31 Things You Don't know about France

Do you know that France is the most popular tourist destination in the World and the  French language is the second most studied language in the world after English?

Now you know.

The history of France is long enough and full with curious stories.Here are 31 interesting facts about France you maybe never heard of:


1) The word “France” comes comes from Latin "Francia", which means "land of the Franks".“Frank”, means “free” in Old French(franc) or medieval Latin(francus).


2) France is the largest country in the European Union in terms of surface area, and with its area of  631,187 sq km the country is almost a fifth of the EU’s total area.


3) France is by far the most popular tourist destination in the world, with about 83.7 million visitors annually.


4) France takes the 4th place in the world when it comes to UNESCO world heritage sites.The country is home to 37 UNESCO World Heritage Sites which are well recognized globally for their outstanding universal value.


5) France has the highest number of Nobel Prizes In Literature winners of any country, with 15 Prizes.


6) France was the first country to introduce a public transport system. In the 1660s, “five-floor carriages” were a system of horse-drawn carriages circulating at a fixed time and on lines linking various neighborhoods of Paris.


7) The Gallic rooster is the national animal of France.The Coq Gaulois (the Gallic Rooster) decorated French flags during the Revolution. It is the symbol of the French people because of the play on words of the Latin gallus meaning Gaul and gallus meaning coq, or rooster.

 gallic rooster




8) France produces nearly 1000 different types of cheese.Traditionally, there are from 350 to 450 distinct types of French cheese grouped into eight categories.


9) In France, it is possible with the permission of the president, to marry a dead person (posthumous marriage).


10) France is the birthplace of the International metric system-the internationally agreed decimal system of measurement. It was originally based on the mètre des Archives and the kilogramme des Archives introduced by the French First Republic in 1799.Most historians agree that Gabriel Mouton, the vicar of St. Paul’s Church in Lyons, France, is the “founding father” of the metric system. He proposed a decimal system of measurement in 1670.


11) There are over 40,000 chateâux in France.The meanings of châteaux include palace, castle, manor.


12) France has the most Michelin star restaurants followed by Japan and Italy. In 1926,The French company Michelin began to award stars for fine dining establishments.

michelin guide


13) The French Army was the first to use camouflage during World War I.In 1915, the French Army became the first to create a dedicated camouflage unit. The word 'camouflage' came from the French verb meaning 'to make up for the stage


14) Per-person, France is by far the most nuclear-powered country in the world, with 58 reactors for its 65 million inhabitantsFrance is the world's largest net exporter of electricity due to its very low cost of generation.


15) France was the first country in the world to ban supermarkets from throwing away or destroying unsold food – since February 2016, shops must donate wastage to food banks or charities.


16) There is NOT such a law in France which prohibits people to name their pigs or pets "Napoleon".


17) Potatoes were illegal in France between 1748 and 1772. In 1748 the French Parliament had actually forbidden the cultivation of the potato on the grounds that it was thought to cause leprosy among other things, and this law remained on the books in Parmentier's time.


18) France has the most powerful radar ship in the world.As per the vessels commander “Monge” is able to detect a coin from 2 euros to 800 kilometers !


19) The Louvre is the largest museum in the World.The Louvre Museum is the second most visited museum after the Palace Museum in Beijing,China with 7,300,000 annual visitors in 2016.

the louvre museum 


20) The first land speed record for a vehicle to go over 100 km/h was established on April 29 or May 1, 1899 at Achères, Yvelines near Paris, France.The electric vehicle named  La Jamais Contente  had two direct drive motors and it was Belgian.


21) France spans twelve different time zones - more than any other country in the world - thanks to its overseas territories, which are dotted round the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans, as well as the South American continent.


22) France boasts more traffic circles (roundabouts) than any other country in the world with some 32 000 built


23) The French army is the only army in Europe that still has carrier pigeons within its ranks.These pigeons are intended to be used for communication during major disasters.


24) The international distress codeMayday” comes from the French “m’aider” (meaning “Help me!”),which is a shortened version of "venez m'aider" (meaning “Come and Help me!”).


25) The French eat around 30,000 tonnes of snails a year.



26)A French woman is the world’s oldest ever human .Jeanne Louise Calment  lived to an incredible 122 years and 164 days, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.


27) The busiest railway station in Europe is in France.Paris North, or Gare du Nord is the busiest railway station in Europe by the number of travelers ,with over 210 million passengers passing through each year. Inaugurated in 1846, Gare du Nord is also one of the world's oldest stations.


28) There are six municipalities in France, that have a mayor despite having zero inhabitants .The villages were destroyed during World War II, but their mayors are responsible for assuring their maintenance.


29) The oldest recorded human voice is French – a 10-second fragment of the song Au Clair de la Lune was recorded by French inventor Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville on paper on 9 April 1860 by using the invented and patented by him phonautograph


30) From 1814 to 1830, the flag of the Kingdom of France was plain white.The present flag (the tricolore) was officially adopted on 15 February, 1794.


31) France was the first country to introduce the car's license plate on August 14, 1893.


As one of the most delightful and beautiful countries in the World,France is visited annually by millions of tourists.–§rance is also renowned for its history, culture,traditions,fashion and for the numerous inventions and discoveries that helped the mankind.

Here you can read about the top 15 new inventions to come out of France .


French-flag-waving-200 x 200.gif


Credits and Related Info:


Oxford Dctionary

Official website of the European Union

World Atlas


The Telegraph

Embassy of France in the U.S.A.


The Local

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

U.S.Metric Association (USMA)


Imperial War Museums (IWM)

World Nuclear Association (WNA)


The Huffington Post

Round Abouts USA


Today I Found

Design Turnpike


Fact Retriever

The Local

The official website of Tourism in France



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