The “Iron Lady” and the land of the bons vivants – what is the background?

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Seven things you should know about France  The “Iron Lady” and the land of the bons vivants – what is the background?

France is due to take over the EU Council Presidency from January to July 2022. Together with the Czech Republic and Sweden, the country will form a Trio Presidency of the EU Council for 18 months – a good reason to take a closer look at the biggest country in the European Union.

2 min reading time

Café de Flore in Paris in summer

The land of the bons vivants: this requires cafés, restaurants and brasseries. The Café De Flore in Paris is famous: numerous intellectuals such as Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre were regular guests.

Photo: Getty Imagesistock/UlyssePixel

1. The land of the bons vivants: good food is essential to the French way of life. The country’s annual consumption of snails alone amounts to 30,000 tonnes. So it’s not without reason that French gastronomy is listed as an intangible UNESCO world heritage site.

2. The Eiffel Tower – also known as the “Iron Lady” – is the tallest building in Paris and one of the most world’s most frequently visited landmarks, attracting some seven million visitors a year. It was built in 1889 to mark the centenary of the French Revolution. 

3. With a pillar height of 343 metres, the Millau Viaduct is 18 metres higher than the Eiffel Tower. It is also the longest cable-stayed bridge in the world. It is located in the south of France where the A75 motorway crosses the river Tarn. 

4. With a surface area of around 645,000 square kilometres, France is the biggest country in the European Union and almost twice the size of Germany. 

5. Taking into account all its overseas territories in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, France is the country with the most time zones. There are twelve in total. 

6. France is the second largest exporter of films after the USA. This makes the French cinema industry the biggest in Europe. 

7.  At 4,808 metres, Mont Blanc in the French Alps is the highest mountain in Europe. It is one of the top three most frequently visited natural sites in the world. 

What is a Trio Presidency? The French EU Presidency begins on 1 January 2022 and is the first of a Trio Presidency with the Czech Republic and Sweden. This means that the Czech Republic will take over the Presidency from France on 1 July and pass it on to Sweden on 31 December. The three states have elaborated a joint programme in advance, which the Council will work through during the total period of 18 months.