All You Can Books : Travel Series
France is one of the world’s top tourist destinations, and there’s plenty to get your teeth stuck into, from great cities like Paris, Bordeaux, and Marseille to the prehistoric sites of the Vézère valley and Brittany’s beautiful coastline.
But how well do you really know the country?
The country also has an extremely rich history. Because of this history, France developed bizarre customs and stories that make it one of a kind.
Embrace “joie de vivre” with these fun facts about France.
TOP 10 FUN FRANCE FACTS
Francophone is a person who can speak French Fluently.
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- French Toast is not French 😲
Some claim that French toast isn’t French, Neither are French fries. Fries actually come from Belgium, French Toast was actually invented by a man called Joseph French.
- France hates ‘STOP’ signs
France favors roundabouts over stop signs. In fact, they have about 30,000 in the country, which is more than half of all roundabouts in the world. According to studies, roundabouts reduce the overall number of collisions and the seriousness of collisions.
- It is Illegal to Kiss on Railway Platforms
It is illegal to Kiss on France Railway Platforms to avoid delay in Train Timings. Well isn’t that an odd rule to keep things in place. But Hey! anything to get my train on time.
- Louis XIX was king for 20 minutes
The shortest period a king or queen has ever reigned over a country was when Louis XIX, technically could claim himself as the king of France. It took about 20 minutes and he stepped down and placed his nephew in charge, and he never really ruled the country.
- You can Marry a Dead person in France
In the 50’s it was decided that it should be allowed to marry a dead person, under special circumstances. One needs to prove that there were already plans on getting married, and also send a formal request to the President.
The one who marries a dead person will not inherit and the family of the deceased must approve the marriage as well.
- It is Illegal to name your pigs ‘Napolean’
IN FRANCE it is illegal to name a pig Napoleon, almost 200 years after his death
Napoleon built a large empire that ruled over much of continental Europe before its final collapse in 1815. He is considered one of the greatest commanders in history, and his wars and campaigns are studied at military schools worldwide.
Experts say the odd law exists because calling a pig after the emperor would insult a head of state.
- Death Penalty = Guillotine (in France)
The guillotine was introduced as the official way to execute people back in 1792. It was a simple way that also let the people watch offenders get their punishment. Luckily, the death penalty was abolished in 1981.
The last execution with a guillotine in France happened in 1977 after a man from Tunisia named Hamida Djandoubi was sentenced to torture and later death.
- France the land of Inventions
Among the many inventions, some notable ones are the hot air balloon, pasteurizer, stethoscope, and the parachute. Each of these has changed the world.
In recent years there is one particular famous French invention, namely the cell phone camera, which was first developed by Philippe Kahn, back in 1997.
- Male impotence was considered a crime in the 17th century
Back in the 1600’s in France, it was considered a crime if a man wasn’t able to get an erection, and this was enough to let a woman file for divorce. If a married woman accused her husband of male impotence, he had to prove the contrary in front of an expert panel.
If he failed, which was understandably quite common, the man could also demand to get a second chance by having intercourse with his wife in front of a judge. Quite an obscene fact about France. The law was banished in 1677.
As you can tell, the history of France has created a rich culture. It has its quirks, just like any nation, but overall it’s a tremendous place to live and visit.
The French are well-known for the love of wine and cheese. They are also a very progressive culture that is on the cutting edge on a lot of social and environmental issues.
We hope these fun facts pique your interest in France. If you’d like to learn more about other countries be sure to check out our posts on Germany and Japan.
Be sure to check out All You Can Books and the variety of Language courses it offers :).
Until next week……