February 5th, 2023

What is France famous for? Well, lots of things actually! And in this post I have summarised the top 40 fascinating facts that France is famous for. Ready to learn more? Read on…

What is France famous for?

what is France famous for

The world’s famous land of cultural art and romance is truly fascinating for anyone’s vacation. But is it true you can’t kiss on the train’s platform; however, marry your love even if they are dead?

Strange, huh? I have listed below 40 reasons below in answer to the question what is France famous for? This guide will teach some of the most interesting, amusing, absurd, and shocking facts about the French Republic.

Like any other country, this EU state also has many fascinating aspects that attract millions of tourists every year. You may want to know those facts too, as they can make your French tour even more memorable. Alors Commençons!

What is France famous for? General Facts About France

  1. France is the World’s Most Visited Country

The first and most striking fact about France is its popularity, as it is the most visited tourist destination in the world. More than 89 million people pay for a tour of French soil every year. So, ensure you visit it at least once in your life.

  1. France is Nicknamed “Hexagon”

Due to its odd resemblance, France is nicknamed L’Hexagone. Although no one has measured the angles and confirmed its geometrical shape, you can try finding it out by viewing its borders on a world map.

  1. It is the EU’s Largest Country

Spanning over an area of 551,695 Km2, France is the European Union’s largest country. But it’s the third largest according to population. It is also Europe’s fourth most forested country, with 31% of land covered in trees.

  1. France Leads in Nobel Prizes in Literature

With the first Noble Prize winner in 1901, Sully Prudhomme, France has the most Nobel Prize winner by any country (15). So, if you’re an enthusiastic reader, consider reading some French authors like Voltaire, Hugo, Pascal, Flaubert, or Baudelaire.

  1. Europe’s Highest Mountain is in France

Touching the sky with its 4,807m height, Mount Blanc has made France an attraction for mountaineers too. If you are fit for 10-12 hours to climb in the French Alps, it will be worth a trip. Otherwise, no one will judge if you cheat with a 20-min ride of Europe’s highest cable car for spectacular views.

  1. French National Motto is ‘Liberté, Égalitié, Fraternité’

First used by Maximilien Robespierre in 1790, these three words became the French Motto in the 1946 and 1958’s constitutions. The ‘Liberté, Égalitié, Fraternité’ stands for ‘liberty, equality, fraternity.’

  1. Tour de France is Older Than a Century

France is again a place for you if you’re a cyclist. The world’s biggest cycling event, “Tour de France,” is sure you may not want to miss. But do you know it was started in 1903, making it 100+ years old?

  1. The Country Shares Borders with Eight Other Countries

People may suspect France with six sides, but its shares borders with eight European countries. They are Andorra, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Spain, and Switzerland.

What is France famous for? Food Facts About France

  1. The State is the Cheesiest!

What is France famous for? It’s cuisines, right? But if you visit France without tasting cheese, you’ve wasted your trip. The country has some of the highest cheese production and consumption, with more than 1,600 different types. Alone in 2018, the country had produced about 1.7 million tons of cheese and exported about 680,000 tons.

  1. France Produced the World’s Most Expensive Bottle of Wine

Who not loves wine after a delightful dinner? And French are already famous for their taste in this beverage. But in 2018, an Asian purchased a 750ml bottle of French Burgundy, 1945 Romanee-Conti, in an auction at $558,000. Well, its original price was estimated at only $32,000.

Landmarks of France
  1. Croissant is Not French at All!

Whenever we think about French snacks, Croissants first come into our minds. But to our surprise, the pastry didn’t even originate in France. It is a modified version of the Austrian kipferl dating back to the 13th century. So, this fact shouldn’t answer the question what is France famous for!

  1. Throwing Food Away was First Illegal in France

Perhaps one of my favourite facts, France was the first to ban supermarkets from throwing unsold yet unexpired food. Since 2016, if food items are not sold but have time till expiration, supermarkets can only donate them to food banks or charities.

  1. You Cannot Turn a Baguette Upside Down

Remember, if you turn a Baguette upside down in France, a car may hit you that instant, or your bread will fall on the jam’s side. Just kidding! French are somewhat superstitious regarding Baguettes and consider them unlucky upside-down. So, try not to do it in front of others.

  1. Champagne is Only Champagne if it’s from Champagne

If you are drinking Champagne, it will only be called Champagne if it’s from a region in France, namely (that’s right) Champagne. Otherwise, you’re just drinking sparkling wine.

  1. French Drinks More Than 11 Billion Wine Glasses Annually

60% of French alcohol consumption consists of wine. They annually drink more than 11.2 billion glasses. It may be because the country is among the world’s leading producers of the finest wine varieties.

  1. And They Eat a lot of Snails

As a partner with strong wine, the French consume 30,000 tons of snails (escargot, precisely) each year. A local annually eats 500 snails on average, prepared as a classic delicacy and served in garlic butter.

What is France famous for? Historical Facts About France

  1. A French Bride First Wore the White Wedding Dress

The trend of wearing white dresses for brides originated in France. In 1499, Anne of Brittany wedded Louis XII of France and wore a white dress for the first time.

  1. Kilts are French

Like croissants are considered french, but they aren’t; kilts are also considered Scottish, but they aren’t. Initially, early French men wore kilts when they used to be long enough to cover their knees.

  1. Shortest Reigning King was French

In July 1830, Louis XIX was remembered as the shortest reigning king, who enjoyed the position only for 20 minutes. When his father abdicated his position, after 20 minutes, he did the same thing to throne his nephew, Duke of Bordeaux.

