List of countries where French is an official language
The following is a list of sovereign states and territories where French is an official or de facto language.

Countries where French is an official language

The following is a list of the 29 countries where French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 is an official language.
Note that in most of these countries, French is not the only language, and therefore the population does not indicate the number of French-speakers.

In Belgium, the official languages are French, Dutch, and German. The country is divided in four linguistic parts: Brussels (officially bilingual, de-facto French-speaking majority), Wallonia (French) and Flanders (Dutch) and the German-speaking Community
German-speaking Community of Belgium
The German-speaking Community of Belgium is one of the three federal communities of Belgium. Covering an area of 854 km² within the province of Liège in Wallonia, it includes nine of the eleven municipalities of the so-called East Cantons...

. See further:

French in Cameroon is another example of the heterogeneous Francophone world. It is different from the French spoken in France, Canada, or Gabon. There are different varieties of Cameroon French. French of Cameroon’s North part is different from French of the country’s South part. This is due to the fact that the country is neither socially nor culturally uniform. As a consequence, French will be different from one province/department to another. See further: languages of Cameroon
Languages of Cameroon
Cameroon is home to 230 languages. These include 55 Afro-Asiatic languages, two Nilo-Saharan languages, and 173 Niger–Congo languages. This latter group is divided into one West Atlantic language , 32 Adamawa-Ubangui languages, and 142 Benue–Congo languages .English and French are official...


In Canada, French was introduced during the 17th century with the French explorer Jacques Cartier
Jacques Cartier
Jacques Cartier was a French explorer of Breton origin who claimed what is now Canada for France. He was the first European to describe and map the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the shores of the Saint Lawrence River, which he named "The Country of Canadas", after the Iroquois names for the two big...

 in 1534.
Quebec was founded by the French Samuel de Champlain
Samuel de Champlain
Samuel de Champlain , "The Father of New France", was a French navigator, cartographer, draughtsman, soldier, explorer, geographer, ethnologist, diplomat, and chronicler. He founded New France and Quebec City on July 3, 1608....

 in 1608. There are high chances that French immigrants going to Nouvelle-France (New-France) had to have good knowledge of regional French before their departure.
Nowadays, the official languages in Canada are English and French; however, only the province of Quebec has a French-speaking majority. Sizable French-speaking minorities exist in the provinces of New Brunswick, Ontario, and Manitoba.
! width=030px | Nr.
! width=200px | Country
! width=200px | Continent
! width=200px | Population (2008)
! width=200px | French-speakers (2005 estimation)
! width=200px | Partial-French speakers (2005 estimation)
! width=200px | French-speakers, full and partial combined
| # >
- Francophone World 367,428,669 NA NA >-
| 1.
Africa 66,514,506 6,080,000 >-
| 2.
Europe 65,057,790 60,578,600 NA >-
| 3.
North America 33,143,600 6,741,955 2,848,745 >-
| 4.
Africa 20,042,551 865,000 2,664,200 >-
| 5.
Africa 18,467,692 2,950,300 4,393,100 >-
| 6.
Africa 18,373,060 12,740,000 NA >-
| 7.
Africa 15,264,735 695,000 NA >-
| 8.
Africa 13,272,679 1,260,000 NA >-
| 9.
Africa 12,853,259 1,170,000 2,457,000 >-
| 10.
Africa 12,324,029 1,107,000 NA >-
| 11.
Africa 10,473,282 609,000 174,000 >-
| 12.
Europe 10,403,951 4,300,000 2,000,000 >-
| 13.
Africa 10,211,437 2,000,000 4,000,000 >-
| 14.
Africa 10,111,337 1,940,000 NA >-
| 15.
North America 8,924,553 5,664,000 5,622,500 >-
| 16.
Africa 8,691,005 390,000 234,000 >-
| 17.
Africa 8,294,941 739,200 1,402,800 >-
| 18.
Europe 7,581,520 1,509,600 2,072,000 >-
| 19.
Africa 5,858,673 2,000,000 NA >-
| 20.
Africa 4,434,873 945,000 NA >-
| 21.
Africa 3,903,318 1,200,000 1,200,000 >-
| 22.
Africa 1,485,832 1,200,000 NA >-
| 23.
Africa 731,775 312,200 NA >-
| 24.
Africa 616,459 100,000 200,000 >-
| 25.
Africa 506,221 159,800 >-
| 26.
Europe 486,006 430,000 20,000 >-
| 27.
Oceania 215,446 99,000 NA >-
Africa 82,247 4,000 44,000 >-
| 29.
Europe 32,796 23,400 NA

In addition to this, the Vatican City
Vatican City
Vatican City , or Vatican City State, in Italian officially Stato della Città del Vaticano , which translates literally as State of the City of the Vatican, is a landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, Italy. It has an area of...

 registers itself as a French-speaking country in the international organisations with which it has relationship.

