If you are about to travel to France for a very long vacation or perhaps, a permanent stay, here are some important facts that might help you on your way.

The official name of France is the French Republic (In French – IRépublique Française). France became a republic after the French Revolution, which took place in the year 1792, and saw the near complete eradication of the French royal and ruling class.

Modern France still holds 15 territories overseas, including Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, Mayotte, and Réunion. On the mainland itself, Metropolitan France (Corsica included) is divided into 13 separate regions, which are in turn, sub-divided into 96 departments. France’s colonial past is the main reason why the country has a population of more than five million citizens of African and Arab descent.

The French economy is one of the largest in the Eurozone, right after that of Germany. France is one of the world’s largest exporters of luxury goods, with the leading four companies Chanel, Cartier, Hermes and Louis Vuitton racking in billions each year. The main exports from France include food, aircraft, industrial machinery, chemicals, iron and steel, motor vehicles, electronics, and pharmaceuticals.

At present, France has a population of about 68 million and three-quarters of them live in urban areas, with Paris, the capital city of the nation, having about 3 million inhabitants alone. Metropolitan Paris home to about 13 million people, reports the French national statistical office (INSEE). This makes France the second most populated country in Europe; Germany is number one. The population of France makes up 13 percent of the total population of the European Union. As of 2014, according to OECD reports, France had Europe's highest birth rate in Europe, with the average age for women giving birth sitting around 30 years.

The living standards of France is among one of the best in the world. In fact, the work-life balance in the country ranks 12th among all OECD countries. French workers retire much younger than in the other OECD countries. A recent report from the OECD put the average French retirement age at 59 years, compared to the average OECD figure of 64.2 years. In France, people may claim a state retirement benefits at 62, and this is one of the lowest ages of retirement ages in the world.


32 FACTS AND HISTORY OF FRANCE.




The French Revolution Changed All

 It took place in 1792, an uprising of the French common people against centuries of royal rule. The Revolution began with the French people storming the Bastille fortress on the 14th day of July 1789, an event which is celebrated much like an independence every year all over the country and it’s known as Bastille Day.

Best images of castles in France



The Napoleonic Era

This is one of the greatest Era’s in Frosch history as it was a time when France almost conquered all the world under its famous hero, General Napoleon Bonaparte (1769 - 1821). Rising through the ranks of the French Army toward the end period of the French revolution, Napoleon went from one national victory to the other until he finally got promoted to full General, became a dictator and attempted to conquer the world. The English presented him with the toughest challenge and his finally met defeat at the battle of Waterloo. Though an ancient figure, this General Napoleon is responsible for a lot of changes in France such as in its legal system, most of which held firm even today.

Modern France Is The Number One Destination For Tourists Around The World

Beyond a doubt, France is the most popular tourist destination in the world. According to the World Tourism Organization for 2014-16, about 85 million people visit France each year, making it the most-visited country in the world.





France: the largest country in the European Union

It may not be as populated as Germany or as large as the United States, South Africa or Nigeria, but France, with an area of 551,000 sq km, is the largest nation in the European Union. It is something of a hexagonally shaped nation that occupies almost a fifth of the EU’s total land area – France has a six-sided shape.

France Is Rich with Forests And Plant Life

One of the most attractive features of France is its forests. About a quarter of the total land mass of the country is covered by forest; only Finland and Sweden have more. During the latter part of the Second World War when the Allied forces got the upper hand over Germany, the Germans build some of the most extensive underground bunkers in the forests of France and even till today, some of them are still being discovered.




The Migot Line

You don’t always hear of it now but its right there in France. In the years leading up to the Second World War, with German powers growing, France built a line of mighty forts manned by its soldiers to protect itself from air and land assaults. In its day, the Migot line was regarded as impregnable until the British began to overfly it at will and finally, the Germans came calling in the person of General Romenel and his armored divisions. Coming from an odd region of Europe, they overran the Migot line from behind.

King Louis XIX Lasted Just 20 minutes On The Throne

The French King Louis XIX ruled France for just 20 minutes, the shortest reign ever– he ascended to the French royal throne in July 1830 right after his father Charles X abdicated. The new king abdicated himself 20 minutes afterward in favor of his young nephew, the Duke of Bordeaux. Louis XIX shares this unusual record with Crown Prince Luís Filipe, who became king of Portugal after the assassination of his father but died from a wound 20 minutes later. 



