The Eiffel tower, the Louvre, the Palace of Versailles, and French Riviera – are just a few of the things that pops into mind when you mention going to France. Who will not fall in love with all these things? This reflects the rich and elegant culture of this country. The different small, quaint shops with the most amazing aroma of the coffee will provide you with the space and the aura of inspiration to dream again and fall in love. This place rich with arts, culture and literature will enrich you after you leave and will inspire you to keep on coming back. Whether it is to learn about a sophisticated culture or just to feel the vibrancy of different literature coming to reality, France is an awesome place to visit.
Interesting and Important Facts About France
- France is the largest nation in Western Europe, with countries like Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Andorra and Monaco sharing its boundary.
- France has nearly 3000 miles of seashore, with three major water bodies: the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, and the English Channel.
- France still retains 15 territories overseas. This includes Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Réunion and Mayotte. Back on the mainland, Metropolitan France (including Corsica) is divided into 22 regions and sub-divided into 96 départements. The country’s colonial past is one reason why there are more than five million people of Arab and African descent living in France.
- France has been a major power in Europe since the Late Middle Ages, reaching the height of global prominence during the 19th and early 20th centuries, when it possessed the second-largest colonial empire in the world.
- France is the sixth largest economy in the world and is a developed country. It is the sixth largest importer and the fifth largest exporter of manufactured goods. France is also the second largest receiver of foreign direct investments as compared to other countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). France is the leader of the G7 countries in terms of productivity.
- France is the world’s largest net exporter of electricity (75% of which is derived from nuclear energy).
- The country is one of the largest wine-producing nations in the world. There are 17 distinct wine-producing regions like Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Loire and Provence that continue with the tradition of wine making in France
- The almost perfectly preserved Chartres Cathedral in the city of Chartres is one of the finest examples of the French High Gothic style. The majority of the original stained glass windows survive intact, while the architecture has seen only minor changes since the early 13th century.
- The Eiffel Tower is a symbol of Paris and one of the top tourist attractions in France. The tower was built by Gustave Eiffel as the entrance arch for the International Exhibition of Paris of 1889. Since its construction more than 200,000,000 people have visited the Eiffel Tower making it the most visited paid tourist attraction in the world.
- Located in the Arcachon Bay area, the Dune of Pyla is the tallest sand dune in Europe. At the summit of the dune the view is spectacular with the Atlantic coast and the inlet of the bay on one side and a large pine forest on another.
- Louvre is the most visited art museum in the world. The famous Mona Lisa painting is on display in this museum.
- The Canal du Midi is Europe’s oldest functional canal. It was built from 1666 and 1681. It is 240 km (150 miles) long, has 63 locks, 126 bridges, 55 aqueducts, 7 canal-bridges, 6 barrages and 1 tunnel.
Cool, Funny, and Fun Facts About France
- France is the most visited country in the world: 83 million tourists in 2012.
- France once controlled more than 8% of the world’s land.
- The French government gives medals to citizens who have “successfully raised several children with dignity.”
- There’s only one STOP sign in the entire city of Paris.
- In France, you can marry a dead person.
- The average French citizen eats 500 snails each year.
- A French woman is the world’s oldest human. She lived to an incredible 122 years, 164 days, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Jeanne Louise Calment was born on February 21, 1875 (the year before Alexander Graham Bell got his patent for the very first telephone and Custer’s Last Stand) and died on August 4, 1997. Her compatriots generally live long longer than most other nationalities: France is rated sixth in the world for life expectancy at birth: 81.5 years (86 years for women and 79 for men).
- France legalised same-sex marriage in 2013. When President Françoise Holland signed the bill into law on May 18, 2013, France became the ninth country in Europe and 14th in the world to legalise same-sex marriage. Although polls at the time showed that between 55 and 50 percent of French people supported gay marriage, not everyone is happy about it: thousands of people defending the so-called ‘family values’ continue to take to the streets in protest.
- It’s illegal to name a pig Napoleon in France.
- Around 4 people a year commit suicide from the Eiffel tower. Out of 400 people who have committed suicide since the opening of the Eiffel Tower, 2 survived. One of them, a lady, by falling on a car. She recovered and later married the car’s owner!
- The most common dog’s name in France is Snoopy. It comes from the American comic strip Peanuts which is much loved in France. Interestingly, Snoopy is not a common dog’s name in the USA (not even in the top 100).
- Statue of Liberty was a gift from France to the USA in 1886. It was built by French sculptor Andre Bartoldi in France and travelled to the USA in 350 parts before being rebuilt there.
Historical and Cultural Facts about France
- Stone tools indicate that early humans were present in France at least 1.8 million years ago.The first modern humans appeared in the area 40,000 years ago.
- The French invented the metric system, the decimalised way of counting and weighing, in 1793. The original prototype kilo – Le Grand K – a cylinder made in the 1880s out of platinum and iridium and about the size of a plum, was the only object known to scientists to have a mass of exactly 1kg. Everything else measured in kilograms is defined by Le Grand K. It’s kept locked away under three vacuum-sealed bell jars in a vault in the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) in Sevres, France. Duplicate cylinders were sent around the world and every so often they’re compared to the original; but the Le Grand K mysteriously seem to be losing weight. The last time it was weighed, in 1988, it was found to be 0.05 milligrams (less than a grain of sugar) lighter than the copies. Did Le Grand K lose mass – or have the copies gained it? No one knows.
- The world’s first true department store was Le Bon Marché in Paris, founded by Aristide Boucicaut in 1838.
- The world’s greatest cycle race, the Tour de France, has been around for over 100 years. Every July, cyclists race some 2,000 miles (3,200 km) primarily around France in a series of stages over 23 days, with the fastest cyclist at each stage wearing the famous yellow jersey. In 2014, the Grand Départ will take place in Yorkshire in the UK.
- Throughout its history, France has produced some of the world’s most influential writers and thinkers: Descartes and Pascal in the 17th century, Voltaire in the 18th, Baudelaire and Flaubert in the 19th and Sartre and Camus in the 20th. To date, France has won more Noble Prizes for Literature (15) than any other country.
- April Fool’s Day in France apparently stems back to the 16th century. If you’re in France on April Fool’s Day, don’t be surprised if children try to stick paper fish onto your back and call you a ‘Poisson d’Avril’ (April Fish). This April 1st tradition is supposed to have started in the 16th century when King Charles XIV of France changed the calendar and those who continued to celebrate the end of the New Year at the end of March were ridiculed as fools.
- Wearing a white wedding dress is a French tradition which began in 1499.
- France is known for its fine food. French cooking is thought to be the best in the world. Chefs prepare dishes such as quiche, soufflés, mousse, pâté, croissants, crêpes, and French bread. Many people in France like to drink their hot chocolate from bowls and dip their bread into it.
- French people dress in a sophisticated, professional and fashionable style, but it is not overly fussy. Typical outfits include nice dresses, suits, long coats, scarves and berets
- French embody romance and passion, and there is an open attitude toward sex outside of marriage. Even the country’s top politicians have been known to carry out extramarital affairs without making an effort to conceal them. As a reflection of the country’s secular nature, about half of children are born to unmarried couples.
- Art is everywhere in France — particularly in Paris and other major cities — and Gothic, Romanesque Rococo and Neoclassic influences can be seen in many churches and other public buildings.
- The French celebrate the traditional Christian holidays of Christmas and Easter. They mark May Day, also known as Labor Day, on May 1. Victory in Europe Day on May 8 commemorates the end of hostilities in Europe in World War II. Bastille Day is celebrated on July 14, the day the Bastille fortress in Paris was stormed by revolutionaries to start the French Revolution