Some of us know these interesting facts about France

Curious facts about France

If you want to learn some cool interesting facts about France, then this is the place and time for it.We have compiled over 30 curious things about this popular european country and famous tourist destination.

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.

You probably are aware that the popular croissants are actually not a French invention, but come from Austria. But what else do you really know about France? The history of one of most popular countries in the world is long enough and full with curious stories and fun facts. Here are 31 more interesting facts about France you maybe never heard of.


31 curious facts about France you probably didn’t know


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).

France is the largest country in the European Union
France is the largest country in the European Union with about one-fifth of the EU’s total area. [Image: Shutterstock]

2) One of the most interesting facts about France is that this is the largest country in the European Union in terms of surface area. With its area of  631,187 sq km the country is almost a fifth of the EU’s total area.


3) If you love traveling it is good to know, 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) Have you heard of the Nobel prizes? France has the highest number of Nobel Prizes winners of any country, with 15 Prizes in Literature.


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.

The popular Gallic rooster is one of the symbols of France
The Gallic rooster (Coq Gaulois) is an unofficial national symbol of France [Image: Shutterstock]

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) Most probably you have heard about the French word châteaux. The meanings of châteaux include palace, castle, manor. There are over 40,000 chateâux in France.

Typical French chateau with a wineyard
A typical French château with a vineyard [Image: Shutterstock]

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.


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 - the largest museum of art in the world
The popular Louvre is the largest art museum in the world  [Image: Shutterstock]

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 around the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans, as well as the South American continent.


22) Do you know where is the largest number of roundabouts in the world? One of the curious facts about this country is that 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 code “Mayday” comes from the French “m’aider” (meaning “Help me!”), which is a shortened version of “venez m’aider” (meaning “Come and Help me!”).


25) You probably know the French love snails. One of the curious things about France is that its citizens 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) Do you know that 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 tricolor) was officially adopted on 15 February, 1794.


31) One of the most interesting things about France is that 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. France is also renowned for its history, culture, traditions, fashion and for the numerous inventions and discoveries that helped mankind. If you are curious and want to find out even more interesting things about France, here you can read about the top inventions to come out of France.

In case you want to read something interesting about Spain, then The most curious Facts About Spain is just for you.

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