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Interesting & Fun Facts about ParisParis, the capital city of France, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. In 2018, almost 19.1 million foreign tourists visited the city.
The city exudes romance, beauty and history, and there are many interesting facts and stories that may add a little more magic to this unique city...
Paris has affectionately become known as the “City of Love” and is often visited as a romantic getaway. It is notoriously one of the top destinations for anyone planning to propose to their partner. If a proposal isn’t on the cards, many used to make the smaller declaration of love to their partner by fixing a lock on the Pont des Arts bridge. The bridge was covered in thousands of lovers-locks which were each inscribed with a declaration of love, however, in 2015, the locks had to be removed as they were considered a threat to the structure of the bridge.
One reason why the city is notorious for its romantic vibes all of its lights, like little gems that shine across the city. Many think that the reason the city was once known as the “City of Light” is because of all its twinkling lights, but in actual fact, it was nicknamed this because it was one of the first large European cities to use gas street lighting on a grand scale – bit less romantic!
The city is overlooked by one of the most beautiful and iconic buildings in the world, the Eiffel Tower, or Tour Eiffel as the French call it. Measuring just over 1,000 feet tall, there are 1,665 steps to reach the top (unless you take the lift) and its covered in 20,000 light bulbs. The incredible sculpture was completed in 1889, two years after construction began and was named after the head engineer, Gustav Eiffel.
Until 1930 it was the tallest structure in the world but it wasn’t actually intended to be a permanent fixture. Built entirely of metal, the Tower was built as the main attraction to the Paris World’s Fair in 1889, but soon became the symbol of the city and so remained. Due to the material its constructed from, the structure can sway up to 7 inches due to the summer heats due to the metal contracting.
If you love history, then Paris is perfect for you - there are in total 1,803 monuments and 173 museums in Paris. Interestingly, Paris wasn’t always called “Paris”. It was originally founded in the 3rd century BC as a Roman City known as “Lutetia”, or Lutece in French. According to some, Lutetia was located in present-day Nanterre. The residents called themselves "Parisii" and therefore gave the name "Paris" to Lutetia.
Perhaps you prefer more artistic attractions, in which case, Paris more than delivers. The Louvre, is recognisable from its glass pyramid structure which was completed in 1989. The gallery houses some of the most notorious masterpieces including the Venus de Milo, The Raft of the Meduca and the Mona Lisa by Leonardo deVinci, which is actually the Louvre’s most heavily trafficked piece of art. In 1911, the Mona Lisa was stolen by Vincenzo Peruggia who was a former employee of The Louvre – he slipped it off the wall when nobody was watching and was caught trying to sell the work two years later in Italy. He was sentenced to one year in prison and led a relatively crime-free life thereafter.
Architecturally Paris is one of the most fascinating cities with structures ranging from an obelisk in Place de la Concorde which acts as a sundial; to five replicas of the Statue of Liberty; the Arc de Triomphe which is a tribute to those who fought for France and is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and features in the Tour de France; and the beautiful River Seine which flows through the middle of the city and you can cross via any of its 37 bridges.
Situated in the epicentre of Paris is the stunning medieval cathedral Notre-Dame. The cathedral is home to Emmanuel, the main church bell which weighs over 13 tonnes. Most recently in 2019, the cathedral suffered a fire which caused serious damage to the roof of the building and is currently being restored.
Paris is also an incredibly green city with 450 parks and gardens in the city. Interestingly, there are actually more dogs living in Paris than children. The city is divided into 20 “arrondissements” with 6,100 rues – or streets – the shortest one, Rue des Degrés, is just 5.75 metres long, in the 2nd arrondissement.
Paris is just as interesting underground as it is overground thanks to a network of tunnels. The Catacombs of Paris are estimated to measure around 320 kilometres and are the final resting place of over 6M people. Don’t expect to explore these during your visit as only one mile of the Catacombs is actually accessible to the public. There is also an underground lake beneath the Paris Opera House.
Driving in Paris isn’t for the faint-hearted – the city was renowned for only have one stop sign, which was removed in 2012! The city is encircled by a 21-mile belt highway which is known as the Péripherique, one of the busiest in Europe. If you aren’t feeling brave enough to risk the roads, you will be able to utilise the Paris Metro which is the 4th largest public transport system in the world.
Notorious for their food, Paris has the largest number of Michelin Star restaurants in the world so you will have plenty of options to choose from! Paris has something to offer everyone. It is a beautiful city that oozes culture, splendour and romance, we know that where we got engaged!