Country Profile: 85 Facts & Figures About France

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1Severiano de Heredia

Severiano de Heredia

In 1879, Severiano de Heredia was the first western capital to have a black mayor.

2. 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

3. 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"

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

5. In 1835, a man attempted to assassinate (Giuseppe Mario Fieschi) the king of France (Louis Philippe I) with a hand-made 25-barrel rifle. The discharge killed 18 people and wounded 22. The king was only grazed by a bullet.

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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.

7. 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."

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

9. 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

10. 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.

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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.

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

13. 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

14. 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.

15. 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

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16Charles de Gaulle

Charles de Gaulle

During a nuclear scare in 1960, Charles de Gaulle, the President of France secretly went to the President of the United States (Dwight Eisenhower) 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."

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

18. 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."

19. 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

20. 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.

21Texas A&M wine study

Texas A&M wine study

A Texas A&M study invited people to taste wines labeled "France," "California," and "Texas," and while nearly all ranked the French as best, in fact, all three were the same Texan wine.

22. In Japan, if someone is photographed or filmed while handcuffed, their hands have to be pixelated if it is used on TV or in the newspapers. In France, a law prohibits media from airing images of people in handcuffs, or otherwise restrained, before they have been convicted by a court.

23. During the 2015 Paris attacks the German National Soccer Team couldn't go back to their hotel and as a result had to sleep on mattresses and as a sign of solidarity the French National Team slept with them in the stadium.

24. France wants to ensure all new rooftops must be topped with either solar panels or plants

25. A Paris shooting survivor (Lilian Lepere) sued a TV station for giving away his location during the shooting

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