Learning facts about France can make your trip more interesting and fun. Maybe you'll decide to go see the world's tallest bridge, located in a really beautiful area in southern France. Or you might want to sample all the cheese varieties, well maybe… there are 1,000!
Largest country in Western Europe by area.
The only country in Europe facing both the North Sea and the Mediterranean
Highest mountain in Western Europe, Mount Blanc 15,771 feet / 4807 meters. (shares Mont Blanc with Italy)
63.8 million people
2nd largest in Western Europe (#1 Germany)
The Euro, since 2002
prior: the Franc
Produces over 1,000 varieties of cheese.
The biggest exporter of cheese in the world.
The 3rd largest producer of cheese in the world (#1 USA, #2 Germany)
2nd largest consumer of cheese (Greece #1)
2nd largest producer of wine in the world (#1 Italy)
In 1782, the Montgolfier brothers invented the first successful hot air balloon that ascended untethered with a person aboard. King Louis the XVI was so impressed he elevated their father to the nobility and the family name became "de Montgolfier". The French word for hot air balloon is "montgolfier"
The Eiffel tower was the tallest structure in the world from 1889 - 1930
See these Eiffel Tower Pictures from early construction till now.
The tallest bridge in the world is the Millau Viaduct in Millau, France. Spans the Tarn River Gorge in southern France. Travel southern France (our travel blog) and visit this stunning structure.
French company Carrefour is the largest hypermarket/superstore chain in Europe. It is the 2nd largest in the world topped only by US giant Walmart. See French supermarkets guide and how to shop.
The first tidal electric generating plant in the world, La Rance, and the 2nd largest in the world. Located on the Rance River Estuary in Brittany France. Built in 1966.
The Tour de France is the largest annual sporting event in the world.
It starts at the end of June/beginning of July. The race lasts 3 weeks and the cyclists cover 3500 kms. You can watch it from the side of the road.
The Tour de France history is fascinating.
Map of Paris ©Creative Commons