14 interesting facts about France

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France is a European country that became a republic in 1792, as a result of the French Revolution. This revolution began with the assault on the Bastille fortress, which was followed by a turbulent period with numerous episodes of violence. This revolution is considered the definitive end of feudalism and absolutism in this country, and historians have agreed that this date is the beginning of the contemporary age.

France today

Today, with 66.99 million inhabitants, the country is home to some 5 million people of Arab and African descent, immigrants from the French colonies.

Francia, as they call it in Spain, is a country known throughout the world, and while there are many things typical of France that most people around the globe would be able to name, such as the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre museum, it is also true that not everyone would be able to locate Paris on a map of France (mapa de Francia) or explain who the Cathars were.

There are still many things that not everyone knows about this country, here you can read interesting facts about France. 

Interesting facts about France

France is the most visited country in the world. 

According to the World Tourism Organization, 83.7 million people visited it in 2014. Thus, tourism in France is one of the main economic engines of the country.

France is the largest country in the EU.

The area of France is 551 thousand km 2 . This is almost a fifth of the entire EU territory. Because of its hexagonal shape, it is sometimes called a hexagon. A quarter of the country's territory is covered with forests. Of the European countries, only Sweden and Finland have more forests than France.

The French motto is Liberté, égalité, fraternité ("Freedom, equality, fraternity")

This motto was formulated during the French Revolution (1789-1799), and is registered in the constitutions of 1946 and 1958. Together with Marianne, it can be seen on coins, postage stamps and state logos, which symbolize the "Triumph of the Republic". The modern legal system is largely based on the principles of Napoleon's Civil Code, which was drafted after the revolution in the 19th century.

Camouflage was first used by the French army in 1915.

The French used camouflage during World War I. The word camouflage comes from the French verb "maquillar". Weapons and vehicles were painted by artists called camofleurs.

France became the first country in the world to ban supermarkets from throwing away or destroying unsold food. 

From February 2016, stores must donate the surplus to food banks or charities.

The first public screening of the film took place in Paris on December 28, 1895.

The brothers Louis and Auguste Lumière used their invention of the cinematograph to show 10 films, each 50 seconds long, at the Salon Indien du Grand Café. Although the brothers made many films, they called the cinema "an invention without a future".

The highest mountain in Europe, Mont Blanc (4810 m), is in the French Alps. 

The ascent to the top takes between 10 and 12 hours. Alternatively, the mountain can be climbed in 20 minutes by the highest cable car in Europe from Aiguille du Midi. 

The Louvre is the most visited museum in the world. 

In 2014, it was visited by 9.3 million people (approximately the same number of people live in Sweden).

The French railway network (29 thousand km) is the second in Europe (after Germany) and the ninth in the world. 

France was one of the first countries to introduce high-speed technology. Then, in 1981, the TGV high-speed railroad was launched. In 2017 the Tours-Bordeaux high-speed project will be launched, which will extend the existing network (1,550 km) by 302 km. As a controversial fact, the national operator SNCF ordered 2,000 trains at a cost of 15 billion euros, only to discover later that they are too wide for many regional platforms.

The Gare du Nord train station in Paris is the busiest in Europe. 190 million passengers transit it every year. Opened in 1846, it is also one of the oldest in the world.

French wines are expensive. 

In 2014, at the Sotheby's auction, a lot composed of 114 bottles of DRC Romanee-Conti wine was sold for 1.45 million euros. Thus, each glass of wine cost an anonymous buyer from Asia 1,619 euros. This is a record price for a batch of wine. 

French gastronomy is included in the UNESCO list of "Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity". 

Experts called French gastronomy "an important social custom designed to celebrate the most important moments in the lives of individuals and groups.

The world's greatest cycling race, the Tour de France, has been held for over 100 years. 

Since July 1, 1903, every July cyclists ride 3,200 km in several stages during 23 days. The fastest cyclist of each stage wears the famous yellow jersey.

France produces 1200 different types of cheese.

France is one of the countries that produces the most cheese in the world, not only in terms of types of cheese, but also in quantity, with a volume of almost 1 billion tons per year. A French proverb says: un fromage pour jour de l'année - "for each day of the year your own cheese".

The longest novel, In Search of Lost Time (A la recherche du temps perdu), was written by a Frenchman, Marcel Proust. 

The 13-volume, 3,000-page masterpiece was first published in 1913.

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