10 Interesting facts about France

If you mention France, then most people will think of fine food, fine wine, fashion, fresh croissants and sophistication. Either that or you will think of men on bicycles wearing stripy jerseys, a beret and a string of onions around their neck! So, let’s get away from the stereotyping for a while with these ten fascinating facts about France that you probably never knew:

1. France is one of the most visited countries in the world

Whether you visit France to experience the chic and sophistication of Paris or for a quiet get-away in the wonderful countryside, you are unlikely to be alone. France is one of the most visited countries in the world and, in 2007, over 80 million visitors made their way to the France, which is actually more than people who live in the country.

2. Christmas tree decorations originated in France

The tradition of decorating Christmas trees with baubles originated in Eastern France in the sixteenth century. Before then, Christmas trees were decorated with fruit and flowers, but when the apple harvest failed one year, a glassblower in a village called Goetzenbruck, made glass baubles to replace the apples and the tradition stuck.

3. France is closed on Sundays

If you visit France for a weekend, then don’t expect to be doing much shopping on a Sunday. The day of rest is still observed in France and most stores will be closed all day Sunday and many will be closed on Monday too.

4. French women live longer

Here is another one of interesting facts about France: French women have the highest life expectancy in Europe. Whether this is a result of the French diet, the lifestyle, or something in the air, no one knows for sure why, but it’s a fact. The French men aren’t quite so lucky, but they do have the third highest life expectancy in Europe.

5. They don’t give tips in France

Service is always included in French restaurant bills, so there is no need to leave a tip. You can leave a few euros if you like, but it’s not expected in the same way as it is in other countries.

6. Jeans came from France

Interesting facts about France don’t stop there. Most people think that jeans originated in the US, but they were invented in France and imported to the US by Levi Strauss. The fabric takes its name from the town in which it originated, which was Nimes.

7. French kissing didn’t originate in France

No one knows for sure where French kissing originated, but there is no proof at all that it was the passionate French who invented it. It is more likely the term French kissing was invented by the English, as a way of showing their disapproval of the behaviour of their promiscuous cousins on the other side of the Channel.

8. In France a drug store sells medicines

You can spot a French drugstore by the illuminated green cross that is displayed outside, but don’t expect to find a big makeup counter in there. The drugstores in France usually only sell medicines and they sell very little else.

9. France is the home of cheese and wine

France really is the home of cheese and wine. It is one of the world’s biggest producers of wine and there are 17 different French wine growing districts. And, as the perfect accompaniment to all that wine, France also produces over four hundred different varieties of traditional cheese.

10. Private DNA tests are illegal in France

There is another one of interesting facts about France: France is the only country in the world where private DNA tests, to prove paternity for example, are illegal. As if that weren’t bad enough, there is also a French law which states that a newborn baby, which is born to an unmarried mother, may be claimed by the first man who claims it as his own at the local town hall.

Do you want to add some other interesting facts about France to our list?

Stay happy!

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