a natural region that includes a large part of France (excluding the Alps, the Jura, and the Pyrénées) and regions located between the Alps and the Alpine-foothill plateau on the south, the Middle European plain on the north, and the Carpathians and the Vistula River on the east.
Hercynian Europe is characterized by the predominance of tectonic structures created chiefly by Hercynian folding. The topography is dominated by medium-high mountains and elevations (including the Massif Central in France, the Armorican elevation, the Vosges Mountains, the Black Forest, the Rhenish Slate Mountains, and the Bohemian Massif), alternating with steplike cuesta plateaus and plains (the Paris basin, the Franconian Jura, and the Swabian Jura, for example) and intermontane lowlands. The climate is temperate marine on the enclosed plains and temperate continental in the eastern regions. In the mountains the annual precipitation is 1,000-2,000 mm and on the plains, 500-800 mm. There is a dense network of deep rivers (including the Loire, Seine, Rhine, and Elbe). There are broad-leaved (oak, beech, hornbeam, chestnut) and coniferous (spruce, fir, pine) forests in the mountains. The plains are almost all under cultivation.