Country Profile: 85 Facts & Figures About France

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Adrenaline addicts in France can buy a basic kidnap package where they've bundled away, bound and gagged, and kept incarcerated for four hours. Clients have no idea when the kidnappers will strike in order to maximize the surprise.

27. Despite World War 1, being over 100 years ago, France still recovers 900 tons of unexploded munitions (mostly from that war) every year.

28. When Catherine di Medici was the queen of France, she kept a 'Flying Squad' of 80 women tasked with sleeping with powerful men to extract their secrets.

29. There are castles for sale in France cheaper than old two bedroom apartments in Australia.

30. Paris holds an annual contest to find the city’s best baguette. Around 200 bakers each submit two baguettes (must be eligible) to be graded on quality, look, smell, taste, and crunch. The winner wins €4000 and a contract to supply the French president fresh baguettes every day for 1 year.

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31Canadian National Vimy Memorial

Canadian National Vimy Memorial

During the Nazi occupation of France, Hitler did not destroy the Canadian Vimy Memorial and told the Allies that it remained intact, as he admired the peaceful nature of the sculpture

32. Child beauty pageants are illegal in France, and punishable with up to 2 years in prison.

33. Despite the Seven Years' War between Britain and France, France instructed its ships not to interfere with the Endeavour's expedition to Tahiti to observe the 1769 Transit of Venus as it was ‘out on enterprises of service to all mankind'.

34. In France, by law, a bakery has to make all the bread it sells from scratch in order to have the right to be called a bakery

35. In France, nearly 96% of high schools have condom vending machines

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36Victor Lustig

Victor Lustig

A man named Victor Lustig in France impersonated a government official, and managed to sell the Eiffel Tower not once, but twice.

37. France is the only country in Europe to be completely self-sufficient in basic food production.

38. The first Tour de France winner (Maurice Garin) was disqualified because he cheated by taking the train

39. In France and Belgium, there is a folk character called "The Whipping Father" who accompanies St. Nicholas. He beats naughty children with sticks and carries them away in a bag.

40. When Napoleon emancipated the Jews he stated that "I will never accept any proposals that will obligate the Jewish people to leave France, because to me the Jews are the same as any other citizen in our country"

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41Thanksgiving grocery store

Thanksgiving grocery store

There is a grocery store named "Thanksgiving" in Paris that sells U.S. "cuisine" like Pop-Tarts, Heinz ketchup, and Skippy peanut butter to homesick ex-pats.

42. When Louis Rèard introduced the bikini in France in 1946, no models were willing to wear such revealing swimwear, so Rèard had to hire a stripper to model it.

43. While playing a game of Chess in France, Benjamin Franklin took his opponent's King after she inadvertently put it in check. When she said, "Ah, we don't take kings so" Franklin replied, "We do in America."

44. 5-time Tour de France winner, Miguel Indurain, had a resting heart rate of just 28 BPM. The average person rests at about 60 BPM.

45. France has done more nuclear weapons testing than the UK, China, Pakistan, India and North Korea combined



In France, it is illegal to deny that the holocaust happened.

47. The President of France is also the Co-Prince of Andorra. Therefore, Andorra is the only country in the world that has a democratically elected monarch.

48. Since 1997, a castle (Guédelon) is being built in France with the same materials, tools, and methods used by people in the 13th century. Scheduled to be completed in the 2020's.

49. In 1956 Britain, France, and Israel invaded Egypt to get back the Suez Canal. Despite being a military success and having minor losses, it had so much political fallout that most historians consider it the end of Britain as a superpower.

50. When a French artist is killed during the war, the government has a "died for France" designation which extends their post-mortem copyrights by 30 years


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