10 things you didn’t know about France

France is a rich and diverse country, considered the romance capital of the world. With plenty of information about France, it’s history and all it has to offer, provided by numerous sources, you might feel like you know everything there is to know about France. Think again!

There are plenty of weird and interesting facts that you don’t yet know about France. Here are my top 10:

1. France is the most popular country in the world for tourism, with 83 million tourists in 2012. Tourists flock from all over the globe to enjoy the culture, romance and fantastic sights France has to offer.

2. France throughout history has controlled over 8% of the world’s land, controlling Saint Lucia, Tobago, the Seychelles, Mauritius, Guadeloupe and Martinique in the West Indies, Vietnam and even Mexico (from 1861 to 1867).

3. Napoleon wasn’t as short as we have all come to believe. He was actually 5 foot 7, (1.7m), which was considered an average height for a European man.  Napoleoon has been considered as being short simply because he had Marshalls and Generals that were taller than the average height for the time.

4. Paris wasn’t always considered as a part of France. It was originally a Roman city which was called “Lutetia”.

5. The French government encourages parents to raise their children well by giving medals to people they consider to have “successfully raised several children with dignity”.

6. In France, you can marry a dead person – called a Posthumous marriage.  Started during in the 1950’s when a dam broke killing 400 people, one of the people who died was André Capra. His fiancé pleaded with the government to allow her to continue with the wedding even though her fiancé was dead. With support from the media she was allowed to marry her dead fiancée and this was how the law was passed.

7. France has the most extensive railway system in Western Europe, with high speed trains that can travel over three hundred kilometers per hour. These are used primarily as commercial trains.

8. Louis XIX became the King of France, reigning for only 20 minutes.  He became King following the abdication of his father. Within 20 minutes he had abdicated to Henry V.

9. During WWII the German Leader Hitler decided to visit Paris. The French upon hearing this cut the lift cables within the Eiffel Tower, so that if Hitler wanted to reach the top of the tower, he would have to climb the steps.

10. In France, ten billion baguettes are baked every year, with a law in place stating that a traditional French baguette must only contain flour, yeast and salt.  Bread isn’t the only food the French are passionate about – the average French person eats on average, 500 snails each year.

Now you know all the facts, you are fully prepared to visit France and enjoy the fantastic rich history and culture that the country has to offer.  Remember not to let any of these facts put you off visiting the country – You won’t be forced to eat snails or marry a dead person!

About the Author:

Lucy Fisher is a freelance writer, currently she is working for Peak Transfer . She loves travelling and cooking , and everything about France.