The National Brotherhood

The motto of France, Liberté, égalitié, fraternité means ‘liberty, equality and fraternity’ (or simply brotherhood). It first showed up around the time of the French Revolution, which took place between 1789–1799, and was then written into the constitutions of 1946 and 1958. In France today, you’ll see it on postage stamps, coins, and even government logos. It often appears alongside ‘Marianne’ who represents the ‘triumph of the Republic’. The present French legal system is still hugely based on the principles laid down during Napoleon Bonaparte’s Code Civil right after the revolution, in the 1800s.

The French Can Wed A Dead Person

In France, according to standing French laws, you can marry a dead person. In exceptional cases one can legally marry a dead body, as long as that person can prove that the deceased had had the intention of marrying him or her while alive, that person can seek and receive permission from the president of French. The most recent case in which an approved was granted, took place in 2017, when the lover of a gay policeman who was gunned down by a jihadist on Paris's Champs-Elysees was granted special permission to marry his partner posthumously.

The French Army Did One Thing First

The French Army was the very first army to use camouflage and they did so during World War 1 back in 1915. The word camouflage originates from the French verb ‘to make up for the stage’. Vehicles and Guns were carefully painted over by artists known as camofleurs.



Several World Famous Inventors Come From France

With a history and society so rich, it is not surprising that France has produced several world-renowned inventions. For example, in 1809 confectioner Nicolas Appert, known as the 'father of canning', came up with the idea of using sealed glass jars placed in hot boiling water as a means to preserve food. Of course, this later led to the use of tin cans in place of the glass jars, but guess who thought of that too? Another Frenchman named Pierre Durand. The writing and reading system for the blind, called braille, was developed by a French citizen Louis Braille who was blinded as a little child. A French physician René Laennec is credited for inventing the stethoscope at a top hospital in Paris back in 1816; he first discovered the unusual technique to listen directly to heartbeats by rolling up a paper into a tube. Another Frenchman, Alexandre-Ferdinand Godefroy’s patented contraption was the first hair dryer on earth as of 1888. The Montgolfier brothers Etienne and Joseph became the pioneers of hot air flight after the world was held spellbound in 1783 by their first public showing of an untethered hot air balloon. A little known fact is that one of the world’s most popular games Etch-a-Sketch was actually invented in France during the 1950s after André Cassagnes, a smart French electrical technician, peeled a translucent transfer off from a light switch plate and discovered that his pencil marks still remained on its underside, a direct result of the electrostatically charged metallic powder.

Waste Of Food Is Illegal In France

The French Government was the first in the world to ban supermarkets in the country from destroying or throwing away unsold food. The law, which went into full effect in February 2016, requires shops to donate wastage to charities or food banks.


A million French citizen speak Italian As Native Tongue

More than one million French citizens who live near the French border with Italy speak Italian as a native tongue. Although French is France’s official language and the native tongue (first language) of more than 88 percent of the country’s population, there are numerous indigenous regional languages and dialects, such as Basque, Alsacian, Breton, Occitan, Flemish and Catalan. Interestingly, French is actually Europe’s second most spoken mother tongue, German is first and English is third. Experts predict that French will become the number one language in Europe by the year 2025 due to that country's phenomenal high birth rate.

The French Have Been Banning Other Languages For 400 years

The sole aim of a governmental arm known as the Académie Française is to preserve the French language and this group has been in existence since 1634. It carries out its duties by attempting to ban everything associated with foreign words such as website and blogs, emails, hashtags, parking areas, and weekend trips. This group was founded by a small clique of French intellects and in 1635, King Louis XIII officially recognized them but in all that time they have not been successful in their endeavors.

Radio Stations In France Are More Than Half French

By French law, no less than 40 percent of all music aired on private radio stations must be French in origin. This has been so since 1996, and the law is enforced by the Conseil Supérieur de L’Audiovisuel (CSA), the country’s top media regulatory body. The CSA goes a step further to keep things a bit old fashioned and traditional through the requirement that at least half of the French music quota aired be less than six months old. So when next you turn on your radio while in France, don’t be surprised at the kind of music you hear.



