“France”, it’s not just a country, but an emotion. I am always fascinated about the French culture- the magnanimous history, the exotic cuisine, the ever-updated fashion industry, the immense Eiffel Tower, the romantic atmosphere and the list goes on. France is an amalgamation of a rich heritage and rational modernization. The love for France and its people has always kept me engaged in exploring more and more about France. Through this article, I just want to reveal some Interesting Facts About France.
Geographical Facts about France:
- In Western Europe, France is the largest country. Although, 20 percent of its territories are spread outside Europe, which are called Dom-Toms.
- France is also called “the hexagon” because of the six-sided shape that it forms.
- France has a long sea-shore that includes the English Channel, Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.
- France is also a home to 7 mountain ranges and 5 river systems.
- Mont Blanc is the highest point in France.
- There are 12 different time zones used in France, means more than any other country in the world.
- Paris is the capital city of France.
- France tops the list of number of visitors from the world.
- France is the second largest economy in the Eurozone.
- French is the official language of France and also the second most learnt language in the world.
- France was officially declared a republic in the year 1792.
- France has accepted the motto of liberty, equality and fraternity.
- 80% of the French population account to be Roman Catholics.
History Of France:
- ‘France’ is a name derived from a Germanic tribe called “Franks” who took over most parts of the Roman Empire, after its collapse.
- Paris was named as “Lutetia” by the Romans. It was named as Paris in 5th century, after the fall of Roman Empire.
- Gothic art originated in France, somewhere around 12th The Abbey of St. Denis, in North France, is believed to be the first structure of Gothic architecture.
- France was the second largest colonial empire, after Britain.
- “La Marseillaise”, is the national anthem of France was originally composed in Strasbroug, not Marseillese.
- A very unusual part of history of France is a surprising fact that King Louis XIX was made a King only for 20 minutes.
- Great personalities like Napoleon, Louis Pasteur, Marie Curie, Voiltaire, Pascal etc. were from France.
- Leonardo da Vinci and Van Gogh also spent some of the years of their lives in France.
- Charles de Gaulle, a French President, holds a World Record in the Guinness Book, for surviving the highest number of assassination attempts, till date.
- France kept their flag white from 1814 to 1830.
Achievements and Inventions of France:
- French were the first people to use number plates for vehicles.
- Metric system was invented by the French.
- France is the second highest winner of most of the Nobel Prize for literature.
- Paris held the first ever International Scientific Conference in 1799.
- France is the first country in the world to conduct face transplant and heart transplant.
- France is the second producer of electricity through Nuclear Energy, in the world; and the first one in the Europe.
- Queen Mary 2, world’s most advanced and largest cruise ship, was built in France.
- Channel Tunnel, the underground rail tunnel in France, is one of its kinds.
- France is famous for its bicycle race called Tour de France.
- France has Millau Viaduct, which is the tallest building in the world.
- The Louvre, is one of the world’s most famous art galleries.
- Submarines, Hot air balloons, Margarine, Braille and Parachutes were invented in France.
- The Grand Prix racing also started in France.
- France is a home to many renowned and expensive fashion brands like Coco Chanel.
- In the world, Wines and liquors are produced in the highest amount in France.
- France is one of the few countries, where still cheques can be used to pay at restaurants.
- In most restaurants, wine is free, while beer is considered a drink of luxury.
- It is allowed to marry a dead person, in France.
- The entire France has no ‘Stop’ sign, except one in Paris.
- Cannes Film Festival, held in the Cannes region of France, in every May, is popular throughout the world.
- In France, there is a system to give medals to those people who raise several children, in a dignified way, successfully.
- It is also believed that one in five persons, in France, suffer from depression.
- Potatoes were not legally allowed in France, in the duration between the years 1748 and 1772.
- It’s an offence in France to name a pig ‘Napoleon’.
- France was the first country to legalize same gender sex.
- More than 90% of schools in France have condom vending machines.
- Any man can claim a child from a single mother to be his own, by announcing at the city hall.
- Till 2012, wearing trousers by women was not legal in Paris.
- Children Beauty Pageants are banned and punishable in France.
- France has April Fool’s Day since the 16th
- France is a home to the world’s finest wines.
- In France, it is a part of etiquette to give flowers in even numbers.
- It is also rude to be late by more than 10 minutes for a meal and not give an explanation for that.
- Kissing on the cheek is the most used form of greeting in France. It has to be on the left cheek first and then on the right one.
- “French Kiss” is popular throughout the world. Although, it is not legal to kiss on railways, in France.
- France has 22 regions and each of them have their own traditional attires.
- Table manners, especially arrangement on the table, are given much importance in France.
- When in France, you should not eat a fruit without peeling and slicing.
- It is an offence in France, if you click pictures of police vehicles and police officers.
Food and Beverages:
- More than 400 types of cheese are produced in France.
- French cuisine involves lots of ingredients and lots of efforts.
- Bread and cheese is a typical type of French meal. Wine is an important part of a French meal.
- The Cordon Bleu, is a cooking school in France, which is the most famous cooking school throughout the world.
- Every day about 2 cook-books are released in France.
- The legal drinking age is 16 for mild liquors and 18 for strong liquors.
- Surprisingly, French toast, French fries and croissants are not French, originally.
After telling you all these interesting facts about France, I will like to just end here by saying that if you have never visited France, just add this activity to your Wish List. Don’t just dream of a kiss under the Eiffel Tower, but discover the lesser known facets of France. Blend yourself in the colors of a French life, be a nomad for few days. When you visit France, don’t be just a tourist, but be a traveller!!!