France: a quick introduction


Official name



Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité
Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

Capital city


Head of State
Emmanuel Macron


68 million

€1 = 100 centimes


Dialing Code


Time zone
Winter UTC +1
Summer UTC +2

Total area
551,000 km2


Highest Point
Mont Blanc
4808 m.

Longest River
La Loire
1006 km / 625 mi





The regions of France

The mainland is known as Metropolitan France, and is divided into 13 regions, and 96 sub-regions called départements :


Main cities of France

Here are the largest settlements of France, each with a population of over 100,000 people:

The larger Paris region (Ile de France) also includes Argenteuil, Boulogne Billancourt, Montreuil and Saint Denis. These have been excluded from the map for clarity.


Public holidays

France has 11 official public holidays dotted throughout the year, so it is always worth checking before travelling. The majority of banks close on these days, and most shops run on reduced hours (that's if they open at all).

If a holiday falls on a Sunday, then the following Monday is usually a "rollover" holiday. This doesn't happen if the holiday falls on a Saturday,

Holiday Date Notes
Jour de l'an - New Year 1 January  
Lundi de Pâques - Easter Monday varies  
Fête du travail - Labour Day 1 May  
Victoire 1945 - VE Day 8 May anniversary of World War II ending
Ascension varies - 39 days after Easter  
Pentecôte - Pentecost varies - 50 days after Easter  
Fête Nationale - National holiday 14 July also known as Bastille Day
Assomption  15 August  
Toussaint - All Saints' Day 1 November  
Armistice 1918 11 November Anniversary of World War I ending
Jour de Noël - Christmas 25 December  
The Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin and Moselle departements have an additional two local holidays:
Vendredi saint - Good Friday varies - 2 days before Easter  
Saint Étienne - Boxing Day 26 December