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France officially the French Republic, is a sovereign state including territory in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The European part of France, called metropolitan France, extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. France spans 643,801 square kilometers (248,573 sq. mi) and has a total population of 66.6 million. It is a unitary semi-presidential republic with the capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial center. The constitution of France establishes the state as secular and democratic, with its sovereignty derived from the people.
France stretches 1,000km (600mi) from north to south and the same from east to west, covering an area of 551,500km² (213,000mi²) which rises to 675,417km² (254,000mi.²) with overseas territories. It is the third largest country in Europe after Russia and Ukraine (second if you count the overseas included). Metropolitan France has four coastlines: the North Sea, English Channel, the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. The total length of its coastline reaches 3427 km. With the exception of its northeastern border, the country is bounded mainly by seas and oceans and natural borders: the Rhine and the Jura, Alps, Pyrénées mountains. France has a temperate and pleasant climate.
France is among the world's largest economies. The country produces many items that other countries buy, including its most famous products: wine and cheese. Other exports include automobiles, electronics, and clothing. Tourism is also a huge industry in France. Some 75 million people visit the country every year, more than any other country. France actively supports companies to invest in R&D activities, mainly through the R&D tax credit. The R&D tax credit decreases the cost of R&D activities in France. According to several surveys, it reduces the cost of a researcher by one third, effectively placing the French researcher among the most efficient in the world. The R&D tax credit makes France one of the most competitive European countries.
France is also ranked 4th globally for the number of Nobel prizes (61). The most recent went to Patrick Modiano (literature, 2014), Jean Tirole (Economy, 2014), Serge Haroche (Physics, 2012) and Jules Hoffmann (Medicine, 2011). In France, informatics research is carried out in universities and research entities such as the CNRS, INRA, INSERM, UPMC, etc.