France, the country with the perfect blend of medieval and modern is an ideal example of heaven on earth. France is home to rich culture, heritage, architecture, and fashion, and that is what keeps the country on top of every traveler’s bucket list. France is the international hub for art, fashion, and culture; and, since the 17th century, it has successfully retained its position as one of the leading countries in Europe and the entire world.
But, you already know that. You might also know quite a few things about this gorgeous place; however, we are sure that these interesting facts about France are sure to dazzle you. So, before getting your car roof rack ready and set forth on an exciting trip to France make sure you know these seven bizarre facts about the country!
1. France – the Land of Inventions
France has made numerous contributions to the world when it comes to inventions. French physician, René Laennec, invented the stethoscope in 1816 and changed medicine and our lives completely. A pencil sharpener is something we don’t pay much heed to, yet use it on a daily basis. It was invented by a French mathematician named Bernard Lassimonne in 1828.
Braille happens to be a French invention as well. It has been named after Louis Braille, who made this invaluable invention after he was blinded at a very young age. From the simplest of things like the mayonnaise to the intricate inventions like the hot air balloon, France has done it all.
2. Louis XIX was a king for 20 minutes
Louis Antoine d’Artois, also known as Louis XIX, was the ruler of France for just 20 minutes, which happens to be the shortest reign ever. He succeeded his father, Charles X after he had resigned from kingship. He himself was abdicated after 20 minutes, because of his father’s abdication at the time of the July Revolution in 1830, giving way to his nephew, Duke of Bordeaux.
Louis Antoine shares this record with Crown Prince Luís Filipe, the emperor of Portugal.
3. France is Nicknamed as “the Hexagon”
Just like Australia is known as “the land down under”, France is known as “the hexagon” or “L’Hexagone” for being six-sided. The map of France can be drawn inside a hexagon. In fact, this method is used in France to teach children to draw the map. France has a diameter of 1000 km. It has a coastline of 3,427 km. In France, wherever you go, you cannot be more than 500 km away from the sea. The French coastline borders the Atlantic Ocean, the English Channel, and the Mediterranean Sea.
4. The French motto of “Liberty, equality fraternity”
We have definitely heard this phrase somewhere or the other, be it in school or somewhere else. But, what does it mean? “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” is the national motto of France which originated during the French Revolution. This phrase, which is believed to have been coined by Maximilien Robespierre, became one of the major principles of the French legal system.
Liberty means the right to do anything without causing trouble to others, equality stands for equal laws and rights for all, and fraternity represents brotherhood. This French motto is followed by people all around the world. You can even find this phrase in the constitution of India.
5. The oldest human know was a French woman
Jeanne Louise Calment, born on 21 February 1875, made her place in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the world’s oldest ever human. She passed away on 4 August 1997, at the age of 122 years and 164 days.
During her incredible life, Jeanne had witnessed the opening of the Eiffel Tower in 1889 and the two World Wars. From the invention of televisions to airplanes, this lady has seen it all. France is ranked sixth in the OECD when it comes to life expectancy at birth. Perhaps, there must be something in the French waters that keeps you young!
6. France is the producer of billion tons of cheese every year
France happens to be one of the largest producers of cheese in the world. Cheese is considered as an “ancient art” here. Nearly a billion tons of cheese of 1200 different variations are produced every year!
Every part of France has a unique variety of cheese to offer you. You can classify cheese based on the types of milk used, origin, the cheese family, or the labels. French people claim that cheese and red wine are a perfect combination; you’ve got to try it out.
7. France was the first-ever country to forbid supermarkets from discarding unsold food
Yes, you read that right! France was the first country ever to incorporate laws and force supermarkets to donate their unsold food to charities and food banks. This law was passed by the French senate in 2016, to take anti-poverty measures and prevent the massive wastage of food.
This law has been welcomed by the French as “positive and very important symbolically”.Till now, the food banks have received around 100,000 tons of donated food, 35,000 tons from just the supermarkets. The food banks make sure the food being donated is hygienic and the receiver receives it with “dignity”.This law increases our respect for France. Perhaps, if every country followed this law, our world could irradiate poverty very soon.
Culture, heritage, fashion – these are the things that normally come to our mind when we talk about France. We’re sure these seven extremely random and interesting facts about the country have dazzled you. These seven facts will surely increase your general knowledge, amp up your next vacation to France and make the trip the best trip you have ever had.
Go, get packing, and head to France today! Bon, voyage!