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France's Longest Land Border is with ... Brazil?!

Updated: Aug 28, 2021

When most people think of France, Paris's Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, the Palace of Versailles, or the coastline of the Riviera come to mind. It is easy to forget about French Guiana and its 83,534 square kilometers (32,253 square miles). This single Department of France contains 13 percent of France's total land area but only 0.4 percent of its population. With only 294,071 people it is no wonder that French Guiana is not top of mind for much of the world.

Located in Europe, Metropolitan France contains the majority of French land. France has no shortage of neighbors, bordering Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Monaco, Spain, and Andorra.

The longest border of Metropolitan France is the Spain- France border at 623 kilometers (387 miles). The Belgium-France border is not far behind at 620 kilometers (385 miles). Yet, across The Atlantic Ocean, the France-Brazil border dwarfs them all at 730 kilometers (453 miles).

French Guiana River
Lines photo created by wirestock -

The eastern border follows the Oyapock River which flows through the lush Guianan Forests. This border is so remote that there is only one official crossing, the Oyapock River Bridge, that opened in 2017.

French Guiana
Flower photo created by wirestock -

There is one more French border that has not been mentioned yet. That is France's border with The Netherlands. How can this be? Does Belgium not really exist? Of course, Belgium exists but so does the island of Saint Martin. Saint Martin is an island of only 53 square kilometers (20 square miles) yet is still divided between France and The Netherlands.

Legend states that the island was divided by choosing an individual from each nation and having them circumnavigate the island by walking in opposite directions. The line connecting from where they began to where they met became the official boundary between the two nations. This 13 kilometers (8 miles) is the only land border between the two European countries.

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