While in reality only about 1/3 of France is situated at similar latitudes than southern Germany. And while about the 60% of french territory is situated at similar latitudes to Italy, at the latitudes between southern Tyrol and northern Campania ? What had surprised me most is that this idea seemed to be quite common among germans themselves. I’ve met even furthers (not uncultured onother points) of them who thought Paris being at the same level than Berlin. Just west from it. From what I can tell… Sorry, America-haters: I think it has less to do with how ignorant Americans are (as many answerers are joyfully asserting) and more with how Europe is somehow projected onto maps. Oftentimes Europe is “tilted” away from true North because it’s easier to get the entire continent into a rectangular map that way. Compare the links to the two maps below from wikipedia. The first one shows an orientation to true North (as best I can tell); there it’s easy to see that a huge part of France is further South than Germany, with France’s highest point coming only about as high as mid-Germany. The second map, however, is tilted slightly clockwise with the result that France looks much higher North than it really is. Maps of the United States often suffer the same problem, as the country is frequently tilted counter(anti-)-clockwise giving the illusion that Florida looks much farther East than it really is.