Become a Master of Useless Knowledge!
Looking to impress your friends? Make your next date think you are smarter than you are? Want to appear more interesting at parties? Dazzle your friends, neighbors, and co-workers with extremely useless random bits of random knowledge. After all, they do say “All knowledge is worth having”…
As a fun and quirky challenge, start by picking a few of your favorites from the list below. Then over the course of a week, see how many times you can plug these little useless tidbits of knowledge into conversations. Just bring them up randomly, out of context…at a dinner party…around the coffee machine at work…while waiting at the checkout stand… with your seatmate on the bus…to perfect strangers on the street. You get it!
After a week, let me know in the comments how many times you managed to plug one of these intriguing tidbits into your conversations. The person with the most success gets a prize from GGG!!! Off you go now…
Fabulous French Factoids
- There are more than 350 distinctly different types of French cheese, with variations within each type leading to over 1,000 cheeses.
- French President Charles de Gaulle was famously quoted as saying “How can you govern a country which has two hundred and forty-six varieties of cheese?” (Comment voulez-vous gouverner un pays qui a deux cent quarante-six variétés de fromage?)
- There were 84.5 millions tourists visiting France in 2015, with an estimated 100 millions to come in 2020.
- “La Vie est Belle” perfume by Lancôme has sold 66 million bottles since its inception (way more than Channel °5)
- Frenchies drink 44 liters (11.5 gallons) of wine per year per adult person.
- Napoleon wasn’t actually short, but above average for a Frenchie of that era. He was falsely reported to have stood at only 5 feet 2 inches (1.57 m), but was actually 5 feet 6 inches (1.68 m) tall when properly translating the measurements that were a little different back then.
- Paris was originally a Roman city called “Lutetia” (meaning “place near a swamp”).
- French pastry “Galette des Rois” served Epiphany has Roman heritages coming from the winter solstice.
- In France, you can marry a dead person. You just need the Presidents permission.
- The French government gives medals to citizens who have “successfully raised several children with dignity.” That means at least half a dozen with no bouts of crazy screaming and ranting… Impossible!
- A small village in France is called “Pussy”.
- There is also a town in France called “Condom” (also referred to as Condom-en-Armagnac in the department of Gers). Condoms + Armagnac… seems appropriate.
- In France, nearly 96% of high schools have condom vending machines.
- French Toast isn’t French, it’s has Roman heritage from their “Pan Dulcis” (as does Bread Pudding) .
- French Fries aren’t French but from Belgium.
- During WW2 when Hitler visited Paris, the French cut the lift cables on the Eiffel Tower so that Hitler would have to climb the steps if he wanted to reach the top. That was 1,710-steps to climb to the very tip-top…
- France was the first country to introduce the license plates.
- Potatoes were illegal for human consumption in France as it was thought to cause leprosy among other things. They were used only for animal feed until the Paris Faculty of Medicine declared potatoes edible in 1772.
- In France, it’s illegal to name a pig “Napoleon” (but I bet there have been many!).
- Oldest bridge in Paris, France is actually the “Pont Neuf” (or New Bridge).
- The national flag until the French Revolution was just a plain white rectangle. It was a symbol of purity, and the white in the French Tricolor still reminds of this flag. It is not to be confused with the white flag of surrender. During the Bourbon Restoration (1814-1830) the white flag reappeared but with rows of golden fleurs de lys.
- Even though Audrey Hepburn famously bounced around Montmarte in snug slacks, it was actually illegal in Paris for women to wear trousers until 2012, a law that had come out of the French Revolution
- Beauty pageants for children are banned in France. They are punishable with up to 2 years in prison and a 30K€ fine.
- Africa has more French speakers than France and is spoken by an estimated 120 million people spread across 24 francophone countries.
- The Parisian Motto used since 1358 is “Fluctuat nec mergitur”, a Latin phrase meaning “Tossed but not sunk” (“Il est battu par les flots, mais ne sombre pas”). Still perfectly fits to this day…
- Cocorico as they say in France! The Gallic rooster is the national animal of France.
- The Louvre was originally built in 1190 as a defense against Viking raids.
- King Louis XIV of France loved diamonds and all that glitters. He had a coat with 123 diamond buttons and jewel encrusted buttonholes.
- King Louis XIV was also the original owner of the famous “Hope Diamond”. Originally an unwieldy large triangular dark blue diamond that he purchased and weighed 112 carats before being re-cut and faceted to reveal a brighter blue brilliant gem that came in at 67 carats. Lost to France after a robbery in 1792, it reappeared at a slightly smaller 45.5 carats in the collection of prominent London banker Henry Philip Hope.
- King Louis Phillipe I survived seven assassination attempts before dying exiled in Great Britain in 1850.
- Spanish and Brazilian women only spend about an hour and a half a week on housework, while French women spend almost no time on it. I’m DEFINITELY French!
- In France, they serve beer in McDonald’s (Heineken only).
- To combat obesity, France banned free soda refills at all fast food restaurants.
- Paris only has one stop sign (and it says of course “ARRET” and not “STOP”). They just go with the standard of the right gets priority.
And so you just never know when these tantalizing facts might come in handy especially if you like Jeopardy and Trivial Pursuit… So, how many of these did YOU already know?
-Girl Gone Gallic
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