France: Facts & Profile

Quick Facts about France

In western Europe, France is the largest country and the second largest in Europe after the Ukraine. It is among the most advanced countries internationally

France is visited by more tourists than any other country throughout the world. Amazingly, and a fact, the number of tourists is greater than France's actual population and the number keeps on going higher.

France's high-speed rail train, known as the TGV, (Train à Grande Vitesse) is the fastest on earth. While doing a check of its operating effectiveness in 2007, it topped out at 357.2 miles per hour. No other train has surpassed that speed.

The tradition of decorating Christmas trees began in the 16th century in Eastern France. In those days France was a part of Germany. People dressed up their trees with fruits, largely apples and flowers.

In 1858 the apple harvest was ruined by a drought, so a glass blower in the village of Goetzenbruck designed glass ornaments that resembled apples to place on the trees. By the late 1800s, that particular glass store was producing thousands of tree ornaments.

There are in excess of 40,000 chateaux within France. People that really enjoy seeing castles, manors, and palaces are able to have lots of interesting times visiting the amazing estates.

France has taken home more Nobel Prizes for literature, currently 13, than any other country worldwide.

There are over 400 different types of cheese created in France.

There are 38 properties in France included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, which includes historic city centres (Paris, Strasbourg, Lyon, Episcopal ensemble of Avignon, the Port of moon in Bordeaux, Episcopal city of Albi, Le Havre, Mont-Saint-Michel, Carcassone and Provins), 4 cathedrals (Amiens, Bourges, Chartres, Reims), 4 abbeys (Fontenay, Reims, Saint-Savin sur Gartempe and Vezelay), 3 Roman sites (Arles, Orange and Le Gard),

3 Natural sites: the Gulf of Porto, the Lagoons of New Caledonia, Pitons, Cirques and Ramparts of Reunion Island,

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map of France

Capital: Paris; (largest city and approx. 25% of population)
Leader: President: François Hollande
Leader: Prime Minister: Manuel Valls
Government type: Republic of France (Republique Francais)
Population: 66,000,000 (Source: Insee National Statistics Institute)
Languages: French (official) and Provencal, Breton, Alsatian, Corsican, Catalan, Basque, Flemish, Creole patois, Mahorian (Swahili dialect) 1.

Ethnic Diversity: Celtic and Latin with Teutonic, Slavic, North African, Indochinese, Basque minorities
Official Currency: Euro¬†(€)
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Usually mild summers and cool winters, also hot summers and mild winters in the Mediterranean; periodic intense, dry, cold, north-to-northwesterly wind referred to as mistral .

National Holiday: 14 July - Bastille Day ; (Le 14 juillet -la fête de la Fédération )
Religion: Roman Catholic 83%-88%, Protestant 2%, Jewish 1%, Muslim 5%-10%, unaffiliated 4% 2
Area: total: 211,209 sq mi (547,030 sq km)
Country Phone Code: 33
[1] Ethnologue
[2] IndexMundi

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