37 Things You Might Not Know About France

Did you know the guillotine was in use until 1977?

BuzzFeed France

1. The word « France » comes from the Franks, a Germanic people whose name in itself is derived from the Frankish « frank », meaning « free ».

2. France spans twelve different time zones – more than any other country in the world – thanks to its overseas territories, which are dotted round the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans, as well as the South American continent.

3. The two oldest cities in France are Marseille and Beziers, both built by the Greeks in the sixth century BC.

4. In France, eggs are brown, but in most other countries, they tend to be white. This is because French farmers use different breeds of hen.

5. France has the highest number of Nobel Prize In Literature winners of any country, with 15 (followed by the United States with 11, and the UK with 10).

6. Until 2012, there was only one « STOP » sign in the entire city of Paris. It was located at the exit of a building materials yard in the 16th arrondissement. Today, this stop sign is no longer there.

7. Thought France abolished monarchy with the revolution? Actually, there are several kings in France, if you take into account its overseas territories . Indeed, one such territory, Wallis and Futuna in the South Pacific, has three kings. These monarchs are paid for by the French state and they have authority over their respective territories.

8. The French army is the only army in Europe that still has carrier pigeons within its ranks. Kept at Mount Valerien near Paris, these pigeons are intended to be used for communication during major disasters.

9. Per-person, France is by far the most nuclear-powered country in the world, with 58 reactors for its 66 million inhabitants. Next comes Japan (54 reactors for 127 million ), and the United States (104 reactors for 319 million inhabitants).

10. France was the first country to introduce a public transport system. In the 1660s, « five-floor carriages » were a system of horse-drawn carriages circulating at a fixed time and on lines linking various neighborhoods of Paris. The concept was developed by Blaise Pascal.

Chumwa / Via commons.wikimedia.org

11. Until World War II, France was on the same time zone as London. After occupying the country in 1940, Germany forced France to conform with Berlin time, and this change has never been canceled.

12. In France, traders are under no obligation to give change to their customers. According to the law, it is the customer who has to pay with the exact money.

13. In 1940, France and the United Kingdom briefly considered merging into one nation to face the German invasion. The project included common citizenship and a single parliament .

14. In France, trains run on the left – except in the eastern border region of Alsace-Moselle. Why? Because the area was German territory when the railway was constructed.

15. With 11 million km², France has the second largest maritime surface area after the United States. As some requests of France have not yet been validated by the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, the marine territory could even extend to an additional 1 million km².

16. France has the most powerful radar ship in the world. Called Monge, it was designed to be able to monitor the course of nuclear missiles. Its most impressive achievement to date: detecting a monkey wrench which had been lost in space by an American astronaut.

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