Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame de Paris, Louvre, the smell of coffee and freshly baked croissants in Champs Elysees, the fine echoes of Edith Piaf’s “Padam…Padam” song on the streets and nights full of romance, flirt and enchantment…
Here are 50 more fun facts and places about Paris that will inspire you to come (again!) to the City of Love.
Paris City facts
- Paris is widely known as “The City of Lights” or “La Ville-Lumiere”. This name was given to Paris not only because Paris has always been the center of education and clerisy, but also because it was one of the first cities to have a street lightning system.
- More than 25 millions tourists visit Paris annually.
- Don’t shoot or display fireworks from the Eiffel Tower at night. It is prohibited by the French Constitution.
- If you happen to ask your question in English, don’t be surprised to hear a Parisian giving you an answer in French. Parisians are very fond of their language and don’t like speaking English, especially with tourists.
- There is only one “Stop” sign in Paris, located at the exit of a building company in the rich 16th arrondissement.
- Parisians love dogs. It is estimated that the number of dogs in the city exceeds the number of children. According to some reviews, the number of dogs in the French capital goes over the half a million. Parisians are allowed to take their dogs to some of the restaurants. They even have special vacuum cleaners which clean after the dogs.
- There is also an official law (!) about the Parisian baguette, which mentions the exact size and the dough consistency of this bread.
- Passengers in the Parisian metro should open and close the metro doors by themselves. The stations are also not announced.
- Every year there is a competition for the best baker in Paris. The winner gets an opportunity to bake for the president himself!
- 110 movies and 161 one-reelers have been filmed in Paris. It took 3339 days for shooting.
- In the last couple of years Parisian government has been actively striving for a good ecology. Due to the very busy city transportation, the air pollution has reached its maximum. Therefore the government has passed the law, according to which the cars with the odd numbers are allowed to drive in the city only in the odd days, and cars with the even numbers are allowed to drive only in the even days. Call it brilliant, desperate or odd but this is a new Paris reality.
- Paris is slowly turning into the city of bicycles, which is also good for the local ecology. Nowadays there are more than 500 kilometers of bike lanes in the city.
- The famous Eiffel Tower was build between 1887-1889 and was considered to be the tallest building in the world until 1930. Its height is 324 meters.
- There are 72 names of engineers, mathematicians, scientists engraved on the Eiffel Tower, all of who participated in the creation of the tower.
- The most visited museum in the world is Louvre, which was built in 1793. Around 10 million people come here every year.
- In 2014 Paris was estimated to be the most tourist-attractive city in the world, leaving behind London and New York. In 2015 and 2016 it was #3 after Bangkok and London.
- Notre Dame de Paris, which took almost two centuries to build, is known to be the “Music, graven in the stone”. The architecture of the cathedral combines both styles – gothic and roman.
- Notre Dame de Paris has a small square named in honor of the patriarch Joanne The square is famous for its roses which blossom all year round, even during the winter time. Some scenes of the Woody Allen movie “The night in Paris” were filmed there.
- The city of romance has also its hidden “unromantic” secrets. There are catacombs under the city where thousands of human remains are buried. In the 17th century the government of Paris was faced with a problem of gravesite congestion, so the decision to build the catacombs was made.
- The oldest bridge in Paris is called… the “New Bridge” (Pont Neuf), and it was built in the 16th
- Many people have tried to jump off the top of the Eiffel Tower, but they all survived. There was one woman who jumped off the Eiffel tower and landed on top of a car. The story has a happy ending: later on this lady married the driver of the car.
- The top popular attraction in Paris is not Louvre (about 10 million of visitors) or Eiffel Tower (about 5,5 million of visitors). it’s Disneyland, which annually meets nearly 13 million of tourists.
- Parisians are known to be the big complainants. And they have their own iron logic about it: if you complain – you understand the problem, and if you understand it – you are very smart.
- Every city in France has a street named after Victor Hugo and Paris is no exception.
- Autumn is the most favorable season to visit Paris not only because the city is more tranquil and beautiful, but also because there are considerable sales in the supermarkets and free entrances to many museums, galleries and other attractions.
- During hot season in Paris, the fountain in front of the Eifel tower is the most popular remedy. It’s an unofficial swimming place for Parisians.
- You can drink water in Paris right from the tap. Parisians have an exceptional water-purification system. Besides, you can ask a glass of water for free in any local restaurant.
- You can easily become a witness of a rather unusual scene in Paris, when a random person will lie on his belly right in front of you. Don’t be too surprised, as it’s just a member of the local flash mob group named “flat on the belly”. Those guys do this flash mob in any public places they like.
- Every year for the period of 4 weeks (from July to August) several kilometers of the Sienna shores are covered with sand. The space turns into a huge beach with palm trees, sun loungers and tropically-themed bars.
- If you want to cross Paris from North to South on foot, it will take you approx. 2 hours and 15 minutes.
