1 – It’s not the Easter Bunny that delivers chocolate, it’s the cloche volante or flying bell.
2 – There’s an emergency boulangerie rota, like the one pharmacies use, to ensure an uninterrupted supply of fresh baguettes throughout high days and holidays.
4 – And she wasn’t even French.
5 – Nor was Marie Curie, though she did flee from Poland to find refuge and support (of sorts) in Paris.
6 -The French tend to call the Atlantic “the ocean.”
7 – And the Mediterranean “the sea.”
9 – Though most will deny that they do
10 – But to be fair, you’ll more likely hear the shorter “ooh, la!” or else the full gusto “oooh la la la la la la la la la la laaaa!” favoured by sports pundits during a tense moment of soccer interaction.
11 – France is the most visited country in the world.
12 – And ranks 4th when it comes to UNESCO world heritage sites.
14 – The whole Michelin star scoring system began by covering France.
15 – Although there is a restaurant in Toulouse that serves tandoori foie gras.
16 – That tastes about as good as it sounds.
18 – And much of the country still shuts down in August.
19 – While bullfighting still takes place in the South.
20 – Beyond French, you’ll find Breton, Catalan, Basque and Occitan spoken and that’s just for starters when it comes to other languages.
21 – France has more than 246 types of cheese
How can you govern a country which has two hundred and forty-six varieties of cheese? Charles de Gaulle
22 – The Eiffel Tower was derided by critics at the time
24 – And the inside-out Centre Georges Pompidou. That’s not how the world sees them now.
25 – There’s a small village in the Pyrenees that specialises in red peppers called Espelette (the village, not the peppers.)
27 – Also, the guillotine (Dr Guillotin)
28 – And the hot air balloon (Montgolfier – sorry!)
29 – And even the word entrepreneur…
30 – The Dukes of Normandy were the last foreign power to conquer England (back in 1066) – and the centuries of sparring across “La Manche” have left what I believe is called “a rich cultural legacy…”
32 – And a condom is also known as a capote anglaise
33 – Even Bordeaux, one of the of the world’s finest and oldest centres for wine, developed as it did due to a spat with (and tax law from) England.
34 – Cassoulet, a traditional dish found in the southwest, came from the desire for sustenance to fight the English.
35 – And today, both countries share an aircraft carrier and an integrated defence plan (along with the rest of the United Kingdom.)
36 – Corsica bred Napoleon, who (among other things) uttered the following immortal words:
Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.
37 – The following are all places in France: Champagne, Armagnac, Cognac, and Roquefort.
38 – You can buy frogs’ legs.
39 – And snails…
41 – And horse meat’s common enough too.
42 – But not board shorts, nor bermudas. It’s speedos only for men in public pools.
43 – But whatever the swimwear, France remains a fascinating country to visit.
And I’m heading back there tomorrow. Follow along on the hashtag #rendezvousenFrance or check back here on Inside the Travel Lab.
*Unless, of course you, did. But as I said over here, where’s the fun in that?
Disclosure – My travels through, around and in France have been paid for in a number of different ways. Some by me, some by others and I even lived there for a while. Some of these linked-to posts are the oldest you can find on this blog. Mon dieu! However, as ever, as always, all words remain my own.