Paris is one of the most iconic and beautiful cities in the world. The French capital is home to some of the world’s most popular landmarks and is the birthplace of some of the country’s most significant figures.
Paris welcomes millions of visitors to its streets each and every year. Let’s take a look at 10 interesting facts about Paris.
10 Interesting Paris Facts
1. There is a Statue of Liberty in Paris
Everyone knows about the Statue of Liberty in New York, but did you know that there is also a Statue of Liberty in Paris. The French version of the Statue is around a third of the size of the American one and it is facing its American counterpart as a symbol of friendship between the countries.
The statue is located in front of the Pont de Grenelle, a bridge that goes over the city’s famous River Sienne. There are also two other smaller statues located around the city.
The original Statue of Liberty, of course, was also built by a Frenchman and was given to the United States of America as a gift from one country to another.
2. Paris is the biggest city in France
Paris is the biggest and most populated city in all of France, a well-known fact about Paris. The city has an official population of 2.23 million, making it one of the biggest capitals in Europe behind the likes of London, Berlin, Madrid, and Rome.
It is not just the cultural capital and the biggest city in Paris, but is also the financial center of the country and is home to the French president and government.
3. The Catacombs of Paris
Above the ground, there is no denying that Paris is one of the most picturesque and beautiful cities on the planet. Underground though, Paris tells you a completely different story.
The catacombs of Paris are one of the most unique spots in the city and are home to the remains of over 6 million dead Parisians, an interesting fact about Paris. Construction on the underground ossuaries began in 1874 in order to combat the overflowing cemeteries in the city. Graves were dug up and the remains of millions of bodies were routinely moved under the ground.
The catacombs still exist today and are one of the most unique tourist attractions that exist in Paris. They attract millions of visitors to the site each and every year.
4. Paris is home to the biggest art museum in the world- The Louvre
Paris is home to many great art and artists and one of the reasons it continues to attract these people in the 21st Century is because of the presence of The Louvre. The museum houses around 38,000 objects inside its iconic prism structure and it is the biggest art museum on the entire planet.
The Louvre is home to thousands of famous pieces of art, with the most famous being Leonardo Da Vinci’s iconic Mona Lisa. The museum is one of Paris’s biggest attractions and attracts around 15,000 visitors each and every day.
5. The City of Light
Paris is one of the world’s most romanticized cities and one of the many names it has earned itself over the years is ‘the city of lights’.
This might not be for the reason that many people think though. It is a common misconception that the nickname ‘the city of light’ comes from the fact that Paris looks so beautiful when it is lit up at night. While this is undeniably true, the nickname is actually because of the number of intellectuals, artists and writers who live and have lived in the city, not a well-known fact about Paris.
6. Paris was originally a Roman city called Lutetia
Long before it became the booming metropolis that we know today, