Metropolitan France (French: France métropolitaine or la Métropole, or colloquially l'Hexagone) is the part of France located in Europe. It can also be described as mainland France or as the French mainland and the island of Corsica. By contrast, Overseas France (la France d'outre-mer, or l'Outre-mer, or colloquially les DOM-TOM) is the collective name for the French overseas departments (départements d'outre-mer or DOM), territories (territoires d'outre-mer or TOM), collectivities (collectivités d'outre-mer or COM) and the sui generis collectivity (collectivité sui generis) of New Caledonia.
Metropolitan France and Overseas France together form what is officially called the French Republic. Metropolitan France accounts for 81.8% of the territory and 95.9% of the population of the French Republic.
The five overseas departments—Martinique, Guadeloupe, Réunion, French Guiana, and Mayotte—have the same political status as metropolitan France's departments. Metropolitan France and these five overseas departments together are sometimes called France entière ("entire France") by the French administration, especially by INSEE, although in reality this France entière does not include the French overseas collectivities and territories which have more autonomy than the overseas departments (read the Origin of the name section below).
In overseas France, a person from metropolitan France is often called a métro, short for métropolitain.
The term "metropolitan France" dates from the country's colonial period (from the 16th through the 20th centuries), when France was referred to as la Métropole (literally "the Metropolis") as distinguished from its colonies and protectorates, known as les colonies or l'Empire. Similar terms existed to describe other European colonial powers (e.g. "metropolitan Britain", "España metropolitana"). This usage of the words "metropolis" and "metropolitan" itself came from ancient Greek "metropolis" (from μήτηρ mētēr "mother" and πόλις pólis "city, town") which was the name for a city-state from which originated colonies across the Mediterranean (e.g. Marseille was a colony of the city-state of Phocaea, therefore Phocaea was the "metropolis" of Marseille). By extension "metropolis" and "metropolitan" came to mean "motherland", a nation or country as opposed to its colonies overseas.