100 Interesting Facts About France

1Antoine-Augustin Parmentier

In order to popularize potatoes in France, Antoine-Augustin Parmentier placed armed guards around his potato fields, instructing the guards to accept all bribes and allow people to "steal" the crop.

2. In Belgium, Poland, Portugal, and France everyone is automatically an organ donor unless they refuse beforehand.

3. Japanese tourists often find Paris so disappointing that they get physically sick. It's called the Paris Syndrome.

4. When scientists first realized that American gay men and Africans in France were both suffering from the same disease (AIDS), French researchers sent over a sample to be tested. But a scientist with a grudge against the French Institute switched out the sample, setting research back years.

5. When the mummy of Ramses II was sent to France in the mid-1970s, it was actually issued a legal Egyptian passport. Ramses' occupation? "King (deceased)."

6Severiano de Heredia

Paris, France, was the first western capital to have a black mayor (1879)

7. There is a fortress castle called Mont Saint-Michel off the coast of Normandy, France that is accessible by foot at low tide but becomes an island at high tide. It was the only spot in Normandy that never fell to the English during the 100 Years War. It has also served as a church and prison

8. Lafayette, a Frenchman from the revolutionary war who later toasted "to the perpetual union of the United States. it has always served us in times of storm. one day it will save the world". American troops sent to France in world war 1 visited the grave and said "Lafayette, we are here"

9. Any member of the French Foreign Legion wounded while defending France can immediately apply for French citizenship as he is "French by spilled blood"

10. In 1835, a man attempted to assassinate the king of France with a hand-made 25-barrel rifle. The discharge killed 18 people and wounded 22. The king was only grazed by a bullet.

11International kidnapping Stepfather

After German courts found insufficient evidence against his daughter’s killer, a dad hired 2 guys to kidnap the man and transport him to France. The man was found “tied up and dumped near a French courthouse.” He got 15 years in prison. Dad got a 1-year suspended sentence for kidnapping.

12. A restaurant manager at Disneyland Paris killed himself in 2010 and scratched a message on a wall saying "Je ne veux pas retourner chez Mickey" which translates to "I don't want to work for Mickey anymore."

13. When George Washington died in 1799, Napoleon ordered 10 days of nationwide mourning in France.

14. Astronomer Guillaume Le Gentil who in 1760 went from France to India to measure the transit of Venus. He missed out on both chances to do so, contracted dysentery and nearly went insane. When he made it home he learned he had been declared dead, his wife remarried and his estate plundered

15. Germany’s World War II invasion of France was aided by crystal meth. New research says tablets of the stimulant enabled German troops to stay awake for three days and three nights and push through the Ardennes mountains.

16Guillotine

The guillotine remained the official method of execution in France until the death penalty was abolished in 1981. The final three guillotinings in France were all child-murderers.

17. Due to heavy inbreeding, Louis XIV of France (17th century) is descended from Louis IX of France (13th century) in 368 different ways

18. Scientology isn't legally considered a religion in all countries. Switzerland identifies it as a commercial enterprise, France and Chile as a cult, and Norway as a non-profit

19. In 1966 French President Charles de Gaulle demanded that all American military personnel leave France. American President Lyndon Johnson asked if that order applied to American soldiers in French cemeteries.

20. The 1913 Tour de France rules forbade outside assistance when riders’ bicycles broke. At one point, the race leader’s front fork broke and he trekked 10km to a forge where he repaired it himself, as he happened to also be a skilled mechanic. He was penalized 10 min because a child worked the bellows

21When Charles met the US President secretly

During a nuclear scare in 1960, the President of France secretly went to the President of the United States and told him "I do not know what Khrushchev is going to do, nor what is going to happen, but whatever he does.... I want you to know that I am with you to the end."

22. The winner of Tour de France has been positive for doping 40 times in the past 53 years.

23. Paris is exclusively a twin city of Rome and vice versa. They have the motto "Only Paris is worthy of Rome; only Rome is worthy of Paris."

24. National ensign of France is not divided into equal parts, but instead into a ratio of 30:33:37, to compensate for the flapping of the flag making the furthest segment appear smaller

25. France had its own calendar for only 12 years starting in 1792. Each week had 10 days, each day 10 hours, each hour 100 minutes, and each minute 100 seconds.

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