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.
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.
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
- France has 12 time zones, which is more than any other country, thanks to all the French territories around the world.
- France is sometimes called the ‘The Hexagon’, because the country is shaped like a 6 sided figure.
- The French flag used to be plain white in the early 1700’s before the tricolore became the official flag in 1794.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The world’s biggest and the most famous lavender fields are in Valensole, Provence, which peak at the end of June. So much purple!
- 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.
- 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.
- Some 15,000 people have been executed by guillotine in France, the last one being as recent as 1977. Yikes.
- 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.
- 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.
- Lastly, did you know the magnificent Eiffel Tower was only supposed to be a temporary monument? Read more about it here.
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.