Calling All Francophiles

Fancy yourself as a bit of a Francophile? Stun your friends and family with these fascinating France facts and be the star of the pub quiz. Here are some facts and figures you may not know about one of our nearest neighbours:

  • France is the world’s most visited country with around a whopping 80 million visitors each year. If your passion for France goes further than simply being a tourist, then check out Property for sale in France at
  • The shortest ever reign of a monarch happened in France in 1830. Louis XIX was the King of France for a measly 20 minutes! When his father abdicated, he was next in line but abdicated himself just 20 minutes later for his nephew, the Duke of Bordeaux to take the honour instead.

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  • The first military camouflage was used by the French Army during World War I. It comes from the French verb ‘to make up ready for the stage’. Artists known as camofleurs were used to paint the guns and vehicles too.
  • In France it is legal to marry a dead person! It’s not as crazy as it first sounds. In French law for exceptional cases a person can marry posthumously if it can be proven the deceased had the intention of marrying before death. You must also seek the permission of the French president.
  • Leading the way in sustainability, France was the first nation to ban supermarkets from discarded of unsold food. From February 2016 all shops must donate unspoiled food waste to charities or food banks.
  • France goes a long way to protect its culture and language. At least 40% of music played on private stations in France must be of French origin. This rule has been in place since 1996 and must include 20% of that French music to be less than 6 months old.
  • Preserving the French language since 1634, the Academie Francaise has tried to ban foreign words from being added the dictionary. Words like email, blog and weekend have come under their scrutiny but have still infiltrated the French language. The Academie was started by a group of intellectual scholars and recognised by the King in 1635.

  • France boasts being the nation with the longest ever living human being. Jeanne Louise Calment made it into the Guinness Book of World Records for living to the grand old age of 122 years and 164 days. Born in 1875, she died in 1997, having witnessed two world wars, the opening of the Eiffel Tower and the arrival of TV, motor vehicles and airplanes!
  • The first ever man-made heart and face transplants took place in France. The heart surgery happened in 2013 with the implantation of an artificial heart powered by a lithium-ion battery. Incredibly, the first successful face transplant took place in 2005.
  • Europe’s busiest railway station is the Gare du Nord in Paris. A whopping 190 million rail travellers pass through every year. It’s also one of the oldest in the world, having been in operation since 1846.
  • Such is the world renown of French cuisine, it was awarded World Heritage Status by UNESCO in 2010 for its cultural and human importance.

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