Interesting Facts About France
Facts 1 - 20
1. The official name of France is la République française (The French Republic) and its motto is Liberté. Égalité. Fraternité. It means 'Liberty. Equality. Brotherhood.'
La devise de la République française.
The motto of the French Republic.
The capital city of France is Paris. The motto of Paris is:- Il est battu par les flots mais ne sombre pas. It means:- It is beaten by the waves but does not flounder.
The motto of Paris (la devise de Paris) is written in Latin on the city's coat of arms:- Fluctuat nec mergitur.
The French word for 'the coat of arms' is le blason.
2. The head of the French Republic is elected by the people. He is called le président de la République française. His official residence is at le Palais de l'Élysée and the address is:- 55, rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré, Paris.
The current president is called Emmanuel Macron and he is the youngest French president ever: - just 39 years old when he was elected on 7 May 2017.
3. The emblem of The French Republic is in gold and consists of the letters R and F entwined in the centre. The emblem can be seen on the front cover of le passeport français.
4. The name 'France' means 'Land of the Franks.' The Franks were a Germanic tribe who lived in Northern Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire.
5. Apart from France, French is the official language of the following countries -
Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Congo, French Caledonia, French Guiana, French Polynesia, Gabon, Guadaloupe, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Luxembourg, Mali, Martinique, Monaco, Niger, Senegal, Togo, the Canadian province of Quebec and the Swiss districts of Vaud, Neuchatel, Geneva and Jura.
French is one of the official languages in the following countries -
Belgium, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Channel Islands (Guernsey and Jersey), Comoros, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Haiti, Madagascar, Rwanda, Seychelles and Vanuatu.
French is widely spoken in the following countries -
Algeria, Andorra, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Dominica, Egypt, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Lebanon, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, United States (Louisiana, New England) and Vietnam.
6. A person who speaks French as their first language is called un Francophone. The French language is called la langue française. The people of France are called les Français.
7. The flag of France is bleu, blanc, rouge. It is known as le drapeau tricolore (or the tricolour flag). It has existed since 1794. The three colours are represented in equal proportions. According to the French government's website, the colours are a joining together of: blue and red - these colours traditionally represent Paris, and white - this colour traditionally represents royalty.
8. The French national anthem is called la Marseillaise. It was composed by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle in 1792. It is called la Marseillaise because it was first sung by soldiers from the city of Marseille as they marched into Paris.
9. Here are some important emblems of France:
a. Le coq (the rooster) is used on the sportswear of national French teams. It is a courageous animal, willing to strive to win victory.
b. The lily (la fleur de lys) and the iris (l'iris) are two flowers used as emblems for France.
c. The French symbol of freedom and of the Republic is the figure known as Marianne. It is seen on coins, stamps and paintings. Marianne wears a 'cap of liberty' - un bonnet phrygien.
10. The country of France is the largest territory in the European Union and it is divided into areas called régions. The régions are further divided into smaller areas called départements.
There are thirteen régions. They are -
1. Grand Est 2. Nouvelle-Aquitaine 3. Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
4. Bretagne 5. Bourgogne-Franche-Comté 6. Centre-Val de Loire
7. Corse 8. Occitanie 9. Normandie 10. Hauts-de-France
11. Île-de-France 12. Pays de la Loire 13. Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur.
IN ADDITION -There are five overseas régions. They are: Martinique, Réunion, Guadeloupe, French Guiana and Mayotte. Each one is also classed as un département. Each overseas territory is known as a: département et région d'outre-mer or abbreviated to DROM.
The current arrangement of régions (as seen above) is quite new. Until the end of 2015, France was divided into twenty-two régions (+ five overseas territories). The government decided to merge areas, creating fewer but larger régions. This new arrangement took place on 1 January 2016.
Paris belongs to the région called Île-de-France.
There are ninety-six départements in France. Each one has a name and an associated number which is used in post codes and car number plates. The number 75 belongs to the département of Paris.
An interesting fact: there is a French town with a tiny name! In fact, its name contains just one letter: Y. The town of Y is situated in the région of Hauts-de-France and in the département of Somme. The residents of Y are called les Ypsiloniens.
11. One of the most important dates in France is le 14 juillet - 14 July. This is known as Bastille Day and it is a national holiday. In France it is called la Fête Nationale. It is a celebration of the storming of the prison in Paris called Bastille Saint-Antoine on 14 July 1789. The storming of the Bastille is called la prise de la Bastille in French.
On that day, unhappy protesters invaded the prison, released the prisoners and seized the weapons stored inside. This was the beginning of the French Revolution. The ordinary people hated the Bastille because they believed that many individuals had been imprisoned there without a fair trial. In their opinion, the Bastille was the symbol of an unfair society ruled by uncaring, wealthy people.
Nowadays, on 14 July, there is a big parade in Paris, the French flag flies from l'Arc de Triomphe and there are celebrations and fireworks all over France.