France is a beautiful country and an extremely popular destination for tourists. It’s also one of the most romantic places on Earth. The world-renowned attractions and friendly atmosphere make it ideal for travelers, but that’s not enough to get the most out of your trip. So, find out these fun facts about France before booking your next flight.
Fun facts about France
Many people think they know a lot about French culture and society because the topic comes up in conversation quite often. However, France has such a rich history that it’s almost impossible to comprehend it all. That’s especially true for outsiders who only know what the textbooks tell them.
Before traveling to France, make sure you pay respect to the locals by learning something unique about their way of life. It shows you have an interest in and appreciation for your differences. Here are 10 fun facts to help get you started:
They Appreciate Greetings in Their Own Language
The French find it incredibly charming to be greeted in their native tongue. In fact, some think it’s very disrespectful to be addressed in a foreign language. To leave a good first impression, at least learn how to say “hello,” “goodbye,” “please,” and “thank you” in French.
Not All the People Speak French
Since one border of France parallels Italy, many of the people living in that region speak Italian fluently. That means travelers should know a few key phrases in both languages if they want to explore the whole country. Meanwhile, be sure to ask locals about specific expectations in each small town.
The Name of the Country Isn’t Even French
Believe it or not, the word “France” is actually German. It comes from a tribe called “the Franks” and it means “liberated.” The country’s original name was “Gaul” before it was plundered by the tribe who then renamed it to signify their newly conquered territory and freedom.
You’ll Find Cheese Everywhere
French people love making and eating cheese. You’ll find it in every restaurant because the country takes great pride in their fromage. The variety is unbelievable (1200 different flavors to be exact), and the quality incomparable. So, arrive hungry and be prepared to sample several recipes while you’re there.
You Can’t Throw Away or Burn Your Food
While some countries like Canada and the United States make it illegal to give away perfectly good leftovers from the supermarket, grocery stores in France are required by law to donate their unsold scraps. So, people with little or nothing to eat can get taken care of in their conservative consumption system.
There Are More Time Zones in France Than Anywhere Else
The United States has six different time zones because of its vast size, but France is smaller so you’d think it would have fewer time zones. As it turns out, there are twice as many in less than half the space. The country’s 12 distinct time zones can make traveling difficult for anyone who isn’t prepared for constant clock changes.
Good Parents Get a Medal from the Government
Their government hands out rewards to parents who take their duties seriously and raise well-behaved children. Dignified caretakers can receive the “Medal of the French Family” if they’re actively involved in creating highly respected members of French society. Some parents feel pressured by it while others think of it as terrific motivation.
French People Invented a Whole New System of Measurement
As if France couldn’t get anymore refined, its native geniuses conquered the mathematical world too. A vicar named Gabriel Mouton created the decimal system in the late 17th century. Since then, the system has been used to help people convert metric units into Imperial measurements for international trade and travel.
There Are a Lot of Roundabouts in Traffic
French city centers regulate busy roads with roundabouts. . . tons of them. That means fewer stop signs and lights, but it also means shorter wait times and fewer traffic jams. As a tourist in France, it’s important to prepare for the non stop flow of cars and pedestrians. And don’t forget that everyone drives on the opposite side over there.
France Has Art in Every Nook and Cranny
Aside from the amazing architecture, France is known for its one-of-a-kind art museums and natural history sites. Even the landscape is impressive, with cave drawings and stone carvings sprinkled all throughout the land. Most notable is the Lascaux Caves, so add that to your itinerary.
For more fun facts about France, use polite French greetings to introduce yourself to a local. Then, begin asking respectful questions about their culture, society, and history.
Learn this before traveling to France
Imagine how it feels to meet a tourist in your own land. You want to be friendly but there’s a language barrier that prevents you from getting to know each other. Most likely, you’d prefer them to memorize a few basic words and responses to make it easier on everybody.
That’s exactly how people in France feel about tourists from other countries. Many French citizens speak several languages, so they expect their visitors to do the same. Get along better by learning how to do the following 5 things before touring France:
- Order food or drinks from a restaurant
- Ask where a specific place is located
- Explain that you’re lost or hurt
- Request assistance from a service worker
- Make apologies whenever they’re needed
Remember, you may not know the language perfectly but at least you’ll show more respect to locals by attempting to speak your piece in French. For the best results, listen to the way natives pronounce and use each word or phrase so you can communicate effectively.
It can be a lot of fun to visit France. The country is beautiful all year long and the people are warm toward tourists who respect their language and culture. So, learn some fun facts about France and then teach yourself how to speak properly. That way, you can enjoy the arts and culture of the world’s most romantic region.