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France's topography consists mainly of fertile valleys, such as the Rhine and Loire, where grains, sugar beets, tobacco and corn and France's vineyards thrive. (Most of the world's wine comes from France and Italy.) Vegetation includes groves of olive and oranges trees in the Mediterranean region and coniferous and deciduous forests (which cover more than 25 % of the nation's approximate 200,000 square miles) of oak, beech, walnut, fir and poplar.

The climate of France ranges from the semitropical temperatures along the Mediterranean coast to the freezing temperatures of the northeastern interior.

France is one of eleven European countries that signed an agreement January 1, 1999 (Greece joined later), to use one currency for all states, the Euro banknote. Each country will have its own notes by January 2002, but the currency rates between individual states were fixed in 1999 and the those rates are in use now. For more information go to europa.eu.int/euro/html/home5.html?lang=5

France's official language is French, however, some regions have their own dialect. In Flanders, for example, Dutch is spoken. In Lorraine, most of the population speaks German.

Several modes of transportation make getting around and to France easy. The roughly 18,000 miles of highways (which include 4000 miles of freeways) connect major cities. High-speed trains, as well as regular passenger trains, cover more than 21,000 railroad tracks. Ferries ply the the rivers and canals and the international airline Air France, has gateways throughout the world. The latest technological marvel is the Chunnel, burrowing beneath the English Chanel, carrying passengers between France to England without ever leaving the ground


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