Are you dreaming about visiting the land of baguettes and cheese, taking cool pictures for Instagram with the Eiffel Tower in the background, visiting the Louvre museum, and seeing the Mona Lisa painting?
France is a country that should be visited at least once in a lifetime, so you can experience all its amazing spots, get to know French culture and taste French food. Are you ready to discover 15 interesting fun facts about France with us?
Love travel? So do we. Check out our other articles to learn more:
- Top 15 Interesting Facts About Switzerland
- Get British Passport Photos in the US [Your Ultimate Guide]
- How the Italian Passport Renewal Process Works in the US
- Visa-Free Countries for Ukrainian Passport Holders in 2023
- Visa-Free Countries for Polish Passport Holders in 2023
- Visa-Free Countries for Bulgarian Passport Holders in 2023
- Italian Passport Renewal in NYC: A Step-by-Step Guide
1. France is the biggest country in the European Union
In the European Union, France is the largest country, with 543,940 km² (sq. km), making it the third-largest in the European continent, behind Russia and Ukraine.
2.The official French flag has recently been changed
Did you know that in July 2020, French President Emmanuel Macron switched the color of the flag without anybody noticing it? The French president decided to replace the current lighter blue in the flag with a darker navy blue shade. This change was meant to bring back the colors of the French Revolution flag, considered to be an important symbol of the country.
3. The French gastronomic meal is part of UNESCO
Starting from 2010, the French gastronomic meal is part of the “representative list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity” of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).
The French meal represents an opportunity not only to taste high-quality food and drink, but also a moment to celebrate and enjoy good memories, and a sense of togetherness with family and friends on very special occasions.
4. France has a café older than the US declaration of Independence
In a small corner in Paris, you can find a very old café, founded before the declaration of the United States of 1776. Sounds crazy, but it isn’t! This place is called “Le Procope” and it has been open since 1686. Moreover, this café is also the oldest in the whole country, and if you are interested in visiting it, check Rue de l’Ancienne Comédie 13, Paris.
5. The croissant does not have French origins
Talking about food, the famous French Croissant was not invented by the French, but by the Austrians. There is actually a very long story behind it, but we will summarize it for you.
Everything started in the 17th century, when Austria defeated the Turks in Vienna. The Austrians decided to celebrate their victory by copying the shape from the flag of their enemies, to create a brioche in the form of a crescent (the actual shape of the croissant).
It is therefore no surprise that today, in the French language, the word “Viennoiserie” is a reference to all kinds of pastries. Centuries later, the French people replaced the brioche pastry with puff pastry, which proved more successful.
6. The Eiffel Tower employs nearly 600 Parisians on a daily basis
There is no doubt that the Eiffel Tower is the most famous symbol of France, but did you know that the company that runs and maintains the tourist attraction employs six hundred people on a daily basis!
7. You cannot take night photos of the Eiffel Tower
We all wish to visit Paris one day and enjoy its view, both during the day and by night. Well, you need to know that unfortunately, it is illegal to take night photos of the Eiffel Tower. How is that possible? This law is not applicable for personal and private use though, so if you are a tourist, you can still take photos at night without worrying. If you are a professional, on the other hand, and you plan to profit from the pictures you take, you will need to get special permission.
8. France holds the most visited museum in the world
Still remaining on the things to visit in France, you’d be surprised to know that in France, the Musée du Louvre, as they say, is the most visited museum in the whole world. Every year, it is visited by at least 9 million people, whose favorite masterpieces include: Mona Lisa, the Law Code of Hammurabi, Aphrodite, and the portrait of Louis XIV.
Let’s take a look at the strangest facts about French travel and transportation:
9. Visit the French town with the shortest name ever
You read that right! In the North-West of France, you can find a small town with the shortest name in the world: Y. According to the official website of the city, the number of people living in Y is only 93!
10. In Paris you won’t find even one stop sign
Paris is the capital city of France, so it is expected to be one of the busiest cities in the country. Despite this, when visiting Paris, you won’t be able to find even one stop sign. The last stop sign was removed back in 2016.
12. France is the country with the most time zones
How annoying is jet lag when you travel from one continent to another? Surprisingly, France is the country in the world with the most time zones! At first, this may sound incorrect, but don’t forget that France is a transcontinental country, which means that it rules over overseas territories. France is the country with the most time zones, with 12 time zones. It is followed by the USA (10) and Russia (9).
13. Snails aren’t allowed to travel by train for free
If someone owns snails, or some other small animals (and pet animals in general), you need to know that they can’t travel freely on high-speed trains and French people actually have to buy a ticket for them! The national railway company SNCF officially states that animals that weigh less than 6 kg must have a ticket as well, and the price is around 7 euros!
14. No kissing on the train platforms
It is globally known that France is one of the most romantic countries in the world, but did you know that it is legally forbidden to kiss on the French train platforms? This weird and astonishing law was first established in 1910, by the predecessor of SNCF, as a way to limit delays and avoid crowdings on the train platforms. Surprisingly, this law is still valid, but with no penalty consequences of course.
15. The Pharaoh Ramesses II the Great was issued a passport to go to France
This is not a title from a historical fiction movie, this is a true fact. The mummy of the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramesses II needed to be transported from Egypt to France for further analysis and research back in 1976. Among the information of the Ramesses II, the profession was identified as “King (deceased)”.
Talking about traveling and a passport to France, maybe you are now more interested in visiting this amazing country, and getting to know its culture and friendly people. You can check how to renew your passport for you or for your kids and even how to get a visa to France on our website.
Holding a degree with a mention in languages and modern literatures at the University of Ferrara, Soukaina is now studying for her master’s degree in Languages for Communication in Enterprises and International Organizations at the University of Modena (Italy). Being interested in languages from a very young age, she is a polyglot who is seeking to learn more languages and is interested in the world of social media and communication, women’s rights, and multiculturalism.