SACRE-BLEU! 11 Amazing Facts About France


Photo: Photo by Flickr user Nimages DR

Today IS NOT Bastille day.But as it is the French National Holiday, we thought we’d put together some interesting facts about France, Western Europe’s largest country by size and second biggest economy by GDP.

France is the world's most visited tourist destination.

78 million tourists visited France in 2010, making it the world's most popular tourist destination, followed by the United States and China. The world's most visited art museum is the Louvre.

Source: UNWTO World Tourism Barometer

The French healthcare system is the best in the world.

The World Health organisation recognised France as having the best healthcare system in the world. The United States came in at 37, just behind Costa Rica. France also has the lowest amenable mortality rates, which are deaths from diseases that can be treated easily by medical care or prevention.

Source: World Health organisation

Paris is the third most important location in the world for company's headquarters.

After Beijing and Tokyo, Paris is home to the most world headquarters, beating even New York.

Source: Fortune

Paris consistently ranks as one of the most expensive cities in the world.

The Economist and Mercer's Cost of Living Surveys consistently place Paris near the top on lists of the most expensive cities in the world.

According to Expatistan's cost of living index, here are some of the costs (converted in dollars) associated with living in Paris:

Gallon of Gas: $7.2

Big Mac Meal: $9.6

Average Rent for a 900 square foot furnished apartment: $2108 per month

Some of the world's biggest brands come from France.

L'Oreal is the world's largest cosmetic company, LVMH is the world's largest luxury company, AXA is the world's largest insurance company.

Source: CNN

One of the world's wealthiest women is French.

Liliane Bettencourt, the L'Oreal Heiress is worth more than $20 billion. It caused a scandal in France when Bettencourt's daughter petitioned the courts to investigate gifts her mother made in excess of a billion dollars to a photographer friend of hers, claiming he took advantage of her elderly mother.

Liliane and her daughter no longer speak.

Source: Fortune

The current French government is the Fifth Republic since 1792.

The first being the one formed after the French Revolution that lasted from 1792 until Napoleon came into power and formed the first French Empire in 1804.

The current government's constitution was set up in place by Charles De Gaulle in 1958, with him as the first president of the fifth republic.

In contrast, while the US constitution has been amended since its adoption in 1787, the US acts under the same basic framework established at its founding.

Source: Encyclopedia Brittanica

France is number 7 on the list of European Countries with the shortest work weeks.

The 35 hour work week is over, and now the average work week in France is 39.2 hours.

Check out our rankings of the European countries that work the least.

Source: Eurostat

In one indicator, France is Europe's wealthiest country.

According to Credit Suisse (pdf), in terms of aggregate wealth, the French are the richest Europeans, accounting for more than a fourth of Europe's wealthiest household.

Virtually every household in France has at least $1,000 in assets.

France is no longer the world's biggest wine producer, but the business is still booming.

Italy overtook France as the world's largest producer of wine's this year. However, French exports of wine grew 20.7 in the first quarter of 2011 on demand from emerging markets.

Source: Commodity Online

English-speakers think they do because of the fictional Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, written by the British Agatha Christie. The phrase is an outdated blasphemy ('sacred blue!').

(Source: Wordreference)

Now take an aerial tour of France...

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