The First Movie Shoot Was In France

The world’s first public screening of a movie took place in France on 28th December 1895 and was done by the French brothers Louis and Auguste Lumière. The brothers made use of their invention the called cinématographe (translated ‘cinema’) to feature 10 films, each lasting about 50 seconds, at the Salon Indien du Grand Café in Paris. The Lumière brothers went on to make a lot of other films but wrongly predicted that the ‘cinema was an invention with no future'.

The French Live Longer Than Most People

A French woman who lived in France holds the record as the world’s oldest human being ever. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, she lived up to the incredible age of 122 years and 164 days. Jeanne Louise Calment, born 21 February 1875, passed away on 4 August 1997. She lived through the famous opening of the Eiffel Tower in 1889, the first and second World Wars and the development of the television, the modern motor vetches, and aircraft. Interestingly, her case is not that strange because French citizen, due to the high health standards and the natural beauty of their country, generally live a lot longer than most other people in other lands: France is rated sixth in the OECD countries for life expectancy after birth – the figure stands at 79 for men and 85 years for women.



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The Highest Land Area In Europe Is Located In France

The highest mountain in Europe is Mont Blanc and it is located in the French Alps. At 4,810m, it takes one an arduous 11 to 13 hours to climb up to the summit of Mount Blanc. Alternatively, one can take a pleasant 20-minute vertical trip up on Europe’s highest cable car located on the nearby Aiguille du Midi and get a thrilling view of Mont Blanc.

Same-Sex Marriage Is all Legal In France

At a time when even the world’s top courts are ruling that same-sex marriage is directed at the extinction of the human race and so cannot be legalized, France has legalized same-sex marriage. This became official when French President Françoise Holland signed the controversial bill into law on 18th May 2013, France, from then on, became the ninth country within Europe and the 14th in the world to recognize and legalize same-sex marriage. At that time, the country’s polls showed that about 50% of French citizens supported gay marriage, but, surprisingly, so many showed their displeasure at the development. Thousands of protesters took to the streets to defend wholesome family values.



The World’s Most Famous Museum Is In France

Located in the heart of Paris, is the Louvre Museum and according to standing records, it is the most visited museum in the world. Back in 2014 alone, it had a stunning 9.3 million visitors, this figure is roughly equivalent to the population of Sweden.

The First Face and Heart Transplant Occurred In France

The very first artificial face transplant and heart transplant the world had ever seen both took place in France. Surgeons in France were the first to contemplate and then perform a face transplant, which took place in 2005. The case of the heart transplant was more complex and it took place in December 2013 at the Georges Pompidou Hospital in Paris. The newly invented bioprosthetic device, which imitated the activates of a real heart, was powered by external lithium-ion batteries and is about three times heavier than a real heart.

Europe’s Busiest Railway Station Is in France

In Paris is the bustling Paris Gare du Nord and according to records, it is, by far, the busiest railway station in all of Europe, with no less than 190 million passengers going through each and every year. The station which was set up a year after the Second World War (1946), is one of the world's oldest railway stations.



The French Rail Network Is A Complicated Affair

With a total of 29,000km, the French rail network ranks as the second biggest in Europe (Germany is first) and the ninth largest in the entire world. With the introduction of the TGV high-speed rail in 1981, France became one of the first countries in the World to utilize high-speed rail technology. The Tours-Bordeaux high-speed project, which is due for completion in 2018, will inject a further 302km to the already existing 1,550km of the high-speed rail network. One glaring point of failure here was the action of the French national train operator SNCF in ordering 2,000 trains at a staggering cost of EUR 15bn only to find out in 2014 that they were too wide for most of the regional platforms.

French Wine Are Hideously Expensive

In the entire world, the only wines that climb to astronomical prices for little or no reasons are French wines. In later part of 2014, Sotheby’s auctioned off a 114-bottle lot of DCR Romanee-Conti wines over in Hong Kong for a staggering EUR 1.45m. The sale went down as a world record for a single wine lot but the Asia-based buyer chose to remain anonymous. Technically, the wine works out to around EUR 1,619 per glass!

