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France Facts

Unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe

  • Paris is the capital and largest city of France.
  • The most popular sports in France are football (soccer), rugby league and rugby union. Handball and basketball are also popular in many parts.
  • France is popular for its literature. Charles Perrault was one of France’s most influential children’s writers. He wrote books such as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Puss in Boots.
  • 54% of French people identify themselves as being Christians, while 31% of people stated that they were not religious
  • France has an estimated population of 64.5 million, making it the 19th largest country (in terms of population) in the world.
  • It is estimated that there are between 200,000 and 1 million illegal immigrants in France
  • France is the most popular tourist destination in the world. Nearly 82 million people traveled to France for holidays in 2007. Spain comes second.
  • In 2004, only 68.8% of French people aged 15-64 were working.
  • France has a civil legal system. This means that the law arises from statues and judges can only interpret this law (they are not to make law).
  • Average life expectancy in France is currently 79.73 years.
  • There is a Victor Hugo street in every town in France.
  • In 1386, a pig was hung in France for the murder of a child.
  • It is illegal to name a pig Napoleon in France.
  • France produces over 400 types of cheese!
  • French was the official language of England for over 300 years.
  • "French kiss" is a term by the English as a slur on the French culture which was thought to be overly concerned with sex.
  • It is illegal to kiss on railways in France.
  • French men have the lowest level of obesity in the EU, and women are second after Denmark.
  • France has the highest number of ski resorts.
  • The first department store was founded by Aristide Boucicaut in 1838.
  • Famous French inventions include: the hot air balloon, the submarine, and the parachute.
  • The Eiffel tower was originally intended to be dismantled and sold as scrap after its construction.
  • French film production is second in the world.
  • Jeans and denim originated from the city of Nimes, which is a French city.
  • France is home to one of the largest art museums in the world, Louvre.
  • France is home to the only European Disneyland, which is located near Paris.
  • France was once a British colony for over three centuries.
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