Metropolitan France (French : France métropolitaine or la Métropole), also known as European France, is the area of the French Republic which is geographically in Europe. This collective name for the European regions of France is used in everyday life in France but has no administrative meaning. Indeed, the overseas regions have exactly the same administrative status as the metropolitan regions. Metropolitan France comprises mainland France and Corsica, as well as nearby islands situated in the Atlantic Ocean, the English Channel (French : la Manche) and the Mediterranean Sea.
In contrast, overseas France is the collective name for all the French territories outside Europe. Metropolitan 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. Some small parts of France (as example the Cerdagne) are part of the Iberian Peninsula.
In overseas France, a person from metropolitan France is often called a métro, short for métropolitain.
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.
Today, some people[ who? ] 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.
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.
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 square kilometres (210,020 sq mi), while Overseas France covers a land area of 119,396 km2 (46,099 sq mi), for a total of 663,336 km2 (256,115 sq mi) 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, 65,250,000 people lived in metropolitan France as of January 2021, while 2,785,000 lived in overseas France, for a total of 68,035,000 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 image of France as a hexagon first appeared in French geography texts of the 1850s.
The French Southern and Antarctic Lands is an Overseas Territory of France. It consists of:
Mayotte is an overseas department/region and single territorial collectivity of France officially named the Department of Mayotte. is located in the northern Mozambique Channel in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Southeast Africa, between northwestern Madagascar and northeastern Mozambique. Mayotte consists of a main island, Grande-Terre, a smaller island, Petite-Terre, and several islets around these two. Mayotte is more prosperous than other countries of the Mozambique Channel, making it a major destination for illegal immigration.
Wallis and Futuna, officially the Territory of the Wallis and Futuna Islands is a French island collectivity in the South Pacific, situated between Tuvalu to the northwest, Fiji to the southwest, Tonga to the southeast, Samoa to the east, and Tokelau to the northeast.
In the administrative divisions of France, the department is one of the three levels of government under the national level, between the administrative regions and the communes. Ninety-six departments are in metropolitan France, and five are overseas departments, which are also classified as overseas regions. Departments are further subdivided into 334 arrondissements, and these are divided into cantons. The last two levels of government have no autonomy; they are the basis of local organisation of police, fire departments and, sometimes, administration of elections.
France is divided into eighteen administrative regions, of which thirteen are located in metropolitan France, while the other five are overseas regions.
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. Metropolitan France has a total size of 551,695 km2 (213,011 sq mi). It is the third largest country in Europe after Russia and Ukraine.
ISO 3166-2:FR is the entry for France in ISO 3166-2, part of the ISO 3166 standard published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), which defines codes for the names of the principal subdivisions of all countries coded in ISO 3166-1.
The overseas departments and regions of France are departments of France that are outside metropolitan France, the European part of France. They have exactly the same status as mainland France's regions and departments. The French Constitution provides that, in general, French laws and regulations apply to French overseas regions the same as in metropolitan France, but can be adapted as needed to suit the region's particular needs. Hence, the local administrations of French overseas regions cannot themselves pass new laws.
The commune is a level of administrative division in the French Republic. French communes are analogous to civil townships and incorporated municipalities in the United States and Canada, Gemeinden in Germany, comuni in Italy or municipio in Spain. The United Kingdom has no exact equivalent, as communes resemble districts in urban areas, but are closer to parishes in rural areas where UK districts are much larger. Communes are based on historical geographic communities or villages and are vested with significant powers to manage the populations and land of the geographic area covered. The communes are the fourth-level administrative divisions of France.
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.
An exclusive economic zone (EEZ), as prescribed by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, is an area of the sea in which a sovereign state has special rights regarding the exploration and use of marine resources, including energy production from water and wind. It stretches from the baseline out to 200 nautical miles (nmi) from the coast of the state in question. It is also referred to as a maritime continental margin and, in colloquial usage, may include the continental shelf. The term does not include either the territorial sea or the continental shelf beyond the 200 nautical mile limit. The difference between the territorial sea and the exclusive economic zone is that the first confers full sovereignty over the waters, whereas the second is merely a "sovereign right" which refers to the coastal state's rights below the surface of the sea. The surface waters, as can be seen in the map, are international waters.
The city of Paris had a population of 2,187,526 people within its administrative city limits as of January 1, 2017. It is surrounded by the Paris unité urbaine, or urban area, the most populous urban area in the European Union. In 2017 the unité urbaine had a population of 10,784,830. The Paris Region, or Île-de-France covers 12,012 square kilometers, and has its own regional council and president. It has a population of 12,174,880 as of January 2017, or 18.3 percent of the population of France.
Corsica is an island in the Mediterranean Sea and politically one of the eighteen regions of France. It is the fourth-largest island in the Mediterranean and lies southeast of the French mainland, west of the Italian Peninsula and immediately north of the Italian island of Sardinia, the land mass nearest to it. A single chain of mountains makes up two-thirds of the island. In 2016, it had a population of 330,455.
The Collectivity of Saint Martin, commonly known as simply Saint Martin, is an overseas collectivity of France in the West Indies in the Caribbean. With a population of 34,065 as of January 2018 on an area of 53.2 square kilometres (20.5 sq mi), it encompasses the northern 60% of the divided island of Saint Martin, and some neighbouring islets, the largest of which is Île Tintamarre. The southern 40% of the island of Saint Martin constitutes Sint Maarten, which has been a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands since 2010. This marks the only place in the world where France borders the Netherlands.
French Guiana is an overseas department/region and single territorial collectivity of France on the northern Atlantic coast of South America in the Guianas. It borders Brazil to the east and south and Suriname to the west.
Overseas France consists of thirteen French-administered territories outside Europe, mostly remains of the French colonial empire that wanted to stay French but voted for various status after decolonization. This collective name is used in everyday life in France but has no administrative reality. Indeed, the five overseas regions have exactly the same administrative status as the metropolitan regions while the five overseas collectivities are semi-autonomous and New Caledonia is an autonomous territory. Overseas France includes island territories in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, French Guiana on the South American continent, and several peri-Antarctic islands as well as a claim in Antarctica. Excluding the district of Adélie Land, where French sovereignty is effective de jure by French law, but where the French exclusive claim on this part of Antarctica is frozen by the Antarctic Treaty, overseas France covers a land area of 119,396 km2 (46,099 sq mi) and accounts for 18.0% of the French Republic's land territory. Its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of 9,825,538 km2 (3,793,661 sq mi) accounts for 96.7% of the EEZ of the French Republic.
This is a list of countries showing past and future population density, ranging from 1950 to 2100, as estimated by the 2017 revision of the World Population Prospects database by the United Nations Population Division. The population density equals the number of human inhabitants per square kilometer of land area.
France has, due to its Overseas departments and regions that are scattered in all the oceans of Earth, the largest exclusive economic zone of the world. The total EEZ of France is 11,691,000 km2 (4,514,000 sq mi). It covers approximately 8% of the surface of all the EEZs of the world, while the French Republic is only 0.45% of the world's land surface.