France is a western European country that consists of metropolitan France and several overseas regions and territories. The country has the world's 7th largest economy and also the most visited country in the world. France has been a global superpower throughout most of its history and global centre of art, science, and philosophy. If you are planning to stopover in the country, here are some interesting facts about France.
General Facts About France
1. France has the most time zones out of all the countries
One of the most interesting facts about France is that it has the most time zones in the world.
France has 12 time zones making it the country with the most time zones. This is because France has several overseas regions and territories. Guadeloupe and Martinique in the Caribbean, French Guiana in South America, and Reunion and Mayotte on the East African coast are some of these regions.
These 12 time zones lie from UTC -10.00 (French Polynesia) to UTC +12.00 (Wallis and Futuna).
2. France’s geography is almost perfect
The geography around France gives pretty unique advantages to the country. France has many large and easily navigable rivers. These rivers provide France with a large arable land making the country an agricultural power in Europe. Oceans, mountains, and rivers provide a geographic defence system from most directions against foreign attacks.
3. The French flag influences many country's flags
France's tricolour flag is one of the most influential flags globally as many other nations adopted its three-color scheme. The pre-revolutionary flag of France was predominantly white, which represented the monarchy. The flag used by the revolutionaries contained a stripe of blue and red, similar to the flag of Paris. Then they added a white stripe in the middle to symbolize the monarchy being conquered by the people.
Interesting Facts About France
4. Gallic Celtic tribes are the first settlers of France
Between the 5thand 3rd century BC, Gallic Celtic tribes penetrated Eastern and Northern France and gradually settled through the rest of the country. Romans called this region Gaul and captured it in 58 BC. Then France became a kingdom after the Frankish empire's split and remained as a kingdom until the French revolution.
5. A teenage girl led the French battles against the English invaders
Joan of Arc is a teenage girl who played a prominent role in leading the French battle against the English during the latter phase of the hundred years’ war. Although much of her origin remains unknown, she believed to had visions of saints. Victories against the English made her popular and boosted the morale of the nation. English army captured and executed her at the age of 19. She later became a national symbol and a saint of France.
6. France has a palace made with pebbles
Another fun fact about France is that it has a palace made with peebles.
Le Palais Idéal in Hauterives France is a palace made with pebbles. A French postman named Ferdinand Cheval built this palace by collecting pebbles on his route.
Cheval began working each night to build the palace entirely by hand, and it took him 33 years to complete without any formal training. The structure is 85 feet long and 800 feet high and has many international architectural influences.
7. France hosts the most iconic cycling race in the world
Tour de France is arguably the most prestigious and the most difficult cycling race in the world.
The race consists of 21 day-long multiple stages of races over the course of 23 days. The race started in 1903 and held annually ever since except during the first and second world wars.
8. French gastronomy is a UNESCO world heritage
French cuisine is one of the most popular cuisines in the world and it's well-known fact about France. The cuisine developed throughout history and was influenced by many neighbouring cultures like Spain, Italy, and Germany.
Cheese and wine play a major role in French cuisine. Western cookery schools use many criteria of French cuisine.
In 2010, UNESCO declared French gastronomy as an intangible cultural heritage.
9. France produces the world’s most expensive Potatoes
Another fun fact about France is that it produces the most expensive potatoes.
La Bonnette is the world's most expensive Potatoes. The French island of Noirmoutier is where these Potatoes are grown, and they are only available for 10 days a year which is the main reason for them to be so expensive.
These Potatoes have a special taste due to the sandy soil of the island, and one kilo of these Potatoes costs more than $500.
10. The French army still use carrier pigeons
Carrier pigeons were one of the main communication modes used throughout history. They became irrelevant with the rapid development of communication technology.
However, the French army is the only European army that still has carrier pigeons in its ranks. They are trained to carry out messages in case of a major catastrophe.