The birthplace of the revolution, home of the baguette. Today we’re looking at facts about France, one of the largest European nations.
From their exquisite and obsessive cuisine, to their way with the arts and crafts, this country has plenty of interesting facts to look at.
1. A 25000 year old proof of friendship between a boy and a dog was found in a cave
There are many interesting things in French Caves such as paintings of rhinos, deer and other beautiful animals, but today we’re not looking at art, but footprints.
Cited as the oldest evidence between man and dog co-operating, a set of footprints were found in one of these caves, the Chauvet Cave.
The footprints left by an 8-10 year old boy alongside those of a dog or a wolf indicates a relationship between the 2 species that dates at least 25000 years into the past.
2. France is one of the few countries where citizens automatically are organ-donors
Now French citizens have to manually opt out of being organ donors, which hopefully saves many lives each year in France.
Belgium, Poland and Portugal are other countries with this initiative within Europe, and more countries are expected to follow suit.
Other countries, such as Singapore have the same rule with one exception. If you opt out and later need a transplant yourself, you’ll find your name at the bottom of the list.
3. When France received the mummy containing “Ramses II” they also could check his passport.
Egypt actually issued the mummy his very own passport, stating among other things that his occupation was “King (deceased).”
When Ramses II arrived at the french airport he was received with full military honors befitting a king.
4. Foreign Legion members who spill blood in service can become French citizens
Due to having fought and being wounded for France, anyone who fulfills this requirement can immediately apply for a french citizenship.
For those seeking entry to the country, simply being in service for 3 years in the Foreign Legion will also grant you that.
5. An assassination attempt on a French King cost 18 people their lives
In 1835 a man discharged a homemade weapon that had 25 shots in it’s 25 barrels.
The king himself got away only grazed by a single bullet, but due to the potency of the weapon, 18 people lost their lives and 22 more were wounded.
6. Napoleon called for a 10 day mourning period when George Washington died
Talk about respect. In 1799 the French First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte ordered a 10 day mourning period.
Perhaps more surprising is the fact that the British navy chose to fly their flags at half mast after hearing the news.
7. The guillotine was the official method of execution until 1981
While most of us have come to know of this device because of the French Revolution, it was used much more recently.
Because France abolished the death penalty in 1981, the guillotine is no longer used, and no longer draws a crowd.
8. The winners of Tour de France have been doped 40 times in the last 54 years
While we all knew that it was bad, this figure seems so absurd that perhaps it really is time to change the rules.
According to this heavily moderated Wikipedia thread about Tour de France doping, those are the facts.
9. France once tried their own calendar system: French Republican Calendar
Who can blame them? We all love as many different standards for time and other measurements as possible, right?
The reason for rolling out a new calendar system was based on a wish for signaling change on all accounts, coming in the wake of the French Revolution.
Their version of the calendar was based on a week having 10 days, a day having 10 hours, opting for a system easily dividable.
10. A french man named Antoine Parmentier encouraged people to steal his potatoes
As part of what we today would call a marketing ploy Antoine-Augustine Parmentier had an idea.
Having invested heavily into potato farming, but having trouble getting people interested in this new food, he took to alternative measures.
He instructed guards to stand around his potato fields, which attracted attention and curiosity, and told his guards to accept bribes from people wanting to taste that valuable exotic crop.