Monday, December 14, 2020

2020 Travel the World - Week 50

I started a Travel the World Series last year. (It should be noted that I did a similar thing in 2018, only it was the 50 states.) For 50 weeks in 2019, I visited a different country (virtually) and shared facts about that country. I then selected one tidbit of information about that week's country as inspiration for a card. Fifty weeks; fifty countries... BUT there are 195 countries in the world so that was just a little over 25% of them. Of course I couldn't stop, so this year I'm continuing with fifty more countries, one per week.

This is week 50 (of 50) so this is my last card in my Travel the World series for this year. It is also the 100th country I've done so far in the series, since I started the series in 2019. I'll be back in January to continue the journey. I'll do 50 more countries in 2021. 

This week's country is...


France, officially known as the French Republic, is bordered by these
 countries -  Andorra, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Spain, and Switzerland.

France, in Western Europe, encompasses medieval and port cities, tranquil villages, mountains and Mediterranean beaches.

France is the largest country in the European Union. It comprises almost 1/5th of the total EU area.

France is sometimes called the Hexagon, due to its six-sided shape.

The French coastline adds up to nearly 2150 miles. From bustling ports to sandy bays and rocky coves, you’ll find beaches of every shape and size along the French coast.

With twelve time zones, France has the most time zones of any country in the world.

Though this fact is really about England instead of France, it's interesting to know that French was the official language of England between 1066 and 1362.

The Eiffel tower is one of most recognized structures in the world; however, it hasn't always been a beloved landmark in France. When it was first erected in 1889, the tower was considered very ugly by most people. It really took quite a while for people to warm up to it. The Eiffel tower is named after the mastermind and genius who designed it. Gustave Eiffel was this tower’s engineer who took all the backlash after creating it. If only he could see now how popular his best art piece is today.

The Eiffel tower is as high as an 81-story building. The tower was the tallest man-made structure in the world for almost 41 years until the erection of the Chrysler Building in New York City in 1930.

The Eiffel tower is painted every seven years, taking five tons of paint to complete the job each time.

The Eiffel tower is the most-visited paid monument in the world.

The French sleep the most among people in the developed world. On average, they sleep 8.83 hours per day. 

An interesting fact about France tells us that all roads in the country have a point where they all start. This point is named Point Zero, and it is marked by a bronze star that is set on the pavement near the Notre Dame Cathedral’s main entrance in Paris.

Electric cars are quite popular in France. France leads all other European countries in total sales of electric cars. A total of 8,779 passenger electric cars were registered in France in 2013.

The French capital, Paris, is known as the “City of Light.” There are 296 illuminated sites in the city, consisting of bridges, churches, fountains, hotels and national buildings.

There are more than 1,500 bike stations in Paris. You can rent a bike from any of these stations at a cost of one Euro for one day, and return the bike at any other station.

The world’s first true department store was opened in Paris in 1838.

There are 5,000 restaurants in Paris and nearly 2,000 bakeries.

All the trees in the French capital, Paris, are measured and referenced. There are 470,000 of them.

The city of Paris has only one stop sign.

France uses roundabouts to keep traffic flowing in city centers. Roundabouts contribute to encouraging the natural flow of traffic throughout cities to help with traffic jams. France loves their roundabouts so much that they have more than half of the world’s roundabouts right there in France.

France is the most popular tourist destination in the world. France welcomes some 89 million visitors annually; Spain comes in second place with some 82 million visitors, while the USA comes in third with 78 million.

A man in Paris invited total strangers for dinner every week for over 30 years.

Napoleon Bonaparte was born in Corsica, a beautiful French island, which is located in the Mediterranean sea. The water is a flawless aquamarine blue, the buildings reflect the history of the island with incredible architecture and bright colors, and the beaches are to die for, making it a popular vacation spot. 

In France, it is illegal to name a pig “Napoleon.”

Paris’ Louvre Museum is the most visited art museum in the world.

The French love polite people. This is the reason why a coffee shop in France sells cheap coffee to those of its customers who greet and say ‘bonjour’ before ordering their favorite coffee.

in 2013, the French government overturned a very outdated (and unenforced) law  that required women to gain permission from the local police if they wanted to “dress like a man” and wear trousers.  Now Parisian women are free to wear whatever they want.

Europe's highest mountain is Mont Blanc in the French Alps. It takes an arduous 10 to 12 hours to climb to the summit. For those not up for that, the brilliant view from the top can be seen following a leisurely 20-minute trip up on Europe’s highest cable car on the nearby Aiguille du Midi.

The camera phone was invented in France in 1997 by an enterprising Parisian called Philippe Kahn. The first photo he took was of his new-born daughter, Sophie, which he sent to his family and friends.

In France, it is illegal to take pictures of police officers or their vehicles, even in the background.

Most brides dream of walking down the aisle in a beautiful white wedding gown. But until the nineteen-hundreds, they rarely bought a special wedding dress and opted for their best outfit instead. The popular tradition actually originated in France with the marriage of Anne of Brittany and Louis XII of France in 1499. She wore a white dress to the wedding, marking the start of the popular Western custom. However, it wasn’t until 1840, when Queen Victoria married Prince Albert, that the white dress really took off in popularity and the tradition was cemented.

The luckiest person in history could easily be one of France’s former presidents. President Charles de Gaulle has gone down in history to be the person who has survived the most assassination attempts in the world. President Gaulle survived 32 attempts on his life earning himself a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.

France is the world’s second-largest exporter of agricultural products.

