10 Interesting facts about Paris and France
France is a nation of romance, sophisticated delicacies, fine wine and it’s steeped in a rich history too. A beautiful country with one of the most famous capital cities in the world…Here are ten interesting facts about France and its capital city, Paris:
1. You can’t call a pig Napoleon in France
There is still a law on the French statute books that prohibits the naming of a pig Napoleon. This is just one of the quirky laws from the past that still exist in France, another one being that it is illegal to kiss on a railway train.
2. The Eiffel Tower moves
Probably the most famous landmark in Paris, the Eiffel Tower sways considerably during high winds and on hot days. In particularly bad storms, it has been known to sway by as much as 13 cm and in very hot weather; the top of the tower can move as much as 18 cm.
3. You can marry a dead person in France
This isn’t as morbid as it might at first sound. The law was originally passed by French President, Charles de Gaulle, to allow an engaged woman to marry her dead fiancé who had been killed in a tragic accident. You can’t just marry any dead person, though; you do need to be able to prove that the deceased had some interested in getting married to you, before they passed away.
4. There is a lot of dog pooping going on in Paris!
While it is only a myth that there are more dogs in Paris than there are Parisians, it is true that there is a lot of dog poop on the streets! Apparently, dogs deposit over 20 tonnes of it every day, but we have no proof as to who did the weighing for this statistic!
5. The Statue of Liberty was donated by the French people
The statue of Liberty, which was the brainchild of sculptor Auguste Bartholdi and the famous Eiffel Tower engineer Gustav Eiffel, was funded entirely by the French people, not be the French government.
6. Paris is not called the city of lights because of electricity
Most people think that Paris is called the city of light, because of the way that streets and landmarks are lit up at night. In reality, it has nothing to do electricity at all. The city first gained this name for its place in the world as a city of enlightenment.
7. The French have more lovemaking than any other nation
It seems that the French people’s reputation for being more amorous that most is based on some fact, because in a survey conducted by the condom manufacturer, Durex, they found that out of Twenty Two Countries surveyed, France came out easily on top!
8. Paris was designed to quell the peasants
In the 1800’s, Napoleon III appointed architects to redesign Paris to make it beautiful, yet functional. Many neighbourhoods were destroyed to make way for the wide boulevards that we now associate with Paris. The width of the roads though, wasn’t just designed to cater for increasing traffic; it was also to make sure that the peasants couldn’t barricade the streets in the event of a rebellion.
9. 20% of French territory is not in France
Mainland France is the biggest country in Western Europe and the home to more than 65 million people. Even so, 20% of French owned territory is outside of Europe, including French ruled Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guyana.
10. More people go to Paris to see Micky Mouse than to see the culture
France attracts more visitors than any other country in the world and it attracts around 80 million visitors every year. It’s Micky mouse that attracts the most visitors to Paris though, with Disneyland Paris that attracts a greater number of tourists than the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower or any other cultural attractions.
Do you know some other interesting facts about Paris and France?