France is the second-largest country in Europe (after Russia). France's bordering neighbors are Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Andorra, and Spain. France's boundaries are natural. The Atlantic Ocean and the Bay of Biscay to the west, the English channel to the northwest (separating France from England), and the Mediterranean Sea to the southeast. France is the second-largest country in Europe (after Russia). Much of the country is surrounded by mountains. The highest mountain, Mount Blanc, is near France's border with Italy. The climate and soil of France create good conditions for farming. Although only four percent of the French people earn their living from farming, the country is self-sufficient when it comes to growing its own food.
France has fish flora of 4,500 plants and is home to 110 mammals, 360 birds, 30 amphibian, 36 reptile, and 72 fish species. & national parks in France, France, 40 regional nature parks, 149 natural reserves, and 299 protected coastal sites. (All covering 7% of the total land area of France) 29% of France is forested.
The french insists on fresh ingredients of high quality and shops carefully for the best value. Regional recipes are often passed down from one generations to the next. The cooking of northern France is based on butter and the southern French cooking uses oil, as neighboring Italy.
The regions of France have varying cuisine: in Brittany (northwestern France), the main dish is crêpes (thin pancakes) with cider; and in the Alsace region (eastern France near Germany), a popular dish is cabbage with pieces of sausage, called la choucroute . The French from the Loire River Valley eat a special dish made of the Lotte fish that can only be found in the Loire River. On the coasts of France seafood is plentiful, including mussels, clams, oysters, shrimp, and squid. The French enjoy escargots (snails) cooked with garlic and butter, roast duck, and rabbit.
People in France uese the grapes that are grown in their country to create wine-one of their leading exports.
Between 83 to 88% of french people consider themselves Roman Catholic, but only 21% attend church regularly. Between 5 to 10% of french population are Muslim and about 1% are Jewish.
Over the history , France has many form of government, including feudalism, absolute monarchy, constitutional monarchy, empire, and now parliamentary democracy. France also spend quite some money on their defense, too. About 2.5% of the country's GDP is spent on defense.
There are 11 public holidays in France representing religion, national, and historic reason for celebrations. The 3 religious holidays reflect France's Roman Catholic history. These include Pâques (PAH-kuh), or Easter (a Monday in March or April), Ascension Day (a Thursday in May), Pentecost (the 49th day or the 7th Sunday after Easter).