15 March 2017

Written by Annelies
for Daily Focal

My name is Annelies from The Frugal Teen, and this is my first post for the Daily Focal! I wasn’t sure what to write about at first but after having read Marc’s 10 random facts about the Netherlands, I thought I’d write a little about France (and in a separate post, Belgium) as they’re my two nationalities. I hope you enjoy!

1. Sports

Some people might just picture us as a country who never leaves the dinner table and is always snacking on cheese and baguette but actually we’re quite an active nation! We’re quite good at football- coming second in the UEFA Euro 2016- as well as cycling, rugby and horse riding.

Furthermore we have made our own games up such as the ball game petanque which you will see being played all over France, especially the picturesque villages!

2. Royal family

As you may well know, France has a particularly interesting history when it comes to the royal family, with the last two people on the throne being Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI who were guillotined (our own invention, oh yes) during the French Revolution. Did you know these fun facts though? That Louis XIV ascended to the throne at only four years old? Or that Louis XIX was king of France for just 20 minutes?! Yup. It’s worth learning French history just for those facts, trust me.

3. Food 

We are well known for our food it has to be said, there’s the stereotypical obsession with cheese, baguette and garlic, but we do eat other things not to worry. My favourite dishes include crepes, galette des rois, ratatouille and all those quiches we all love and cherish! 

4. Language

As with many languages there are different accents all over the country, however, as French is the official language of many countries from all over the world, including Switzerland, Canada, Ivory Coast, Luxembourg, Monaco, Congo and Niger, it’s safe to say we have more accents than most languages. Having said that, we don’t have as much of a gift at languages than perhaps the Dutch or Belgians as only 34% speak English but Spanish is often learnt in schools too.

5. Myths

Ok guys, let me clear up a few things for you here. Nope, French toast and French fries aren’t French inventions, the expression “let them eat cake,” is falsely associated with Marie Antoinette (it was created even before she was born), and “french kiss,” is just an English slur that doesn’t concern us at all, you just believed our culture was too orientated around sex!

6. Roman History of Paris 

Did you know Paris was once a Roman city called Lutetia? Once controlled by the Gauls until in 52 BC when the Roman forces led by one of Julius Caesar's lieutenants. They then controlled the city and made it Romanised, to a population of around 8,000. It was later renamed Paris in 360 AD. Many of the remains from the Roman’s time in control can still be seen in Paris today. 

7. Tourism

With France being a relatively large, beautiful and historical country, it's easy to see why it got 83.7 million visitors in 2014 (according to the World Tourism Organisation) and is ranked the world’s number one tourist destination! With the culturally rich Paris, the beautiful south coast, the green countryside and the mountains, it’s safe to say that there’s something for everyone.

8. The Alps 

France is home to Europe's highest mountain: Mont Blanc. It stands at a huge 4,810 meters and takes a long 10-12 hours to climb to the summit. Or you could take the justifiably more lazy route and take the 20 minute cable car trip instead so you can still get the stunning view of Mont Blanc. Its many surrounding mountains bring an abundance of skiers and snowboarders every year. 

9. French Empire 

France once controlled 8% of the world’s population, making it the second largest colonial empire in history. This leads onto another strange fact, (which I didn’t know before research) it has 12 time zones! This is the most in the world, due to its colonisation of islands, including French Guiana, French Polynesia and Saint Martin. 

10. Health care

The first artificial heart transplant and face transplant both took place in France. The heart transplant took place in Paris in December 2013. The “heart” was a bioprosthetic device, which mimicked a real heart’s contractions but is powered by a lithium battery and weighs 3 times more than the real organ. Might be a small, random and relatively unknown fact, but safe to say it proves to be a big step in medical science.

We'd love to know...
Do you have any other interesting facts about France we haven't mentioned?
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