France Population, Main Cities and Geography

By | January 27, 2023

France: population and cities


According to Countryaah website, France has a total of 65.4 million residents.

Ethnic composition

In addition to the French, around 4.9 million foreigners live in France, of which around 18% are Portuguese, around 18% Algerians, around 15% Moroccans, around 7% Italian and around 5% Spanish.

Religious affiliation

In France around 62% of the population are Catholics, around 6% Muslims, around 2% Protestants and 27% do not belong to any religious community. Furthermore approx. 2% belong to other religions and less than 1% (approx. 500,000) are of Jewish faith.

Due to increasing attacks by Muslim fundamentalists on Jewish citizens, Jews are increasingly emigrating to Israel – in 2014 there were around 7,000.

National languages

The official language is French. In addition, the following languages are spoken in certain regions:

Breton in Brittany, Alsatian in Alsace and Lorraine, Flemish on the border with Belgium, Basque in the Basque Country, Catalan on the border with Spain, Corsican on Corsica and Occitan or Provençal in the south of France, especially in the Toulouse area.

It should be mentioned that Catalan is the official language in Andorra, as well as a regional official language in Catalonia (Spain), on the Balearic Islands (Spain), in València (Spain) and in Alghero on Sardinia (Italy).

Capital, other cities

The capital of France is Paris with a population of around 2.2 million – the greater area (Ile-de-France region) has around 11.5 million residents. According to Abbreviation Finder, FRA stands for France in English. Click to see other meanings of this 3-letter acronym.

Other big cities are:

  • Marseille with around 1,350,000 residents
  • Lyon with around 1,350,000 residents
  • Lille with around 1,000,000 residents
  • Toulouse with around 760,000 residents
  • Bordeaux with around 760,000 residents
  • Nantes with around 550,000 residents
  • Strasbourg with around 430,000 residents
  • Grenoble with around 420,000 residents
  • Rouen with around 400,000 residents
  • Nice with around 341,000 residents
  • Nancy with around 330,000 residents
  • Metz with around 320,000 residents
  • Tours with around 300,000 residents
  • Saint-Etienne with around 295,000 residents
  • Montpellier with around 290,000 residents
  • Rennes with around 275,000 residents
  • Orleans with around 265,000 residents
  • Clermont-Ferrand with around 260,000 residents
  • Avignon with around 255,000 residents
  • Le Havre with around 250,000 residents
  • Reims with around 187,150 residents
  • Toulon with around 169,000 residents
  • Angers with around 151,100 residents
  • Dijon with around 150,170 residents
  • Annecy with around 50,300 residents

France: map, geography

France has a common border with a total of eight countries:

  • Spain with a length of around 625 km,
  • Belgium with a length of around 620 km,
  • of Switzerland km with a length of around 575,
  • Italy with a length of around 490 km,
  • Germany with a length of around 450 km,
  • Luxembourg with a length of around 75 km,
  • Andorra 56.5 km,
  • Monaco with a length of only around 4.5 km.

France also has a coast to the Mediterranean, the Atlantic, the English Channel and the North Sea with a length of around 5,500 km. Check topmbadirectory for politics, flags, famous people, animals and plants of France.

Area and land use

France covers a total area of 547,026 km².


  • ForestAround 27% of the country is forested.
  • Meadow and pasture landAround 20% of the land is used as meadow or pasture land.
  • Fields and fieldsAround 60% of the land is used as arable land or fields, especially for growing wine, grain, sugar, fruit and vegetables.
  • MountainsThe French Alps extend over a length of 400 km and a width of 60-160 km. They are divided into the Limestone Alps, the inner crystalline massif and the Brianconnais and Piemontais mountains to the east.The French Pyrenees are located in the southwest of the country. They form a border with Spain up to 3,400 m high.

    The Massif Central is located in the south of central France. The Auvergne, a large volcanic area, forms the core of the Massif Central.

    The French part of the Jura is on the border with Switzerland. The Jura is a relatively young chain of mountains.

