Interesting Facts About France

Fertile plains cover two-thirds of France, which is the largest country in Western Europe. With more than half the land under cultivation, France leads the European Union in food exports. The mountain ranges are mostly in the south, including the Alps, Pyrenees, and Massif Central. Forests cover one-third of the land area in France and are a source of environmental and scenic wealth.
The north is humid and cool, while the south is dry and warm. Favorable conditions for grape growing in the south make French wines world-renowned—and France the world's largest producer. The nation sets a fast pace in telecommunications, biotechnology, and aerospace industries. Sophia Antipolis, a booming high-tech complex on the Riviera, attracts scientists from throughout Europe. Coal and steel industries are concentrated in the northeast near major coalfields.

The government continues to play a large role in directing economic activity. The national road network is the world's densest, and the high-speed train (TGV) runs at speeds of 270 kilometers (167 miles) per hour or more. Both road and rail transport tourists, helping to make France the most visited country on Earth. Nuclear power, which supplies 80 percent of France's electricity, enjoys widespread support, in part because there is virtually no domestic oil. Government policies provide for a 35-hour workweek and five weeks of paid vacation annually.

Paris has long been France's cultural, political, and business epicenter. In the early 19th century Napoleon Bonaparte divided large, traditional provinces into small departments, which have since been regrouped into larger, regional units. Low turnout in the 2002 elections was interpreted as voter apathy due to the dominant influence of Paris. Amendments to the constitution, approved in 2003, give more political power to the country's 22 regions and 96 departments.

Heavy losses in both world wars bled France of labor, wealth, and prestige. After World War II, France's colonial subjects, from Algeria to Vietnam, struggled for independence. Immigration from France's former colonies, especially Algeria, contributes to some four million persons of Arab descent living in France today. An independent defense doctrine, launched by President Charles de Gaulle in 1966, has turned the nation into one of the world's largest arms suppliers. France maintains ties with its former colonies through aid, trade, and military pacts. The French have developed modern political ties with former colonies still under French administration. Overseas departments (officially part of France) with their own elected governments are French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Reunion. Territories with varying degrees of autonomy are French Polynesia, French Southern and Antarctic Territories, Mayotte, New Caledonia, St.-Pierre and Miquelon, and Wallis and Futuna.
Couple Walk Through Ruins of St. Lo France:
A civilian couple walks through ruins of the heavily bombed ruins in the city of St. Lo, France, August 1944.
(Photo Credit: Getty)
Damage in Trafalgar Square, London: London, England 1942.
Soldiers examine buildings in Trafalgar Square damaged by German bombs.
(Photo Credit: Corbis)

 France Facts: Map and Geography

France is situated in Western Europe, 1 hr flight from London/England, 5.5 hrs from New York/USA. On the France outline you will see the little island of Corsica, which belongs to France, also in the French flag colors:-)

France Geography: France shares borders with Belgium to the North East, Germany and Luxemburg in the East as well as with Switzerland, Italy to the South East. The Pyrenees, a mountain range to the South of France, form a natural border between Spain and France. The highest mountain in France is the Mont Blanc, which is 4,810m high and stands at the border between France and Italy .

Mainland France is divided into 27 regions and these into 101 departments . The Mediterranean island of Corsica belongs to France too. Of the 101 departments there are also 5 ROM (regions d’outre mer or overseas regions) also belonging to France: French Guyana in South America, Guadeloupe and Martinique in the Caribbean, La Reunion and Mayotte in Africa in the Indian Ocean.

France Attractions
  • Paris: Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Louvre, Montmartre, Arc de Triomphe, river Seine and many other great attractions
  • Versailles : castle of French kings
  • Lasceaux Caves for 17,000 year old rock paintings
  • Cote d’Azur for turquoise blue sea and great beaches
  • Corsica: in the Mediterranean sea
  • French Alps: great skiing and snowboarding 
  • Mont St. Michel: Island with high tide
  • Provence for lavender fields and old historic towns like Avignon
Mont St. Michel: Island with high tide

Interesting Facts: French Language facts

French is the official language in France and it is also the second major language in Europe.

The Romanic language comes from Latin and is today the second most studied language after English and spoken by more than 300million people around the world as first or second language.
Famous French People

Caricature of Eiffel, published in 1887
at the time of "The Artist's Protest"
Gustave Eiffel (1832-1923), the famous French engineer who build the Eiffel Tower in Paris, also designed the Statue of Liberty which stands in New York's harbour.

France is famous for the beaux-arts, the many great painters, sculptors. Famous French painters are Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Paul Cezanne and Auguste Rodin is certainly one of the most famous French sculptors.

French composers which are very famous are: Maurice Ravel (Bolero) and Georges Bizet (Carmen). Children all around the world love French literature, like the famous “The Three Musketeers” by Alexandre Dumas and “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

French political leader Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) was born on Corsica. He reformed the French laws. He declared himself Emperor of the French in 1904. Napoleon’s army was defeated by the British in the Battle of Waterloo (now in Belgium) in 1815. He was exiled to the island St. Helena in the Mediterranean Sea where he died in 1821.