  1. The Country has the First Ever Public Screening

The world’s first public screening of a film happened at Grand Café (Paris). The famous Lumière brothers, known for their picture system, displayed a five-second film, La sortie des ouvriers de l’usine Lumière (Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory). And people were amazed only by watching people leaving a building. How Cute!

What is France famous for? Interesting Facts About the French

  1. French was England’s Official Language for Almost 3 Centuries

Like the country, its language (French) also has some unique facts, like it was the official language of England for almost 300 years. From 1066 to 1362, it was spoken by official people, aristocrats, and royals. But since natives were largely unfamiliar to the French even after 3 centuries, the English got back. However, this time has greatly affected the next fact.

  1. Almost 30% of English is French

Due to the influence of French over England for such a long time, about 30% of English words are from French. To an estimate, Francis has given almost 50,000 words to English. The latter has also borrowed many modern-day words from the former, like café, restaurant, naïve, décor, and déjà vu.

  1. French is The Official Language of 29 Countries

Apart from such a strong history, French is also the fifth most spoken language in the world. 29 countries that have made it their official language.

  1. 35% of Music Played on the Native Radio Stations Should be French

If you do not admire French music much, try not to tune in to the radio in France. According to law, native radio stations are bound to play at least 35% of the music in French. Nah! I like my playlist more.

What is France famous for? Bizarre Facts About France

  1. France has Ghost Towns

A creepy fact about France is that it has ghost towns. Don’t bother calling ghostbusters. They just don’t have any residents. These six villages resulted from World War II and are maintained to remember those who failed to escape in time. Oradour Sur Glane is a popular example.

  1. You can Marry a Dead Person

Quite unsettling, but you can marry a dead person under certain conditions in French Law. It is only possible if you prove that the dead person is willing to take you as a spouse. Moreover, you will also require the President’s permission. The only thing is, you probably don’t want to kiss your bride/groom.

  1. You Cannot Kiss on Train Platforms

Considering practices to show affection to your love, you are free to kiss your partner anywhere but on train platforms. Strange enough, but (again) according to French law, kissing is prohibited while the train is on the platform. The law was first introduced in 1910 to avoid delays in departures and overcrowding.

  1. France’s Iron Lady has a Spouse

But what’s an even more bizarre fact about love is that an American woman, Erika Eiffel (Aya), married the Eiffel Tower in 2007. She was a competitive archer and had even served US army, but she has objectophilia (condition people are attracted to inanimate objects). What can we say? Love is Blind!

  1. Government Awards Parents on Raising Thier Children Well

The Medal of the French Family is another reason what is France famous for. It is a specific award for parent who raises their children well and healthily.

  1. Potato Cultivation was Once Banned in France

Potatoes are most liked as French fries in America, but the vegetable was banned in France between 1748 and 1772. The reason was the misconception that they spread leprosy.

What is France famous for? Shocking Facts About France

  1. World’s Largest French-Speaking City is not in France

Despite France’s pioneering French, none of its cities is the most French-speaking. Instead, the world’s largest French-speaking city is Congo’s capital Kinshasa, which has a population of 12 million.

  1. France has 12 Times Zones

Even though France is no bigger than Texas, it has 12 time zones (most by any other country). So, while traveling around the country, don’t be confused if you suddenly spend 5 hours on a 30-minute ride.

  1. The Metric System was Invented in France

Another important contribution of France is that they first introduced the metric system accepted worldwide. It was presented during the Revolution when a better measurement system was required for trade.

  1. Wearing Pants for Women was Banned for 200+ Years

Like potatoes, banning pants for women was something strange too. It was applied country-wide for 213 years. What’s even more shocking about the fact is when it was lifted, recently in 2013. But don’t worry ladies. You can now wear it on your French tour.

What is France famous for? Fascinating Facts About France

  1. The First Ever Artificial Heart Transplant & Face Transplant Happened in France

In 2005, French surgeons performed the first artificial face transplant. Later in December 2013, the world’s first artificial heart transplant was also completed in France. The mechanical organ weighed three times the biological heart and ran on an external Lithium-ion battery.

  1. France is the Land of Many Useful Inventions

France had been an inventor of many vital products that helped millions over time. In 1809, Nicolas Appert presented the idea of sealed glass jars for food preservation. Later a French physician, René Laennec, created a stethoscope. Montgolfier brothers invented the hot air balloon in 1783. The language for blinds, Braille, was also invented in France by a French educator, Louis Braille.

facts about France
  1. France Invented First Camera Phone

We can’t imagine a phone without a camera these days. But the invention is quite old, even before smartphones. Philippe Kahn invented the first camera phone in France in 1997. He took the first picture of his newly born daughter.

  1. The French Army Invented Camouflage

If you wear camouflage patterned trousers today, you should be thankful for the French army, who invented the design during World War I. They hired special artists named camofleurs that painted the units in patterns for disguising.

  1. France First Introduced License Plates

Another thing we should be thankful to the French today is that they were the first to use license plates on vehicles. It was used in the 18th century to register vehicles and control crimes.

  1. World’s Oldest Person was French

Lastly, the world’s oldest person was a French woman, Jeanne Louise Calment, who lived from the 21st of February 1875 to the 4th of August 1997 (122 years and 164 days). So, she has witnessed both World Wars and many technological revolutions.

Takeaway– what is France famous for?

You should now understand what is France famous for. France is one of the most popular and beloved  tourist destinations, but if we look at some of its facts, it is also one of the most interesting places to visit. After reading the 40 facts that make what is France famous for, we hope your next visit will be full of new information and excitement. Bon Voyage!

Enjoyed this article answering the question what is France famous for? Then I am sure you will enjoy these too:

(Visited 24 times, 1 visits today)