    The Vosges are a low mountain range in eastern France and are located in the three regions of Alsace, Franche-Comté and Lorraine.

Tidal range in Marseille and la Rochelle

In Marseille, the mean tidal range is only a few decimeters.

In la Rochelle in the Bay of Biscay, on the other hand, the tidal range can be up to around 4 m. The low water in la Rochelle on November 30, 2005 was 1.71 m high, while the flood that followed on the same day was 5.85 m high.

For detailed explanations of ebb and flow, see Tides, Ebb and Flow.


The world’s highest tidal range can be found in the Bay of Fundy in Canada, where it is up to 16 m, and at spring tide even over 20 m. The Bay of Fundy is located on the Atlantic between the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, which is called Nova Scotia in German and whose capital is Halifax. On the German North Sea coast it varies between 1 m and 3 m. In the western Baltic Sea, on the other hand, the tidal range is only 0.3 m, while it is barely noticeable in the eastern Baltic Sea.

Longitude and latitude

France (in Europe without Corsica) extends over the following geographical latitude (abbreviation Δφ) and longitude (abbreviation Δλ):

Δφ = from around 42 ° 18` to 51 ° north latitude Δλ = from around 004 ° 45` west to 008 ° 16` east longitude

You can find detailed information on this subject under Longitude and Latitude.

Legal time

The same time applies in France as in Germany, Austria or Switzerland.

Δt (CET) = 0 h

Further and detailed explanations of the time can be found under Time zones, time.

The highest point of the sun in Paris

Paris lies at a north latitude of around φ = 49 °.

If the sun is at the tropic, i.e. at δ = 23.5 °, summer starts in Paris on June 21st. Then, for the highest position of the sun at noon, according to Eq. 1 (see position of the sun):

49 ° = (90 ° – h) + 23.5 °


H = 64.5 °

At 64.5 °, the sun in Paris has the highest level of the entire year above the horizon (more precisely: above the horizon).

Mountains, Mont Blanc

Mont Blanc

The highest mountain in the country is Mont Blanc in the French Alps with a height of 4,807 m (with ice cap). The mountain is located in the Savoy Alps in the French department of Haute-Savoie. The route to the Italian border is disputed – France claims the summit for itself, while Italy assumes that the border runs exactly over the summit and that the mountain is therefore the highest mountain in France and Italy.

The first ascent took place on August 8, 1786 by the French mountaineer Jacques Balmat (1762-1834) and Michel-Gabriel Paccard (1762-1834) from Chamonix. It should be noted that the first Winter Olympics took place in Chamonix in 1924.

Mont Maudit

Mont Maudit is the second highest mountain in the country with a height of 4,465 m. It is part of the Mont Blanc group and was climbed for the first time on September 12, 1878

Mont Blanc du Tacul

The Mont Blanc du Tacul is the third highest mountain in France with a height of 4,248 m. The mountain is located in the Savoy Alps in the Mont-Blanc group between Mont Blanc and the Aiguille du Midi – in the Haute-Savoie department. Its first ascent took place on August 8, 1855.

Aiguille Verte

The Aiguille Verte is the fourth highest mountain in France with a height of 4,121 m. It is located in the Mont Blanc massif in the Haute-Savoie department, whose capital is Annecy. Its summit was climbed for the first time on June 29, 1865. For mountaineers, the mountain is one of the most difficult four-thousand-meter peaks in the Alps

Barre des Écrins

The Barre des Écrins has a height of 4,102 m. It is the highest mountain in the Écrins National Park, founded in 1973. It forms the border between the Isère and Hautes-Alpes departments. Its summit was climbed for the first time on June 25, 1864

Aiguille de Rochefort

The Aiguille de Rochefort is one of the French four-thousanders with a height of 4,001 m. It is located in the Mont Blanc group – on the border with Italy. Its summit was climbed for the first time on August 14, 1873.

