Sometimes while wandering the lanes and byways of the internet one comes across information too fascinating to be ignored – even if it is of dubious immediate utility.
For instance, consider this extract from Volume 88 of the Edinburgh Magazine and Literary Miscellany (1821)
The sexton of the church of St Eustace, at Paris, amazed to find frequently a particular lamp extinct early, and yet the oil consumed only, sat up several nights to perceive the cause. At length he detected that a spider of surprising size came down the cord to drink the oil. A still more extraordinary instance of the same kind occurred during the year 1751, in the Cathedral of Milan. A vast spider was observed there, which fed on the oil of the lamps. M. Morland, of the Academy of Sciences, has described this spider, and furnished a drawing of it. It weighed four pounds, and was sent to the Emperor of Austria, and is now in the Imperial Museum at Vienna.
What, I ask, is to be done about that?
France is a pentagonal country located in Western Europe, South America, the Caribbean, the Pacific and Indian Oceans, Antarctica and near Canada. In the middle of France is an island called France. In the middle of the island is a city. In the middle of the city is an island and in the middle of the island is a hunchback. The city is called Paris, and has nothing to do with the Trojan War.
Paris has an iron tower, a painting of a lady, tunnels lined with skulls and Jim Morrison.
Three languages are spoken in France, French, Breton and Occitan. Nobody understands Breton and nobody speaks Occitan. French people walk on stilts and sleep all winter. They will kiss you whether you want them to or not.
France was founded by Charlemagne who owned an elephant and was the grandson of a hammer. He shed the blood of the Saxon men. France famously killed their king and then set up new kings all over Europe to say sorry. They surrendered to Hitler in World War II, but you probably would have as well.
England and France fight all the time, except when they’re friends.
If French people don’t kiss you, they may instead blow you up. Boum!
That is really all you need to know about France.