French Food

The French main dishes contain: fresh vegetables, meat and cheeses. French cuisine is well known for its freshness and high quality dishes. The French people enjoy their main meal in the evening and this meal often consists of three courses starting with a "hors d’oeuvre", a starter dish which often is soup or a salad and bread, then the main course and afterwards some cheese or fruit.

The bread you will get in France in a typical French "boulangerie" (bakery) is mostly white wheat bread or bread sticks, called "baguette".

Here is some typical French food:
  • Baguette: long bread stick
  • Croque Monsieur/Croque Madame: ham and cheese grilled sandwich while Croque Madame is the more heavy version with ham, cheese and a fried egg on top 
  • Escargots: snails 
  • Foie Gras: Goose liver pate
  • Pain au chocolat: similar to a croissant filled with chocolate
  • Crepes: French very thin pancakes with filling
  • Ratatouille: vegetable stew

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Interesting Facts About Pablo Picasso

pablo picasso
1. Picasso's Full Name Has 23 Words
Picasso was baptized Pablo Diego Jose Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno Maria de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santisima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruiz y Picasso. He was named after various saints and relatives. The "Picasso" is actually from his mother, Maria Picasso y Lopez. His father is named Jose Ruiz Blasco.

2. When He Was Born, The Midwife Thought He Was Stillborn
Picasso had such a difficult birth and was such a weak baby that when he was born, the midwife thought that he was stillborn so she left him on a table to attend his mother. It was his uncle, a doctor named Don Salvador, that saved him:
'Doctors at that time,' he told Antonina Vallentin, 'used to smoke big cigars, and my uncle was no exception. When he saw me lying there he blew smoke into my face. To this I immediately reacted with a grimace and a bellow of fury'" 
3. Picasso's First Word: Pencil
It's like Picasso was born an artist: his first word was "piz," short of lapiz the Spanish word for 'pencil.' His father Ruiz, an artist and art professor, gave him a formal education in art starting from the age of 7. By 13, Ruiz vowed to give up painting as he felt that Pablo had surpassed him.

4. Pablo's First Drawing
At the tender young age of 9, Picasso completed his first painting: Le picador, a man riding a horse in a bullfight.

His first major painting, an "academic" work is First Communion, featuring a portrait of his father, mother, and younger sister kneeling before an altar. Picasso was 15 when he finished it.

5. Picasso was a Terrible Student
No doubt about it, Picasso was brilliant: artistically, he was years ahead of his classmates who were all five to six years older than him. But Picasso chafed at being told what to do and he was often thrown into "detention":
"For being a bad student I was banished to the 'calaboose' - a bare cell with whitewashed walls and a bench to sit on. I liked it there, because I took along a sketch pad and drew incessantly ... I could have stayed there forever drawing without stopping" 

6. Picasso's First Job
Picasso signed his first contract in Paris with art dealer Pere Menach, who agreed to pay him 150 francs per month (about US$750 today).

7. Did Picasso Steal the Mona Lisa?
Actually no, but in 1911, when the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre, the police took in Picasso's friend, the poet Guillaume Apollinaire. Apollinaire fingered Picasso as a suspect, so the police hauled him in for questioning. Both were later released.

8. Cubism: Full of Little Cubes
In 1909, Picasso and French artist Georges Braque co-founded an art movement known as cubism. Actually, it was a French art critic Louis Vauxcelles who first called it "bizarre cubiques" or cubism, after noting that Picasso and Braque's paintings are "full of little cubes."

9. Picasso was a Playboy
Being a famous artist certainly helped Picasso get the girl. Girls, in fact - many, many girls. Here's a short list of known wives and lovers of Picasso

  •  Fernande Olivier (Picasso's first love, she was 18?; he was 23)
  •  Marcelle Humbert AKA Eva Gouel (she was 27, Picasso was 31)
  •  Gaby Lespinasse (he was 34, I don't know how old Gaby was, but she was young, that's for sure!)
  •  Olga Khokhlova (Picasso's first wife; she was 26 and he was 36 when they met)
  •  Marie-Therese Walter (she was 17, he was 46) 
  •  Dora Maar (she was 29, Picasso was 55)
  •  Francoise Gilot (she was 21 when she met Picasso, who was 61)
  •  Genevieve Laporte (one of Picasso's last lovers. She was in her mid-twenties and a French model of Picasso, who was in his seventies when the affair started)
  •  Jacqueline Roque (who became Picasso's second wife. She was 27 and he was 79)

Marie-Therese Walter was Picasso's model for Le Reve. In 2006, casino magnate Steve Wynn agreed to sell the painting for $139 million, but accidentally put his elbow through the canvas the day before the sale was to be completed!

10. Picasso's Car
Okay, it's not exactly his car, but I couldn't resist. Last year, 44-year-old mechanic Andy Saunders of Dorset, England, spent six months converting his old Citroen 2CV into a cubist work inspired by Pablo Picasso!

Saunders named his car Picasso's Citroen, which is much better looking than the ho-hum

Source: (Alex Santoso)

Video about Pablo Picasso

Modern Lovers - Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso . Un alma primitiva


Documental: El Guernica de Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso Paintings