1. Emperor Charlemagne sat on the throne for over 400 years
After Emperor Charlemagne died, his disciples sat his mummified body on a throne in Aix-la-Chapelle where it sat
2. A French King once believed he was made of glass…
King Charles the VI of France thought he was made of glass and if touched would shatter. This delusion was
symptomatic of a psychiatric disorder called “Glass Delusion,” which appeared in Europe during the Medieval
and the Renaissance - King Charles the VI might have been the first to be afflicted by this strange condition.
3. The city of Marseille is older than Socrates…
Marseille, the oldest city in France, was originally a Greek colony founded around 600 BCE which predates the
classical period by over 250 years! Remnants of Greek and Roman ruins are available to explore all over the
4. The French cavalry captured 14 Dutch ships…
Yes, you read that correctly, the French cavalry, the infantry on horseback, once captured 14 Dutch ships when
were frozen at anchor in Nieuwediep in a feat known as the Capture of the Dutch Fleet at Den Helder during the
of the first coalition.
5. France is one of the oldest nations in the world!
French sovereignty was declared in 486 CE, during the reign of the first king of France Clovis I, who founded
Merovignian dynasty which was deposed by emperor Charlemagne, yes the one who sat on the throne for 400 years…
6. France has a megalithic site that’s older than Stonehenge!
Move over Stonehenge! The Carnac stones, otherwise known as Carnac Alignments located in Brittany on the west
of France, were erected 1000 years before Stonehenge, and are composed of 3000 perfectly aligned carved stones
stretch for 4 kilometers! To this day, there is still no explanation for the creation of these alignments…
7. Leonardo Da Vinci lived and died … in France?
After François I, king of France, recaptured Milan in 1515 where Da Vinci was living at the time, Leonardo Da
came under his patronage and took up residence at Clos Lucé which was adjacent to the King’s palace of residence
Château d’Amboise. Da Vinci and the King became close friends and remained such until Da Vinci’s death at Clos
8. Speaking of the arts, France has the largest number of Nobel Prizes in Literature in the world!
Since the introduction of the Nobel Prize in 1901, France has garnered the most awards for the Nobel Prize in
literature, amassing a total of 16 over the contest’s 120 year history. Distinguished French authors such as
Camus, Jean Paul Sartre, André Gide, Patrick Modiano and recently Annie Ernaux, have all earned this prestigious
9. A French king was assassinated by a failed monk!
After surviving 12 previous assassination attempts, King Henry the IV was finally struck down by a fanatical
Catholic zealot François Ravaillac whose violent views were the cause of his expulsion from a number of Catholic
institutions. On May 14th 1610, Ravaillac ambushed the King’s coach and stabbed Henry the IV to death on Rue de
10. And finally, you can’t kiss your significant other goodbye if they’re taking the train…
Even though Paris may be known as the city of love, there is a 1910 law that forbids kissing on any railway
platforms if a train is present! I’ve broken this one a few times and it doesn’t seem to be regularly policed
you’re delaying the train, which is why the law was originally implemented.