11 Interesting and Fun Facts About France

Written By: The Planet D

Travel all around the world is different right now, so please make sure to check the Government of France website for travel restrictions and information before booking any travel.

It has recently been announced that France plans to re-open to vaccinated travelers on June 9, 2021 if COVID Levels remain under control. People carrying a valid health pass (tied to being fully vaccinated or having a negative COVID-19 PCR test) will be allowed to enter. Woohoo! We’ve missed you France. To celebrate, we’ve rounded up these fun facts about France to get you in the mood to travel in the future. Get more information here on France travel and openings.

If you are dreaming of a vacation to France or are just interested in learning more about the country, you will love learning about these France fun facts.

Fun Facts About France

Did you know that France is the largest country in Europe and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world? France has good food, amazing wine, beautiful cities, and charming culture. It’s no surprise that everyone wants to visit!

From the largest art museum to a bread superstition, this list covers it all. Keep reading for 10 fun facts about France that will make you want to hop on an airplane to Paris immediately. 

1. France Is the Most-Visited Country in the World 

France is the most visited country in the world

Of all the countries in the world, France is the most visited! Approximately 89 million people visit France every year to take in the culture and enjoy the food. 

In addition to being the most visited country in the world, Paris is one of the most visited cities. In 2019, over 19 million tourists visited the city of Paris, France. It consistently ranks in the top 10 most visited cities year after year.

2. France Is Smaller Than Texas

France facts Eiffel Tower

If you want to imagine how big France is, a good comparison is that it is slightly smaller than the state of Texas! France has a ton of personality for such a small country.

While France isn’t that big, it is the biggest country in the European Union. For a little more perspective, France is twice as big as the United Kingdom and eight times the size of Ireland.

3. France Has the Largest Art Museum 

The Louvre in France

The Louvre Museum in Paris, France is the largest art museum in the world. This museum is so big that if you wanted to spend 30 seconds looking at each piece of art, it would take you approximately 100 days to get through the entire museum.

French artists created 66% of all the artwork in the museum. Here are some of the most famous pieces of artwork in the Louvre Museum:

  • The Mona Lisa 
  • The Raft of the Medusa
  • The Venus de Milo
  • The Horse Tamers
  • The Wedding at Cana

Before the Louvre Museum became a museum, it was a fortress built in the 12th century and then renovated into a royal palace in the 16th century. Many people claim that the Louvre Museum is haunted due to its age and complicated past. Read: Paris Closures and When to Avoid Museum and Attractions

  • When visiting Paris, get your Museum Pass to enjoy priority skip the line tickets to more than 60 of the top museums and monuments in and around Paris Explore the Louvre and Versailles, and visit the Arc de Triomphe, the Centre Pompidou, and many others.

4. The French Eat 25,000 Tons of Snails Each Year

The French Love Seafood and snails

Did you know that in France over 25,000 tons of snails are eaten every single year? That is a lot of snails!  On average, a resident of France eats approximately 500 snails per year. The French consider snails to be a delicacy and they are often enjoyed during holidays.

In France, snails are referred to as “escargot”. While there are several different types of escargot that you can eat, one of the most common ways to eat snails in France is cooked in butter and garlic. The best way to eat snails in France is to do so at a French restaurant. Snails are often eaten as an appetizer, and to eat them, your waiter should provide you with special utensils to help crack the shell.

  • And here’s one of the more quirkier facts in France, it is illegal to carry live snails on a train in France unless they have a ticket. It is a law that states animals weighing less than 5 kg (11 pound) must travel with their own ticket. Sounds outdated?Tell that to the guy in 2008 that was fined for having live snails on the train.

5. France Produces Over 1,500 Types of Cheese

French cheese in France

While the exact number of cheeses produced in France is unknown, it is said that they make over 1,500 different cheeses! If you happen to love cheese, this may sound like a dream come true.

In fact, France ranks in the top ten countries for their amount of cheese consumption. More than 95% of the French population eats cheese. French cheeses have several defining characteristics such as how long they age, the process of making the cheese, and how moldy they are.

Here is a list of some of the most popular cheeses that you will find in France:

If you decide to visit France and try these different types of cheeses, be sure to pair wine with them for the full, French experience. 

6. Supermarkets in France Can’t Throw Away Food

Supermarket in France

Supermarkets in France are not allowed to throw away food that is near the “best by” date. Instead, they must donate the food to a charity or food bank. France passed this law in 2016 to help reduce hunger and prevent food waste! Why doesn’t everyone do this?

Supermarkets in France are donating about 45,000 pounds of food annually that would have been thrown away if not donated. While some of the fruits and vegetables are deemed unable to be eaten, most of the food is distributed to families in need.

That is great for both the people who could use the food and the environment! The supermarkets also benefit from this law because there is less trash to deal with.

7. France Had a King – That Lasted Only 20 Minutes

Kings of France

Another interesting fact about France is that one of their kings only held the throne for about 20 minutes. This was one of the shortest reigns of a monarch that there has ever been. 

