Top 50 Interesting Facts About France

Top 50 Interesting Facts About France

I feel it has been a high and ideal time to create my little list of interesting facts about France – the country I love & live in now! Following my own observations and keeping on reading about the country I wanted to make a compact list of interesting facts out of it. But it is so much I have discovered about France and there is so much to be added that my little project turned out in a list of the Top 50 Interesting Facts About France and still here I struggle to stop exploring France.


  • It is simply too fascinating to present all…so I have chosen the really Top 50 Interesting Facts About France which I want to share with you. I hope you like it.
  • There are 24 rivers in France!
  • 24-rivers-in-france
  • There are over 2.5 million people who live in Frances.
  • France takes the 3rd place in Europe in terms of the territory. It is the 3rd largest European country after Russia and Ukraine.
  • France has nearly 20% of its territory outside Europe.
  • canal-du-midi
  • France has the Europe’s oldest functional canal. It is The Canal du Midi which was built 1666 – 1681 and it is 240 km long.
  • France has the most different time zones in the world! Yes, there are 12 of them!briancon
  • France has the highest located town in the European Union. Briançon is located in the Hautes-Alpes department, at an altitude of 1,326 metres.
  • gorge-du-verdon
  • France has the largest canyon in Europe and the 2nd largest gorge in the world. Verdon Gorge located near Castellane and Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. It is 25 kilometres long and up to 700 meters deep
  • millau-viaduct
  • France has the tallest bridge in the world. It is the Millau Viaduct which was completed in 2005 in the south of France.
  • the-biggest-consumers-of-medicines
  • French are the biggest consumers of medicines in Europe.
  • alcohol-pasta-pizza
  • French people are the 2nd biggest consumers of alcohol, pasta & pizza!
  • alcohol-pasta-pizza
  • In 1791 France legalised same-sex sexual activity and become a country which did it as the first one.Paris
  • Paris accommodate 20% of all French people.
  • In 1964 French women received the right to open a bank account or get a passport.
  • The French word for ‘deadline’ is délai. And it makes sense, the French people seem to be always late! This is a real French lifestyle indeed!
  • France has few native regional languages such as:  Alsatian and Lorraine German, Occitan, Oïl dialects, Basque, Breton, Catalan, Corsican and Franco-Provençal.
  • From 1066, for over 300 years French was an official language of England.
  • There are 30 countries whose official language is French.
  • cheques-everywhere
  • French people still use cheques everywhere: in supermarkets & at doctors etc. They are the only Eurozone members who use this form of payment.
  • DNA tests
  • France is the only country in the world where personal DNA tests are forbidden by law.
  • There is only the court order which allows any kind of genetic genealogy tests. Otherwise performing such tests is being punished with heavy fines or prison sentences.
  • In France the paternity tests are illegal.
  • In France the the father of the new-born is the man who claims the baby as the first one in the town hall.
  • As strange as it sounds you can marry a dead person in France. You just need the authorisation of the President of the Republic and a good reason for this! Can you believe!?! From 1798 to 2012 trousers-forbidden-for-french-women-in-paris
  • The famous French foie gras is not that French actually. It comes from Ancient Egypt (4,500 years ago) from where it went to Greece (500 B.C.E.), then it was brought to France by the Romans.
  • Foie Gras
  • The famous Petit Suisse (“little swiss cheese”) comes from Normandy area, in France.
  • Petit Swiss
  • Crêpes come from France as well. They have been invented in Brittany.
  • Crepes
  • In 1559 Jean Nicot – a French diplomat and scholar brought the tobacco plant to France. Now guess why we call it Nicotine.
  • nicotine
  • Strasbourg not Marseilles is a place where in 1792 France’s national anthem “La Marseillaise” was created.french-flag
  • During 1814-1830 the French flag was totally plain white.
  • glass-baubles
  • Around 1858 a glass blower from Goetzenbruck, a Lorraine village on the Moselle created apple-shaped glass baubles used to decorate Christmas Trees! The technique quickly spread to Europe. And now we all decorate the Christmas trees with the baubles!
  • vehicle-licence-plates
  • In 1893 France started to use the vehicle licence plates in 1893 as the first country in Europe.
  • over-40000-chateaux-in-france
  • France has about 40,000 châteaux. There are over 9,000 different castles just in the Bordeaux
  • region.louvre-museum
  • The Louvre is the world’s largest castle. It covers an area of 210,000 m², of which the Louvre Museum occupies 60,600 m².
  • 400-types-of-cheese
  • There are over 400 kinds of cheese made in France.
  • There are 28 categories of sites in France listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, including 3 Roman sites (Arles, Orange and Le Gard), 4 cathedrals (Amiens, Bourges, Chartres, Reims), 4 abbeys (Fontenay, Reims, Saint-Savin sur Gartempe and Vezelay), 8 historic city/town centres (Paris, Strasbourg, Lyon, Avignon, Le Havre, Mont-Saint-Michel, Provins and Carcassone) as well as numerous belfries, castles and palaces.
  • french-inventions
  • Famous French inventions are: adding machine, the hot air balloon, the airship, the parachute, the submarine, the ambulance service, photography, animation and cinema.
  • There are 450 different wine appellations in France. There are tens of thousands of small wine-producing domains, but only 15% of all French wines have the AOC designations.french-alcohols
  • Not only wine but also the world’s most famous liqueurs come from France. There are being produced such strong alcohols like: Grand Marnier, Cointreau, Triple Sec, Mandarine Napoleon, Cognac, Armagnac, Crème de Cassis, Pastis, Chartreuse at the territory of France.
  • the-queen-mary-2
  • The Queen Mary 2 built in France in 2004 is the largest and most advanced passenger cruise ship in Europe
  • the-fastest-train
  • The French TGV is the fastest train worldwide. It achieves the average speed of 263.3 km/h from station to station. The record of 574.8km/h which the TGV reached on a test run in April 2007 is still unbeatable.
  • charles-de-gaulle-international-airport
  • Charles De Gaulle International Airport in Paris is Europe’s busiest airports by cargo traffic and the 6th biggest in the world.
  • In 1991 the mayor of Saint-Léger-des-Prés (who was fond of donkeys) introduced the law which prohibits to slander donkeys by the use of such insulting terminology as “jack-ass,” “dumb as an ass,” etc. If you break this law you have to offer the apologies to the donkeys within your commune in a form of carrots or sugar lumps.
  • Boudin
  • Each March, there is boudin festival in the town of Mortagne au Perche (Normandy). During this event, people take part in the blood pudding competition and compete against each other to see who can eat the most of the local speciality called Boudin noir.
  • The international distress code “Mayday comes from he French M’aidez, meaning “Help me!”  Under the rules of radio signalling code, the word should be repeated three times (“Mayday- Mayday- Mayday”) by a vessel or aircraft in a life-threatening situation. It was created in 1923 by Frederick Stanley Mockford, a senior radio officer at Croydon airport, near London
  • During the late XVI & XVII centuries in France, male impotence was considered a crime, as well as legal grounds for divorce. Men accused of impotence by their wives were required to demonstrate evidence to the contrary, by “standing to attention” and then ejaculating before an “expert panel” of clergymen and physicians.
  • World’s first department store was built in Paris by Aristide Boucicaut in 1838. The store, Le Bon Marché, became a center for innovation and the development of modern shopping concepts.
  • illegal-potatoes-in-france
  • Potatoes were illegal in France between 1748 – 1772. Known as “hog feed,” they were banned by the French parliament on the basis that they caused leprosy. Thanks to the pharmacist Antoine- Augustin Parmentier finally the Paris Faculty of Medicine declared potatoes edible.
  • And lastly, France has one letter town. It is Y in Somme, northern France.

