100 Interesting Facts About France

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76Fort Vaux

The French held out at Fort Vaux against crushing German attacks for 3 days with no water. The commander sent requests for aid, the last one saying "This is my last pigeon". The pigeon was awarded France's highest military honor.

77. During the German occupation of France, Edith Piaf was allowed to perform for Nazis. As a reward, they allowed her to pose for photos with French prisoners. She forged the photos into identity papers for their escape plan

78. France was still executing people by guillotine when Pac-Man was introduced

79. The Japanese Embassy in Paris (France) has a 24-hour hotline for Japanese Tourists who develop debilitating psychological problems because the city is not as nice as they imagined it to be.

80. France banned mentions of Twitter and Facebook on TV and radio, as in "Follow us on Twitter" or "Like us on Facebook" because they were deemed as promotion and unfair to other sites

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81Panama Canal construction

France lost so many workers during its failed attempt to dig the Panama Canal, that for a time their project's main source of income was selling the corpses (pickled in brine water) to medical schools all over the world as cadavers.

82. When Guinea declared its independence from France, the French retaliated by burning office files, cutting telephone lines, and even ripped electrical sockets out of walls before leaving the country, effectively cutting off all aid

83. Alexandre Dumas was black and suffered at the hands of racism for most of his life, yet still was celebrated as France's most widely read writer having written 'The Three Musketeers' and 'The Count of Monte Cristo'.

84. The Louvre was originally built as a fortress in 1190 to protect Paris from the Vikings

85. Women in Ancient Egypt and 18th century France used to keep a scented pouch in their vagina for a while before presenting it to a prospective lover.

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86Hotel Arbez

There is a hotel (Hotel Arbez) that sits right on the border of Switzerland and France. A set of stairs started in France and ended in Switzerland upstairs. The upper rooms were thus ideal as a hideout for French Resistance members during WWII as the Nazis weren't allowed to cross into the Swiss side.

87. A chemist in France unboiled an egg.

88. After winning the Tour de France in 2006 Oscar Pereiro announced his real dream was to play professional soccer. He would quit cycling, join a Spanish team, and score twice in his first season.

89. There are more people speaking French in Africa than in France

90. A woman in France received a rather substantial phone bill of 11,721,000,000,000,000€ (6,000 times the GDP of France itself). The phone company suggested she pay it off in multiple installments and only admitted their error after further pressing.

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91Medal of the French Family

France gives medals to citizens who have successfully raised several children with dignity.

92. The Man in the Iron Mask existed. He stayed in the mask for 34 years leading to much speculation about his identity and why the king of France would want his face hidden and why he was kept alive instead of executed.

93. The German Empire in its 47 years of existence, won more Nobel Prizes in science than Britain, France, Russia and the USA combined.

94. Over the past 800 years, France fought in 185 military battles and won 132 of them, giving the French military the best record of any country in Europe.

95. France's greatest boxer Marcel Cerdan won 113 fights out of 117, 66 were Knock Outs. He died in a plane crash shortly after becoming world champion. The purpose of the journey was to see his mistress, famous singer Édith Piaf.

96African descents

Nobody knows the exact number of people of African descent living in France because it officially declares itself 'color blind' so the law forbids official surveys accounting for racial or ethnic origin.

97. A French man named Benoît Lecomte once swam 3,716 miles across the entire Atlantic Ocean, from Massachusetts to France; the feat took him a total of 73 days, 5 of which included him being followed by a great white shark

98. When Louis the XIV of France was shown a new map of his country, which had been freshly surveyed by astronomers using more accurate methods, he saw that France had shrunk by 20 percent. He is said to have exclaimed, "I have just lost more territory to my astronomers than to all my enemies!"

99. When de Gaulle withdrew France from NATO and ordered all US troops out, Secretary of State Dean Rusk asked him for clarification, "Does your order include the bodies of American soldiers in France's cemeteries?"

100. Andre the Giant died in his sleep while in Paris for his father's funeral. His father passed 12 days before.



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