Louis XIX was king of France for only 20 minutes after his father had abdicated (renounced his throne). Ironically enough, Louis XIX also abdicated about 20 minutes after his father appointed him the throne. 

Louis XIX shares this record with Luís Filipe from Portugal. Luís Filipe’s father was murdered in an attack and Luís Filipe was also injured during the same attack. He ended up outliving his father by about 20 minutes, and during this time, he was king of Portugal. 

8. The French Army Invented Camouflage 

Did you know that the French Army was the one to invent camouflage? The French invented camouflage during World War I in 1915. They hired artists to paint both their vehicles and their guns so that they would blend in with the environment around them. They did this by painting lines that would distract from the shape of the object.

About a year after the French stating camouflaging their equipment, other countries began doing the same thing. Each country had its own style of camouflage.

9. It’s Unlucky to Turn a Baguette Upside Down

Eating a Baguette in France

The French believe that placing a baguette (or any type of bread) upside down on a table can cause bad luck. This legend dates all the way back to the Middle Ages and has never gone away.

Back in the Middle ages, the town executioner would often not have time to pick up their bread in the morning. The baker would hang a loaf upside down for the executioner to pick up later on in the day.

Because of this practice in the Middle ages, over time, upside-down bread became a symbol of fear and death. People would avoid any upside-down bread to avoid misfortune. 

If you ever get the chance to visit France, be sure that you do not place any bread on the table upside down. Also, if you see any upside-down bread, avoid it!

10. The Tour de France is More than 100 Years Old

We watch the Tour de France every year. (Even COVID-19 couldn’t hold it back) But did you know that the famous cycling race has been running since 1903. Since its humble beginnings, it is now the most prestigious cycling race in the world lasting 23 days and covering more than 3383 km (2102 miles)

11. The French Drink Over 11 Million Glasses of Wine Each Year

Enjoying French wine in France

Of all the countries in the world, France consumes the second-largest amount of wine. In total, the French consume approximately 25 million hectoliters per year. They are second to the United States, which consumes about 30 million hectoliters.

In addition to consuming a ton of wine, France is also known for creating the most expensive wine in the world. This bottle of wine costs around $21,000! While you probably won’t get the chance to try the most expensive wine in France, you may get the opportunity to try some French wine. 

Here are some of the most popular French regions for wine:

If you ever find yourself in one of these French regions, be sure to stop and taste the wine. You also could pair the wine with some of the cheese that we mentioned earlier.

Fast France Facts

Interesting facts about france
  • Capital City: Paris, France
  • Population of France: 68 million people
  • National Motto: Liberté, égalitié, fraternité – Cool Fact: This is also the national motto of Haiti. It means Liberty, Equality and Fraternity
  • The French Flag is Blue White and Red. Le Drapeau Tricolore is translated to The Three-Coloured Flag. (How appropriate)
  • French is the official language of 29 countries in the world. (Canada being one of them)
  • In Fact, French was once the official language of England! From 1066 to 1362 after the Norman Conquest.

Did You Enjoy These Fun Facts About France?

Fun Facts About France Marseilles
Beautiful Marseille France

France is a country that is full of history, culture, and amazing experiences. There are so many fun facts about France that it is impossible to cover them all. 

If you want to experience all that France has to over, then you should book a trip to Europe’s largest country right away! It is the most popular tourist destination for a reason.

If you love traveling and want to see more posts like this one, be sure to check out our destinations section for more travel inspiration. Also, leave a comment down below if you have additional fun facts about France to share.

Travel Planning Resources

Looking to book your next trip? Why not use these resources that are tried and tested by yours truly.

Flights: Start planning your trip by finding the best flight deals on Skyscanner

Book your Hotel: Find the best prices on hotels with these two providers. If you are located in Europe use Booking.com and if you are anywhere else use TripAdvisor

Find Apartment Rentals: You will find the cheapest prices on apartment rentals with VRBO

Travel Insurance: Don't leave home without it. Here is what we recommend:

  • World Nomads - Digital Nomads or Frequent Travelers.
  • Allianz - Occasional Travelers.
  • Medjet - Global air medical transport and travel security.

Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.

About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

Leave a Comment

3 thoughts on “11 Interesting and Fun Facts About France”

  1. Absolutely enjoyed reading this!!
    I’ve been to France countless of times since it’s one of our neighbouring countries (I grew up in Belgium and live in Luxembourg now) but I actually didn’t know most of these facts! Not even about the not-throwing-away-food-law! There are many things where France has pretty weird rules but that law is brilliant!
    Didn’t know the thing about the baguette either, I never paid attention to this but I will now 🙂
    Thanks for sharing! Huge fan of France and I can’t wait to get back to Paris in August.

    Reply
  2. A debt of gratitude is in order for sharing this great tips to us. It’s truly needful article for everybody. It’s extraordinary article.

    Reply