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The 36 maps that paint the picture of France

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The 36 maps that paint the picture of France
Photo: AFP
17:02 CET+01:00
What better way to get to know France than through maps revealing everything from where all the bars are to which region takes the most Viagra.

Let's start with the most important.

The concentration of bars in France

If you're looking for a drink, Brittany in the north west looks like a pretty good option.

Regional Languages

Yes they don't just speak French in France as this map below shows. The regional languages of Basque, Breton and Catalan are alive and well, as is Alsacien in the east, which is officially France's most spoken regional language.

Photo: Education Nationale/LecaféduFle.fr

The parts of France served by the main train stations in Paris

Key: Yellow - Gare Saint-Lazare, Green - Gare Montparnasse, Orange - Gare d'Austerlitz, Light Blue - Gare de Bercy, Purple: Gare du Lyon, Red - Gare de l'Est, Blue - Gare du Nord. 

Photo: Sémhur/WikiCommons

The high speed train lines 

Just so you know where you can get to on a high speed train in France.

And here's the entire high-speed TGV network train network although bear in moind the TGVs only travel at high speed on the high speed lines (see first map).

France's cheeses

Perhaps France's first president, Charles de Gaulle, said it best: "How can you govern a country which has two hundred and forty-six varieties of cheese?"

France's foods

France means food, but to really get to the heart of French cuisine you need to know which region of the country all those delicacies and dishes come from. Here's an easy-to-digest gastronomic tour of the country.

And what about the ultimate booze map of France? Where do all those famous Gallic tipples come from? The map below gives you a helping hand. CLICK HERE to find out more about France's many alcoholic beverages.
The crime
France is a safe country by global standards, but l'Héxagone has seen a 20 percent rise in delinquency in the last five years.
What's interesting is that some French departments are ten times more affected by crime than others.
If you want to zoom in or download our map click here. Or if you want to read more about crime in your area in France, here is our in-depth feature
Burglaries are also on the rise, but again some areas are worse hit by thieves than others. Some areas with big English-speaking populations were badly hit. Here’s a bigger map and our findings
And The Local also created a map on vehicle theft across France Here’s the breakdown of where you should always double check you've locked your car doors and where you can afford to leave them wide open (not that we advise this)
The new regions

France has only recently redrawn its regional maps. Here's the new look. Not all the new region names are decided, although the northernmost region has been named Hauts de France, and easternmost is Grand Est. 

Where they vote for the National Front

For the results of the first round of the 2015 regional elections, this map shows where the National Front have strong support and where they don't (Brittany is firmly on the left).

Although the map appears very dark (which represents voters for the FN), it's worth noting that the National Front failed to win any regions, thanks to tactical voting by the main parties.

The main Roman roads

Here's a look at the roads put down by the Romans from about 500 BC. The courses of many Roman roads around Europe have survived since then. 

Photo: Eric Gaba, Flappiefh/WikiCommons

Where the French need Viagra

This map, produced by Le Parisien newspaper from the results of a study, shows where in France they use the most Viagra. The winning region was actually Corsica, although it appears to have dropped off the map.

Nuclear power plants

Nuclear energy is the primary source of energy in France, where there are 19 nuclear power stations. France gets more than 75 percent of electricity from nuclear plants and has been a leading international proponent of atomic energy.

Photo: Domaina/WikiCommons

Where the French protest

Yes the French love to march in protest as brilliantly highlighted by this recent map from Le Figaro newspaper, which showed where all the protests were taking place against the planned labour reforms, which as we can see are not very popular.

Number of cheek kisses in a greeting

As this excellent map from Le Parisien newspaper shows, different regions in France have different customs when it comes to kissing. 

Key: The darker the blue, the more kisses (maximum of four).

Earthquake risk

The darker the shade, the higher the risk. While nowhere in mainland France has a strong risk according to the map, one expert told The Local that France is definitely due for another big quake.

Where the heritage is

The map below from Unesco shows where all the World Heritage sites in France are. Can you spot Mont St Michel? You may not have heard of all the sites, especially these ten, but they are worth a visit.


The bigger green circles roughly represent 1.5 million people, all making up France's population of around 66 million.

Check out an interactive map here, which shows population per département. 

Rivers in France 

This one speaks for itself, the eight biggest rivers in France. 

Photo: Abrahami/WikiCommons

Land use in France


Where do all the people live in France? The most populated areas are shown in red, with Paris in the central north by far the most heavily populated. A whole lot of empty countryside out there...


Photo: SOeS/WikiCommons
France's topography
As is perhaps expected, the highest points are in the Alps to the south east, and south west. Much of the rest of France is relatively flat.
Photo: Wikisoft/WikiCommons
Wine regions

It's always good to know where your wines come from (and this knowledge can be rather impressive for your dinner guests). Study up (then drink up).
Photo: SeballaOne/WikiCommons
Regional stereotypes

There are plenty of stereotypes when it comes to those in regional France... But is there any truth to it all? We dug a little deeper here.

Photos: Daniel Dalet/d-maps.com

France's climate
Put together using the Köppen climate classification, one of the most widely used climate classification systems. The vast majority of France lives in the same climate... Time to move south?
Ali Zifan/WikiCommons
But when it comes to hours of sunshine the regions vary greatly.
National and regional parks
France has ten national parks, seen in red below (all in in the south), and 49 regional parks, which are much more spread out. 
Photo: Photo: historicair/Flickr
France's pesticide black spots 
An organisation aiming to raise awareness of the health problems caused by the use of pesticides in France released the following map in 2016 showing exactly where the black spots are. Read more about it here.

CLICK HERE for a more interactive version

Where foreigners buy homes

This map from Leggett Immobilier shows where different nationalities like to buy in France. The Brits sure have a thing for the west. Read more here.

France's most poverty-stricken areas

According to a definition chosen by lawmakers, a neighbourhood is considered poor if half its residents live on less than €11,250 per year, which is 60 percent of the national median income. The map below shows the neighbourhoods where France's poorest residents live. Read more here

France's cleanest beaches
This map from Pavillon Bleu helps users find France's cleanest and greenest beaches. There's an interactive version here. As you might have noticed, many of them are inland - these are beaches on the larger rivers in France.
Wolves in France

This map, published by Le Monde newspaper, shows the areas of France now colonized by wolves as well as the rise in the number of attacks on animals.

The best places to work in France

And lastly, the map below shows the concentration of the top areas in France to work in dark green, and the worst in orange (for everything in between, see the key to the left). Click here to see the interactive version of the map courtesy of Les Echos. 
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