From inventing the hot air balloon to becoming the first country that introduced public transport, there is an endless list of France Facts that you would love to know.
France is among the world’s most popular travel destinations, especially for those seeking a romantic trip. Apart from this, France is quite popular for its taste in fashion and breathtaking cultural heritages.
There are so many theories about this wonderful country that tourists think they are aware of French culture, but that’s not true. The beautiful land deserves more in-depth research before you plan your travel.
Read along through these 20 amazing and unusual France Facts and understand more about its unique culture before a trip.
20 France Facts That Every First-Time Traveler Must Know
1. France Is EU’s Largest Country
France is the EU’s largest country with a massive land of 551,695 square kilometers. It covers at least 13% of the European Union’s land.
However, it comes third including all the European nations. France comes just behind Russia and Ukraine in terms of area.
Also Read: 10 Best Places For Shopping In France
2. It Is Ilegal To Throw Or Burn Edible Food Items – First Country To Do So
In most French supermarkets, it is illegal to throw unsold food items. It applies to food that is still edible.
In 2016, France passed a law and made it illegal to throw out supermarkets’ food items in order to prevent hunger and food wastage.
Now, the French Supermarkets are donating around 45,000 pounds of food per year. This law has also turned out to be a great advantage for supermarkets as they don’t have to deal with trash.
3. Some French Foods Are Not Actually French
There are some foods that many travelers assume as French, notably French fries and French toast.
The french fries were introduced by a Belgian soldier to an American soldier during World War I. The Belgian Soldiers were fluent in French, thus the Americans named it “French Fries”.
On the other hand, the French toast was originally invented during the Roman era.
4. France Is A Master In Wine Production
France is no less than a heaven for wine lovers as it produces around 50 billion hectoliters of wine per year.
In fact, an annual competition is held between Italy in France to decide who produces the most wine.
Till now, France is undefeated and turned to be the ultimate producer of wine.
5. The Muslims Of Paris Protected French Jews From Nazis During World War
During World War I, the Muslims in Paris came forward to rescue local Jews by hiding their identity, saying they are Muslims.
A French Movie “Les Hommes Libres” perfectly portrayed this event, showing a Mosque’s administrative protected Jew civilians.
He even provided a certificate of Muslim identity to Jew community in order to prevent their deportation.
6. Greet French Locals In A Respectful Manner
Whenever you travel somewhere, always greet the locals in a respectful manner. Before planning to travel to France, learn some phrases to be able to interact with locals.
Most locals in France prefer to communicate in their own language. Even if you are trying to speak French, it will be better received than speaking in English.
7. The Public Transport System Was Started In France
Another surprising among the France Facts is that it became the first country to introduce public transport in the 1660s. The first public transport was a Horse-carried wagon launched by Blaise Pascal.
8. A French King Lasted For Only 20 Minutes
The French King “Louis Antoine” holds the record for the shortest region as king. After his father “Charles X” was abdicated, he took over the throne.
Unfortunately, he too abdicated himself within 20 minutes, and become the king with the shortest region in history.
9. Not Every Local Speaks French
You will be surprised to know that not every local in France is fluent in French. It is bordered by over 8 countries, and one of the sides is actually linked with Italy. Thus some locals are equally fluent in Italian alongside French.
10. Country With Most Number Of Roundabouts
There are over 30,000 roundabouts and France. In fact, its capital “Paris” does not have a single stop sign due to the number of roundabouts it has.
Not only this but more than half of the world’s roundabouts are in France itself.
11. France Produces Around 1200 varieties of Cheese
When you think about French Food, the first thing that will come into your mind will be either croissants, chees, or wine.
Though some people may consider it a stereotype, but France takes pride in producing high-quality cheese.
Moreover, the country produces more than 1500 cheese varieties weighing up to 1 billion tonnes.
12. The Scottish Kilts Was Invented in France
The Kilts are globally renowned for being a part of Scottish culture. However, similar garments resembling kilts were worn in other countries across Europe.
The kilts first came into the limelight during the early region of France. Most of them were below the knee, while others even stretched to the ground.
The tartan kilts that you must have heard of date back to the early 18th century.
14. The Measurement System Was Invented In France
France has given many revolutionary innovations to the world and measurement is one of them.
The system of measurement was invented by Gabriel Mouton in the late 1600s. He first introduced the concept of the decimal system which turned out a revolution in measurement.
15. “France” Is Derived From A German Word
The name France is actually derived from the German word “Frank”. Frank was originally a barbarian German tribe that destroyed the land of Gaul.
After taking over the land, it was renamed as Frank and later evolved into France which literally means “Free”.
Also Read: 5 Must-Visit Tourist Attractions In Germany
16. French Traders Are Not Obligated To Give Change
One of the most shocking France Facts is that French sellers will never give you change. All customers whether locals or travelers are advised to keep extra change before purchasing something.
The trader will ask you to pay the exact amount of money as they are under no obligation to give change.
17. 6 Billion+ Baguettes Are Consumed Every Year
You may find it stereotypical, but French people are quite obsessed with baguettes.
They consume about 6 billion baguettes every, meaning a baguette is consumed every 320 seconds in France. There are more than 30,000 bakeries across the country.
Being the traditional bread of France, Baguettes is one of the must-try French foods.
18. Camera Phone Was Invented In France
The camera phone was first introduced in 1997 by Parisian entrepreneur “Philippe Kahn”. He first clicked the picture of his newborn daughter and later forwarded it to his family.
19. Country With Most Number Of Nobel Laureates for Literature
The first ever Noble prize for Literature was won by French Writer “Sully Prudhomme” in 1903.
Now the country has the most number of Noble laureates for Literature, followed by the United States and Great Britain. Around French writers have received Noble prizes for their contributions to literature.
20. Tour De France Is Older Than Many Sports
The “Tour De France” is the oldest Bicycle race which was started on July 1, 1903.
The bicycle race lasts for 23 days which makes it the longest running race across the globe. It covers around 3,500 kilometers and is also regarded as Bicycle Racing World Cup.