The Metric System Originated In France

The metric system, the decimalized method of weighing and counting, was invented by the French in 1793. The original prototype that was used was very unique; it was known as the kilo or Le Grand K, a cylinder made in the late 1880s out of platinum and iridium and it was about the size of a plum. This object was the only object ever known to scientists to have a precise mass of 1kilogram. Everything the ever measured in kilograms is actually defined by the French’s Le Grand K. The Le Grand K is kept locked away in three vacuum-sealed bell jars in a large vault in the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM), which, unsurprisingly, is located in Sevres, France. Duplicate cylinders were later sent around the world and from time to time they’re compared to the original cylinder. Unfortunately, Le Grand K mysteriously appears to be losing weight: The last time its caretakers weighed it, in 1988, it was discovered to be short of 0.05 milligrams (this a weight less than a grain of sugar). This makes it slightly lighter than the duplicates around the world. Did the copies gain weight or did Le Grand K just lose mass? No one really knows.

The French Act Of Preparing and Eating Food Is One of The Best In The World

In 2010, French gastronomy got bestowed with UNESCO World Heritage Status–it was added to the unique list of ‘imperceptible cultural heritage of humanity’. According to experts, the importance of French gastronomy as ‘a social custom, is aimed at celebrating the most significant moments in the lives of groups and individuals’, as well as 'emphasizing union’ for its function of bringing family and friends closer together and also strengthening social ties.  



The French Love Cycling

The greatest cycle race in the world, the Tour de France, has been in existence for more than 100 years. The first event was held on the 1st of July 1903. Since then, each July, cyclists come together to race more than 3,200km (2,000 miles), a journey that takes them around France in a series of stages spanning over 23 days, and the fastest cyclist at each stage gets to wear the famous yellow jersey.

French Writers Are Among The Best In The World

Some of the world’s most influential thinkers and writers come from France. They include Pascal and Descartes in the 17th century, Voltaire in the 18th, Flaubert and Baudelaire in the 19th and Camus and Sartre in the 20th. Till date, France has won the most Noble Prizes for Literature (no less than 15) than any other nation in the world.



The Longest Novel In World Is Of French Origin

French writer, Marcel Proust holds the world record of having the longest novel to his name. The novel, A la recherche du temps perdu is a 13-volume masterpiece, which was translated as Remembrance of things past, is over 3,000 pages long and has a cast of hundreds and thousands of interwoven plots strands. The first volume of this novel was published in the year1913.

French Cheese is World Class

The French produce about a billion tons of cheese each year and these come in 1,200 different varieties! Cheese making is an ancient art in France that began with: goats cheese and dates back to about 500AD. The French blue-veined Roquefort cheese was mentioned in the records of an ancient monastery in Conques as early as 1070, and hard farmed cheeses such as Emmental, began to show up in the 13th century. A French axiom claims 'un fromage par jour de l’année' – there is a different cheese for every day of the year. Talk about pride!

April Fool’s Day Originated In France

The celebration of April fool’s day in France is so big that one can get a 'certain kind' of fish stuck onto your back on such a day. If you happen to be in France on the first of April, don’t be surprised if kids try to stick paper fish to your back and then declare you a ‘Poisson d’Avril’ (April Fish). This tradition dates way back to the 16th century when French King Charles XIV changed the calendar and those citizens who continued to celebrate the end of the Year at the end of the month of March were ridiculed as fools.

The First Voice Recoding Was In France

On 9 April 1860, a French inventor named Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville recorded the first human voice on paper– it was a 10-second fragment of the song Au Clair de la Lune and today stands as the oldest recording in the world. Edouard used a ‘phonautograph’, an instrument which allowed sounds to be recorded visually on paper. The paper recording, after going missing for so long, was discovered in Paris in 2008, and with the aid of modern science, the clip was processed and played for the first time ever.

Snails Are A Cherished Delicacy In France

While wild snails are something of a problem in countries like Australia, the French love it. They consume about 30,000 tonnes of snails each year. However, less than 1,000 tons of this classic French delicacy (which is eaten with parsley, garlic, and butter) come from France. As of 2016, the number of registered snail farms in France were less than 100. So where does the rest come from? Most of France’s snail imports were plucked from the roadsides and fields in Eastern Europe.



Domesticated Animals Must Have Their Own Train Tickets

By French law certain animals much have their own train tickets to board a train. Take snails, for example, it is against the law for a person to carry live snails on a high-speed train without purchasing their own tickets. Any domesticated animal under the weight of 5 kilograms, by French law, must be a paying passenger. In 2008, a Frenchman was charged to court and fined for carrying snails on a TGV without tickets.  That the fine was later waived didn’t change the law.
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