Curious facts about France

Curious facts about France
  • Seaside resorts in France were given catchy or poetic names, typically after (semi-)precious stones. On the Channel and North Sea coast you can find the Opal Coast, Alabaster Coast, Mother-of-pearl Coast, Emerald Coast, Pink Granit Coast; on the Atlantic coast, some beaches are known as the Jade Coast, Silver Coast or Love Coast; while on the Mediterranean side, tourists are greeted with colorful names like the Amethyst Coast, Ruby Coast, Mauresque Coast or Azure Coast. The French Riviera (Côte d’Azur) was the first to acquire such a nickname, in 1887.
  • The largest canyon in Europe is the Verdon Gorge, near Castellane and Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, where the Provence meets the Alps. It is the world’s second largest gorge, at about 25 kilometers in length and up to 700 meters deep.
  • French people cheek kiss to greet each other between family and friends, even between men. The number of kisses varies according to the region, from 1 (e.g. in the tip of Brittany) to 4 (e.g. Paris and most of the North), and occasionally up to 5 in Corsica.
  • French people have the highest female and third highest male life expectancy in the European Union.
  • A 2007 study revealed that the French were the biggest consumers of medicines in Europe, both in quantity and total money spent per person.
  • Until 1964 French women were not allowed to open a bank account or get a passport without their husband’s permission.
  • French used to be the language of the nobility and diplomacy all across Europe and in the Ottoman Empire, and then the world’s first real international language until English replaced it in the mid-20th century.
  • France is the only continental European country or Eurozone member where cheques are still used as one of the main forms of payment. Most of European countries stopped using them since the 1990’s because it was not deemed a safe method of payment.
  • France is the only country in the world where any kind of personal DNA tests, even paternity tests and genetic genealogy tests, are prohibited by law.
  • A child born in France from a single mother can be recognized by any man who claims the child as his own at the town hall, even if he is not the biological father and the mother disagrees.
  • In France, in exceptional cases it is possible to marry a deceased person with the authorization of the President of the Republic.
  • The name ‘France’ comes from the Franks, a Germanic tribe that settled in the Western Roman Empire from the 2nd century, and then took over most of Gaul after the collapse of the empire.

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