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    Bulgaria
    The isolated mountains of Bulgaria hide cultural gems around every corner, including this old Turkish bridge in the Rhodopi Mountains. Explore Bulgaria!

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Geography, Weather, & Wildlife of France

Geography

French Geography - Mont-Saint-Michel
Mont-Saint-Michel

France dominates much of Western Europe as it is one of Europe's largest countries. France sits between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea with its southern half being the start of the Iberian Peninsula. France is bordered by Spain (southwest), Andorra (southwest), Monaco (southeast), Italy (southeast), Switzerland (east), Germany (east), Luxembourg (northeast), and Belgium (north). It also sits very close to the United Kingdom, which is just across the English Channel.

Geographically, France has nearly everything. In the far south, along the border with Spain are the Pyrenees Mountains, which boast some fairly impressive alpine peaks. In France's southeast are the Alps, which are some of the tallest mountains in Europe. From the Alps, running both north and west are additional mountain ranges, which don't provide alpine peaks as much as they do long flowing landscapes with occasional rocky outcrops. It is from these mountain ranges that provide France with a large number of rivers, cutting into the western and northern countryside. Flowing in these directions the rivers drop in elevation as does the landscape. These regions provide excellent crop growth and fertile lands, eventually ending along the Atlantic Ocean or English Channel coastline. Along the Mediterranean Sea coastline the mountains drop off more suddenly as these beaches are often draped in a backdrop of hills or mountains quickly rising up out of the sea.

Weather

French Geography - Mont Blanc
Mont Blanc

France is a fairly large country with a number of seasonal variations. Generally speaking though, most of France is fairly humid year round as rain can come during any season; this makes France ideal for farming and raising animals. However, only the Alps and Pyrenees Mountain ranges get significant amounts of rain as much of the rest of the country is fed by rivers from these mountain ranges.

Winters (December-February) are fairly mild; Paris, Bordeaux, and Marseille average about 40-45˚ (4-6˚ C) during these months. The Alps and Pyrenees Mountains however can get cold as these areas get snow regularly as temperatures rarely getting above freezing; snow remains in these ranges until well into April or May.

Conversely, summers are hot everywhere except in the mountains, where the temperatures remain cool (50-65˚ F (10-20˚ C)). The French Riviera is scorching hot during this time (with daily highs between 82-86˚ F (28-30˚C)).

The spring and fall (autumn) are less predictable and temperature tend to fall between the summer and winter extremes. For example, the French Riviera typically isn't overly hot (68-78˚ F (20-25˚ C)).

Wildlife

French Geography - Lavender field
Lavender field

France is a huge country with multiple landscapes, making it a welcome home to many animals, including deer, boars, ibex, and many smaller mammals like rabbits, and various rodents. They also have plenty of sea life from their many rivers to their long coastlines.

The variety of birds is also significant as many migratory birds follow the Atlantic Ocean coast to, from, and through France. In the south they get some more unique species, migrating from Africa, such as flamingos.

This page was last updated: March, 2013