Other high mountains are:

Les Droites

The mountain is 4,000 m high, making it the lowest four-thousand-meter peak in the entire Alps. This mountain is also part of the Mont Blanc group. The mountain has two peaks:

The west summit with a height of 3,984 m, which was first climbed on July 6, 1876.

The east summit with a height of 4,000 m, which was first climbed on August 7, 1876.Other

mountains above 3,500 m are:

La Meije with a height of 3,983 m

L’Ailefroide with several peaks, the highest of which has a height of 3,954 m

Mont Pelvoux with three peaks, the highest of which has a height of 3,946 m

Aiguille d’Argentière with a height of 3,901 m

Grande Casse with an altitude of 3,855 m

Aiguille du Midi with an altitude of 3,842 m

Aiguille des Glaciers with an altitude of 3,816 m

Tour Ronde with an altitude of 3,792 m

Mont Pourri with an altitude of 3,779 m

Pic Coolidge with an altitude of 3,774 m

Aiguille you Druwith two peaks – the highest of which the Grand Aiguille du Dru has a height of 3,754 m,

while the summit Petit Aiguille du Dru has a height of 3,733 m,

Pointe de Charbonnel with a height of 3,752 m,

Aiguille de la Grande Sassiere with a height of 3,747 m

La Dent Parachée at an altitude of 3,697 m

Les Bans at an altitude of 3,669 m

La Grande Motte at an altitude of 3,656 m

L’Albaron at an altitude of 3,638 m

Pointe de Ronce at an altitude of 3,612 m

Tsanteleina at an altitude of 3,605 m

Le Grand Roc Noir 3,582 m Vanoise massif

l’Olanwith an altitude of 3,564 m

Aiguille de Péclet with an altitude of 3,561 m

Les Aiguille d’Arves with an altitude of 3,514 m

Aiguille de Scolette with an altitude of 3,505 m

The Rhine

The longest river in the country is the Rhine with a total length of around 1,230 km from its source in Switzerland to its mouth in the Netherlands. The river forms the border with Germany over a length of approx. 180 km.

According to some authors, the Rhine rises in Tomasse in the Swiss canton of Graubünden. But there are some source rivers further away from the mouth that other authors consider to be sources of the Rhine, such as the source of the “Rein da Medel” in the canton of Ticino in the catchment area of the Hinterrhein. Depending on the source, the Rhine has a length of 1,230 km (from Tomasee) or around 1,300 km. The Tomasee lies at an altitude of 2,345 m in the catchment area of the Vorderrhein. The Vorderrhein rises in the approx. 3,000 m high area of the Gotthard tunnel and flows through the famous Flims Gorge, among other things. The Hinterrhein lies further east and is coming

At Tamins, a municipality 10 km west of Chur in the canton of Graubünden, the Vorderrhein and Hinterrhein flow together to form the “Alpine Rhine”. This Alpine Rhine is around 100 km long and – as mentioned – forms the border between Liechtenstein and Switzerland and, further north, part of the border between Switzerland and Austria.

West of Bregenz, the Alpine Rhine flows into the Upper Lake – part of Lake Constance – then through the Rhine Lake and at the end of the Lower Lake it leaves Lake Constance at Stein am Rhein. At Schaffhausen in Switzerland, it plunges down as a waterfall over a height difference of m. The Rhine Falls of Schaffhausen are impassable for all types of ships and fish (except eels). With a height of 23 m and a width of 150 m, it is the largest waterfall in Europe after Dettifoss on Iceland.

At Hoek van Holland the “Rhine” then flows into the North Sea.

The Rhine from the source to the mouth is divided into the following sections:

Area of source rivers

There are different opinions about the exact source of the Rhine. See also above.

Alpine Rhine

The Alpine Rhine stretches from the confluence of the Vorder and Hinterrhein to Lake Constance (Oberer See) near Bregenz.

Obersee, Seerhein and Untersee (together Lake Constance)

From the Obersee the Rhine flows through the Seerhein and the Untere See, which ends at Stein am Rhein.

