France (pronounced /fʀɑ̃s/ in French), officially the French Republic (French: République française, pronounced /ʀepyblik fʀɑ̃sɛz/), is a country whose metropolitan territory is located in Western Europe, and that is further made up of a collection of overseas islands and territories located in other continents. Metropolitan France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and North Sea, and from the Rhine River to the Atlantic Ocean. French people often refer to Metropolitan France as l'Hexagone (the "Hexagon") because of its geographical shape.
France is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Monaco, Andorra, and Spain. In some of its overseas parts, France also shares land borders with Brazil, Suriname, and the Netherlands Antilles. France is also linked to the United Kingdom via the Channel Tunnel, which passes underneath the English Channel.
The French Republic is a democracy which is organized as a unitary semi-presidential republic. It is a highly developed country with the sixth-largest economy in the world in 2005. Its main ideals are expressed in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. France is one of the founding members of the European Union, and has the largest land area of all members. France is also a founding member of the United Nations. It is one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council wielding veto power, and it is also one of only eight acknowledged nuclear powers.
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