the European Union and can vote to elect members of the European Parliament (MEPs). The Pacific COMs use the CFP franc, a currency pegged to the euro, whereas the Atlantic COMs use the euro directly. As of 31 March 2011, there were five COMs:
The five overseas regions (departments)— French Guiana, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Réunion, and Mayotte—have the same political status as metropolitan France's regions. Metropolitan France and these five overseas regions together are sometimes called la France entière ("the whole of France") by the French administration. But this France entière does not include the French overseas collectivities and territories that have more autonomy than do the overseas departments. In Overseas France, a person from metropolitan France is often called a métro, short for métropolitain.
French Guiana is an overseas department and region of France, on the north Atlantic coast of South America in the Guyanas. It borders Brazil to the east and south and Suriname to the west. Since 1981, when Belize became independent, French Guiana has been the only territory of the mainland Americas that is still part of a European country.
Martinique is an insular region of France located in the Lesser Antilles of the West Indies in the eastern Caribbean Sea, with a land area of 1,128 square kilometres (436 sq mi) and a population of 376,480 inhabitants as of January 2016. Like Guadeloupe, it is an overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department. One of the Windward Islands, it is directly north of Saint Lucia, southeast of Greater Antilles, northwest of Barbados, and south of Dominica.
Guadeloupe is an overseas region of France in the Caribbean. It consists of six inhabited islands, Basse-Terre, Grande-Terre, Marie-Galante, La Désirade, and the Îles des Saintes, as well as many uninhabited islands and outcroppings.
The term "metropolitan France" dates from the country's colonial period (from the 16th to the 20th centuries), when France was referred to as la Métropole (literally "the Metropolis"), as distinguished from its colonies and protectorates, known as les colonies or l'Empire. Similar terms existed to describe other European colonial powers (e.g. "metropolitan Britain", "España metropolitana"). This application of the words "metropolis" and "metropolitan" came from Ancient Greek "metropolis" (from μήτηρ mētēr "mother" and πόλις pólis "city, town"), which was the name for a city-state that created colonies across the Mediterranean (e.g. Marseille was a colony of the city-state of Phocaea; therefore Phocaea was the "metropolis" of Marseille). By extension "metropolis" and "metropolitan" came to mean "motherland", a nation or country as opposed to its colonies overseas.
In history, a colony is a territory under the immediate complete political control and occupied by settlers of a state, distinct from the home territory of the sovereign. For colonies in antiquity, city-states would often found their own colonies. Some colonies were historically countries, while others were territories without definite statehood from their inception.
The Ancient Greek language includes the forms of Greek used in Ancient Greece and the ancient world from around the 9th century BCE to the 6th century CE. It is often roughly divided into the Archaic period, Classical period, and Hellenistic period. It is antedated in the second millennium BCE by Mycenaean Greek and succeeded by medieval Greek.
A metropolis is a large city or conurbation which is a significant economic, political, and cultural center for a country or region, and an important hub for regional or international connections, commerce, and communications. The term is Ancient Greek (μητρόπολις) and means the "mother city" of a colony, that is, the city which sent out settlers. This was later generalized to a city regarded as a center of a specified activity, or any large, important city in a nation.
Today, some people in overseas France object to the use of the term la France métropolitaine due to its colonial history. They prefer to call it "the European territory of France" (le territoire européen de la France), as the Treaties of the European Union do. Likewise, they oppose treating overseas France and metropolitan France as separate entities. For example, INSEE used to calculate its statistics (demography, economy, etc.) for metropolitan France only, and to analyze separate statistics for the overseas departments and territories. People in the overseas departments have opposed this separate treatment, arguing that the then four overseas departments were fully part of France.
The Treaties of the European Union are a set of international treaties between the European Union (EU) member states which sets out the EU's constitutional basis. They establish the various EU institutions together with their remit, procedures and objectives. The EU can only act within the competences granted to it through these treaties and amendment to the treaties requires the agreement and ratification of every single signatory.
As a result, since the end of the 1990s INSEE has included the four overseas departments in its figures for France (such as total population or GDP). The fifth overseas department, Mayotte, has been included in the figures for France since the mid-2010s too. INSEE refers to metropolitan France and the five overseas departments as la France entière ("the whole of France"). "The whole of France" includes the five overseas departments, but does not include the other overseas collectivities and territories that have more autonomy than the departments. Other branches of the French administration may have different definitions of what la France entière is. For example, in contrast to INSEE, when the Ministry of the Interior releases election results, they use the term la France entière to refer to the entire French Republic, including all of overseas France, and not just the five overseas departments.
Mayotte is an overseas department and region of France officially named the Department of Mayotte. It consists of a main island, Grande-Terre, a smaller island, Petite-Terre, and several islets around these two. Mayotte is part of the Comoros archipelago, located in the northern Mozambique Channel in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Southeast Africa, between northwestern Madagascar and northeastern Mozambique. The department status of Mayotte is recent and the region remains, by a significant margin, the poorest in France. Mayotte is nevertheless much more prosperous than the other countries of the Mozambique Channel, making it a major destination for illegal immigration.
The Minister of the Interior is an important position in the Government of France. The office is equivalent to the Interior Minister of other countries, like the Home Secretary of the United Kingdom, or similar to a combination of the Attorney General and Secretary of Homeland Security in the United States.
