Want to learn some interesting France facts? France is (officially known as the "French Republic") a country in Western Europe bordered by Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Italy and other European countries. France is the largest country in Western Europe and has held considerable influence over world affairs for the majority of a millennium. If you'd like to know some France facts for a possible trip coming up, read on.
- France is the most visited country in the world. According to the World Tourism Organization (UNTWO), France is the most visited country in the world by international tourist arrivals. In 2009 it had 74.2 million arrivals. France is followed by the United States, Spain, China and Italy respectively.
- The French find their roots in the ancient world. France is descended from the Gauls of southern France, the Celtic and the Franks. It was heavily subject to Romantic and Greek influences throughout its formative years but eventually came to dominate the continent of Europe.
- France has the world's third largest military budget. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute reported that France's 2010 military budget was the third largest in the world. The United States far surpasses anyone on the list and is followed in a far second place by China.
- The country is a founding member of many international organizations. France is a founding member of the United Nations and as such, the country has a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. The French Republic is also one of the founders of the European Union.
- France is a secular country. Freedom of religion is a constitutional right in France. It is the belief of the French people and their government that politics and religion should not mix (e.g. the adoption of a state religion). Still, 81 percent of France calls themselves Roman Catholic.
- French culture is abundant. The French have over 1,200 museums in their country. The culture of France, always known for its gradious tradition and history, is evident in its 43,180 historical buildings.
- France has one of the nicest healthcare systems in the world. The World Health Organization (commonly abbreviated WHO) has consistently ranked France as having one of the best healthcare systems. Care is generally free to people with chronic diseases. The average lifespan of a French citizen is one of the highest in the world and the French spend less than half than what the United States spends per capita.
- The country has been the birthplace of many influential people. Writers such as Victor Hugo, Jean-Paul Sartre and Charles Baudelaire all called France home. Famous French painters such as Claude Monet and Vincent Van Gogh have been studied around the world, while political leaders such as Charles de Gaulle and Napoleon Bonaparte are still influential to this day.
- The French national anthem is "La Marseillaise." The Marseille Song (translated to English) has been the national anthem of the French Republic since 1795. It was composed by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle in 1792.
- The motto of France is "Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite." This motto translates directly into English as "Liberty, Equality and Fraternity (or Brotherhood)." This has been the adopted motto of France since its first usage in the French Revolution.
There are lots of fun France facts that one should learn before a trip to the cultured, Mediterranean country. Hopefully you've enjoyed reading these oh-so-informative France facts! Next time someone says "La Marseillaise," you'll know what to do.