11 June 2010

Did you know...?

My son received a calendar for Christmas with 365 questions, one for each day of the year.

The subjects range from science and geogaphy to history and general trivia. It's titled "For Curious Minds" and is the perfect daily companion to a quickly expanding 8-year old mind.

Only, my son isn't the only one learning informative tidbits. Once in a while I'll know the answer, but not often.

For example: Do you know why the swallows fly close to the rooftops before it rains? 
Just before the rain falls, the air becomes heavy with minute drops of water. As a result, insects fly lower to the ground because their wings get saturated with moisture. Since the swallows feed on insects, they must then fly lower to catch them.

Ever since I've been in France, everyone has always told me to watch the swallows because their flight patterns can predict rain.  I used to think it was just another wives' tales. But it seems, in fact, to be true.

Fun French Facts

Do you know how fast the TGV is (France's fast train)? When carrying passengers, the TGV reaches speeds up to 300 kilometers per hour (184 mph) . It also holds the world speed record for a train on rails: 513.30 kilometers per hour (319 mph) on May 18th, 1990.

Do you know how many kings France has had? 
62 over 14 centuries.

Do you know why was the Eiffel Tower constructed? To represent France during the 1889 World Fair. It was designed and built by Gustave Eiffel and served as the entrance arc to the fair. It's the tallest building in Paris (over 300 meters high) and is generally recognized as the one monument in the world that has the most paying visitors each year.


Anonymous said...

Not wanting to be a smarty pants, but...the TGV broke the speed record again in April 2007 at a whopping 574.8km/hr!

And what they say about swallows is true. Except that what we see in the Croix Rousse - and particularly hear in their "screaming raids" in the early evenings - are in fact swifts, not swallows!

X Rousse

Alex Quici said...

No, smarty pants are always welcome! Thanks for the corrections.