France has won the most Nobel prizes for literature of any country in the world. With 15 French individuals winning the prestigious award since 1901, it’s fair to say that France has produced some of the world’s most influential writers and thinkers. 

The Lumière brothers, Auguste Marie Louis Nicolas and Louis Jean, were famous for their Cinématographe motion picture system and the short films they produced between 1895 and 1905. The famed duo held the world’s first pub­lic movie screening on December 28, 1895, at the Grand Café in Paris. Their directorial debut was La sortie des ouvriers de l’usine Lumière (Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory). The 5-second-long black-and-white film simply showed workers leaving the Lumière factory and left the audience completely flabbergasted. In 1895, Louis Lumière supposedly said that cinema is ‘an invention without a future’. Oh, how little did he know.

The French Army was the first to use camouflage, dating back to 1915 (during World War One).

The French rail network is the second largest in Europe and the ninth biggest in the world.

In France, it is actually illegal to kiss while a train is on the platform. This old law was introduced in 1910 at the request of rail chiefs who wanted to prevent the amorous French from delaying the departure of trains. All kissing on the platform must now be done before the train arrives.

We have the French to thank for many of the useful inventions we know and love today. For instance, French inventor Nicolas Appert came up with the idea to use sealed glass jars placed in boiling water to preserve food in 1809. Pierre Durand later invented the tin can. Braille was also developed by Louis Braille who was blinded as a child. Meanwhile, physician René Laennec invented the stethoscope at a hospital in Paris in 1816 and Alexandre-Ferdinand Godefroy patented the world’s first hairdryer in 1888. The majestical hot air ballon was also pioneered by the Montgolfier brothers Joseph and Etienne who unveiled the world’s first public display of an untethered balloon in 1783.

The parachute, the motion picture camera, the bicycle and inflatable tires for cars are other French inventions

The license plates that we see today on automobiles were first introduced in France.

In 2016, France made it illegal to throw away unsold food that is perfectly edible. Instead of tossing it in the trash, all unsold food must be donated o those who need to eat, can benefit from stores having a surplus of food.

There are over 400 kinds of cheese made in France. The French are the highest consumers of cheese in the world, with almost half the population eating cheese on a daily basis. 

France is famed around the globe for its mouthwatering cuisine, so the fact that two new cookbooks are published every day there might not come as a total surprise.

French people are quite passionate about their food. Before eating a meal, it is considered polite to say ‘Bon Appetit.’ This literally means “good appetite” to everyone who is eating along with you.

The average French citizen eats 500 snails each year. Snails – or escargots – are a popular French delicacy, traditionally served as an hors-d’oeuvre with garlic butter.

Some foods we typically think of as originating in France didn't. For instance, French fries were actually introduced to the American soldiers during World War One by Belgian soldiers who spoke French. As such, the Americans called them French Fries. (That solves the mystery from my Travel the World card a couple of weeks ago. If you missed it, check it out - HERE.) As for French toast, it can be traced back to being in existence during the Roman Empire.

France might be well-known for its croissants, but the pastry actually began its days in Austria. The kipferl – ancestor of the croissant, born in the coffee shops of Vienna in the 13th century – was the original crescent-shaped morning sweet. Made of a denser and less flaky dough, the kipferl later crossed the border to France and became the famous croissant.

The world's first artificial heart transplant and face transplant both took place in France.

Under French law, it is possible to  marry posthumously in exceptional cases, providing it can be proven that the deceased had the intention of marrying said individual while they were alive. Permission must also be granted by the French president. 

If you happen to be in the country on 1 April, don’t be surprised if children try to stick paper fish to your back and call you a ‘Poisson d’Avril’ (April Fish). This tradition is supposed to have started in the 16th century when King Charles XIV of France changed the calendar and those who continued to celebrate the end of the New Year at the end of March were ridiculed as fools. 

A traditional French baguette is made up of only flour, yeast, and salt. 10 billion baguettes are baked each year in the country.

Turning a baguette upside down is considered unlucky in France. According to folklore, placing a baguette or a loaf of bread on the table upside down puts the people around you at risk of misfortune, or worse – death. This quirky superstition supposedly stems from medieval times when executioners were allowed to grab things in shops without paying for them. Hence, bakers would leave an overturned loaf of bread out for them. And if you came to touch the bread or placed a loaf upside-down yourself, you then had to mark it with the cross before eating it to ward off bad luck. 

Eating at McDonald’s in France costs double the amount of eating at McDonald’s in the U.S. The reason being the local sourcing of almost 90% of the ingredients in the U.S.

I decided to let this France fact be the inspiration for this week's card... 
The famous Tour de France 23-day long bicycle race is over 100 years old; the original one began on July 1, 1903. It has run every year since, save for the two world wars. In 2020, the race was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic – but it still went ahead!

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp Sets
: Unity Full of Happy Hugs and Happy to Be Me stamped with Versafine Onyx Black Ink

Ink (for blending): Lawn Fawn Mermaid

Papers: Accent Opaque 120# White and SU Summer Sun CS and DP from my scrap file

Die/Punch: Rubbernecker Nested Rectangle Stitch Die and SU Banners Pick-a-Punch

Embellishment: Brad from an unknown vendor


Lynn McAuley said...

What a fabulous silhouette, Jeanette!! I can feel the wind whipping through my hair! Sensational card!

MiamiKel said...

Such a fun card! I can almost hear the wheeee!

Barb said...

Such a sweet card. I love reading about each of the countries--so fascinating!