When the country of France is mentioned, one cannot help but think of the sexy accent, delicious, rich food, and an abundance of wine. Nonetheless, there is so much more to this European country than baguettes and berets. This country, also referred to as a republic, is filled with scientists, artists, and thinkers that have transcended its borders.
It does not, however, mean a country as old as France is not full of interesting and unusual facts. And yes, some are quite funny. There is something about the French that is very, “je ne sais quoi,” or hard to define. We will attempt either way.
#35. French shepherds invented stilts. They used them to walk through wet marshes.
#34. The French love manners. A coffee shop in the country charges more to people who do not say “please” and “thank you.”
#33. The town of Condom served as a protected route to pilgrims traveling to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. The town also boasted a museum of contraceptives but it was closed in 2005.
#32. Gustave Eiffel built the Eiffel Tower in 1889 for a fair. It was meant to be a temporary structure but it was so popular that it was kept.
#31. French people love their carbs. Ten billion baguettes are made every year. The delicious bread only has three ingredients: flour, yeast, and salt. By law it must weigh 250 grams.
#30. People that love taking selfies should know who Philippe Kahn is the French inventor, who developed the first camera phone in 1997.
#29. France is the most popular tourist destination in the world. It receives 82 million visitors every year.
#28. The guillotine was used for the last time in 1977. Executions by this contraption were popular spectator events. The guillotine operators were even considered national celebrities.
#27. Francs love their snails. They eat roughly 500 million every year.
#26. France is the birthplace of the metric system. It was introduced in 1793.
#25. To confuse German pilots during WWI, France constructed a ‘fake Paris.’
#24. There are over 40,000 châteaux in France.
#23. Herminie Cadolle invented the bra. The French woman opened a lingerie boutique where she fitted the undergarment for queens, dancers, and actresses.
#22. The Counterfeit Museum of Paris displays the best and most accurate knock-offs of popular and high-priced brands.
#21. The government awards La Médaille de La Famille Française. The Medal of the French family recognizes parents who have raised several children with dignity.
#20. Paris only has one stop sign in the whole city.
#19. No French-kissing on train platforms! A 1910 law prohibits couples from kissing to avoid late departures.
#18. The Louvre Museum in Paris received 9.3 million visitors in 2014. To put that in perspective, that’s almost the entire population of Sweden.
#17. In case you’ve ever wondered, it is illegal to use the name champagne for the alcoholic drink unless it is produced in the Champagne region. Any other place has to settle for the name, sparkling wine.
#16. Terraces in France are so popular that there are 9,057 of them today. If you were to visit one a day, it would take just short of 30 years.
#15. They may like their wine a bit too much. France has the second highest consumers of alcohol per capita in the Western world.
#14. Products that contain salt or sugar also have to recommend exercise and eating at least five fruits and vegetables per day.
#13. You can marry a deceased person with the approval of the President of the Republic. You have two years within a person passing to do it.
#12. Flying saucers are not permitted to land on the town of Chateauneuf-du-Pape in Provence. A municipal law was passed in 1954 making this declaration.
#11. The Triscastin Nuclear Power Center provides hot water and tropical conditions for a crocodile farm in Pierrelatte.
#10. A 2003 survey found that French people are having more sex than any other country in the world.
#9. A small town in the Savioe region is named Pussy.
#8. Paris is known as the City of Lights due to its role during the Age of Enlightenment. Paris was also one of the first European countries to use gas-powered street lighting.
#7. When Paris fell to the Nazis, the French resistance cut the elevator cables of the Eiffel Tower. The goal was to keep Hitler from visiting the iconic structure. It worked as Hitler refused to climb the 1,500 stairs.
#6. 96% of France’s high schools have condom vending machines.
#5. During the 19th century, a public event took place where cats where placed on nets and set on fire.
#4. It’s tough to get a cab in Paris. Probably because taxi drivers pay about €200,000 for their licenses. That’s about $227,760.
#3. France has banned children’s beauty pageants. They carry up to a two-year prison sentence and a €30,000 fine.
#2. The French youth is turning to burgers instead of French cuisine for their food. In fact, France is the second largest consumer of McDonald’s burgers in the world.
#1. France is the most depressed country in the world. 1 in 5 people have experienced depression at some point in their lives.