France, located in the Western Europe, is the largest country in the European Union and possesses the second-largest exclusive economic zone in the world (runner up to the United State). France has been a strong influence culturally, economically, militarily, and politically in all of Europe and around the world. But those are facts anyone can find on thousands of web pages if you type the word ‘France’ into Google. However, during my recent visit to France, I discovered interesting things that I hadn’t come across when researching facts about France prior to my trip. Here are 5 things that truly struck me by surprise that I thought I’d share with you.
Things You Probably Didn’t Know About France:
1) No tipping
The law demands in France that the service/cover charge must be included in all prices present in bars and restaurants. Yes, the service is included in all bills! While it does feel weird to leave nothing on the table in the beginning, it’s crazy how quick you get used to knowing how much your meal had cost exactly.
2) What does the Statue of Liberty have to do with French fashion?
The statue of liberty, one of the most famous landmarks, was made in France and was given to the people of the United Stated as a gift of friendship. It stands as a universal symbol of freedom and democracy. But what you probably didn’t know is that some hold the theory that it was modeled after Isabella Eugenie Boyer, the wife of Isaac Singer, the sewing-machine industrialist. Others believe that the model was the sculptor's mother, Charlotte Bartholdi, whom it does greatly resemble. Either way both were Frenchwomen.
3) Ice is Sin!
Something else you should know is that that no restaurant in France will serve you ice in your water, diet coke, or really any beverage for that matter. Most of the time, your drink will be either room temperature or maybe a little chilled from being refrigerated, but never cold. And if you ask for some ice, you’ll be lucky if they bring you 3 ice cubes. Beware; they’re stingy with ice!
4) Most Popular
France is the most popular tourist destination in the world! Nearly 82 million people traveled to France each year. The popularity of France stems from how developed they are in industrial products, how outstanding they are in everything regarding fashion, how rich and tasty the food is there, and how far advanced they are culturally with their museums and technology.
5) Drugstores are actually Drugstores
French people are serious about their drugstores! Don’t walk into a drugstore there looking to buy paper towels, mascara or candy; they only sell drugs, high-end creams and special body washes. They have tons of moisturizers, exotic beauty products, homeopathic pills and remedies, herbal cigarettes, fabulous mosquito repellent, and a lot of diet supplements that will make you slim and beautiful. They are marketed as "premium" products here in the U.S but are sold in drugstores in France at much better prices. For example products from brands like Chanel, Bourjois, which you can only get from department stores here, you can get in France in a drugstore. The best part? You can get over-the-counter drugs there that would be prescriptions here in the USA.
(* I’ll tell you a secret though, if you visit the site Beautedeparis.fr you can find the same type of French beauty in a bottle or a tube without having to go all the way to France to buy it. They ship directly from their U.S. facilities straight to your home or office! )