Western European state, between 51 d 9′ and 42 2 23′ dlan N and 4° 38 ‘ of long. O and 8° 10’ of long. E. It is bordered to the northeast by the English Channel, to the north by Belgium and Luxembourg, to the east by Germany, Switzerland and Italy, to the south by the Mediterranean Sea, to the southwest by Spain, to the west by the Atlantic Ocean. The area is 543,965 sq km; the inhabitants are 56,575,800. Capital, Paris.
One of the most interesting areas of France in a sense the true French historical and cultural area, is the Paris Basin, surrounded by ancient mountain complexes such as the Ardennes, the Vosges, the Massif Central, the heights of Normandy and Brittany and the Armorican Massif, which over the centuries have constituted a natural defense against invaders.
At the center of the Basin is located Paris, the very heart of France, to which lead numerous roads along the valleys that the rivers have opened through the mountain barriers. The Basin was born from the levelling action exerted on the mountain reliefs by atmospheric agents and waters. There are predominantly Trias limestones and Cretaceous rocks.
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