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50 Essential Facts About France

The 50 facts that you MUST know on your way to becoming an expert on France!

The Tour de France cycle race began in 1903Sport
The French Open is one of the four “Grand Slam” events in tennis
"Parkour" or "Freerunning" is an obstacle sport. It began in France in the 80s
France won the FIFA World Cup in 1998
Rugby Union is popular in France. It's top division is called the "Top 14"
The camera phone was invented in FranceInventions
The French Army was the first to use camouflage
The French invented the hot air balloon in 1783
They also invented the movies
The world’s first face transplant took place in France
The Louvre is the worlds most popular art museumLandmarks
Paris Gare du Nord is Europe’s busiest railway station
The Eiffel Tower was built in 1889 by Gustave Eiffel
The Lascaux Caves are home to 17,000 year old rock paintings
The oldest bridge in Paris is “Pont Neuf” - “new bridge”
The oldest person ever was 122-year-old Jeanne Louise CalmentPeople
John I was named King 5 months before he was born. He died at 5 days old
Napoleon Bonaparte seized control of the French government in 1799
Joan of Arc, who led French troops against English invaders, is a saint
Jacques Cartier was an explorer. He mapped much of Canada
France's nickname it "the hexagon" because of its shapeGeography
France has 3,427 km of coast. The UK has over 12,000 km
France is the largest country in the EU. It's area is half a million km squared
Europe’s highest mountain is Mont Blanc in the French Alps
France and its territories around the world occupy 12 time zones
Alpine Marmots are odd looking animals. They live in France's mountainsWildlife
One of the smallest animals in France is the Eurasian pygmy shrew
Believe it or not, France is home to wild flamingos
France also has wild lynx, though they are hard to spot
Sadly known for cloths made of their skin, Chamois live in France
French was once the official language of EnglandLanguage
A person who can speak French fluently is known as a Francophone
French is a "romance" language which are offshoots of Latin
The name “France” come from a Germanic tribe, the Franks
The word “Salut” can mean “hello” or “goodbye"
Paris' nickname is "The City of Lights"Cities
Lyon, France's 3rd largest city, was an important centre in the Roman Empire
Marseille is France’s oldest city. It was founded by the ancient Greeks
Bourdeaux is thought by many to be the wine capital of the world
Toulouse is nicknamed the “pink city”
Turning a baguette upside down is unluckyFoods
We think of croissants as French but they originate in Austria
It is illegal to throw out food in France
There are over 400 kinds of cheese made in France
Champagne comes exclusively from the Champagne region of France
France's motto is "Liberty, Equality and Fraternity"Culture
The Guillotine was the official execution method until 1977
Many of our modern fairy tales written by Frenchman Charles Perrault
At least 35% of music played on French radio must be of French origin
No country has won more Nobel Prizes for Literature than France

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