Interesting Facts and Basic Info about France

Map of France.

Well, there seem to be quite a few things you would probably be amazed to know about France. After all, it’s the world’s most visited country for a reason.

  • Official name: The French Republic (République française)
  • Capital city: Paris
  • Language: French
  • Population: 67,000,000 (2014)
  • Area: 640,679 km2
  • Longest river: Loire
  • Highest mountain: Mont Blanc (4810 m)
  • Currency: Euro (€)
  • Flag: Blue, white and red vertical bands

So take a look at some of the important and interesting facts about the country, which was also home to the oldest living human on the planet.


A look at some basic facts

France is officially known as the French Republic. Paris is unsurprisingly the capital of France, while the currency has been Euro since 2002. It’s the third largest country in the EU, with a land area of a little less than 250,000 square kilometers. Interestingly, around 20% of its land area lies outside the Europe, where well over 2.5 million of its population lives.

Countries with high ratio of French speakers.


Geographical details

France also has the oldest functional canal in Europe, named as the Canal du Midi. The country also boasts of having as many as 24 rivers, which used to be the main transportation routes before the railway was introduced. On the other hand, the UK and Italy have just 2 and 4 rivers, respectively.

For illustration, map of France showing all major rivers.
For illustration, map of France showing all major rivers.

The largest cities of France include the capital Paris, Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse, and Nice. Paris boasts of a population of well over 2 million, while the rest’s ranging from around 350,000 to 800,000.

However, not only Paris is worth visiting, you should also see other interesting French attractions.

Paris attracts millions of tourists annually, and has a GDP of around $700 billion, around 30% of the country’s GDP. Such huge GDP numbers also make Paris one of the wealthiest regions in Europe.




Brief history

For many centuries, France wasn’t a free country and was under the royal rule. However, the French Revolution in 1792 led to a turnaround in its fortunes, making it a republic.

What’s surprising, however, is the fact that there was a time when France controlled as much as around 8% of the world’s land.

Talking about surprising things, let us also mention that there has been a king in France, named Louis XIX, who managed to rule the country just for around 20 minutes.

Traditional French painting – a woman holding the French flag.


Language and culture

French is the official language of the country, being the first language of around 90% of the country’s population. However, there are also several other languages, such as Catalan, Flemish, Breton, and so on.

Tip! If you want learn this beautiful language, check our comprehensive guide how to learn French or our Learn French section.

France is also rich on historical buildings and interesting sights. Worth mentioning are Notre Dame, Eifell tower, Arc de Triomphe, Grand Palais and Louvre

Arc de Triomphe, one of the most famous monuments in Paris.


”Crazy” facts

There also seem to be quite a lot of interesting facts about France, and we will be going through a few of them now.

      • France is believed to be the most depressed country in the world, with as many as around one fifth of the entire population having experienced depression.
      • To your surprise, people living in France can marry even dead people.
      • There’s a coffee shop in the country where the price of the coffee depends on how polite you are. If you don’t use the words “hello” and “please” while placing your order, you would end up paying more.


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