Things to do in Paris
- Paris is known not only as a center of fashion, but also as the entertainment hub. One of the most vibrant street carnivals is the Carnival de Paris which is held in February. This colorful celebration has a very long history and tradition, which was broken after the Second World War and revived in the 90th. The carnival is a colorful street parade with fun music and dancing. Any tourist who comes to Paris in winter should visit this carnival.
- Those tourists, who come to Paris in summer, should definitely visit the Carnival Tropical, which is traditionally held in July. It is a multinational parade with representatives from all over the world who sing and dance on the most crowded and famous street of Paris – Champs Elysees. In average, 40000 tourists visit the carnival every year.
- All the football fans can find a historical 5-meter Zidane head-butt statue at Paris’ Centre Pompidou. Remember that final match of the FIFA World Cup in 2006?
- If you want to look like a Parisian, you should walk through the streets of Paris with baguette in your armpit. It is an ancient tradition. Baguette is a truly French creation and it is sold in every local bakery.
- If you want to see the oldest house of Paris, go to this address: 51, rue de Montmorency, 3. Arrondissement. It was built in 1407. Yes, you counted it right, 610 years ago.
- If you are tired of crowds of tourists, fashionable boutiques, sparkling street lights and classic tourist attractions, you can go to the graveyard Pere Lachaise. The entrance is absolutely free and you can see the graves of many famous people buried there: Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, Chopin etc.
Paris Cafes and Restaurants
- Paris hosts the biggest number of world-famous restaurants. Also, Paris triumphantly takes the first place for the highest percent of the Michelin stars (over 70!). If you fancy “fancy food” but are on a budget, try to check out these restaurants at lunchtime. And if you can afford just one restaurant let’s up the game and pick the one with 3 (!) Michelin stars. Here are your TOP 5: Pierre Gagnaire, Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, Hotel le Bristol, Le Meurice, L’Arpège.
- Over the period of the last 30 years, Jim Haynes has been inviting everyone to his house for Sunday dinners. If you’d like to dine with this extraordinary Parisian in his house, you should leave him a message on his website: http://www.jim-haynes.com/contact/.
- In 2004 one of the most unusual restaurants opened in Paris – Dans le Noir. The staffs of the restaurant are blind people. The visitors who come here have a unique chance to dine in a complete darkness, which helps them to feel the scents and tastes more acutely. Over time this type of restaurants started to open in major cities around the world.
- Café de Flore, on the boulevard of Saint-Germain in Paris, is considered to be the most famous in the world. It is famous not only for its exquisite cuisine, but also for its popularity among such famous stars as Dali, Delon, Bordo and many others. It is believed that every single table in the restaurant had been taken by a celebrity at one time or another in the past.
- There is a “Cafe des 2 Moulins” in Montmartre which became famous due to the movie “Amelie” which was filmed in this area. Nowadays this café is a favorite destination of all the Amelie fans.
- Coffee Parisian is the best place to try American burgers in Paris. It is also the favorite place of such stars as Diane Kruger and Lou Doillon.
- In Middle Ages the fountains of Versailles were turned on only after the whistle of the servant as a warning of the coming of the king. There were orange, pine-apple and coffee trees planted in the kings’ orangery.Many Parisians didn’t like Eiffel tower at first. One of them was the famous writer, Guy de Maupassant. However, he enjoyed dining in the Eifel Towers’ restaurant. It was the only place where this “Horrible Tower” couldn’t be seen.
- According to the original idea, Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral was supposed to host all citizens of Paris, which accounted around 10 000 people at that time. Instead of the walls there are columns which are connected by arks. The stained glass windows in the aperture of the arks are iridescent and have an intrinsically magical air.
- In Middle Ages the fountains of Versailles were turned on only after the whistle of the servant as a warning of the coming of the king. There were orange, pine-apple and coffee trees planted in the kings’ orangery.
- The first strip dance performance in the world belongs to Paris. In 1983 a girl named Mona took off all of her clothes during the beauty contest rehearsal in Moulin Rouge. And though she was given a fine of 100 franks, she made history and became the first woman to perform a strip dance in public.
- In 1880th the body of a young girl was discovered in the river Sienne. The autopsist was so mesmerized by her beauty that he made a mask of her face which, eventually, became very famous. This unknown girl was praised by many poets and writers, her face features were compared with the features of Mona Lisa, and she was referred to as «The Mona Lisa of the Seine”. In 1958 they made a mannequin for the CPR trainings (a model of training manikin used for teaching cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)531) called “Resusci Anna”. That’s why the unknown girl from Sienne is often called “the most kissed girl in history”.
- The famous cocktail “Bloody Mary” was created in Paris in the bar of the Ritz Hotel. One time Ernest Hemingway was staying at this fancy hotel and after going to the bar he asked a barman for a drink that wouldn’t smell like alcohol. The barmen mixed vodka and tomato juice and after Hemingway screamed out the name of his wife “Bloody Mary!” who often spied on him, the cocktail instantly received this name.
- Coco Chanel was living in the Ritz Hotel for quite a long time.
- She went to her boutique, which was only 100 meters away from the hotel, only by car.
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