Location of France

France lies on the western edge of the European continent and shares borders with six neighbours: Belgium and Luxembourg to the north, Germany and Switzerland to the east, Italy to the southeast and Spain to the southwest. Thus it forms a bridge linking northern and southern Europe and joining the countries in the central part of the continent to those in the east. Its extensive coastline gives France a natural outlet toward America and Africa.

The territory of France is compact and is often represented as a hexagon of which each axis measures just under 1,000 km. With a total area of 550,000 sq. km., France ranks as a medium-sized country on the world scale. However, it is the largest country in Western Europe, bigger than Spain, Germany or the United Kingdom.

Because of its extensive network of modern communications, France is a real hub in Europe. The eastern reaches of the country abut the great industrial and urban area stretching from the mouth of the Rhine to the plains of the Po River. It is also within easy reach of the industrial centres of the United Kingdom and the other countries lying on the North Sea. To the south it is an integral part of the Mediterranean arc running from Catalonia to central Italy.