What is France Most Famous For?

by Jules on February 4, 2013

France has given the world fabulous food, amazing artists, memorable monuments and so much more! Here we touch on just some of the things that France is most famous for;

    • Gourmet food – French cuisine is lauded across the world and for good reason. France has the highest number of Michelin starred restaurants. Specialities include croissants, brie cheese and jambon (local hams). Tourists are more obsessed with the more unusual delicacies; frogs’ legs, snails and horse steak! Give it a go, you might like it. And yes frogs legs do taste like chicken!
    • Famous French artists – France is the great center of art in the world and is home to a whole host of famous painters and sculptors over the years including Edgar Degas, Claude Monet who founded French impressionist painting, Henri Marie de Toulouse-Lautrec, Paul Gauguin and hundreds of others.
    • Famous actors and actresses – The most famous French actress is Brigitte Bardot who epitomised the sex kitten look in the 50s and 60s. She also famously placed St Tropez and Tahiti Beach firmly on the naturist map with the 1956 classic movie, And God Created Woman.
    • Tourist hotspot – France is THE most visited country in the world! In fact 80 million international visitors had a ‘French encounter’ in 2011. Find out why France is so popular.
    • Gourmet beverages – Cognac, Armagnac (brandy) and Champagne are all excusive to France as these are place names, therefore only locally produced products are allowed to bear the name.
    • Fine wines – The home of some of the most expensive vintage wines in the world including the finest Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Tempranillo and Chardonnay. France has some 8,640 sq. km of vineyards dedicated to wine growing, which make it the second biggest producer in the world.
    • Fromage – France is home to around 400 different types of French cheeses, aka fromage. From the oldest known French cheese Roquefort (1925) to the mild Camembert, to Brie de Meaux, only cheeses from these regions are allowed to bear these names.
    • Capital of Romance – Paris, the capital city of Paris, has long been hailed as the very center of romance and the most romantic Valentines destination on earth.
    • The French Revolution – French society was involved in the mighty French Revolution which lasted from 1789–1799. This brought about huge changes to everyday French life including the introduction of a democratic republic.
    • Napoleon Bonaparte – Of course one cannot mention the French Revolution without mentioning Napoleon, who reigned as emperor from 1804 to 1815.
    • Napoleonic Wars – The war raged from 1803 to 1815 (indeed throughout much of Napoleon’s rule as war was declared against his French empire.
    • Amazing museums – In addition to the Louvre there are also a huge variety of museums such as the Musee de l’Orangerie, Musee d’Orsay, Musee Rodin, Musee Marmottan and the Musee de l’Armee, to name but a few!
    • Statue of Liberty – The famous Status of Liberty which now stands at the gateway of New York City was a gift from the French people in 1886.
    • The Louvre – The Musée du Louvre is one of the biggest museums in the world with 35,000 objects on display. The most popular exhibit by far is Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece Mona Lisa.
    • Nobel Prize for Literature – Did you know that French authors have had more Literature Nobel Prizes than any other nation? The very first Nobel Prize in literature in 1901 was awarded to Sully Prudhomme. There have been 16 French winners to date.
    • Literary Awards – France has 11 literary awards in total, which began with the Prix Goncourt in 1903.
    • Classic French literature – Famous French writers include Cyrano de Bergerac, Albert Camus, Gustave Flaubert, Jules Verne, Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas, who is the most widely-read French author in history!
    • Les Miserables – The most famous theatre show in history, which is now also a smash-hit movie, is set in France at the time of the French Revolution.
    • Football – In France, football is the most popular sport and the national team has a solid record in the World Cup. France is just one of eight teams to actually win the FIFA World Cup and won in 1998.
    • Guillotine - The guillotine is said to have been invented in France in the late 18th century.
    • Magnificent architecture – Aside from the ubiquitous Eiffel Tower which was constructed in 1889, there is also the beautiful Palace of Versailles with its 2,300 rooms. Another famous monument is the Arc de Triomphe which honours those that died in the wars and contains the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. And of course there’s also the Sainte-Chapelle, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Sacre-Coeur.
    • Luxury Ski Resorts – Expensive? Tick! Luxurious? Tick! The names of iconic French ski resorts trip off the tongue; Courchevel, Tignes, Val d’Isère, Méribel, Chamonix, La Corbier and Val Thorens.
    • European Capital of Culture – Paris was one of the very first cities to host the European Capital of Culture in 1989.  Avignon co-hosted the event in 2000, as did Lille in 2004.
    • 2013 European Capital of Culture – France’s second city of Marseille will co-host the European Capital of Culture this year. More than 2,600 years of ancient Greek and Roman history will come to life.
    • Chateaux – The countryside is brimming with magnificent examples of ancient ‘chateaux’, aka castles. The Loire Valley has many beautiful chateaux such as the Château de Chambord and the Château Ussé which inspired the Sleeping Beauty story.
    • The Seine – Meandering through Paris is the Seine River which offers spectacular views of the city.
    • Da Vinci Code – Both the movie and book of The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown was set in Paris and centered around a fictitious murder at the Louvre Museum. The 2006 film version starred French actress Audrey Tautou.
    • Famous actors – Famous French actors over the years include Gérard Depardieu, Juliette Binoche, Marcel Marceau, Catherine Deneuve and Audrey Tautou.
    • Tour de France – This year celebrates the 100th annual Tour de France and the entire 3,360km race will be staged exclusively in France.
    • War Memorials – There are many moving memorials to previously wars throughout France including the region of Normandy which is most often associated with World War II. Visitors can see for themselves the D-Day beaches where the landings took place.
    • Monaco – The stunning city of Monaco is the playground of the rich and famous – the harbour lined with luxury yachts is a testament to this!
    • The French Riviera – One of the oldest French palaces is located in the French Riviera. The Palais de Princier still houses the royal family. The area is also home to several other famous buildings that were frequented by legendary film star Grace Kelly and her husband, the Prince of Monaco.
    • Most famous cemetery – The most famous cemetery in the world, the Pere-Lachaise Cemetery is one of the most visited cemeteries in the world. Amongst the 1 million gravesites are the final resting places of legendary Doors singer Jim Morrison, famous poet Oscar Wilde and the tragic lovers Abelard and Heloise.
    • Highest Mountain in Europe – Mont Blanc in the Alps is the tallest mountain within Europe and is popular with skiiers.
    • Horse racing – Home to the most famous horse racing event, Prix de L’arc de Triomphe which is held annually at Longchamp.

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