French History and French Culture – France Travel
If you’re about to travel to France for a very long vacation or even a short one, perhaps it’s a permanent stay, here are some important facts that might help you on your way *(17 Facts About French history and French culture To Know Before Traveling There – France Travel).
The official name of France is the French Republic (In French – IRépublique Française). France became a republic after the French Revolution, which took place in the year 1792 and saw the near-complete eradication of the French royal and ruling class.
Modern France still holds 15 territories overseas, including Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, Mayotte, and Réunion. On the mainland itself, Metropolitan France (Corsica included) is divided into 13 separate regions, which are in turn, sub-divided into 96 departments. France’s colonial past is the main reason why the country has a population of more than five million citizens of African and Arab descent.
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The French economy is one of the largest in the Eurozone, right after that of Germany. France is one of the world’s largest exporters of luxury goods, with the leading four companies Chanel, Cartier, Hermes and Louis Vuitton racking in billions each year. The main exports from France include food, aircraft, industrial machinery, chemicals, iron and steel, motor vehicles, electronics, and pharmaceuticals.
At present, France has a population of about 68 million and three-quarters of them live in urban areas, with Paris, the capital city of the nation, having about 3 million inhabitants alone. Metropolitan Paris home to about 13 million people, reports the French national statistical office (INSEE). This makes France the second most populated country in Europe; Germany is number one. The population of France makes up 13 percent of the total population of the European Union. As of 2014, according to OECD reports, France had Europe’s highest birth rate in Europe, with the average age for women giving birth sitting around 30 years.
The living standards of France is among one of the best in the world. In fact, the work and life balance in the country ranks 12th among all OECD nations. French workers tend to retire a lot younger than those in the other OECD nations. A recent report from the OECD put the average French retirement age at 59 years, compared to the average OECD figure of 64.2 years. In France, people may lay claim to state-retirement benefits at just 62 years of age, and this is one of the lowest ages of retirement ages in the world.
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17 Facts About French History and French Culture To Know Before Traveling There – France Travel 

Below are 17 facts about French history and French culture to know before traveling there. The term France travel is used to describe them collectively in the article.

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1. The French Revolution Changed All

 It took place in 1792, an uprising of the French common people against centuries of royal rule. The Revolution began with the French people storming the Bastille fortress on the 14th day of July 1789, an event which is celebrated much like an independence every year all over the country and it’s known as Bastille Day.
French History and French Culture – France Travel
Best images of castles in France

2. The Napoleonic Era

This is one of the greatest Era’s in Frosch history as it was a time when France almost conquered all the world under its famous hero, General Napoleon Bonaparte (1769 – 1821). Rising through the ranks of the French Army toward the end period of the French revolution, Napoleon went from one national victory to the other until he finally got promoted to full General, became a dictator and attempted to conquer the world. The English presented him with the toughest challenge and he finally met defeat at the battle of Waterloo. Though an ancient figure, this General Napoleon is responsible for a lot of changes in France such as in its legal system, most of which held firm even today.
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3. France Is The Number One Destination For Tourists Around The World

Beyond a doubt, France is the most popular tourist destination in the world. According to the World Tourism Organization for 2014-16, about 85 million people visit France each year, making it the most-visited country in the world.
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4. France: the largest country in the European Union

It may not be as populated as Germany or as large as the United States, South Africa or Nigeria, but France, with an area of 551,000 sq km, is the largest nation in the European Union. It is something of a hexagonally shaped nation that occupies almost a fifth of the EU’s total land area – France has a six-sided shape.
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5. France Is Rich with Forests And Plant Life

One of the most attractive features of France is its forests. About a quarter of the total land mass of the country is covered by forest; only Finland and Sweden have more. During the latter part of the Second World War when the Allied forces got the upper hand over Germany, the Germans build some of the most extensive underground bunkers in the forests of France and even till today, some of them are still being discovered.

6. The Migot Line

You don’t always hear of it now but its right there in France. In the years leading up to the Second World War, with German powers growing, France built a line of mighty forts manned by its soldiers to protect itself from air and land assaults. In its day, the Migot line was regarded as impregnable until the British began to overfly it at will and finally, the Germans came calling in the person of General Romenel and his armored divisions. Coming from an odd region of Europe, they overran the Migot line from behind.
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7. King Louis XIX Lasted Just 20 minutes On The Throne

The French King Louis XIX ruled France for just 20 minutes, the shortest reign ever– he ascended to the French royal throne in July 1830 right after his father Charles X abdicated. The new king abdicated himself 20 minutes afterward in favor of his young nephew, the Duke of Bordeaux. Louis XIX shares this unusual record with the Crown Prince Luís Filipe, who briefly become king of all Portugal after the assassination of his father but died from a battle wound 20 minutes later.

