France is one of the world's top tourist destinations, and there's plenty to get your teeth stuck into, from great cities like Paris, Bordeaux and Marseille to the prehistoric sites of the Vézère valley and Brittany's beautiful coastline. But how well do you really know the country? Embrace "joie de vivre" with these fun facts about France.

1. Turning a baguette upside down is unlucky in France.

2. The croissant was actually invented in Austria.

3. France is known as L'Hexagone, ("the hexagon") due to its geometrical shape.

20 fun facts about France :Girl takes pictures of a Eiffel Tower on a smartphone in Paris.© Mostovyi Sergii Igorevich/Shutterstock

5. French was the official language of England for about 300 years, from 1066 to 1362.

6. Some claim that French toast isn't French, but was actually invented by a man called Joseph French.

7. Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite ("Liberty, Equality and Fraternity") is the national motto of France.

Young man cooking lunch in the kitchen.© Zarya Maxim Alexandrovich/Shutterstock

9. The French coastline adds up to 3427km. This is roughly the distance from Paris to Petra.

10. Kilts originated in France, not Scotland.

11. The Tour de France cycle race has been running for over 100 years.

20 fun facts about France: Louvre museum in Paris, France.© NeydtStock/Shutterstock

13. Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite ("Liberty, Equality and Fraternity") is the national motto of France.

14. With a land area of 547,000 square kilometres, France is the largest country in the EU.

15. France is by far the most popular tourist destination in the world, with some 82 million visitors annually.

The Nobel Prize.© Paramonov Alexander/Shutterstock

17. A 1910 law in France forbids couples from kissing on train platforms to avoid delayed departures.

18. The average French citizen eats 500 snails each year.

19. There are over 400 kinds of cheese made in France.

Champagne Vineyards at sunset, Montagne de Reims, France.© Miki Studio/Shutterstock


Explore more of France with the Rough Guide to France. Book hostels for your trip and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go. 

Top image © Javier Brosch/Shutterstock 

Book Your Trip To France

Get your dream travel planned & booked by local travel experts

At Rough Guides, we understand that experienced travellers want to get truly off-the-beaten-track. That’s why we’ve partnered with local experts to help you plan and book tailor-made trips that are packed with personality and stimulating adventure - at all levels of comfort. If you love planning, but find arranging the logistics exhausting, you’re in the right place.

Learn Morechevron_right

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Privacy Preference Center

Necessary

Mandatory - can not be deselected. Necessary cookies help make a website usable by enabling basic functions like page navigation and access to secure areas of the website. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

PHPSESSID,aelia_cs_selected_currency,cookie_notice_accepted,RS,bp-message,bp-message-type,id,UIDR,w3tc_logged_out,__cfduid
__cfduid

Statistics

Statistic cookies help website owners to understand how visitors interact with websites by collecting and reporting information anonymously.

__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid,__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xt
__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid
__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xtc

Marketing

Marketing cookies are used to track visitors across websites. The intention is to display ads that are relevant and engaging for the individual user and thereby more valuable for publishers and third party advertisers.

__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID,__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll,c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs
__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID
__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll
c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs