The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean.
France is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre.
It hosts Europe's third-largest number of cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites and leads the world in tourism, receiving around 83 million foreign visitors annually.
being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and is an official nuclear-weapon state.
Other major urban centres include Marseille, Lyon, Lille, Nice, Toulouse and Bordeaux.
During the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by the Gauls, a Celtic people.