The above graphic shows the level of central-government debt from 2000 to 2009, as a percentage of total GDP. Debt is the entire stock of direct government fixed-term contractual obligations to others outstanding on a particular date.
In 2000, central-government debt represented 60.7 per cent, and in the following years up until 2009 we see the level rise to 83.5 per cent. From 2008 to 2009 we see the most dramatic percentage increase, with an annual change of 14.78 per cent.
Following the financial crisis of 2008 the French government introduced a wide-ranging and extensive stimulus package to get itself out of recession. Up to $37bn was injected to achieve these ends, which explains the sharp increase in public debt witnesses from 2008-2009.