Facts about France

Fun and Fantastic Facts About France

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Do you love learning interesting information about other countries? Here I will share with you some fun and fantastic facts about the great country of France.

Facts about France

France is one of my favourite countries to visit. I have been there several times and always enjoy my stay immensely, whether it be in the north or the south, inland or seaside, big cities or small towns. There is so much to love about France. It’s bursting with famous landmarks, stunning architecture, delicious cuisine, romantic streets, superb shopping, friendly people, famous art and much more.

Champs Elysees, Paris

I have learnt quite a few things on my travels there and wish to share some fun and fantastic facts about France that you probably don’t know. Many of these may surprise you, or even make you laugh. So here we go.

Things you may not know

Time zones

  • France has 12 time zones, which is more than any other country, thanks to all the French territories around the world.

Nick name

  • France is sometimes called the ‘The Hexagon’, because the country is shaped like a 6 sided figure.

Flag

  • The French flag used to be plain white in the early 1700’s before the tricolore became the official flag in 1794.
Facts about France
French flag

People

  • France does not keep official records on race and ethnic origins of its population. They want to treat everybody the same.
  • It is illegal for people to have paternity tests or any DNA tests in France.
  • Religion is becoming less popular, with over 40% of people in France claiming to be Atheists.
  • France has LESS French speaking people than Africa. Yes, you read that right. There are more francophones in Africa because Français Africain is spoken in 29 African countries, such as Algeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Morocco, Tunisia and many others.
  • French people sleep more than any one else in the world, an average of 8.83 hours per day.
Lyon

Marriage

  • It is legal to marry a dead person in France. Wait, what…? If your partner/fiancee dies and you were planning to marry, the government will approve the marriage posthumously.
  • The custom of brides wearing a white dress when they get married originated in France in 1499.

Kissing

  • Greeting someone with a kiss on the cheek is normal, but in some parts of France more than 2 kisses are given. And, even up to 5 in Corsica. Yes 5 cheek kisses to the one person. How exhausting!
  • Since 1910, it is illegal for couples to kiss on train platforms, due to the delays it used to cause. Nowadays, if you kiss, you miss (the train).
Metro station in Paris, Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre

Food

  • About 30,000 tonnes of snails are eaten in France each year, but it’s not an everyday food, only for special occasions.
  • Potatoes were illegal in France in the 1700’s, because they were thought to cause leprosy.
  • French fries, french toast and croissants were not originally from France. Shocked, aren’t you? I was too!
Facts about France
French wine
  • France consumes more alcohol than any other country, 10.9 litres per person per year. À votre santé.
  • The famous Moulin Rouge cabaret venue in Montmartre goes through more champagne than any other establishment in the world. Each ticket for the show includes half a bottle of the bubbly beverage.
Fun and Unusual Facts About France
Moulin Rouge
  • It is bad luck to turn a baguette upside down, not sure why, but better not risk it, I say.
  • There are more than 400 types of cheese in France. Délicieuse.
Facts about France
French cheeses

Clothing

  • It used to be illegal for women to wear trousers in Paris up until 2012 when the antiquated 200 year old law was abolished. Hilarious.

Lavender

  • The world’s biggest and the most famous lavender fields are in Valensole, Provence, which peak at the end of June. So much purple!
Valensole lavender fields – photo credit

Roads

  • There used to be only one ‘Stop’ sign in Paris until 2012. It was all go, go, go.
  • France has more roundabouts than any other country by far. More than 30,000.
Facts about France
The most famous roundabout, Arc de Triomphe, Paris

Shops

  • In France, shops do not have to give change, as it is the responsibility of the customer to give the correct money by law.
  • Do not enter a shop without greeting staff with bonjour. It is unwritten law in France.

Guillotine

  • Some 15,000 people have been executed by guillotine in France, the last one being as recent as 1977. Yikes.

Y Town

  • There is a tiny town called “Y” in Northern France of about 200 people. Why is it called Y? (Ha) Because the 3 roads in the town form a Y shape.

Tourism

  • People visit France more than any other country.
  • The most visited landmark in the world is the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. More than 12 million people go to see this gothic church each year.

Eiffel Tower

  • Lastly, did you know the magnificent Eiffel Tower was only supposed to be a temporary monument? Read more about it here.
Facts about France
Eiffel Tower

I think everyone needs to visit this phenomenal country at least once in their lifetime. I hope these facts about France inspire you to take a trip there.

