France, officially the French Republic, is a sovereign state comprising 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 640,679 square kilometres (247,368 sq mi) and has a total population of 67 million. It is a unitary semi-presidential republic with the capital in Paris, the country’s largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. French citizens enjoy a high standard of living, and the country performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, civil liberties, and human development. France is a founding member of the United Nations, where it serves as one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.


For wildlife enthusiasts, parts of France are an open book waiting to be explored.The numbers and varieties of  mammals in France are greater than in the British Isles. All common mammals found in Britain – with the exception (for the time being) of the grey squirrel – can be found in France; but France has several more mammals that are not found in the UK. The list of French mammals below is far from exhaustive; it covers the larger and most interesting species. In addition to the species listed below, France also is home to badgers, foxes, otters, rats, mice, rabbits and hares, red squirrels, and even – but only in the Rhine valley – wild hamsters. As for brown bears and wolves, they remain extremely rare in the areas where they have been reintroduced – wolves in the high Alps, bears in the Pyrenees.


The national parks of France is a system of ten national parks throughout metropolitan France and its overseas departments, coordinated by the government agency Parcs Nationaux de France. The French national parks protect a total area of 3,710 square kilometres in core area and 9,162 square kilometres in buffer zones in metropolitan France. This puts over 2% of the total area of metropolitan France under some level of protection. French national parks draw over seven million visitors every year.

List of national parks of France

  • Vanoise National Park
  • Port-Cros National Park
  • Pyrénées National Park
  • Cévennes National Park
  • Écrins National Park
  • Mercantour National Park
  • Guiana Amazonian Park
  • Réunion National Park
  • Guadeloupe National Park
  • Calanques National Park
Vanoise National Park