Beyond the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Claude Monet and the French Riviera, France is famous for so many things. It’s long and exciting history has lent it one of the most unique cultures in Europe and some of the most iconic landmarks around the globe. Whether you’re planning to visit one of the world’s most famous destinations or are just brushing up on your French trivia, here are some interesting facts about France.
7 of the Most Interesting Facts About France
1. France is the largest country in the EU
With nearly 250,000 square miles of stunning French countryside and some of the world’s most culturally rich and fascinating sites and cities, France is the largest country in the EU. In comparison, it has only the second highest population falling behind Germany and beating out Italy. In Europe as a whole, France is the third largest behind Russia and Ukraine.
2. It’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world
Home to Paris with her countless iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, the Notre Dame and the Louvre, it should come as no surprise that France is one of the most visited countries globally. Reeling in some 89 million visitors annually, it is number one globally for foreign visitors. Prior to the pandemic, France was prepared to welcome a whopping 100 million tourists in 2020.
3. French was the official language of England
It may surprise you to know that for nearly 300 years, French was the official language of England. Following William the Conqueror’s Norman conquest and occupation of England, French was introduced in 1066 and remained the official language until 1362. Since Norman French was used for pleadings but was largely incoherent to common people in England, the parliament passed the Pleading English Act making English the official language of the government.
4. The Louvre is the most visited museum in the world
Pulling in over 10 million people a year, the Louvre is the most visited museum in the world. Not only that, it’s also the world’s largest and most recognisable museum. With over 380,000 objects, 35,000 works of art spanned across over 650,000 square feet, it certainly has a lot to offer. Curious to learn more about this iconic museum and what is has to offer? Head here.
5. The French coastline is mind boggling
Coming in at a whopping 3427 kms, roughly the distance from Paris to Jordan’s ancient Petra, the French coastline is enormous. Home to iconic coastal cities like Nice, Cannes and Cancale, complete with beautiful turquoise waters, it’s certainly not lacking in scenic beauty.
6. It boasts some of Europe’s most unique food
Fancy some snails? How about frog legs? France is home to some of Europe’s most unique delicacies from escargot (snails) to steak tartare (raw beef) and oursins (sea urchins). But just because some French foods are unusual to some tastes, doesn’t mean they taste bad! Trust us, after one plate of escargot loaded up with butter, herbs and parm, you’ll become a believer.
7. The oldest person to ever live was French
Jeanne Louise Calment, who lived to be 122 years and 164 days old, is the oldest person to ever live. Born in 1875 in Arles, France, she bore witness to some of France’s most important historical eras from the belle epoque to both World Wars and the Spanish Flu. In her long time on earth, she met Vincent van Gogh by chance, took up fencing in her 80s and claimed her secret was olive oil, port and chocolate.