According to its Constitution of 1958, France has 3 levels of local government :
22 Régions (including Corsica) and 4 Régions d'outre-mer (Réunion, Martinique, Guadeloupe and French Guiana).
Corsica is not referred to as a "région" but simply as a "collectivité territoriale", that merely means "local government area".
96 départements and 5 départements d'outre-mer (Réunion, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte and French Guiana). Paris is both a commune and a département.
There are 36,679 municipalities (in French: Communes). However, in addition to the constitutional clauses of 1958, there now exist specificities:
Intercommunalities are now a level of government between municipalities and departments.
There exist 2 "pays d'outre-mer": French Polynesia and New Caledonia. The expression "pays d'outre-mer" is convenient as it can be understood in French as both "overseas country" and "overseas county/traditional area" (as evidenced by Pays de la Loire that is a home région, not a home "country").
France has an advanced industrial economy and an efficient farm sector. Main activities include automobile manufacture, aerospace, information technology, electronics, chemicals and pharmaceuticals and fashion.
France is the largest country in the EU, stretching from the North Sea to the Mediterranean. The landscape is diverse, with mountains in the east and south, including the Alpine peak of Mont Blanc (4 810 m) which is western Europe's highest point.
Lowland France consists of four river basins, the Seine in the north, the Loire and the Garonne flowing westwards and the Rhône, which flows from Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean Sea.
In the later stages of the Roman Empire, Gaul was subject to barbarian raids and migration, most importantly by the Germanic Franks. The Frankish king Clovis I united most of Gaul under his rule in the late 5th century, setting the stage for Frankish dominance in the region for hundreds of years. Frankish power reached its fullest extent under Charlemagne.
The medieval Kingdom of France emerged out of the western part of Charlemagne's Carolingian Empire, known as West Francia, and achieved increasing prominence under the rule of the House of Capet, founded by Hugh Capet in 987.
The president of the Republic has an important political role. He chairs the meetings of the Council of Ministers (cabinet), and retains overall responsibility in key areas of foreign affairs and defence. The day-to-day running of the country is in the hands of the prime minister. The president is elected by direct popular vote for a period of five years. The parliament consists of a National Assembly, directly elected every five years, and a Senate whose members are chosen by an electoral college.
France has produced some of the continent's most influential writers and thinkers from Descartes and Pascal in the 17th century, to Rousseau and Voltaire in the 18th, Balzac, Baudelaire and Flaubert in the 19th and Sartre and Camus in the 20th. In the last two centuries it has given the art world the works of Renoir, Monet, Cezanne, Gauguin, Matisse and Braque, to name but a few.
French cuisine is one of the finest in Europe; cooking and eating are part of French culture and lifestyle.
This weather map is meant to give you an understanding of the difficult conditions under which many abandoned, homeless and neglected animals are forced to live in - many die of heat stroke, dehydration or freezing temperatures in Europe.