The Alternative Guide to… France

06 Jun 2016

France at a Glance

Capital city: Paris
Population: 66 million
Local currency: euro (£1 = 1.31€)
Famous face: Joan of Arc, heroine of the Hundred Years War, led a French army to victory over the English aged 18, only to be captured and burned at the stake a year later

5 things you never knew about France

Louis XIX was named king in July 1830, only to abdicate 20 minutes later, making him the shortest-reigning monarch of all time.

Jeanne Louise Calment is the oldest verified person to ever live. She died in Arles, southern France, at the age of 122 years, 164 days on 4 August, 1997.

In January 2016, France became the first country in the world to ban supermarkets from throwing away or destroying any unsold food. Shops now have to donate any waste to charities or local food banks.

Paris, the City of Love, affects people in strange ways. One American lady called Erika took it one step further by marrying the city's most famous landmark — the Eiffel Tower. She now goes by Erika Eiffel. 

France is the most visited country in the world. An estimated 86.3 million people visited in 2015. 

National dish

Pot-au-feu (which translates to "pot in the fire"). This winter stew contains beef, onions, carrots, and turnips.


A photo posted by Vincent ?? (@flamdistri) on

If you see one thing in France, make sure it's

... Les Gorges du Verdon, a river canyon in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, in southeast France. Known as the "Grand Canyon of Europe", this gorge is 700 metres deep — twice the height of the Eiffel Tower. 

Search for deals to France in our France holidays collection or see deals for hotels in France. And read more about France in our other blogs. Here's our take on the Med coast of France.

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