Dependent entities where French is an official language

! width=030px | Nr.
! width=200px | Entity
! width=200px | Continent
! width=200px | Population
! width=200px | Status
| 1. >
  Pondicherry  Asia 973,829 >-
| 2.
 French Polynesia Oceania 267,000 >-
| 3.
  New Caledonia
New Caledonia
New Caledonia is a special collectivity of France located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, east of Australia and about from Metropolitan France. The archipelago, part of the Melanesia subregion, includes the main island of Grande Terre, the Loyalty Islands, the Belep archipelago, the Isle of...

Oceania 224,824 >-
| 4.
 Aosta Valley Europe 128,000 >-
| 5.
 Jersey Europe 91,533 >-
| 6.
 Guernsey Europe 65,726 >-
| 7.
 Saint Martin (France) North America 29,376 >-
| 8.
 Wallis and Futuna Oceania 16,448 >-
| 9
North America 7,492 >-
| 10.
 Saint-Pierre and Miquelon North America 7,044 >-
| 11.
 French Southern Territories Antarctica, Africa 140 >-
| 12.
  Clipperton  North America 0

Sub-national regions located within countries where French is the official national language are not included in this list. The five overseas regions of France (Départements d'Outre-Mer, or DOM): Guadeloupe
Guadeloupe is an archipelago located in the Leeward Islands, in the Lesser Antilles, with a land area of 1,628 square kilometres and a population of 400,000. It is the first overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department. As with the other overseas departments, Guadeloupe...

, French Guiana
French Guiana
French Guiana is an overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department located on the northern Atlantic coast of South America. It has borders with two nations, Brazil to the east and south, and Suriname to the west...

, Martinique
Martinique is an island in the eastern Caribbean Sea, with a land area of . Like Guadeloupe, it is an overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department. To the northwest lies Dominica, to the south St Lucia, and to the southeast Barbados...

, Mayotte
Mayotte is an overseas department and region of France consisting of a main island, Grande-Terre , a smaller island, Petite-Terre , and several islets around these two. The archipelago is located in the northern Mozambique Channel in the Indian Ocean, namely between northwestern Madagascar and...

, and Réunion
Réunion is a French island with a population of about 800,000 located in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar, about south west of Mauritius, the nearest island.Administratively, Réunion is one of the overseas departments of France...

, have the same status as metropolitan France and are not listed here. French has a certain legal status in the US-Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

 but it's not considered de-jure official.

Countries where French is commonly used but not official

After gaining independence in the 1950s and 1960s, the Arabic-speaking countries of the Maghreb
The Maghreb is the region of Northwest Africa, west of Egypt. It includes five countries: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Mauritania and the disputed territory of Western Sahara...

: Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

, Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

 and Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

, strived to reduce the use of French by implementing different arabisation policies. However, the language switch was difficult because competence in Standard Arabic (which is different from the Maghrebi varieties) was far behind competence in French. French remains the language of the private sector and close contacts with France and other French-speaking countries ensures the language's survival. Mauritania
Mauritania is a country in the Maghreb and West Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean in the west, by Western Sahara in the north, by Algeria in the northeast, by Mali in the east and southeast, and by Senegal in the southwest...

, also an Arabic-speaking country, abolished French as a de jure official language in 1991, but has like its northern neighbours kept it as the de facto second language.

In Mauritius
Mauritius , officially the Republic of Mauritius is an island nation off the southeast coast of the African continent in the southwest Indian Ocean, about east of Madagascar...

, English is considered the official language, however French is the dominant language of mass communications and business, the French-based Mauritian Creole
Mauritian Creole
Mauritian Creole is a French-based creole language spoken in Mauritius. In addition to the French base of the language, there are also some words from English and from the many African and Asian languages that have been spoken on the island.- Sociolinguistic Situation :Mauritian Creole is the...

 is the main native language and serves as the country's lingua franca.

