Are you on the look out for some fun facts about France? Whether you’re planning a trip there, or you’re here for a school project, or for your own enjoyment, you’re in the right place. Continue reading to find out the size and population of France, famous French celebrities, foods, animals, sports, and the best places to visit as a tourist. Below are some quick facts to get you started!
But first, here are some rapid-fire fast facts about France.
- The capital city of France is Paris.
- France’s official name is the French Republic, as their government system is republic. A republic is a form of government in which a state is ruled by a group of representatives of the citizen body.
- The main language spoken in France is French. French is the official language of over 29 countries in the world.
- The French flag is blue, white, and red.
Where is France?
France is located in Western Europe. It’s neighbouring countries are Germany and Belgium on the north, the Atlantic Ocean in the west, and Spain and the Pyrenees Mountains in the south.
How big is France?
France has a total land area of 549,087 km² and a total coastline of 3,427km. Therefore, France is the largest country in Western Europe! France is also the third largest country in all of Europe, and the 49th largest country worldwide.
How many people live in France?
As of January 2023, France is estimated to have a total population of over 68 million people.
Famous French people
Below is a list of some of the most famous French people in history, and some fun key facts about each of them.
- Victor Hugo (1802-1885) wrote poems, novels, plays, short stories, and novellas during the Romanticism period in France.
- His works include Les Misérables (1862), The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (1831), Rigoletto, and others.
- Besides being one of the most influential French authors, Hugo was also a politician. He tackled issues such as the death penalty and poverty.
- Marie Antoinette (1755-1793) was born an Austrian but became the dauphine of France in 1770 following her marriage to Louis-Auguste.
- In 1774, Antoinette became the queen of France as her husband became king. They were the last monarchs to rule the country due to the French revolution.
- Antoinette was known and widely disliked for leading a lavish lifestyle whilst the rest of the country was impoverished. Both her and her husband, King Louis XVI were executed by guillotine.
- Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel (1883-1971) is most widely known as Coco Chanel. She is one of the most influential and famous French designers in the fashion industry.
- Coco founded her eponymous brand in 1910, starting off a millinery boutique. This went on to become a couture house, most famously known for selling luxurious French handbags and jewellery.
- She later ventured into creating fragrant perfumes, which are still widely popular to this day.
What currency is used in France?
France has been using the euro banknotes and coins since the 1st of January 2002. France is part of the 20 European countries that use euro as their main currency.
Geography of France
France has a varied topography, ranging from wide, very fertile plains and low rolling hills in the north and west to mountainous in the rest of the country. The Pyrenees are in the south, whilst the Alps in the east. The diversity of the land is typical to Western Europe. Mont Blanc is the highest point in France, at 4,807m.
Famous attractions to see in France
France is arguably one of the most popular holiday places in Europe. Below is a list of 5 of the most famous tourist attractions to see in France, and some fun facts about each.
The Eiffel Tower
- The symbol of Paris, the Eiffel Tower is arguably the most popular tourist attraction in all of France. The tower is constructed of over 8,000 metallic pieces, standing at 320 metres tall.
- Designed by Gustave Eiffel as a temporary exhibit in 1889, the tower was originally despised by critics. It has since garnered the love of both tourists and locals alike.
Musée du Louvre
- The Louvre Museum is located in a stately palace that was once a royal residence. Monumental artworks, including Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, the Wedding Feast at Cana by Veronese, and the iconic sculpture dating back to 1st century BCE Venus de Milo by Alexandros of Antioch. The Louvre displays a total of around 35,000 artworks.
- The Louvre Museum is the largest art museum in the world. If you spent 30 seconds looking at each work of art, it would take around 100 days to get through the entire museum.
- Provence is a region in south-eastern France known for it’s diverse, breath-taking, vibrant landscapes. Artists such as Picasso, Cézanne, and Matisse are said to have been inspired by the landscape’s beauty.
- One of the many attractions in Province is the Mediterranean cuisine: olive oil, vegetables, and aromatic herbs.
- Chamonix-Mont-Blanc is a resort area at the base of Mont Blanc, the highest summit in the Alps.
- Well-known as the top destination for skiing, snowboarding, climbing, and sightseeing, Chamonix offers stunning panoramic views. Tourists from across the globe travel to experience the dreamy view year-round.
Château de Versailles
- Located on the outskirts of Paris, the Palace of Versailles was previously the residence of French kings and queens for over a hundred years.
- Visitors are able to explore the luxurious interiors and well-kept gardens. The palace’s historical artifacts can also be seen in an on-site museum.
What foods are popular in France?
A croissant is a traditional French buttery flaky pastry inspired by the shape of the Austrian kipferl.
A baguette is a long, thin type of French bread that is typically made from basic lean dough.
Beef Bourguignon is a French beef stew braised in red wine and beef stock. It is most commonly flavoured with carrots, onions, garlic, and garnished with pearl onions, mushrooms, and bacon.
A crepe is a very thin sort of pancake popular in France. Crepes can be served both sweet and savoury, depending on the topping chosen.
Escargot is made of any of the several species of edible land snails, and are seen as a luxury of French cuisine.
An éclair is an oblong shaped French pastry made from choux dough filled with cream, typically vanilla, and topped with flavoured icing, typically chocolate.
What sports are played in France?
There are various different sports played in France, the most popular of which being cycling, football, handball, skiing, boules, and golf. Below is a list of traditional French sports, and a brief description of each.
Jeu de paume français
Jeu de paume français is first ever racket sport, and it inspired well-known modern day sports such as badminton, tennis, and squash.
Pétanque is a traditional French form of lawn bowling, typically played on coarse ground using steel balls.
Savate is a French kickboxing combat sport that is more graceful than English boxing.
Famous holidays in France
France has a total of 11 official public holidays each year, as well special celebrations that are not national holidays. Below is a list of some French celebrations, and a description of each.
- Epiphanie (Epiphany) is celebrated on the first Sunday of January every year. This holiday commemorates the arrival of the three wise men to baby jesus. Galette des rois and other special pastries are shared and eaten.
- Chandeleur is French holiday celebrated annually on February 2nd, celebrating the day that Jesus was presented at the temple. This is seen as a very superstitious day.
- Carnaval is also known as Mardi Gras, and it involves eating rich fatty fruits and a public parade. This holiday is celebrated as many people go on a fast during Lent, and Carnaval is seen as the last time for a while to enjoy and celebrate treats.
- Bastille Day is celebrated annually on July 14th, and it commemorates the turning point in the French Revolution.
10 Fun Facts about France
- France is the most visited country on Earth, with Paris also being the most visited city.
- The camera phone was invented in France in 1977 by Phillipe Kahn. The first photo he took was of his new-born daughter.
- The citizens of France eat on average 25,000 tons of snails each year. That equals to one person eating 500 every year.
- It is considered bad luck to turn a baguette upside down.
- Over 1,500 types of cheese are produced in France.
- Additionally, France ranks in the top ten countries for their amount of cheese consumption.
- The French drink over 11 million glasses of wine every year. This places France as the country with the second highest wine consumption in the world, second to the United States.
- The French often refer to France as “L’Hexagone”, translating to the hexagon. This is due to the country’s geometrical shape.
- In 2016, a law was passed forbidding supermarkets in France from throwing away food when it gets close to the expiry date. They are bided by law to donate it to a charity or food bank.
- The French army invented camouflage in 1915, during World War I.
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We hope you have enjoyed these fun facts about France. Make sure to check out our other fun facts about different countries. Au revoir!
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