France is a fascinating country and perhaps one of the most visited countries in the world by tourists, but there are some strange things going on here …
Here are 20 random facts about the country, the people and the culture of France:
1. The soft cheese “Petit Suisse” come from Normandy in Northern France and not Switzerland.
2. France produces around 400 different varieties of cheeses, although it has been estimated that there are over 1,000 varieties available. Charles de Gaulle once famously said, “How is one expected to govern a nation that has 246 different kinds of cheese.” The number of varieties has increased since then .
3. In 1750 the biggest wine producing vineyards were in the Île de France region, around Paris.
4. The Languedoc Roussillon region, in the south of France, is the biggest wine growing area in the world.
5. Vosné-Romanée covering 85 ares, situated in the Bourgogne region, is the smallest AOC vineyard in France.
6. There are 31 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in France :
- Abbatiale de Saint-Savin sur Gartempe (1983)
- Abbaye cistercienne de Fontenay (1981)
- Arles, monuments romains et romans (1981)
- Basilique et colline de Vézelay (1979)
- Beffrois de Belgique et de France (1999)
- Bordeaux, Port de la Lune (2007)
- Canal du Midi (1996)
- Cathédrale d’Amiens (1981)
- Cathédrale de Bourges (1992)
- Cathédrale de Chartres (1979)
- Cathédrale Notre-Dame, ancienne abbaye Saint-Remi et palais de Tau, Reims(1991)
- Centre historique d’Avignon : Palais des papes, ensemble épiscopal et Pont d’Avignon (1995)
- Chemins de Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle en France (1998)
- Cité épiscopale d’Albi (2010)
- De la grande saline de Salins-les-Bains Ã la saline royale d’Arc-et-Senans, la production du sel ignigéne (1982)
- Fortifications de Vauban (2008)
- Juridiction de Saint-Émilion (1999)
- Le Havre, la ville reconstruite par Auguste Perret (2005)
- Mont-Saint-Michel et sa baie (1979)
- Palais et parc de Fontainebleau (1981)
- Palais et parc de Versailles (1979)
- Paris, rives de la Seine (1991)
- Places Stanislas, de la Carriére et d’Alliance Ã Nancy (1983)
- Pont du Gard (1985)
- Provins, ville de foire médiévale (2001)
- Site historique de Lyon (1998)
- Sites préhistoriques et grottes ornées de la vallée de la Vézère (1979)
- Strasbourg à Grande Ã®le (1988)
- Théâtre antique et ses abords et « Arc de Triomphe » d’Orange (1981)
- Val de Loire entre Sully-sur-Loire et Chalonnes (2000)
- Ville fortifiée historique de Carcassonne (1997)
7. Nearly 20% of French territories lie outside of Metropolitan France.
8. Foie Gras, the French delicacy made from duck or goose livers, originated in Egypt 4,500 years ago.
9. The Novel, “La Disparation” by Georges Perec has no occurrence of the letter “E” except in the author’s name.
10. In France, when someone says, “In a week’s time” they say “In 8 days.” and for “In two week’s time” they say…. yes, you’ve guessed it, “In 15 days.”
11. France is roughly the same size as The State of Texas.
12. France was ruled by Britain for about 300 years.
13. French was the official language of England for about 300 years.
14. Richard The Lionheart, crowned King of England in 1189, spoke French and very little, if no English, spent very little time in England and died in Chalûs, Haute Vienne, France.
15. The Bayeux Tapestry, recounting The Norman Conquest of England, is not a tapestry, but and embroidered cloth, embroidered by English women in the 11th Century.
16. It is still illegal in France to call a pig, “Napoleon.”
17. Frank Sinatra’s famous song, “My Way” was copied from an original French song, “Comme d’habitude” sang by Claude François.
18. Sleeping Beauty, Puss in Boots and Cinderella were written by the French writer, Charles Perrault.
19. The Eiffel Tower was originally built to be exhibited in Barcelona.
20. The French consume the most anti-deppressers in the world.
21. Two new cookbooks are published daily in France.
If you have any other fascinating or trivial facts about France, please let us know in the comments below… Merci beaucoup!