It was recently reported that France plans to reopen vaccinated passengers on June 9, 2021, if COVID levels remain under control. People who carry a valid health card (tied to a full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 PCR test) will be eligible to enter. Woohoo! We missed France. To celebrate, we’ve put together these fun facts about France to set you up for the future. Find more information here about trips and discoveries in France.
Fun facts about France
Did you know that France is the largest country in Europe and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world? France has good food, amazing wine, beautiful cities and a charming culture. It is no surprise that everyone wants to visit!
This list covers everything from the largest art museum to the superstition of bread. Keep reading about 10 fun facts about France that will get you on a plane to Paris right away.
1. France is the most visited country in the world
Apart from being the most visited country in the world, Paris is also one of the most visited cities. In 2019, more than 19 million tourists visited the city of Paris, France. It is constantly ranked in the top 10 of the most visited cities year after year.
2. France is smaller than Texas
Although France is not that big, it is the largest country in the European Union. In the slightly larger perspective, France is twice the size of the United Kingdom and eight times the size of Ireland.
3. France has the largest art museum
The Louvre Museum in Paris, France is the largest art museum in the world. This museum is so large that if you want to spend 30 seconds looking at each work of art, it will take you approximately 100 days to go through the entire museum.
French artists have created 66% of all works of art in the museum. Here are some of the most famous works of art at the Louvre Museum:
Mona Lisa The Raft of the Jellyfish Venus de Milo Horse Tamers
Before the Louvre Museum became a museum, it was a fortress built in the 12th century and then renovated into a royal palace in the 16th century. Many people claim that the Louvre is haunted by its age and complex past. Read: The closures in Paris and when to avoid museums and attractions
When visiting Paris, take your museum pass to enjoy priority, skip line tickets to more than 60 of the best museums and monuments in and around Paris Explore the Louvre and Versailles and visit the Arc de Triomphe, the Pompidou Center and much more.
4. The French eat 25,000 tons of snails every year
Did you know that in France more than 25,000 tons of snails are eaten every year? That’s a lot of snails! The average French person eats approximately 500 snails a year. The French consider snails a delicacy and often enjoy them during the holidays.
In France, snails are called escargos. Although there are several different types of escargo that you can eat, one of the most common ways to eat snails in France is cooked in butter and garlic. The best way to eat snails in France is to do it in a French restaurant. Snails are often eaten as an appetizer, and to eat them, your waiter must provide you with special utensils to help you crack the shell.
And here is one of the strangest facts in France that it is illegal to carry live snails on a train in France unless they have a ticket. The law states that animals weighing less than 5 kg must travel with their own ticket. Sounds outdated? Tell that to the man in 2008 who was fined for having live snails on the train.
5. France produces over 1500 types of cheese
While the exact number of cheeses made in France is unknown, they are said to make over 1,500 different cheeses! If you happen to love cheese, this may sound like a dream come true.
In fact, France is one of the ten largest countries in terms of cheese consumption. More than 95% of the French population eats cheese. French cheeses have several defining characteristics, such as how long they age, the process of making the cheese and how moldy they are.
Here is a list of some of the most popular cheeses you will find in France:
If you decide to visit France and try these different types of cheese, don’t forget to pair wine with them for the full, French experience.
6. Supermarkets in France cannot throw away food
Supermarkets in France are not allowed to throw away food that is close to the “best date”. Instead, they must donate the food to a charity or food bank. France passed this law in 2016 to help reduce hunger and prevent food waste! Why doesn’t everyone do this?
Supermarkets in France donate about 45,000 pounds of food a year, which would be discarded if it were not donated. While some fruits and vegetables are considered inedible, most of the food is distributed to families in need.
This is great for both people who could use the food and the environment! Supermarkets also benefit from this law because there is less garbage to deal with.
7. France had a king – it lasted only 20 minutes
Another interesting fact about France is that one of their kings held the throne for only about 20 minutes. This was one of the shortest reigns of a monarch ever.
Louis XIX was king of France only 20 minutes after his father abdicated (he abdicated). Ironically, Louis XIX also abdicated about 20 minutes after his father appointed him to the throne.
Louis XIX shares this record with Luis Filipe of Portugal. Luis Filipe’s father was killed in the attack, and Luis Filipe was also wounded in the same attack. He eventually outlived his father by about 20 minutes, during which time he was king of Portugal.
8. The French army invented camouflage
Did you know that it is the French army that invents camouflage? The French invented camouflage during World War I in 1915. They hired artists to paint both their vehicles and their guns to blend in with the environment around them. They did this by drawing lines that would distract from the shape of the object.
About a year after the French said they were disguising their equipment, other countries began to do the same. Each country had its own style of camouflage.
9. It is not lucky to turn the baguette upside down
The French believe that placing a baguette (or any kind of bread) upside down on a table can cause bad luck. This legend dates back to the Middle Ages and has never disappeared.
In the Middle Ages, the city executioner often did not have time to take his bread in the morning. The baker would hang the bread upside down for the executioner to pick up later in the day.
Due to this practice, in the Middle Ages, over time, bread turned upside down into a symbol of fear and death. People would avoid any inverted bread to avoid misfortune.
If you ever have the opportunity to visit France, be sure not to put bread on the table upside down. Also, if you see bread upside down, avoid it!
10. The Tour de France is more than 100 years old
We watch the Tour de France every year. (Even COVID-19 couldn’t hold it) But did you know that the famous cycling race has been held since 1903. From its humble beginnings, it is now the most prestigious cycling race in the world with a duration of 23 days and covering more than 3383 km (2102 miles)
11. The French drink over 11 million glasses of wine every year
Of all the countries in the world, France consumes the second largest amount of wine. In total, the French consume approximately 25 million hectoliters per year. They are second only to the United States, which consumes about 30 million hectoliters.
In addition to consuming a ton of wine, France is also known for creating the most expensive wine in the world. This bottle of wine costs about $ 21,000! While you probably won’t have a chance to try the most expensive wine in France, you may get the opportunity to try a little French wine.
Here are some of the most popular French wine regions:
If you ever find yourself in any of these French regions, be sure to stop and try the wine. You can also combine the wine with some of the cheese we mentioned earlier.
Quick facts in France
Capital: Paris, France Population of France: 68 million people National motto: Liberté, égalitié, braternité – Cool Fact: This is also the national motto of Haiti. This means freedom, equality and brotherhood. The French flag is blue, white and red. Le Drapeau Tricolore is translated on the Tricolor flag. (How appropriate) French is the official language of 29 countries around the world. (Canada is one of them) In fact, French was once the official language of England! From 1066 to 1362 after the Norman conquest.
Did you enjoy these fun facts about France?
If you want to experience everything France has to do, then you need to book a trip to the largest European country right away! This is the most popular tourist destination for a reason.
If you love to travel and want to see more posts like this, be sure to check out our destination section for more travel inspiration. Also, leave a comment below if you have additional fun facts about France to share.
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