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10 Interesting Facts about France

Did you know that the hot air balloon and the parachute are both french inventions? Today we look into 10 interesting facts about France – another country in the list of our cloud storage locations. 

1. France is one of the most popular tourist destinations

In 2016, the country had 82,6 million international visitors, which was 7 million more than both USA and Spain. The main attractions are of course Paris and Disneyland, but also the French Riviera, Alsace, and the lovely wine regions.

2. Most time zones in the world

Did you know that France uses 12 different time zones? At first, that might sound shocking, but if you think about it’s not that strange since the French have colonized a big part of the world. Within the French territory in Europe, only 1 time zone is being used, but accounting all areas outside Europe it stretches over 12 different time zones.

These areas include Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Polynesia, French Guyana, Reunion och New Caledonia.

3. Several famous inventions are French

Among the many inventions, some notable ones are the hot air balloon, pasteurizer, stethoscope, and the parachute. Each of these has changed the world.

In recent years there is one particular famous French invention, namely the cell phone camera, which was first developed by Philippe Kahn, back in 1997.

4. More than half of the world’s roundabouts are in France

A pretty funny fact about France, at least for us in Sweden, as we also have many roundabouts. Here, however, the roundabouts have been taken a few steps further with more than 30,000 rounds in total, which represents a little more than half of the world’s roundabouts.

5. France is the first country who forbade supermarkets to throw away or burn unsold food

Back in 2016, a historical decision was made where France became the first country in the world to ban supermarkets and food stores from throwing away or burn unsold food. From now on, all redundant food must be donated.

6. The Guillotine was the official execution method until the death penalty was abolished

The guillotine was introduced as the official way to execute people back in 1792. It was a simple way that also let the people watch offenders get their punishment. Luckily, the death penalty was abolished in 1981.

The last execution with a guillotine in France happened in 1977 after a man from Tunisia named Hamida Djandoubi was sentenced to torture and later death.

7. Louis XIX was king for 20 minutes

The shortest period a king or queen has ever reigned over a country was when Louis XIX, technically could claim himself as the king of France. It took about 20 minutes before he abdicated from the throne, and he never really ruled the country.

8. The biggest country in EU

If you measure the land area, France is the biggest country in EU, and the second biggest country in Europe if you don’t count Russia. Ukraine is bigger but is yet to become a member of the European Union. And the majority of Russia is located in Asia.

9. In France, it’s possible to marry a dead person

In the 50’s it was decided that it should be allowed to marry a dead person, under special circumstances. One needs to prove that there were already plans on getting married, and also send a formal request to the President.

The one who marries a dead person will not inherit and the family of the deceased must approve the marriage as well.

10. Male impotence was considered a crime in the 17th century

Back in the 1600’s in France, it was considered a crime if a man wasn’t able to get an erection, and this was enough to let a woman file for divorce. If a married woman accused her husband of male impotence, he had to prove the contrary in front of an expert panel.

If he failed, which was understandably quite common, the man could also demand to get a second chance by having intercourse with his wife in front of a judge. Quite an obscene fact about France. The law was banished in 1677.