Beyond Croissants and Baguettes: 11 Things You Never Knew About France

France is known for its romance, literature, fine wine and culinary traditions… In Paris, you can stroll along the Seine River, or how about sunbathe next to the Mediterranean in the south!

But did you know they had a king who only reigned for 20 minutes? Or that the first face transplant was performed here? There’s a lot more to this incredible country than you know!

Paris Rooftops

1. Frequent flyer miles

With over 83 million visitors in 2014, France is the most popular tourist destination in the world.

2. Brief reign

Louis XIX is one of two world leaders to have reigned as king for only 20 minutes!

3. Geometry

The largest country in Europe, France is often called the hexagon because of its six sides.

4. The magic of the movies

Cinema was born in France with the first movie screening in December 1895. It was a historical event that jump-started the film industry that we know and love today.

5. Timeless beauty

A French woman named Jeanne Louise Calment was the world’s oldest human being. She lived to be 122!

6. Saving lives

The French are renowned for their medical expertise and innovation: the world’s first heart and face transplants both took place in France!

7. The culinary capital of the world

France is part of UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage program, and its cuisine has been celebrated for its role in gastronomy and culture.

8. Brie, and beyond

Cheese lovers unite! France produces over 1,000 types of cheese and almost 1 billion tons per year. “Un fromage par jour de l’année” is a French proverb that means “One type of cheese per day of the year.” What a beautiful—and delicious—principal to live by! Try making a croque madame!

9.  Delicacies from the earth

The French love escargot (snails)! They eat almost 30,000 tons of snails per year. They serve it baked in garlic and butter with a side of fresh bread.

10. Oui, oui!

French is the second most studied language in the world, and it definitely comes in handy when traveling to places like French Canada, Haiti, Senegal, or even Morocco.

11. Architecture

A symbol of France, the Eiffel Tower was originally built to welcome those attending the 1889 World Fair. Today, it’s one of the most recognized and visited monuments in the world!

  • iamtrue2bill

    I’ve always wanted to visit France. Maybe one day.