Le Palais Ideal, a castle of stones, was built single handedly over 33 years by postman Ferdinand Cheval. He had no architectural training, but after tripping over an interestingly shaped rock on his mail route he was reminded of a dream he once had of such a palace and made it his life’s work.
In order to legally busk in the Paris Metro, musicians have to successfully audition before a jury and qualify for one of the 250 to 300 licenses handed out.
As a sign of appreciation, 49 box cars were sent from France to the US in 1949. Each car of the “Merci Train” contained personal items. This was a “thank you” gesture from French people to Americans, for donating supplies and food after WW2. Each state got one car. Some states even kept them in a local museum.
In France, you can sign up for a service where the postman pop in and check on your elderly parents to make sure they’re all right.
In 1907, French waiters went on strike for the right to have mustaches. In France prior to 1907, mustaches were a symbol of class and stature, while waiters were seen as lower class and thus – not mustache-worthy.
When France was occupied by the Germans in 1940, Citroen was forced to produce vehicles for the Nazis. They chose to move the fill line on their oil dipsticks lower, causing the trucks to seize under stress from low oil.
There is a small café in France that sells coffee to rude customers for €7 while polite customers get coffee for €1.40.
The term “silhouette” has a political backstory. King Louis XV’s General of Finances, Étienne de Silhouette, had a reputation for being cheap. Shadow portraits became popular during his tenure and got named after him due to being very cheap to make compared to commissioning a painting of oneself.
In France, it is illegal to to publish photographs of a handcuffed suspects, as they are not to appear guilty until proven so.
Japanese embassy in Paris has a 24 hour helpline, for their citizens who didn’t find Paris as expected. The French psychiatric journal Nervure cites the disappointment many visitors feel is caused by the over-romanticised expectations of Paris as a city of love, fashion, and glamorous people.