Note that since INSEE now calculates statistics for la France entière, this practice has spread to international institutions. For instance, the French GDP published by the World Bank includes metropolitan France and the five overseas departments. The World Bank refers to this total as "France"; it does not use the phrase "the whole of France", as INSEE does.
Metropolitan France covers a land area of 543,940 km² (210,016 sq. miles), while overseas France covers a land area of 119,396 km² (46,099 sq. miles), for a total of 663,336 km² (256,115 sq. miles) in the French Republic (excluding Adélie Land in Antarctica where sovereignty is suspended since the signing of the Antarctic Treaty in 1959). Thus, metropolitan France accounts for 82.0% of the French Republic's land territory.
At sea, the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of metropolitan France covers 333,691 km2 (128,839 sq mi), while the EEZ of overseas France covers 9,825,538 km2 (3,793,661 sq mi), for a total of 10,159,229 km2 (3,922,500 sq mi) in the French Republic (excluding Adélie Land). Thus, metropolitan France accounts for 3.3% of the French Republic's EEZ.
According to INSEE, 65,018,000 people lived in metropolitan France as of January 2018, while 2,790,000 lived in overseas France, for a total of 67,808,000 inhabitants in the French Republic.Thus, metropolitan France accounts for 95.9% of the French Republic's population.
In the second round of the 2017 French presidential election, 35,467,327 French people cast a ballot (meaning a turnout of 74.56%). 33,883,463 of these (95.53% of the total voters) cast their ballots in metropolitan France (turnout: 76.26%), 1,003,910 (2.83% of the total voters) cast their ballots in overseas France (turnout: 53.59%), and 579,954 (1.64% of the total voters) cast their ballots in foreign countries (French people living abroad; turnout: 45.84%).
The French National Assembly is made up of 577 deputies, 539 of whom (93.4% of the total) are elected in metropolitan France, 27 (4.7% of the total) in overseas France, and 11 (1.9% of the total) by French citizens living in foreign countries.
Mainland France (French: la France continentale), or just "the mainland" (French: le continent), does not include the French islands in the Atlantic Ocean, English Channel or Mediterranean Sea, the largest of which is Corsica.
In Corsica, people from the mainland part of Metropolitan France are referred to as les continentaux.
A casual synonym for the mainland part of Metropolitan France is l'Hexagone ("the Hexagon"), for its approximate shape, and the adjective hexagonal may be a casual synonym of French (usually understood as metropolitan only, except in topics related to the foreign affairs and national politics of France as a whole).
The politics of Mayotte takes place in a framework of a French overseas region and department, until 2011 an overseas collectivity. Local politics takes place in a parliamentary representative democratic setting whereby the President of the General Council is the head of government, of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. The status of Mayotte changed in 2001 towards one very close to the status of the départements of mainland France, with the particular designation of collectivité départementale, although the island is still claimed by the Comoros. This change was approved by 73% at a referendum on Mayotte. After the constitutional reform of 2003 it became a collectivité d'outre-mer while keeping the title collectivité départementale de Mayotte. Mayotte became an overseas department of France on 31 March 2011 following the result of the March 2009 Mahoran status referendum, which was overwhelmingly approved by around 95% of voters.
France is divided into 18 administrative regions, which are traditionally divided between 13 metropolitan regions, located on the European continent, and 5 overseas regions, located outside the European continent. The 13 metropolitan regions are each further subdivided into 2 to 13 departments, while the overseas regions consist of only one department each and hence are also referred to as "overseas departments". The current legal concept of region was adopted in 1982, and in 2016 what had been 27 regions was reduced to 18. The overseas regions should not be confused with the overseas collectivities, which have a semi-autonomous status.
The geography of France consists of a terrain that is mostly flat plains or gently rolling hills in the north and west and mountainous in the south and the east.
The overseas departments and regions of France are departments of France which are outside metropolitan France, the European part of France. They have nearly the same political status as metropolitan departments, although special constitutional provisions allow them greater autonomy and they are excluded from certain domestic statistics, such as the unemployment rate.
The administrative divisions of France are concerned with the institutional and territorial organization of French territory. These territories are located in many parts of the world. There are many administrative divisions, which may have political, electoral (districts), or administrative objectives. All the inhabited territories are represented in the National Assembly, Senate and Economic and Social Council and their citizens have French citizenship.
A territorial collectivity is a chartered subdivision of France, with recognized governing authority. It is the generic name for any subdivision with an elective form of local government and local regulatory authority. The nature of a French territorial collectivity is set forth in Article 72 of the French constitution of 1958, which provides for local autonomy within limits prescribed by law.
La Première is a French network of radio and television stations operating France's overseas departments and territories around the world.
France–Ukraine relations are foreign relations between France and Ukraine. Diplomatic relations between both countries were established in 1992. France has an embassy in Kiev and Ukraine has an embassy in Paris. Since 2006, Ukraine is an observer in the Francophonie.
Grande-Terre is the main island of the French overseas region of Mayotte. The island is located in the northern Mozambique Channel in the Indian Ocean, namely between northwestern Madagascar and northeastern Mozambique.