What we all need now is inspiration and hope…and a cure, or at least a vaccine, to stop COVID-19. Wine Lovers Travel wants to help lift your spirits, so we will begin using this space for short reads to brighten your day.
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Since France is, to most, the ultimate wine producer, we are starting with Five Fun Facts about France you may not have known!
1- You can be in France even when you’re not in Europe!
France extends to many parts of the world outside of Europe and everyone who lives in any of these places is a French citizen. DROM, or Departments and Overseas Regions, include French Guiana, Martinique, Guadeloupe, La Réunion and Mayotte, all of which have the same status as the departments (states) of France's mainland. COM are 5 overseas collectives: St. Martin and St. Barts in the Caribbean, French Polynesia (think Tahiti and Bora Bora), and places you have probably never heard of, like Wallis and Fortuna (near New Caledonia) and St. Pierre and Miquelon (southern peninsula of Newfoundland, Canada)
2- MAY DAY, the international distress call, derives from French.
Originally 'm'aider,' (pronounced 'may day'), which means 'help me' in French. Ironically, the phrase was introduced by a British radio officer directing air traffic at London's Croydon airport in 1923. He thought using a French phrase was best because most of the planes over the English Channel departed from France.
3- One of the world's oldest department stores is located in Paris!
Bon Marché, which still exists today on the Left Bank, is a favorite of locals, was founded in 1838. Prior to that, shops generally sold only one type of item. But department stores did not really become popular until Selfridge's was established in London in 1909 and turned shopping from a task to a leisure pursuit.
4- France is not the largest consumer of cheese!
The French love their cheese, and they produce some of the best fromage in the world. But Denmark has them beat in per capita consumption. Interestingly, Germany and The Netherlands are the top 2 exporters of cheese, also besting France.
5- France originated French Fries--Pommes Frites—but they once made potatoes illegal!
Potatoes were banned in 1748 because it was thought they caused leprosy. Plus, they were considered 'hog feed' and unfit for humans. In 1789 a doctor from the Paris Faculty of Medicine announced that potatoes were perfectly fine for human consumption. It took another 15 years, and until the end of the French Revolution, for a potato cookbook to be published and popularize them.
Feel free to impress your family and friends with your knowledge in that next socially distanced trivia game you play together and be sure to it with a glass of your favorite Bordeaux or Champagne!
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