In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, French is de facto co-official with English in the states of Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

 and Maine
Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, New Hampshire to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the northwest and New Brunswick to the northeast. Maine is both the northernmost and easternmost...

 and is widely spoken in New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

 but speakers can be found nationwide. French is the second most widely studied foreign language after Spanish in the nation and along with English and Spanish, is also used in government notices and services.

French is spoken in small amounts mainly by the elderly and elite populations in Cambodia
Cambodia , officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia...

, Laos
Laos Lao: ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, bordered by Burma and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south and Thailand to the west...

, and Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

. This is due to the heavy French influence on the former territory known as French Indochina
French Indochina
French Indochina was part of the French colonial empire in southeast Asia. A federation of the three Vietnamese regions, Tonkin , Annam , and Cochinchina , as well as Cambodia, was formed in 1887....

, which included these countries. However, since the early 1990s and 2000s, there has been a revivial of the French language in these three countries and French is used for international relations and is at times used as an administrative language.

Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

 is officially Arabic-speaking, but French is commonly spoken, especially by Christians, and the language receives some government recognition. Lebanon does not only count an important number of French speakers; it is also Francophile.
The linguistic plurality of Lebanon is due to its important place in the business world. This explains why so many Lebanese speak fluent French and/or English.
Until the civil war, some Christian communities refused to speak Arabic. Christians used to go to high schools where lessons were given in French. Thus theses communities became French speaking. French is generally more spoken by wealthy classes of the population.
Although English developed these last years in the country, French stays the first foreign language in Lebanon. Indeed, 45% of the population is French speaking (against 30% of English speakers).

Catalan is an inhabitant of CataloniaCatalan can also refer to:*Catalan people*Catalan language*Països Catalans, territories where Catalan language is spokenPersons with the surname Catalan:*Eugène Charles Catalan, a mathematician...

 is the official language of Andorra
Andorra , officially the Principality of Andorra , also called the Principality of the Valleys of Andorra, , is a small landlocked country in southwestern Europe, located in the eastern Pyrenees mountains and bordered by Spain and France. It is the sixth smallest nation in Europe having an area of...

, a small country which lies along the French-Spanish border, French is also commonly used and understood due to the country's proximity to France and French influence.

! width=030px | Nr.
! width=200px | Country
! width=200px | Continent
! width=200px | Population
! width=200px | French-speakers (2005 estimation)
! width=200px | Partial-French speakers
! width=200px | French-speakers, real and partial combined
| 1. >
 Morocco Africa 34,343,219 4,144,500 5,986,500 >-
| 2.
 Algeria Africa 33,769,669 21,000,000 NA >-
| 3.
 Tunisia Africa 10,383,577 6,360,000 NA >-
| 4.
 Lebanon Asia 4,088,941 760,000 >-
| 5.
 Mauritania Africa 3,364,940 167,400 155,000 >-
| 6.
 Mauritius Africa 1,274,189 180,000 692,500 >-
| 7.
 Andorra Europe 72,413 34,200 16,400 >-

Map showing countries where French is an official language

Alphabetical list

  • Belgium
    Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

  • Benin
    Benin , officially the Republic of Benin, is a country in West Africa. It borders Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east and Burkina Faso and Niger to the north. Its small southern coastline on the Bight of Benin is where a majority of the population is located...

  • Burkina Faso
    Burkina Faso
    Burkina Faso – also known by its short-form name Burkina – is a landlocked country in west Africa. It is surrounded by six countries: Mali to the north, Niger to the east, Benin to the southeast, Togo and Ghana to the south, and Côte d'Ivoire to the southwest.Its size is with an estimated...

  • Burundi
    Burundi , officially the Republic of Burundi , is a landlocked country in the Great Lakes region of Eastern Africa bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. Its capital is Bujumbura...

  • Cameroon
    Cameroon, officially the Republic of Cameroon , is a country in west Central Africa. It is bordered by Nigeria to the west; Chad to the northeast; the Central African Republic to the east; and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of the Congo to the south. Cameroon's coastline lies on the...

  • Canada
    Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

  • Central African Republic
    Central African Republic
    The Central African Republic , is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It borders Chad in the north, Sudan in the north east, South Sudan in the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo in the south, and Cameroon in the west. The CAR covers a land area of about ,...

  • Chad
    Chad , officially known as the Republic of Chad, is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest, and Niger to the west...

  • Comoros
    The Comoros , officially the Union of the Comoros is an archipelago island nation in the Indian Ocean, located off the eastern coast of Africa, on the northern end of the Mozambique Channel, between northeastern Mozambique and northwestern Madagascar...

