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France
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France

March 24, 2011
The first day of spring, 2011, brought sunny skies across France, allowing the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer aboard NASA's Aqua satellite to capture this stunning true-color image on March 21, 2011.

The hexagon-shaped country can be divided into two major regions, based on predominant land features. Broad plains, low hills and low plateaus predominate in the north and west. To the south and east, elevated plateaus and high mountains are the most prominent features. Several wide gaps and valleys connect the two regions.

In the north of France the city of Paris can be seen as a large gray oval surrounded by lands of tan and green. Paris, the capital of the country, as well as the largest city in France lies on the River Seine, which rises to the east in the Langres plateau and flows into the English Channel at LeHavre. A vast saucer-shaped lowland, called the Paris Basin surrounds the city.

The two principal mountain chains are the Pyrenees, which form the border with Spain, and the Alps, which form most of the border with Switzerland and Italy. Both chains are high and rugged. Several summits in the Pyrenees exceed 3,000 m (10,000 ft) while the French Alps reach elevations of 3,500 m (11,500 ft). The Jura, an additional mountain range on the Swiss border, are lower and less rugged components of the Alpine chain. Each of these mountain chains are snow-covered in this image, and appear bright white.

France shares a border with six countries, and all can be seen in this image. From the north traveling clockwise they are: Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Spain. Great Britain lies across the English Channel, under a heavy cloud cover.


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