So did you learn something interesting about France? Is there anything that surprised you? Or do you have any other fascinating fact about France that you can add to my list of I would love to discover something new…and I promise I will keep on exploring France as I am simply amazed by the country, culture and people living here…Please do help me out to discover more….


I am a Polish girl who felt in love with Lyon from the first sight! Jadorelyon is my way of exploring France, the French way of life, their cuisine, sharing the experience from visiting beautiful places in France. Jadorelyon is my new way of adding some Polish influence into French lives and watching on how they like it...

4 thoughts on “Top 50 Interesting Facts About France

  1. I think that you need a date on some of these claims, as there are faster trains than the TGV nowadays?

    This “There are over 2.5 million people who live in Frances.”??? 6.6 billion living in France, yes, you are right, it is over 2.5 million!

    And many French women DO wear trousers.

    Well done otherwise, made me question several, and research, thank you.

    1. Thank you so much for your feedback. You are right, I should continue to research…I love to learn something new everyday anyway! Good point with the number. I could be more precise! And yes yes, French women DO wear trousers nowadays…but they were forbidden before!

  2. Je trouve que vos travaux de recherche sur la France sont très bien, j’ai appris certaines choses que j’ignorais. Bravo pour votre travail et continuez, je serais un lecteur assidu.

Leave Your Comment. Thanks A Lot!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.