  • Congo (Brazzaville)
    Republic of the Congo
    The Republic of the Congo , sometimes known locally as Congo-Brazzaville, is a state in Central Africa. It is bordered by Gabon, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo , the Angolan exclave province of Cabinda, and the Gulf of Guinea.The region was dominated by...

  • Congo (Kinshasa)
    Democratic Republic of the Congo
    The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a state located in Central Africa. It is the second largest country in Africa by area and the eleventh largest in the world...

  • Côte d'Ivoire
    Côte d'Ivoire
    The Republic of Côte d'Ivoire or Ivory Coast is a country in West Africa. It has an area of , and borders the countries Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana; its southern boundary is along the Gulf of Guinea. The country's population was 15,366,672 in 1998 and was estimated to be...

  • Djibouti
    Djibouti , officially the Republic of Djibouti , is a country in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Eritrea in the north, Ethiopia in the west and south, and Somalia in the southeast. The remainder of the border is formed by the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden at the east...

  • Equatorial Guinea
    Equatorial Guinea
    Equatorial Guinea, officially the Republic of Equatorial Guinea where the capital Malabo is situated.Annobón is the southernmost island of Equatorial Guinea and is situated just south of the equator. Bioko island is the northernmost point of Equatorial Guinea. Between the two islands and to the...

  • France
    The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

  • Gabon
    Gabon , officially the Gabonese Republic is a state in west central Africa sharing borders with Equatorial Guinea to the northwest, Cameroon to the north, and with the Republic of the Congo curving around the east and south. The Gulf of Guinea, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean is to the west...

  • Guinea
    Guinea , officially the Republic of Guinea , is a country in West Africa. Formerly known as French Guinea , it is today sometimes called Guinea-Conakry to distinguish it from its neighbour Guinea-Bissau. Guinea is divided into eight administrative regions and subdivided into thirty-three prefectures...

  • Haiti
    Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...

  • Luxembourg
    Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

  • Madagascar
    The Republic of Madagascar is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa...

  • Mali
    Mali , officially the Republic of Mali , is a landlocked country in Western Africa. Mali borders Algeria on the north, Niger on the east, Burkina Faso and the Côte d'Ivoire on the south, Guinea on the south-west, and Senegal and Mauritania on the west. Its size is just over 1,240,000 km² with...

  • Monaco
    Monaco , officially the Principality of Monaco , is a sovereign city state on the French Riviera. It is bordered on three sides by its neighbour, France, and its centre is about from Italy. Its area is with a population of 35,986 as of 2011 and is the most densely populated country in the...

  • New Caledonia
    New Caledonia
    New Caledonia is a special collectivity of France located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, east of Australia and about from Metropolitan France. The archipelago, part of the Melanesia subregion, includes the main island of Grande Terre, the Loyalty Islands, the Belep archipelago, the Isle of...

  • Niger
    Niger , officially named the Republic of Niger, is a landlocked country in Western Africa, named after the Niger River. It borders Nigeria and Benin to the south, Burkina Faso and Mali to the west, Algeria and Libya to the north and Chad to the east...

  • Rwanda
    Rwanda or , officially the Republic of Rwanda , is a country in central and eastern Africa with a population of approximately 11.4 million . Rwanda is located a few degrees south of the Equator, and is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo...

  • Senegal
    Senegal , officially the Republic of Senegal , is a country in western Africa. It owes its name to the Sénégal River that borders it to the east and north...

  • Seychelles
    Seychelles , officially the Republic of Seychelles , is an island country spanning an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, some east of mainland Africa, northeast of the island of Madagascar....

  • Switzerland
    Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

  • Tahiti
    Tahiti is the largest island in the Windward group of French Polynesia, located in the archipelago of the Society Islands in the southern Pacific Ocean. It is the economic, cultural and political centre of French Polynesia. The island was formed from volcanic activity and is high and mountainous...

  • Togo
    Togo, officially the Togolese Republic , is a country in West Africa bordered by Ghana to the west, Benin to the east and Burkina Faso to the north. It extends south to the Gulf of Guinea, on which the capital Lomé is located. Togo covers an area of approximately with a population of approximately...

  • Vanuatu
    Vanuatu , officially the Republic of Vanuatu , is an island nation located in the South Pacific Ocean. The archipelago, which is of volcanic origin, is some east of northern Australia, northeast of New Caledonia, west of Fiji, and southeast of the Solomon Islands, near New Guinea.Vanuatu was...

See also

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