Every week, we share cool, mind-blowing facts about the world’s countries in our “interesting facts” blog section. This interesting list of facts will call into question your ideas about the country we call France. So get ready to put your French skills to the test as we share some mind blowing facts about France.
Some interesting and mind blowing facts about France
- French cuisine, French wine, French culture, and French beaches are only a few of the many reasons 89 million people visit France.
- The second most visited country after France is Spain with 83 million visitors, followed by the USA (79 million) and China (66 million visitors per year).
- Moreover, France is the third-largest country in the European Union.
- Paris, the capital of the country, is also the third most visited city in the world after Bangkok and London.
- More than 80 million people visit Paris each year, making it the world’s most visited city.
- Thanks to French Guiana, a French department in South America, France shares its longest border with Brazil. In fact, French is the official language in 30 countries and entities.
- One of the best known about France is the fact that it is considered the leading exporter of luxury goods in the world.
- In fact, there is an annual competition between Italy and France, which produces the most products.
- Another fact is that 30% of perfumery products marketed worldwide come from France.
Some more outstanding facts related to France
- There is a massive rush as a tourist destination in France. As in 2018, approximately 89.3 million people visited France, making it the world’s most visited destination.
- The French are proud that their language is pure France, and there are French speakers in Africa and Europe.
- Most importantly, It was the Greeks in southern France who founded Marseille, the oldest French city.
- France is the 14th country in the world to support same-sex marriage. When President Francoise Holland signed the law on May 18, 2013, France was the ninth country in Europe and the 14th in the world to legalize same-sex marriage.
- In February 2016, France became the first country in the world to ban supermarkets from discarding or destroying unsold foods
- France is one of the first countries in the world to use high-speed technology. This is not only because of its historical enlightenment period but also because it was one of the first cities to install street lamps in the world.
- Every year, over 8 million people see the Mona Lisa at the Louvre Museum in Paris, France.
- France ranks fourth in the world in terms of UNESCO sites behind Italy, China, and Spain, but many of them fly under the radar of visitors.
Some weird facts about France
- No one knows precisely, how many roundabouts we have, not even our transportation ministry, but we know that more than half of the roundabouts in the world are located in France. For example, we give 3 in Lyon, Paris and most of France, they give 2 elsewhere, it’s 1 to 5, but it’s a number and it’s fine as long as they don’t all start from the same side.
- There are 21 African countries where French is their official language.
- Most people believe that French is the language spoken in France. In fact, in 1539, French became the official administrative language of France in legal documents and laws.
- One of the most shocking facts about France is that, under French law, you can only get married in exceptional cases. Very few people in France know that the law in some cases allows a person to be married only after his or her death.
- France is the most depressed country in the world, with one in five Frenchmen suffering from depression.
- Did you know that France is divided into twenty-two different regions and that half the population eats each day cheese?
- The language is spoken by 700,000 people in the Basque Country – a small area of France that belongs to Spain – is so unique and has nothing to do with other languages that experts are not even sure where it comes from.
Historical facts about France
- Before the Second World War, people in some areas of France spoke French in schools and their regional languages at home.
- There was 11-year grace of French colonialism in many Midwestern countries.
- Camoflague was introduced by the French army during World War I in 1915, but France launched the initiative to donate food from supermarkets, restaurants, and charities, and the rest of the world followed.
- Buildings such as the Notre Dame Conciergerie, the Cathedral, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and the striking Haussmann structure tell a part of the light history of the city.
- After surviving the First World War unscathed, there are only two cathedrals in Amiens, one of which is the best-preserved medieval cathedral in the world
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Cultural and UNESCO world heritage sites in France
Most importantly, France has 42 sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List, one of the highest totals in the world, and they testify to the country’s cultural and natural wealth. In 1978, the list started with 12 sites – the first site to get World Heritage status in France – the Cathedral of Chartres. Mont St. Michel, Versailles, and Vezelay were added to the list in 1979.
Since then, 37 of the country’s provisional list of major sites have been nominated for future official recognition as a World Heritage Site. The most recent additions are houses and cellars on the slopes of Frances Champagne (2015), the Climat de Terroir in Burgundy (2015-2016), and the architectural works of Le Corbusier, which are shared with other countries.
Cultural sites recognize 56 historic buildings and towers on the UNESCO World Heritage List in France and Belgium. The French city of Nice joins over 40 World Heritage sites, including the Seine river in Paris, the cathedral Amiens Mont Saint-Michel and parts of the Loire Valley.
Above all, France is one of the most visited European countries for its cultural, historical, and natural wonders. From 20,000-year-old cave paintings to intact Roman theatres and breathtaking island reefs. France is not short of natural and cultural wonders. According to UNESCO, the French city of Nice is a winter resort on the Riviera.
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It is one of the most important historical cities of southern France. Once the largest city in Europe, Carcassonne, with its intact medieval walls, is now one of France’s main attractions.
2. The former Gallo-Roman capital
Boasts a 1,000-year history and UNESCO has declared the oldest part of the town, the Vieux Lyon, a World Heritage Site, due to its wealth of important sites.
Carcassone is a historic fortified city consisting of a massive 3 km long fortification, which includes a castle, ancient buildings, streets, and a cathedral. In pristine condition, the city itself boasts beautiful historic buildings. Also including a Gothic cathedral and a beautiful medieval castle.
4.The Chateau de Comtal, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.
The architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc took part in the restoration of the old town in the 19th century. The main purpose was to enhance its prestige. He worked at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy.
5. Burgundian town of Beaune-dIjon
The Burgundian town of Beaune-dIjon and the surrounding villages are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And, representing the historic center of wine marketing in the region. The pilgrimage route from Spain to Poitiers and the church from the 11th century of St. Hilaire le Grand are among the 71 elements on the World Heritage list.
6. Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre Palace and Sainte-Chapelle
During the Middle Ages, sites such as Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre Palace, and Sainte-Chapelle were built on the Seine River. Making it one of the most important historical sites in the region.
Today the river can be navigated on the Canal du Midi by cruise or houseboat. A World Heritage Site since 1996, and earlier this year the fortified city was technically declared the Three Gorges Dam of the 17th century.
7. Chambord Castle
In fact, this vibrant town in the south of central France is one of the largest and most-preserved fortified cities in Europe. The site is an extension of Chambord Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981. The castle is one of the most impressive castles in France. And, the whole world and a beautiful example of French Renaissance architecture.
The 12 buildings of this site on the border with France are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It displays some of the best examples of the work of the military engineer Sebastien Le Prestre de Vauban.
8. The abbey
Located in Northern Burgundy, about an hour and a half west of Dijon. It is listed as a World Heritage Site in 1979 in France by UNESCO. It is famous as a pilgrimage site. Because it claims to hold the relics of Mary Magdalene, acquired shortly after its founding in the 9th century.
9. The bell tower of Lilles Town Hall
One of 23 bell towers in northern France, is on the World Heritage List in both Belgium and France.
10. Le Pont du Gard
These are some mind blowing and weird facts about France. Hope you liked it. And, if you know more interesting facts. Do comment in the comment box.