Please leave me a comment below.

Merci.

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22 thoughts on “Fun and Fantastic Facts About France

  1. As a francophile, married to a Frenchman and someone who has lived in France I knew a lot of these – but had to laugh out loud about marrying a dead person – that’s a good one and I was completely unaware of that fact!

  2. This is such a fun post! I’m headed to France for the first time in March, so I loved reading these fun facts. I’ll definitely keep that fact about the change in mind!! And all those roundabouts?!? Glad we’re not driving!!

  3. This was so fun to read! I had no idea that France’s flag used to be white- how fascinating! I love France, but there are so many areas of it that I haven’t visited yet. Provence has always been high on my wishlist. I hope to make it there in 2020. 🙂

  4. Love this post! I just ran across the song L”Hexagone and found out that it was referring to the shape of France. Great facts. I’ll keep some of them in mind – like not turning the baguette up side down! And those round abouts… so tricky for a Canadian driver, although I am WAY better at them than before!

  5. You had me at Facts and France! I loved reading these! Some you know and some, well, are funny and strange…women and pants, only one stop sign (so true when you think about it!), marry a dead person, oh my!

  6. There are some funky facts here, some I didn’t know, even as a French person. I’m not sure about the fact that paternity tests are illegal though. It’s not uncommon for people to request those in court…

  7. So many interesting facts! It’s good to know that shop expect exact change. I also find it interesting that there was only one stop sign in France until 2012. Thanks for sharing!

  8. huh, some interesing fun facts here. I bet us Australians can give that 10.9 litres of alchohol per person a nudge!

  9. Hahaha I love these, what a fun post! What do you mean croissants aren’t from France!!! I can believe the other two but not croissants lol. I actually had to google the law about wearing trousers in Paris, so hilarious that that’s actually true! Haha. And they thought potatoes caused leprosy! Really interesting facts, thanks for putting them together!

  10. I’ve been to France thrice and it’ss the only country my husband and I have decided we could still go back to, aside from Mexico. Valensole, Lourdes, and Normandy are places I have not seen.

  11. I am British and used to live and work in France, so here are a few things about some of the facts in this post. 🙂

    the baguette – Never place a baguette or a loaf of bread on a table upside down, apparently. If you do, then you and the people it’s for risk being struck down with a hunger curse!

    The roundabout….hmmmmm….the fact is not official (don’t care what the interweb says 😛 ) – I am from Britain and we had the world’s first roundabout in a town near me called Letchworth, so we are proud of our roundabouts. 😀 – France may have around 30,000 of them but the UK does have slightly more, think its like 31,000. My home town of Stevenage north of London, which isn’t very huge has more than 70 and we known as Roundabout town. Its a bit of banter between the two nations as we do love each other. The French claim to invented Champagne, sorry guys, it was the English (not going into this one…goggle it guys..the history is on Google somewhere….and Bordeaux Wine was English for at least 300 years!).

    I love the history between my country and my neighbours over ‘la manche’ and we love our banter. But the French are very passionate about their English creations. 😀 😀 😀

  12. That’s such a neat fact that Africa has more French speaking people than France! I never thought about that before. Good tip about not turning a baguette upside down hahaha don’t want to risk it! 😉 What a fun post!

  13. I love that people’s ethnicity isn’t recorded on official documents. That’s so forward thinking and I think the rest of the world should follow suit with that one! And from now on, I’ll never be able to place a bagel upside down. I’m also intrigued about the Eiffel Tower starting out as a temporary structure. That’s one huge project for something temporary.

  14. I thought I knew a lot about France. But learned a few new things. I never would have imagined there were 12 time zones! Although I guess that makes sense since you included all the territories. It was fascinating to learn that paternity tests were illegal. But not that surprising to read that the French consume the most alcohol.

  15. I LOVE all these fun facts!! I had no idea about most of these, like they used to only have one stop sign.. what! Totally believe that they have the most roundabouts though, it was every 100 meters when I drove in Provence

  16. Such interesting facts. I will now always make sure a baguette is the right way up and I’ll admit the moulin rouge one makes sense having been there and seeing how popular it is. I felt so fancy with my bottle of champagne!

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