This page is one of the annex pages of, the foremost site on Franco-American intercultural differences. It contains documents, facts and figures illustrating the content of some of its pages.

Facts & figures

This page contains Facts and Figures about France and the French. Some are significant, other less so....

 France for foreigners   Students
  • Most visited French touristic sites (Source : Observatoire National du Tourisme 2003 & 2013) :
 Site    visitors/year (millions) 2013  visitors/year (millions) 2003
Disneyand Paris
 Notre-Dame  Paris


 Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre  Paris


 Musée du Louvre  Paris

( 5,7)

 Chateau de Versailles  Versailles


 Tour Eiffel  Paris


Notre Dame de Lourdes Lourdes
 Centre Georges-Pompidou  Paris


Cathedrale de Strasbourg Strasbourg
 Musée d'Orsay  Paris


 Cité des Sciences de la Villette  Paris


 Mont-Saint-Michel  Manche


Notre Dame de la Medaille Miraculeuse Paris
Museum d'Histoire Naturelle Paris
 Arc de Triomphe de l'Etoile  Paris


 Puy-du-Fou (spectacle médieval)  Vendée


Parc Asterix Paris
 Futuroscope  Poitiers


 Grand Palais  Paris


Musee de l'Armee  Paris


 Cathédrale de Reims  Champagne


 Cathédrale de Chartres  Eure-et-Loir


 American Cemetery Omaha Beach  Normandie


 Pont Romain du Gard  Gard


 Ville de Sarlat  Dordogne


To French provinces

  • Foreign students in France as compared to USA (Source : OECD 2004)
       France  USA  UK  Germany

    Total number of

    foreign students

     152,881  586,323  275,270  163,213
     From Asia




     From Europe




     From Africa




     From SouthAm




     From NorthAm









(°) : including USA : 1,5% (°°) : including USA : 5,4%

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 French attitudes and traditions    
  • Charities : Americans give to charities between 6 and 7 times more per capita than the French (but the French pay much more taxes for social help, museums, universities, hospitals, etc...). According to Giving USA Foundation and CerPhi (in France), the gap is even bigger : in 2005, 199 billion $ vs. 3,2 in France. But when it comes to public aid for development, the USA are far beyond France and Europe (between one third and one half)... Among many others, the most well known French charitable organizations include :
    • Compagnons d'Emmaüs, for the homeless, founded by Abbé Pierre
    • Restaurants du Coeur, free meals for people who can't afford food, founded by Coluche
    • Secours Catholique, sponsored by the Catholic church
    • Secours Populaire, very similar, but sponsored by unions and left-wing political parties
    • Medecins Sans Frontières, the "French Doctors", in Third World countries, founded by Bernard Kouchner

Nobility in France : a few facts and figures

  • For French law, being or not "noble" does not give any privilege (except the right to use your title) and nobility is not protected by the law : it is a purely private matter
  • The number of authentic noble families in France does not exceed 4000 (but the number of families who pretend they are is three or four times bigger) ; being a member of ANF (Association d'Entraide de la Noblesse Française) can be considered a proof
  • Having a "de" before your name is not a proof of nobility (and conversely a few truly noble families have a name without a "de") but most noble families do
  • France is one of the European countries (with the UK, Spain, Belgium, Italy and a few others) with a nobility ; most of the titles were granted before the Revolution ("noblesse d'Ancien Régime"), the rest during the Empire ("noblesse d'Empire") and of course not anymore
  • The oldest (still existing) noble families are, for example, de la Rochefoucault or de Rohan, going back in a straight line to the 10th Century or before ; most prestigious titles are "prince" and "duc", others are "marquis", "comte", "vicomte" or "baron"
  • The coat of arms ("blason") is not at all a sign of nobility

Back to nobility

  • What the French think of the wealthy : according to Rainer Zitelmann, a German historian who surveyed 4 500 Europeans in 4 countries (Source : Le Monde April 21, 2019)
    • Only 12% of the French think that rich donors want to do good to others when 25% think that they only think of their own interest
    • In France, the % of "non-jalous" people is the lowest : 27% (vs. 47% in UK, 49% in USA, 34% in Germany)
    • Only 20% of the French think that the wealthy contribute enough to the collectivity through their taxes (among the highest in the world...) and 61% think that taxes should be increased for them (only)
    • etc...
  • Use of tranquilizers once a year or more (source : Le Figaro Aug.26, 2008) : France : 21,4%, Spain : 15,5%, Italy : 13,7%, Germany : 5,9%

Back to Europe

  • Rich foreigners and the French health system : the French medical system is far better than the system of many other countries and many foreign millionnaires (petrol sheiks, Russian tycoons, African heads of state, etc) want to be treated in France. Sometimes, they rent the whole department of a hospital and benefit from more comfort. The common rules are that it can be accepted by the hospital if it does not deprive it of beds which could be used by other patients and if they pay at least the standard price of the health administration (Securite Sociale) which, of course, will not be reimbursed to them. It sounds very attractive for the French system but, surprisingly, it raises constant quarrels and many people want to forbid it for the following reason : "It it not fair for regular patients who do not enjoy the same treatment and are often two in the same bedroom". Another example of the French passion for equality . . . An example : in January 2015 a sheik rented a whole wing (12 rooms) in the (very good) hospital Ambroise-Pare near Paris and paid the standard cost + 30%. The unions protested.

  • More to come . . .

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Harriet Welty Rochefort writes articles and books about France and the French. Order her books:

  • "French Toast, An American in Paris Celebrates The Maddening Mysteries of the French", St.Martin's Press, New York, 1999
  • "French Fried, The Culinary Capers of An American in Paris", St.Martin's Press, New York, 2001

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