France and India at a Glance

If neither India nor France is your country of residence, you could research the comparative figures for each attribute to understand France vis-a-vis your reference country.





674, 843 Sq. Km

40th largest country in the world

3, 287, 240 Sq. Km

7th largest country in the world



New Delhi


65 Mn (2009 Estimated).

19th in terms of population.

1.15 Bn (2008 Estimated).

2nd most populous country in the world after China.

Principal Cities

Lille, Marseille, Lyon, Nice, Nantes, Montpellier, Toulouse, Strasbourg, Bordeaux etc.

Mumbai (formerly Bombay), Chennai (formerly Madras), Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), Pune, Hyderabad, Bangalore etc.


More than half the population is Catholic. Muslims, Protestants, Jews and others form the rest.


Since 1905, France is a 'Laic' (pronounced laaeek) state, which means that the religion and the government are separate.


Secular country with freedom of religion as a constitutional right.

More than 80% of the population is Hindu. Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Parsee, Buddhist, Jains and others form the rest of the population.


As per the Indian Constitution (1950), India is a secular republic with freedom to practise any religion as a constitutional right.


French is the only official language.


Various dialects and languages are spoken in provincial areas and overseas French territories.

Hindi & English are the official languages.


In addition, there are 21 other regional languages* recognised by the constitution.

Colonial history

Coloniser from 17th century till 1960s- parts of North America (Quebec, Nova Scotia, Louisiana etc.), Caribbean (French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Haiti etc.), Africa (Tunisia, Senegal, Mali, Niger, Congo, Morocco, Algeria, islands of Indian Ocean (Reunion, Mauritius, Seychelles etc.), Asia (Lebanon, Syria, Laos, parts of Vietnam & Cambodia etc.).

Notable French territory in India was Pondicherry (ceded to India in 1954) though French posts were established in Surat, Chandernagore (WB), parts of Malabar & Coromandel coast etc. as well (all ceded to India before 1954).



Political system

Unitary semi-presidential Republic.

Federal Republic.

World's largest democracy.


'Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité'
(Freedom, Equality, Brotherhood)

'Satyamev Jayate'
(Truth Alone Triumphs)

National Anthem

'La Marseillaise'

(since 1795, written by Rouget de Lisle in 1792)

'Jana Gana Mana'

(Thou are the ruler of the minds of all people) written by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore

National Song


'Vande Mataram' (hail the motherland) written by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee

National Bird



National Sports

There is no concept of 'national sport' though Football is the most popular sport followed by Rugby.

Hockey (though Cricket is the most popular sports)

National Emblem

French Flag is the official emblem.

Though the rooster and 'Marianne'- bust of a woman- an allegorical representation of the masses after the French revolution, are often used as symbols of France.

'Sarnath Lion'- adopted from Emperor Asoka's times. It has four lions standing back to back on a platform (only three visible) with dharma wheel, a bull and a horse.


Euro (from 1999), French franc till 2002.

INR- Indian Rupee

Time Zone

GMT +1 from end of March to end of October

GMT +2 from end of October to end of March (observance of daylight saving)

GMT + 5.30 hours


Left-hand side

Right-hand side

*Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu & Urdu.


Some Economic Facts:





$2,086 Bn

$3,460 Bn

(annual growth rate approx. 5.4%)

GDP per capita*


$ 2,872

Major Industries

Aerospace, Agriculture, Nuclear energy, Tourism, Manufactured goods

Agriculture, Auto mobiles, Telecommunication, Software

Major Companies

Accor, Air France, Alcatel-Lucent, Arcelor Mittal, Renault, Peugeot-Citroen, Vivendi, France Telecom, Michelin, LVMH, Scheider Electric, Danone, Sanofi-Aventis, Lafarge, Bouygues, Alstom, L'oréal, Carrefour, Capgemini, Saint-Gobai, EDF etc.**

Reliance, Bharti-Airtel, Indian Oil, Wipro, Infosys, Tata, Air India, ONGC, SBI, BHEL, Hindustan Unilever, ITC Ltd., Ranbaxy, Grasim Inds, MMTC Ltd. etc.***

Some Fortune 500 companies in 2008****
Total, AXA, Société Générale, BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole, Auchan, Christian Dior, L'Oréal, Peugeot, Renault, Groupe Caisse d'epargne, Michelin, France Telecom, Lafarge, Suez, Saint-Gobain, Bouygues, Air France-KLM, La Poste, Alstom, Veolia, Vinci, SNCF, Sodexho, Danone, Thales group etc. Indian Oil, Reliance Industries, Bharat Petroleum, Hindustan Petroleum, Tata Steel, Oil & Natural Gas, State Bank of India.

1 Bn = 109, i.e 1 000 000 000

*source: Estimated figures for 2009, World Economic Outlook Database, International Monetary Fund, published in April 2009

**source: CAC 40- the 40 most significant companies as per market capitalisation on the Paris Stock Exchange. June 2009. Reproduced here in no specific order.

***source: Companies listed on Bombay Stock Exchange as per market cap. June 2009. Reproduced here in no specific order. 

****source: Fortune 500 companies from Fortune magazine, July 21, 2008 issue. A total of 37 French companies and 7 Indian companies made it to the Fortune 500 list.