Interesting and Shocking Facts About France

facts of france

France boasts one of the finest literary cultures worldwide, boasting world-renowned authors like Victor Hugo, Honore de Balzac, Alexandre Dumas and Jules Verne as among its native literary talents.

Escargot (snails) are a delicacy and popular food choice in France, even being required as train ticket vouchers!

1. The Louvre is the largest art museum in the world.

The Louvre (pronounced: luv-R) is an immense palace located on the Right Bank of the Seine in Paris, France that contains one of the world’s finest collections of art and attracts millions of visitors annually. Originally intended to serve as a medieval fort and later as royal residence before becoming an art museum following French Revolution, today millions visit each year to take in its exquisite displays of visual and performing arts.

The Museum was inaugurated in 1793 with more than 500 paintings on display; since then it has expanded to house more than 35,000. The palace itself consists of wings and pavilions surrounding a central courtyard; each has an entrance called a portal and connecting passageways called guichets that serve each wing.

During the Enlightenment, the Louvre served as home to the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture, an organization responsible for artistic training, criticism, exhibitions, Salons (a precursor of modern-day art shows), as well as official salons open only to members of an elite circle. Visitors could attend these official salons but only if invited by them.

Napoleon III attempted to revitalize and integrate the Louvre with its nearby Tuileries Garden into one cohesive complex in 1857 by commissioning architect Hector Lefuel to develop an expansion and reconstruction plan that was complete by 1857.

The Louvre’s expansion was an especially contentious project. This included building a church dedicated to Sainte-Napoleon – whom Napoleon adopted as patron saint for his emerging dynasty – as well as prioritizing some objects over others based on prejudices that considered cultural traditions outside Europe as less valuable and important.

2. It’s unlucky to turn a baguette upside down on a table.

France is well-known around the world for many things – food, fashion, art – yet is also home to some weird and wonderful superstitions. Perhaps most shocking of all is turning an upside-down baguette onto a table (in French it would be “mettre le pain a l’envers sur la table”) because this will bring hunger curse on yourself or anyone eating from that baguette! The French believe this action brings harm and should therefore be avoided at all costs!

According to French website Curious Rambler, the origins of superstition remain obscure. Some believe it may date back to medieval France when executions were common and bakeries would often place reserved loafs upside-down in order to signal impending executions. Others contend that it came about simply due to French people being naturally superstitious, believing Friday the 13th is unlucky and avoiding walking under ladders or crossing black cats during that day.

Giving a bunch of chrysanthemums as gifts in France can be seen as extremely unlucky; according to French beliefs, giving this kind of present will cause you to experience bad love luck for at least seven years; therefore it is wiser only to give such bouquets of flowers as presents among close friends.

French culture may have some odd superstitions, but overall most French are extremely positive and optimistic people. Their sense of humor is legendary and many famous French authors such as Victor Hugo, Honore de Balzac, Alexandre Dumas and Jules Verne have created stunning stories which have touched millions around the globe – this especially holds true with Victor Hugo, Honore de Balzac and Alexandre Dumas being great examples.

3. The Tour De France is the most watched sporting event in the world.

The Tour De France is the world’s most watched sporting event, drawing in an estimated audience of 3.5 billion each year. Held annually since 1891 and one of three Grand Tours for cycling worldwide, this race takes place each summer across France as an annual road bicycle racing competition. As well as being one of cycling history’s most famous races and professional road racing’s flagship event.

The inaugural Tour de France took place in 1903 and was originally conceptualized by Henri Desgrange and Geo Lefevre of L’Auto newspaper. They hoped that it would capture public attention and increase sales for their paper; it proved immensely popular and has now grown into the spectacle it is today.

There are 21 stages to the race, each lasting a full day. These include flat and time trials as well as mountain stages. Every year’s route varies and some stages take place outside France.

One of the more intriguing Tour de France facts is that there are two categories of riders: climbers and sprinters. Climbers train for long, intense efforts up France’s most iconic mountains; this can make them slower compared to sprinters who train for short bursts at the end of a stage to cross first over the finish line.

Sport plays an essential part of French culture and boasts some of the world’s top athletes. Popular sports include football (which earned 8 World Cup victories and 5 Olympic medals), handball and cycling – with France producing some of the world’s finest cyclists.

4. The French invented camouflage.

France is famously celebrated for many aspects of culture; food, fashion and art all exist here in this European nation. But France offers much more than meets the eye; here you will discover many surprising and astonishing facts that make you reconsider this popular tourist spot.

Camouflage first originated during World War I in France as a result of advances in military technology, specifically aerial photography. Aerial photographs would often reveal weaponry or troops without them being able to conceal themselves from enemies; at this point soldiers began employing camouflage techniques in order to blend in more seamlessly and avoid enemy detection.

Lucien Victor Guirand de Scevola and his team pioneered military camouflage in 1914, taking its name from a French verb meaning to cover up or make up for something. Their innovative idea quickly spread throughout all belligerent nations and ultimately became part of military tactics.

France is home to some of the most captivating history and culture in the world. From pioneering face transplant surgery to publishing the longest book ever written, there is much about France that is fascinating and unexpected. Some foods we consider French were actually invented elsewhere – for instance croissants first appeared as an Austrian version of kipferl before making their way over into France as its trademark dish. France even allows its residents to legally marry dead individuals! It truly offers something extraordinary in culture!

5. They banned unlimited ketchup and salad dressings in school cafeterias.

As part of their effort to improve French students’ health, France has banned unlimited ketchup in school cafeterias. Instead, children will only be allowed access to it when ordering French fries, with amounts distributed only once weekly. Salad dressings will also be limited and mayonnaise will only be distributed when necessary. Education Minister Benoit Le Maire explained that these regulations were necessary because school and college cafeterias provide 1 billion meals each year while only half of students view them as satisfactory.

French cuisine has long been held as the gold standard of cuisine worldwide, and in 2010 was even added to UNESCO’s list of “intangible cultural heritage”. From coq au vin to chocolate souffle, French food boasts delicious dishes galore.

France is famous for their delectable snails known as escargot, often served steamed in garlic butter and chicken stock for an exquisite delicacy. France also holds the record for having produced Jeanne Calment, the world’s oldest person at an amazing age of 122 years old!

France is an idyllic and historic country filled with plenty to see and do, from medieval villages to world-famous attractions like the Louvre and Eiffel Tower, it is a favorite tourist spot worldwide. Not all about Paris or haute couture either; France boasts stunning beaches, alpine landscapes and sophisticated wines as well as its own distinct culture which blends history with modern innovations. France made great sacrifices in order to become independent nation, yet today stands as one of the world’s leading nations.

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