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. 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.
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 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 French Republic's population.
The five overseas regions (departments) — French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte and Réunion — 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.
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, 65,018,000 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).
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 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.
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, themselves divided into cantons; the last two have no autonomy, and are used for the organisation of police, fire departments, and sometimes, elections.
France is divided into 18 administrative regions, of which 13 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.
The overseas departments and regions of France are departments of France that 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 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.
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.
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 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:
Diplomatic relations between France and Ukraine were established in 1992. Since 2006, Ukraine is an observer in the Francophonie.
Overseas France consists of all the French-administered territories outside Europe, mostly remains 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.
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.