France Economic Sectors

By | October 19, 2021

Energy industry

Since the mid-1970s, energy policy has been geared towards reducing the country’s dependence on energy imports, particularly on oil. The French generation of primary energy now covers half of the total consumption, which is mainly due to the strong expansion of energy generation from nuclear power. In 2014, nuclear energy accounted for 41.5% of primary energy consumption, crude oil for 32.4%, natural gas for 13.6%, hydropower for 6.0%, coal for 3.8% and renewable energies for 2.7%. France is the world’s largest per capita producer of nuclear power. According to allcountrylist, the positive assessment of nuclear energy will also become political after the Fukushima disaster (Japan) in 2011. In 2015, 58 reactor blocks with a gross output of 65 880 MW were in operation. In the generation of electricity, the share of nuclear energy (2014: 76.9%) is significantly higher than in the installed capacity. Uranerz is among other things. enriched in the gas diffusion plant in Pierrelatte; the plant in La Hague serves to reprocess the spent plutonium fuel elements.

Service sector

The traditionally strong service sector in France is a growing area with a share of the GDP of (2014) 78.9% and of the total number of employed persons of 75%. Most of the employees are in the administration, education, health and social sectors, followed by the trade sector. Due to the demographic, political, economic and cultural weight of the Paris region, the service sector is also concentrated there.

Tourism: France is a popular travel destination with numerous scenic and cultural attractions. The main areas of tourism are Paris, the Mediterranean coast, the island of Corsica, the seaside resorts of Normandy, Brittany, the valleys of the Loire and its tributaries (Cher, Indre, Vienne), the Atlantic coast, Burgundy, Alsace, the Vosges, Provence as well the Alps (especially for winter sports). In 2014, France had the highest number of foreign tourists visiting the world with 85 million. The main countries of origin of the tourists are Germany, Great Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy and the USA.


Despite its relatively low population density, France has a well-developed road and rail network that is oriented towards Paris. France performs important transit functions for Spain and Portugal due to its geographical location. The road network has a length of 1.03 million km (excluding agricultural roads); 11,416 km of these are motorways (usually tolls). The motorization density (2012) is 499 cars per 1,000 residents. The length of the railway lines (29,640 km) has only decreased slightly since the 1980s, as closures of unprofitable lines were offset by the construction of new lines for high-speed trains. The high-speed train has been winning the TGV since 1981(Train à Grande Vitesse) in importance. The oldest high-speed line from Paris to Lyon was extended to Marseille in 2002. In addition, the network was expanded with connections from Paris to the west and south-west of France (TGV Atlantique) and the Paris – Lille connection with continuation to Brussels and the Eurotunnel (TGV Nord). The further expansion included the connections Paris – Luxembourg and Paris – Stuttgart / Munich (TGV Est européenne). The various railway companies were merged in 1938 to form the state Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Français (SNCF).

France has a dense, but partly outdated, network of inland waterways. Of the roughly 8,500 km of waterways, around 6,700 km are used (2,840 km of natural waterways; 3,800 km of canals). The Seine between Paris (largest inland port) and Le Havre, the Rhône (especially below Lyon) and the Alsatian part of the Rhine-Rhône connection are of greatest importance.

For overseas traffic, France (2012) has a merchant fleet of 1,016 ships with a total tonnage of 6.38 million GT. The largest seaport is Marseille with (2013) 74.9 million tons of cargo handled. It is followed by Le Havre, Dunkirk, Nantes-Saint Nazaire and Rouen.

The main airline is Air France; The most important hub for air traffic is Paris with the two major airports Charles de Gaulle and Orly. With 63.8 million passengers (2014), Charles de Gaulle Airport ranks first in continental Europe. In addition to Paris, there are other important airports in Nice (Côte d’Azur), Lyon (Saint-Exupéry), Marseille (Marignane) and Toulouse (Blagnac).

The aim of the transport policy is the expansion of the high-quality transport network, especially the construction of new highways and routes for high-speed trains), especially to relieve the Paris junction and the transit traffic between the metropolitan areas of Central and Western Europe (Germany, Benelux countries, Great Britain [Eurotunnel, completed in 1994]) on the one hand and southern Europe (Italy [Alpine tunnel], Portugal, Spain [Pyrenean tunnel]) on the other.

Natural resources

France has stocks of bauxite, lead, zinc, barium and tungsten. The once important mining of iron ore, coal and uranium has been discontinued, so that additional raw materials have to be imported to a considerable extent. Most of the domestic iron ore came from Lorraine; mining was stopped in 1997 because of the low metal content. Since the decline in coal production in the Nord region in the 1970s, the majority of French coal has come from Lorraine. Hard coal production fell from 40.1 million t in 1970 to 3.4 million t in 2000 and was completely discontinued in 2004. Potash production, with a focus on Mulhouse, also fell sharply (1993: 0.9 million t, 2000: 0.4 million t) and was discontinued in 2002. In 2013, national oil production was 0.8 million t, natural gas production 340 million m3. The largest natural gas field is in the western foothills of the Pyrenees. Sulfur is extracted as a by-product of natural gas processing. The uranium requirements for the nuclear power industry and military purposes are covered by imports.

France Economic Sectors