For most of the world, France is the ‘romantic capital’ of Europe. But this fact is getting more and more cliched with time. You need to have more than only one reason to go to France. France has got more to its history than romantic strolls and valentine’s day. Here are the top six surprising facts about France that’ll dazzle you immediately.
1. Wearing Pants Was A Crime In France Until 2012
Yes, you read that right. If you are a woman, you couldn’t wear pants in public until 2012. It is a funny law for a country like France to have. Sarcastically enough, the government forgot the weird code from the 19th century. As per the rule, women could wear pants in public if they were riding a horse or a bike, in the modern-day. The law came into existence because the government did not agree with women’ disguising’ as men for ‘security reasons.’ After the late 1960s, the women would formally ask authorities if they could wear pants in public.
In 2012, the French Women’s Rights Minister, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, agreed to nullify the law, freeing thousands of women of their charges.
2. Unclaimed Credits
Neighboring and visiting countries often give a host of credits to France, even if it has nothing to do with the state. What we call the French people never discovered a French kiss. History has it that during the Second World War, American and British soldiers were in the country, and they saw French soldiers kissing their partners passionately. This much passionate kiss left them wondering over its existence because it was not very popular in their country. Since then, the visiting soldiers titled this kiss of love as the French kiss.
Another incident of French Fries not being French is somewhat the same too. French fries are initially from Belgium. Thanks to the soldiers from WW2 who mistook Belgium for France due to the similar language of two nations. Now, the whole world calls this fried potato dish with only one name – French Fries.
3. Passion For Bread
Almost every person in the world eats bread in their lifetime, and so do French people. The only difference is that they are very passionate and precise about their bread. For instance, every long loaf of bread is called a baguette in other parts of a world, but things are different in France. French people are so passionate about their bread that they have various measures and names for every bread they make.
According to the authentic French tradition, a baguette is a bread made with only four ingredients – wheat flour, salt, yeast, and water. Apart from the elements, the dimensions of a baguette are also strict – 65 centimeters in length, 3 centimeters in height, and 5 centimeters in width. Moreover, the weight of a baguette can’t be more than 0.50 pounds (250 grams). Also, bread thinner than a baguette is called a ‘ficelle.’ A bread thicker than the baguette is called a flute. The length of this article won’t justify the types of bread French people have, because bread is not just a side dish, it’s a cultural sentiment.
4. Male Impotence Was Offensive
Until the 1600s, it was a crime if a male cannot get an erection at the time of sexual intercourse. Let alone crime; it was a valid judicial reason for a woman to divorce the man.
What’s more bizarre is the fact that the man had to prove his manhood in front of the judges if he wanted to deny the charges. The accused man would have to do intercourse in front of the judiciary panel with his wife. Moreover, he had more than one chance to prove himself to be free of the defaming charge. This fact is by far the most obscene in the history of France, and thanks to the regulatory bodies for forbidding the law in 1677.
However, obscene this rule may sound. We should never forget that the law was for the liberation of women, and France was one of the first to think extensively about women’s empowerment.
5. France Hosts More Tourists Than Any Country In The World
Tourism is so famous for France that it makes a soaring 10 percent of the country’s total GDP. As per reports, the country generates almost 1.200 million jobs in the tourism sector, and the revenue stands at 83 billion Euros.
In 2013, the country was welcoming 85 million tourists, and no other country matches these statistics. Second in the row is the USA at 60 million tourists per year. Moreover, the country shares its borders with eight countries, and anyone can load their car roof rack with camping gear and explore this amazing country. The reason why France attracts so many visitors is its exquisite cuisine, historical architecture, romantic getaways, and much more. Another reason contributing to the high number of tourists is that the country has most (43) UNESCO world heritage sites in Europe. With so many recognizable sites, there are still 37 places waiting for UNESCO’s approval. This fact indicates France is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, and you can’t afford not to go there.
6. France & the European Union
Most people visiting the country don’t know that the country is one of the six states that were behind the European Union’s origination. Together, these six countries are known as the “Inner Six.” The other five countries are West Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Moreover, the Treaty of Paris that gave birth to the European Union (then, European Communities) was also signed in France.
France not only dominates Europe diplomatically but also has the largest geographical area as a country in the whole continent. The entire physical space of the country stands at an astonishing figure of two hundred eleven thousand miles.
The list of facts about this marvelous country is endless, and can’t be compromised in a single article. To witness all the facts in their prime, you will have to visit France yourself. Make sure you book a trip that’s over a week because that is the minimum time you need to visit all the famous places. If you plan to travel in 2020, take all the precautionary measures to save yourself from the Covid-19 infection.
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