facts about france

Ten Things You Didn't Know About France

  1. In France, an incredible ten billion baguettes are baked each year.  The law states that a traditional baguette must only contain flour, yeast and salt.
  2. The French healthcare system was ranked first in the world in 1997, with the current French life expectancy being about eighty years of age.
  3. The word ‘denim’ comes from the name of a sturdy fabric called serge, originally made in Nîmes, France, by the Andre family. Levi Strauss saw the market for hard wearing strong clothing for gold diggers and land workers and set up his factory in California.
  4. France is the most popular destination for tourism in the entire world, with over eighty million visitors coming to the country in 2007. Compare that to the second most popular tourism destination, Spain, which received only about fifty-eight million visitors.
  5. Only roughly seventy percent of France’s population who were between the ages of sixteen and sixty-four, the French retirement age, was working in 2004. This is one of the primary reasons for France’s relatively low gross domestic product, especially when compared with countries like the United States and Japan.
  6. France is home to the most extensive system of railways in Western Europe. The system has high speed trains that travel upwards of three hundred kilometers per hour, or about two hundred miles per hour. These trains are used primarily by commercial rail companies.
  7. France uses a civil legal system, meaning that judges are interpreters of the laws, not creators of them. This is compared with the legal systems of countries like the United States and the United Kingdom, which have common law systems, in which judges are actually able to create laws and interpret statutes. They are called common law because decisions made by previous judges are designed to be followed from that point onward.
  8. Over half of France, about fifty-four percent, identifies as Christian, and thirty-one percent of citizens said that they were not religious. Judaism, Buddhism, and Islam are each represented by a fraction of one percent of the population.
  9. France is the nineteenth largest country in the world in terms of population, with sixty-four and a half million people. It is the forty-third largest country in the world in terms of land area, with about two hundred and sixty thousand square miles of land.
  10. The name “France” is taken from the Latin word for “land of the Franks.” The Franks were a tribe of people that invaded the region and ruled it thousands of years ago.

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