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Interesting facts about France: Culture

1. 40,000 castles

There are some 40,000 châteaux (castles, manors, palaces...) in France. 

2. Famous French inventions

Famous French inventions include the adding machine, the hot air balloon, the airship, the parachute, the submarine, the ambulance service, photography, animation and cinema.

3. Highest number of Nobel prizes for literature

France is the country that has won the most Nobel prizes for literature. 

4. Second biggest consumers of alcohol per capita

French people are the second biggest consumers of alcohol per capita in the Western world, after Luxembourg. 

5. Biggest consumers of medicines in Europe

A 2007 study revealed that the French were the biggest consumers of medicines in Europe, both in quantity and total money spent per person.

6. 300 kinds of cheese

There are over 300 kinds of cheese made in France.

7. Many sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List

There are 28 categories of sites in France listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, including 3 Roman sites (Arles, Orange and Le Gard), 4 cathedrals (Amiens, Bourges, Chartres, Reims), 4 abbeys (Fontenay, Reims, Saint-Savin sur Gartempe and Vezelay), 8 historic city/town centres (Paris, Strasbourg, Lyon, Avignon, Le Havre, Mont-Saint-Michel, Provins and Carcassone) as well as numerous belfries, castles and palaces.

8. Highest number of tourists in the world

More tourists visit France each year than any other country in the world, with 67 million annual tourist arrivals (more than the country's population).

9. World record for theatre

The spectacle "Ionesco" has been playing at the Théâtre de La Huchette since 1957, with over 15,000 performances - a world record.

10. Top publisher of cooking books

There are about 2 new cooking books published every day in France.

11. Claude François, the French equivalent of Elvis Presley

Pop singer Claude François (1939-1978) is still as popular as ever in France 30 years after his accidental death. Two of his songs have remained constantly in the top 10 of music played in night club for the last 20 years. A real cult has developed around him. In many ways, Claude François can be regarded as the French equivalent of Elvis Presley.

12. One-fourth cremated and not buried

About one fourth of French people nowadays choose to be cremated when they die, instead of the traditional Catholic burial.

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