Upper Rhine

The Upper Rhine begins in Stein am Rhein, at the end of Lake Constance, and extends to Basel.

Upper Rhine

The Upper Rhine begins in Basel and extends to Binger Loch. The Middle Upper Rhine Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Middle Rhine

The Middle Rhine begins at Binger Loch and extends to Bonn.

At Sankt Goarshausen in Rhineland-Palatinate, it passes the Loreley, an approximately 125 m high slate rock on the right bank of the Rhine, which was immortalized by Heinrich Heine’s poem.

Lower Rhine

The Lower Rhine begins in Bonn and extends to the Rhine-Maas Delta.

Rhine-Maas Delta

The Rhine-Maas Delta consists of a branched river delta that is formed before the confluence of the Rhine and Maas into the North Sea. The Meuse rises in France, flows through Belgium and flows into the North Sea after approx. 925 km in this delta.

Cities on the Rhine















Tributaries of the Rhine (alphabetically), the river lengths are rounded up or down:

Name of the river Estuary in the Rhine section Length of the river in km
Aare Upper Rhine 290
Ahr Middle Rhine 90
Old Issel Rhine-Maas Delta 80
Bad Obersee (Lake Constance) 80
Berkel Rhine-Maas Delta 110
Birs Upper Rhine 75
Bregenz Oh Obersee (Lake Constance) 80
Elz Upper Rhine 90
Emscher Lower Rhine 85
Erft Lower Rhine 105
Ill Upper Rhine 210
Lahn Middle Rhine 245
lip Lower Rhine 220
Meuse Rhine-Maas Delta 920
Main Upper Rhine 525
Moder Upper Rhine 95
Moselle Middle Rhine 545
Murg Upper Rhine 80
Near Upper Rhine 115
Neckar Upper Rhine 365
Oude Maas Rhine-Maas Delta 30
Dysentery Lower Rhine 220
Angry Upper Rhine 70
victory Lower Rhine 155
Thur Upper Rhine 130
Wied Middle Rhine 100
Wupper Lower Rhine 120
Wutach Upper Rhine 90

More rivers


The Garonne has a length of around 647 km and flows through Spain and France. The source of the Garonne is in the Spanish Pyrenees near Val d’Aran. On its way to the Atlantic, the Garonne passes Bordeaux and Toulouse, for example. North of Bordeaux, the Garonne and the Dordogne form the Gironde estuary, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean near the city of Royan in south-western France.


The Loire is around 1,012 km long, making it the longest river in France that flows into the Atlantic. The Loire rises in the Massif Central of France at Mont Gerbier-de-Jonc. On its way to the Atlantic, the Loire passes Orléans, Tours and Nantes. The Loire flows into the Atlantic at Saint-Nazaire.


The Seine has a length of around 776 km and is probably one of the most famous rivers in France. The Seine rises on the Langres plateau about 30 km northwest of Dijon. On its way to the English Channel, for example, the Seine flows through Paris, Rouen and Troyes. The Seine flows into the English Channel Meuse at Le Havre. The Meuse has a length of around 930 km and flows through Belgium, France and the Netherlands. The Meuse rises on the Langres plateau near Pouilly-en-Bassigny about 80 km northeast of Dijon. On its way to the North Sea, the Meuse flows through Liège, Maastricht, Namur and Venlo, for example. The Meuse flows into the North Sea bay of Hollands Diep in the southwest of the Netherlands.


The Moselle is 550 km long, making it the longest tributary of the Rhine. The Moselle has its source at the Col de Bussang in the Vosges in north-eastern France. On its way to the west, the Moselle flows through France, Luxembourg and, in Germany, the federal states of Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate. On this route the Moselle also flows through the following interesting cities: Mousson, Metz, Schengen, Trier, Cochem and flows into the Rhine near Koblenz at the so-called “Deutsches Eck”.


