France is one of the world's top tourist destinations, and there's plenty to get your teeth stuck into, from great cities like Paris and Bordeaux to the monumental treats like Bœuf bourguignon and Ratatouille. But how well do you really know the country? Well, here are 5 interesting facts you probably don’t know of.
1. 5 to 7 French Affair
“Cinq à sept” aka five to seven, is referred to a time of tryst by popular-culture in France. It is commonly considered as the time of the day to meet one's mistress or lover. A movie has been made about this - check out the film “5 to 7” for a dramatization of this concept!
2. Baguette Pride
A massive ten billion baguettes are baked and sold each year in France and there are strict laws governing their production. To call itself a baguette it must only contain three ingredients – flour, yeast and salt; absolutely no preservative. Do be careful, placing a baguette upside down is believed to be sign of bad luck!
3. Greeting with a kiss
The French are known to have an open-culture, greetings come with a “Bonjour!” ,”Salut!” or “Ça va bien?” followed by kisses on the cheeks. The number of times the French kiss each other as a form of greeting varies depending on region. In Corsica, the number of kisses can be as many as 5! However, it is illegal to kiss on railways in France to avoid delays.
4. Cheese Heaven
France produce a huge variety of over 400 different cheeses. The French consume an average of 25 kilograms of cheese per person, per year, which makes them the largest consumer of cheese in the world. Cheese is served as a dish on its own as part of a multi-course meal, after the main course and before the dessert.
5. French Delicacies
Food is extremely varied in France as each region has its own distinctive cuisine and style, crafted from local produce and determined by the seasons. For example, the Alps region is known for its warming cheese-focused dishes such as fondue and raclette, Provencal food embraces olive oils, fresh tomatoes and wild herbs, and in Normandy the food is rich with butter and creme fraiche, balanced by apples. Food is such a big part that there are about 2 new cook books published everyday in France.
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