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8. The National Brotherhood

The motto of France, Liberté, égalitié, fraternité means ‘liberty, equality and fraternity’ (or simply brotherhood). It first showed up around the time of the French Revolution, which took place between 1789–1799, and was then written into the constitutions of 1946 and 1958. In France today, you’ll see it on postage stamps, coins, and even government logos. It often appears alongside ‘Marianne’ who represents the ‘triumph of the Republic’. The present French legal system is still hugely based on the principles laid down during Napoleon Bonaparte’s Code Civil right after the revolution, in the 1800s.
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9. The French Can Wed A Dead Person

In France, according to standing French laws, you can marry a dead person. In exceptional cases one can legally marry a dead body, as long as that person can prove that the deceased had had the intention of marrying him or her while alive, that person can seek and receive permission from the president of French. The most recent case in which an approved was granted, took place in 2017, when the lover of a gay policeman who was gunned down by a jihadist on Paris’s Champs-Elysees was granted special permission to marry his partner posthumously.
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10. The French Army Did One Thing First

The French Army was the very first army to use camouflage and they did so during World War 1 back in 1915. The word camouflage originates from the French verb ‘to make up for the stage’. Vehicles and Guns were carefully painted over by artists known as camofleurs.

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11. Several World Famous Inventors Come From France

With a history and society so rich, it is not surprising that France has produced several world-renowned inventions. For example, in 1809 confectioner Nicolas Appert, known as the ‘father of canning’, came up with the idea of using sealed glass jars placed in hot boiling water as a means to preserve food. Of course, this later led to the use of tin cans in place of the glass jars, but guess who thought of that too? Another Frenchman named Pierre Durand. The writing and reading system for the blind, called braille, was developed by a French citizen Louis Braille who was blinded as a little child. A French physician René Laennec is credited for inventing the stethoscope at a top hospital in Paris back in 1816; he first discovered the unusual technique to listen directly to heartbeats by rolling up a paper into a tube. Another Frenchman, Alexandre-Ferdinand Godefroy’s patented contraption was the first hair dryer on earth as of 1888. The Montgolfier brothers Etienne and Joseph became the pioneers of hot air flight after the world was held spellbound in 1783 by their first public showing of an untethered hot air balloon. A little known fact is that one of the world’s most popular games Etch-a-Sketch was actually invented in France during the 1950s after André Cassagnes, a smart French electrical technician, peeled a translucent transfer off from a light switch (socket) plate and found out that his pencil marks were  still there on its underside, a direct result of the metallic powder which was electrostatically charged.
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12. Waste Of Food Is Illegal In France

The French Government was the first in the world to ban supermarkets in the country from destroying or throwing away unsold food. The law, which went into full effect in February 2016, requires shops to donate wastage to charities or food banks.

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13. A million French citizen speak Italian As Native Tongue

More than one million French citizens who live near the French border with Italy speak Italian as a native tongue. Although French is France’s official language and the native tongue (first language) of more than 88 percent of the country’s population, there are numerous indigenous regional languages and dialects, such as Basque, Alsacian, Breton, Occitan, Flemish and Catalan. Interestingly, French is actually Europe’s second most spoken mother tongue, German is first and English is third. Experts predict that French will become the number one language in Europe by the year 2025 due to that country’s phenomenal high birth rate.
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14. The French Have Been Banning Other Languages For 400 years

The sole aim of a governmental arm known as the Académie Française is to preserve the French language and this group has been in existence since 1634. It carries out its duties by attempting to ban everything associated with foreign words such as website and blogs, emails, hashtags, parking areas, and weekend trips. This group was founded by a small clique of French intellects and in 1635, King Louis XIII officially recognized them but in all that time they have not been successful in their endeavors.
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15. The French Live Longer Than Most People

A French woman who lived in France holds the record as the world’s oldest human being ever. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, she lived up to the incredible age of 122 years and 164 days. Jeanne Louise Calment, born 21 February 1875, passed away on 4 August 1997. She lived through the famous opening of the Eiffel Tower in 1889, the first and second World Wars and the development of the television, the modern motor vetches, and aircraft. Interestingly, her case is not that strange because French citizen, due to the high health standards and the natural beauty of their country, generally live a lot longer than most other people in other lands: France is rated sixth in the OECD countries for life expectancy after birth – the figure stands at 79 for men and 85 years for women.

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16. Snails Are A Cherished Delicacy In France

While wild snails are something of a problem in countries like Australia, the French love it. They consume about 30,000 tonnes of snails each year. However, less than 1,000 tons of this classic French delicacy (which is eaten with parsley, garlic, and butter) come from France. As of 2016, the number of registered snail farms in France were less than 100. So where does the rest come from? Most of France’s snail imports were plucked from the roadsides and fields in Eastern Europe.

17. Domesticated Animals Must Have Their Own Train Tickets

By French law certain animals much have their own train tickets to board a train. Take snails, for example, it is against the law for a person to carry live snails on a high-speed train without purchasing their own tickets. Any domesticated animal under the weight of 5 kilograms, by French law, must be a paying passenger. In 2008, a Frenchman was charged to court and fined for carrying snails on a TGV without tickets.  That the fine was later waived didn’t change the law.
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So there is our take on 17 Facts About French History and French Culture To Know Before Traveling There. Still wanna go to France? Good idea. Try to make a booking with one of their top travel agencies to get the best out of your visit.
The article was pulled from the book, Weird and Amazing Facts About French History and Culture by George Kennedy. This book is currently available on the follwing bookstores…
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