French Connection: 76 Surprising Tidbits About France’s History, Culture, and Cuisine

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1Tour de France winner

Tour de France winner

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

2. 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."

3. 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

4. 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.

5. 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.

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6Handcuffing policy

Handcuffing policy

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.

7. 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.

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

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

10. 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.

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11Iron Harvest

Iron Harvest

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

12. 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.

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

14. 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.

15. 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

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16Child beauty pageants

Child beauty pageants

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

17. 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'.

18. 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

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

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



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

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

23. 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.

24. 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"

25. 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.

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