Facts You Almost Certainly Didn’t Know About France

France is a wonderful and beautiful place. It is a country that is known for its beauty, fascinating places and resilient people. The French people celebrate the National Day on 14th July, it is called the “Bastille Day”. “The Bastille Day” is the most important holiday in France. It is a symbol of the French revolution. It is the day that the French stormed Bastille in 1789. They celebrate the day by taking to the streets and attending political events. It brings out the patriot in every Frenchman or woman. Here are 10 more fascinating facts about France.



Tourist Destination

France is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Every year, millions of tourists from all over the world flock the European country to sample what it has to offer. The “Louvre” in Paris is the most famous museum in the world.


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In 2016, 82.6 million visitors came to France. The main tourist attractions are Paris and Disneyland, there is also the French Riviera, Alsace and if you’re a wine lover, you can visit the wine regions.

Largest European Union Country


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France is the largest country in the EU. In fact, it is the second largest country in Europe, second only to Russia. Although Ukraine is bigger, it is not yet a member of the EU. Most of Russia is located in Asia so France takes the cake when it comes to size. That is probably the reason why France has the most time zones in the world (12 in total), also because it has several overseas territories in the Indian. Atlantic and

Pacific oceans and also South America.

You Can Marry a Dead Person in France


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You might think it’s a joke but it isn’t. In France, it is legal to marry a person posthumously, but only in exceptional cases. All you have to do is prove that the person would have married you if he or she had lived. The downside is you will not have the same inheritance rights as you would have had if you had gotten married while they were arrive and the family of the deceased has to approve of the union. It also has to be allowed by the French president. The most recent case was in 2017 when a gay policeman who was shot by a jihadist on Champ Elysees was allowed to marry his partner posthumously.

Shortest reign was by King Louis XIX


Source: Wikipedia

Louis XIX turned out to be the shortest reigning monarch in the world. He took the throne after his father Charles X abdicated. He however abdicated himself twenty minutes later and his nephew the Duke of Bordeaux became king. There is however, another king who reigned for twenty minutes. Crown Prince Filipe of Portugal was became king after his father’s assassination. He died 20 minutes later from a wound.

Famous Inventions


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France is home to a lot of world famous inventions. The person who invented food canning was Nicolas Appert. 1809, he came up with the idea of using sealed glass jars to store food. The use of cans for the same was introduced by Frenchman Pierre Durand. The braille system was introduced by Louis Braille. The stethoscope was invented by Rene Laennec in a Paris hospital in 1816. The world’s first hairdryer was a contraption patented by Alexandre-Ferdinand Godefrey. The world’s first hot air balloon was pioneered by the Magnolia brothers in 1783. Those are just a few of famous French inventors.

The Oldest Person in the World was French



The oldest person in the world lived to be 122 years and 164 days old. She was born on 21st February 1875 and died on the 4th of August 1997. Her name was Jeanne Calment and she was French. She witnessed the opening of the Eiffel Tower in 1889, two world wars, the invention of the television, airplanes and the modern car. The other candidates for the record are Nabi Tajima and Chiyo Miyako who are from Japan, they are 117 and 116 years old respectively.

Male Impotence was Considered a Crime.


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There was a time when male impotence was considered a crime in France. In the 1600s, failing to get an erection was enough for a woman to file for divorce. It was also punishable by law. If a wife made such claims against her husband, he had to prove the accusation false in front of an expert panel. If he didn’t, he could appeal in front of a judge by having sex with his wife in front of the judge. This was such an obscene law that it was banished in 1677.

Illegal for French Women to Wear Pants


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This shows how far the women’s movement has come. Did you know that in the 19th century, women in Paris needed a permit to carry or wear pants? If you were walking or taking a train, you were required by law to wear a dress or skirt. Failing to comply would have landed you in deep trouble with the law. The only way you were exempted from the archaic law was if you were riding a bike or a horse. Needless to say, that particular law has gone out of fashion, it is not being enforced today.

They Used the Guillotine for Execution



The guillotine was used for execution in France until the death penalty was abolished. It was introduced in 1792. The guillotine was an apparatus that was made for carrying out efficient beheadings. The idea behind the guillotine came from Dr. Joseph Ignace Guillotine who wanted there to be a human way of carrying out beheadings. The guillotine was quite efficient and carried out the task in one blow saving the executed from pain and humiliation from the public spectacle. The last person to be executed by way of guillotine was a Tunisian man named Hamida Djandoubi who was executed in 1977.

Home to More Than Half the World’s Roundabouts.


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Roundabouts are commonplace, especially in major cities, they help reduce traffic and increase road safety. The French have mastered the art of roundabouts, they have over 30,000 roundabouts. The number is more than half of all the roundabouts in the world. That is a lot of roundabouts for one country, at least we know that the number represents road safety and hopefully, reduced traffic.