50 Fascinating Facts about France

France is located in Western Europe and is the third largest country on the continent of Europe. It is also known as the largest country in all of Western Europe. The official language of France is French; however you can also hear English in some of the metropolitan areas. Paris is the capital city of France, and has a total population of 2.2 million people. The entire country of France has a population of 65.3 million, making it the 19th largest country in the world. France does not have an official religion and is known as a secular nation. However, Catholicism is known as the primary religion due to the fact that the majority of French people practice it. The official flag of France is comprised of three colored stripes, blue, white and red. The official currency of France is the Euro. The Euro is also used through the European Union.

France Facts

1
France has a total nominal GDP of $2.61 trillion with a per capital GDP of $41,141.
2
France is known as the wealthiest country in Europe, and it is the fourth wealthiest nation in the world.
3
The French people have a very high standard of living and high expectations for education.
4
France has a unitary semi-presidential constitutional republic as their government, and has both a President and a Prime Minister. They also operate a Parliament, a Senate and a National Assembly.
5
France’s economy is considered a mixed economy. It operates under both a private and state enterprise system. The private enterprise system is highly extensive and encompasses over 2.5 million companies, while the state enterprise is slowly declining.
6
France uses nuclear power for 79% of its electricity, making it the largest user of nuclear power in the world.
7
France is a leading exporter of agricultural goods. They have many acres of fertile land, and are the world’s third largest exporter of agricultural products.
8
The wine industry helps boost France’s economy greatly. They export Bordeaux wines and a lot of champagne all around the world.
9
The French people have one of the longest live expectancies in the world.
10
Almost 80 million people visit France each year, making it one of the world’s most visited countries.
11
France has its very own spaceport known as the Centre Spatial Guyanais.
12
The Eiffel Tower is one of France’s most recognized historical structures and it was first built in 1889 in order to act as the entrance of the World Fair. Since then it has been used as an observation tower and a radio broadcasting tower.
13
French is the second most studied language in the world, right behind English.
14
The Mona Lisa painting is one of the most famous paintings in the world, and can be seen at The Louvre in Paris.
15
The Tour de France is a road bicycle race that occurs each year, and that winds through the French countryside.
16
The Paris Carnival occurs each year after the Feast of the Fools. It has been a tradition in France since the 16th century and today, involves people parading through the streets and mingling with their neighbors. Often people wear costumes and masks that relate to the year’s theme.
17
The Biennale de Paris is an annual art show that presents the art of renowned artists from around the world.
18
It is very typical to see people lining up outside of bakeries every morning for fresh bread. It is a grand tradition in France to buy your bread and many groceries on a daily basis.
19
The French love the arts, and immerse themselves in the arts as often as they can. Some of the greatest art museums are in France including the Louvre.
20
Bastille Day is celebrated on July 14th of each year. It signifies the day when the prison at Bastille was pillaged by angry French citizens which began the French Revolution. It is often celebrated with fireworks, parties and parades.
21
French people greet each other by kissing each other’s cheeks. They may kiss each other’s cheeks up to four times depending on what region of the country they are from.
22
France has the highest female life expectancy in the world.
23
The French people are the highest takers of psychotropic drugs. It is estimated that close to 25% of the French people take anti-depressants.
24
20% of the people living in France live in Paris.
25
French is considered one of the romance languages, along with Spanish, Catalan, Spanish, Latin, Gallician, Portuguese, Italian and Romanian.
26
The Eiffel Tower is one of the most visited monuments in the world.
27
France is the largest country in the EU, accounting for about one-fifth of the total area of the EU.
28
France was the first country to ban grocery stores from throwing away unsold food. Under a law passed in 2016, unsold goods must be donated.
29
France's media regulator requires that 40% of the music played on the radio is French. At least half of the music must be no older than six months.
30
Mont Blanc in the French Alps is the highest mountain in Europe. Climbing to the summit takes about 12 hours.
31
About one-third of France's land area is covered in forests.
32
Approximately 20% of people in France live in the Parisian region.
33
The French army continues to use carrier pigeons and is the only country to still do so.
34
Foreign-born immigrants make up over 8% of France's total population.
35
The French are responsible for many inventions still used today. This includes the tin can, braille, the hair dryer, and the Etch-A-Sketch.
36
The French were the first to wear camouflage in combat. It was first used in 1915 during World War I.
37
French President Charles de Gaulle survived a total of 32 assassination attempts -- more than anyone else in the world.
38
A person can marry someone else posthumously in France if it is approved by the president.
39
France produces over 400 different types of cheeses.
40
The guillotine was used in France until 1977. Over 15,000 people were beheaded during the time it was in use.
41
Until 2012, Paris had just one stop sign. There are more now, and the original is no longer standing.
42
Public transportation originated in Paris, France using horse-drawn carriages.
43
France's laws state that the customer should always be responsible for having the exact change. Legally, vendors are not obligated to provide customers with change if the amount they pay exceeds their bill.
44
There are over 1,000 McDonald's restaurants located in France. France brings in the second highest amount of money, right behind the US.
45
The Cairn of Barnenez is a megalithic monument and is the oldest known building in France.
46
There are different versions of the French flag. Although the flag with bright blue is typically used, a version in darker blue is used at town halls and public buildings.
47
English is the most widely spoken second-language in France. Forty-five percent of French people can also hold a conversation in another language.
48
Because France has overseas territories, the country has a total of 12 time zones -- more than any other country in the world.
49
The French drink 11.2 billion glasses of wine each year.
50
It is considered unlucky to turn a baguette upside down while in France.

In 1958 France drew up its current constitution and began its ruling under the fifth republic. Today, the French people still follow the same government set up and have learned to thrive economically. France has the 9th highest GDP in the world, and is constantly succeeding in all of its economic endeavors. The country has been known for centuries for its art and culture, and still offers tourists great views of some of the best artwork in the world. Visiting France is a wonderful experience, and can easily be both educational and fun.

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