On August 21, 2013 the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) flying aboard NASA’s Terra satellite flew over France and captured this true-color image of a sunny late summer day across the region.
Near the upper center of the image a gray, roughly oval smudge marks the city of Paris. The capital city of France, it is located about 280 mi (450 km) southeast of London and 481 mi (774 km) north of Marseilles. The central city covers approximately 41 square miles ( 105 square km) with a 2009 population over 2.2 million people, while the metropolitan area covers 890 square miles (2,300 square km), and is home to greater than 12 million people. Situated on the River Seine, the site has been occupied in one form or another for 90,000 years.
Paris lies in the region known as the Paris Basin – an area of plains and low plateaus overlying a geological basin of sedimentary rocks. The Basin encompasses most of the northern half of the country, excluding eastern France.
The body of water to the northwest of France is the English Channel, separating coastal France from England. To the southwest is the Bay of Biscay, which lies along the French coast from Brest to the Spanish border, then follows the northern coast of Spain. To the southeast, several peaks of the Alps remain covered with snow.