France Has 12 Time Zones – The Highest Of Any Country!

It would definitely come as a surprise to most people when they know that France actually has the highest timezone of any country.

In reality, France has 12 different time zones, thanks to the overseas territories- which also include the claim the country has to Adelie Land in Antarctica. For those wondering, this is way more than any other country- which also includes Russia. 

There are certain sources that claim that France only has 12 distinct time zones because most of the countries around the world don’t really accept or recognize the claim France has to Adelie Land on Antarctica. There are only 7 countries that have designated territorial claims in Antarctica- Australia, Argentina, France, Chile, New Zealand, France, Norway, and the United Kingdom.

Due to the vast majority of territories that France governs beyond Europe, it should come as no surprise to anyone that France has 12 time zones, with Metropolitan France operating on Central European Summer Time, while the dependencies range from Tahiti Time in French Polynesia to Wallis and Futuna Time in the South Pacific. When the Daylight Saving Time is observed in the region of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, the total timeline gets raised to 13. 

The French time zones are- Marquesas Time, Tahiti Time, Easter Island Standard Time, Gambier Time, Atlantic Standard Time, Pierre and Miquelon Daylight Time, French Guiana Time, Central European Time,

Reunion Time, Eastern Africa Time, French Southern and Antarctic Time, Wallis and Futuna Time, and New Caledonia Time. Russia and the USA are in second place for the most time zones in a country with 11 time zones. Interestingly, two of the US time zones- for Baker Island and Howland Island in the central Pacific, and for research bases on Antarctica and Wake Island in the Pacific- are also unofficial. 

The Many Time Zones Is A Remnant Of Its Colonial Past!

Just like a lot of former colonial powers, France still has some territories outside Europe, but the main difference is that some of the territories of France have been classed as overseas departments, and are usually considered as part of mainland France. Incidentally, they have exactly the same government structure as the rest of France- which implies that even the Caribbean island of Martinique has as much right to be called a French national as Brest, Brive, or Bordeaux. They are also collectivites d’outre-mer which means that they have more autonomy and will be able to pass their own laws- although there are certain areas such as defence which are decided by Paris. 

The main time zone belongs to L’Hexagone- wherein mainland France and Corsica are in Central European Time. The next main timezone is French Polynesia, which is a bunch of more than 100 islands that make up the nation and covers two time zones in the South Pacific- GMT -10, and GMT -9. Next is Clipperton Island, a tiny island in the eastern Pacific which is on GMT -9. But since it is uninhabited, the time zone is not that important. 

Further, we have Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Barthelemy, and Saint Martin- the four islands in the Caribbean. The other time zones are located in French Guiana, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Mayotte, Reunion, French Southern Territories, New Caledonia, and Wallis and Fortuna. 

Source List:

  1. https://www.annieandre.com/time-in-france-time-zones/
  2. https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/584626-country-with-the-most-time-zones#:~:text=Owing%20to%20the%20number%20of,12)%20in%20the%20South%20Pacific.
  3. https://www.thelocal.fr/20220325/reader-question-how-does-france-have-12-different-time-zones

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