The Marne has a length of 515 km and gives its name to the French departments of Haute-Marne, Marne, Seine-et-Marne and Val-de-Marne. The source of the Marne is located on the Langres plateau, in eastern France, near Balesmes-sur-Marne. The Marne flows into the Seine in the Paris suburb of Charenton-le-Pont.


The Dordogne is 490 km long and has its source on the Puy de Sancy mountain in the French massif Central. North of Bordeaux, the Dordogne flows together with the Garonne and forms the Gironde estuary, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean near the city of Royan in south-western France.


The Rhone has a length of around 812 km and is the most water-rich river in France. The Département Rhône is named after the Rhone. The source of the Rhone is the Rhone Glacier in the northeast of the Swiss canton of Valais. From there the Rhone flows through cities such as Avignon, Arles, Geneva and Lyon. The Rhone flows into the Mediterranean in two arms. The Petit Rhône branches off near the city of Arles and flows into the Mediterranean at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. The main arm of the Rhone, on the other hand, flows into the Mediterranean about 15 southwest of Fos-sur-Mer.


The Saone has a length of 492 km and is located in the east of France. The source of the Saone is about 120 km northeast of Dijon near Vioménil in the Vosges. The Saone flows into the Rhone near Lyon.


The Lot has a length of 491 km and is located in the south-west of France. The river has its source on Mont Lozère in the French Massif Central and flows into the Garonne at Aiguillon.


The Doubs has a length of 457 km in eastern France as well as in Switzerland. Its source is on the Mont Risoux near the Swiss border. On its course, the Doubs forms the border between the two countries. At Verdun-sur-le-Doubs it flows into the Saone.


The Allier has a length of 410 km and is located in central France. The Allier rises on the Moure de la Gardille mountain in the Cevennes and flows into the Loire at Bec d’Allier.


The Tarn has a length of 375 km and is located in the south of France. The source of the Tarn is located on the Mont Lozère mountain in the Cevennes and flows into the Garonne near Moissac.


The Vienne has a length of 372 km and rises from the Plateau de Millevaches in the French Massif Central. The mouth of the river is at Candes-Saint-Martin where the Vienne joins the Loire.


Lake Geneva

The largest lake in France is Lake Geneva with an area of around 234 km² – around 40% of it is in France, the other 60% in Switzerland.

Other larger lakes are:

  • Lac du Der-Chantecoq with an area of around 48 km² is the largest reservoir in France.
  • Lac de Serre-Ponçon with an area of around 29 km².
  • Lac d’Annecy with an area of around 27.59 km².
  • Lac de Madine with an area of 12 km².
  • Lac de Sainte-Croix with an area of 21.8 km².


The following islands are in front of the country or belong elsewhere to the state:


Corsica lies in the Mediterranean Sea and is the largest European island in the country with an area of 8,720 km². About 300,000 Corsicans live in Corsica.

Ile D’Oleron

The Ile D’Oleron is located in the Atlantic Ocean and covers an area of 175 km². This makes it the second largest island in France after Corsica.


The island of Belle-ile-en-Mer has an area of 84 km² and belongs to the Morbihan department in north-western France. The island has about 4,500 residents but can accommodate up to 20,000 visitors during the holiday season.

Ile d’Yeu

The Ile d’Yeu is located in the Atlantic Ocean and covers an area of 22.5 km². It is the most distant Atlantic island from mainland France.

Ile de Noirmoutier

The island of Ile de Noirmoutier has an area of 60 km². About 10,000 people live on this island. It is noteworthy that much of the island is below sea level.

Ile de Re

The island of Ile de Re is located in the Atlantic near the city of La Rochelle and covers an area of 85 km².

Iles de Lerins

The island group of Iles de Lerins is located in the Mediterranean near the city of Cannes. The archipelago consists of the following islands: Île Saint de la Tradeliere, Saint-Ferréol, Saint-Honorat and Sainte-Marguerite. The island of Sainte-Marguerite is known for the fact that the man in the iron mask was imprisoned on it.

France Population