France is often a leading country for changes around the world. Here are just a few interesting firsts, achieved by the French:

  • In 1915 during World War I, the French Army were the first in the world to use camouflage. In fact, camouflage comes from French meaning, ‘make up for the stage’.
  • In 2016, France was the first country in the world to ban supermarkets from wasting unsold food. Now all shops donate what would become waste to charities or food banks.
  • In 1895, France was the first country in the world to publicly screen a movie. The Lumière brothers, using their cinématographe invention, showed 10 films of about 1 minute each in a café in Paris.
  • In 2005, French surgeons performed the first face transplant and in 2013, in Paris, the first artificial heart transplant

The French also hold some of the oldest records too:

  • A French lady called, Jeanne Louise Calment, is the world’s oldest human. Born in February 1875 and living until August 1997, she reached 122 years and 164 days old! She lived through the opening of the Eiffel Tower, the invention of the TV, motor cars and aeroplanes. In fact, France has the 6th highest life expectancy in the world.
  • From 1860, a French recording is the oldest ever of a human voice. It is a 10-second piece of the song Au Clair de la Lune, recorded on a phonautograph’ which records sounds visually. In 2008, modern technology allowed it to be played aloud for the first time ever.

And a few random facts to wow or weird out your friends:

  • In France, you can marry a dead person! Under exceptional circumstances, if you can prove that the deceased person was planning on marrying you, and you get permission directly from the president, you can in fact marry someone posthumously. It happened most recently in 2017.
  • In France about 30,000 tonnes of snails are eaten yearly! The fact is though there are only 100 registered snail farms in France, and so many of these snails may come from fields, and roadsides around the country.
  • In France, the food itself was awarded a UNESCO World Heritage Status! In 2010 French gastronomy was officially added to the list of ‘intangible cultural heritage of humanity’

So, you can now add to your French speaking ability, a few weird and wacky facts about France.