20 amazing facts about France and the French language that you didn't know!

 

 

#1 - France is the largest country in the European Union :

Its surface area is 633,000 km2 (550,000 km2 for metropolitan France). This represents 15% of the European territory.

 

#2 - The word "oiseaux" is a unique word :

It's indeed the longest word in which none of its letters are pronounced individually.

 

#3 - France is the country with the most time zones in the world !

In metropolitan France, there is only one time zone.

However, thanks to its overseas territories, France has a total of 12 different time zones.

In comparison, the United States has 10 different time zones.

 

France is the country with the most time zones in the world.

 

#4 - France is on German time :

Speaking of time zones, did you know that since the German occupation in 1940, France has taken Berlin's time zone ?

And yes, before the war France had the same time zone as London. After invading France, the Germans decided to change the time in France to the same time as Berlin, for convenience.

Since then, we've kept this German time zone.

 

#5 - There is one city in France which is unique :

Do you know why ? Because it's the city with the shortest name in Europe. There is a city in France called Y.

It's located in the Somme, in the north of France. Its habitants are called the Ypsilonians

 

#6 - The French army has something unique compared to other armies in Europe.

Do you have any idea what it is ?

A revolutionary nuclear weapon ? Spy robots ?

No, the French army is the only one in Europe that still has carrier pigeons in its ranks

 

Pigeons in the French army

 

#7 -  The letter "ù" is present in only one word in English :

It can be found in the word : où.

 

#8 -  Europe is not the continent with the most French speakers in the world:

It's in Africa that we find the most Francophones.

Africa has 54.7% Francophones compared to 36.4% in Europe

 

#9 - The longest palindrome in French is the verb «Ressasser» :

Do you know what a palindrome is ?

A palindrome is a word that can be read from right to left and left to right.

 

#10 - France shares its largest frontier with ...

.... Brazil !

France shares a border with Brazil through French Guiana, an overseas territory

 

#11 - The word "oeil" is unique:

The word "œil" is the only word in the French language that begins with a letter other than its plural, which is "yeux".

 

 

#12 - France is the country with the most roundabouts in the world :

France holds many records, one that will surely bring back bad memories if you've ever driven in France.

France is the country with the most roundabouts in the world: with 30,000 roundabouts

 

#13 - A fascinating anagram :

"Endolori" is an anagram for "indolore", which is also its antonym.

It's a headache !

"Endolori" is an anagram for "indolore", which is also its antonym.

 

#14 - Until 2012, women weren't allowed to wear trousers !

The defence of women's rights is more topical than ever in France, but did you know that until 2012, women were not allowed to wear trousers!

Unless they were on a bicycle or horseback.

This is a law that dates back to 1800, but was only removed from French law in 2012.

Of course, before 2012, women were not punished and had the right to wear trousers as they wished.

 

#15 - Another fascinating anagram :

The anagram for "guérison" is "soigneur".

It's poetic. Healing does not happen without healer 

 

The anagram for "guérison" is "soigneur".

 

#16 - Another amazing fact about French law :

In France prostitution is legal, i.e. a prostitute has the right to exercise his or her professional activity.

However, it is forbidden by law to use the services of a prostitute.

Basically, a prostitute is legal, but his or her clients are not.

 

#17 - Female AND male :

I know how much of a problem you have with French names.

But did you know that there are words in French that do not have a clearly defined gender: "après-midi", "enzyme", "palabre", "country" and "HLM" . You can then use them in both masculine and feminine forms.

 

#18 - In France, more than 300 types of cheese are produced.

To the delight of all of us, in France we produce more than 300 kinds of cheese.

I'm telling you this just because I have a passion for cheese.

 

 

#19 -  Ails or Aulx ?

The word "ail" has two plurals: "ails" or "aulx.

 

#20 - France is the most visited country in the world :

Another record held by France: France is the most visited country in the world.

 

 

So, what did you think of these 20 amazing facts about France and the French language ?

I'll see you soon for new adventures in French, of course ! 🇫🇷