France Geography

Geography in France

The French territory includes Central European France, the island of Corsica and the French overseas territories of French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte and Réunion. The French metropolitan area is located in the center of Europe and borders in the east and north-east with Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium, in the south-west with Andorra and Spain, and in the south-east with Monaco, Italy, and Switzerland. the English Channel with the transition to the North Sea and extends in the south to the Mediterranean coast.

With an area of approx. 544,000 km², France is one of the largest countries in Europe and sometimes has very different landscapes. On a trip through central France, the impression of the landscape is mainly shaped by plains or hills that rise to form massive mountains in the southeast with the Alps and on the border with the Iberian Peninsula with the Pyrenees. The central massif is located in the southern center of France and the eastern borders are formed by the Rhine and Rhone valleys with the Jura and the Vosges mountains. The highest mountain in France is the 4810 meter high Mont Blanc in the Alps, which is also considered the highest mountain in Europe. France’s coasts are mostly flat and sandy in the west on the Atlantic. In the north-west and north, in Brittany and Normandy, however, there are also steep cliffs with cliffs. In many places, the Normandy coastline is shaped by the edge of the chalk cliffs. The rocky Mediterranean coast forms outside the Rhone Delta in the area of popular travel destinations in France, for example. T. extensive lagoons.

The largest area of the country is drained via the rivers Rhine, Loire, Seine, Moselle Maas and Scheldt to the Atlantic and the North Sea, only the Rhone leads the precipitation from the French Alps to a significant extent to the Mediterranean.

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Flora and fauna in France

Almost all plants native to Europe can be found in France, from the typical deciduous and coniferous trees, orange and other fruit trees to alpine mosses, lichens and herbs. Oak, beech, ash, maple and chestnut grow in the larger forests of southern Normandy. Pine, stone and cork oaks, pines, junipers, cypresses and plane trees are particularly indigenous to the Mediterranean region. Contiguous forests of sweet chestnuts have formed on Corsica. In the south of France olives, almonds and wine are also grown. The largest contiguous forest area in France, the Forêt des Landes, which consists exclusively of man-made maritime pine plantations, can be found in the dunes on the west coast. A floristic highlight is Provence in the south of France, which in spring forms a sea of blooming herbs and flowers. The Aleppo pine can also be found here frequently.

The flamingos living in the Camargue exude exotic flaire. This popular travel region is also known for its population of wild horses. In addition to the red deer and wild boar native to France, you will also come across ibex, chamois, mouflon and marmots, especially in the Alps. However, encounters with lynxes, brown bears or wolves are rare. Caution is advised with the reptiles. Adders and vipers are relatively common and in contrast to the snake species living in Germany, the aspis viper, European lizard snake and the occasional meadow otter are significantly more venomous. The Greek tortoise is also at home in the Massif des Maures in southern France.

The floodplains and wetlands are inhabited by all kinds of large birds, especially storks and various species of herons. In addition to birds of prey such as eagle owls, buzzards, kites, kestrels and sparrows, golden eagles, lammergeiers and vultures can also be observed in the mountain regions.

Flora in France

National parks and nature conservation in France

On the European mainland, France maintains a large number of protected zones, nature parks and biosphere reserves, and 6 national parks that deserve attention on a trip through France. These include the 1480 km² Vanoise National Park and the 1780 km² Écrins National Park in the French Alps, the 520 km² National Park Calanques and the 25 km² Port-Cros National Park on the Mediterranean coast between Marseille and Toulon, which covers approx. 460 km² Great Pyrenees National Park, the 3200 km² Cevennes National Park and the 2150 km² Mercantour National Park in the French Maritime Alps.


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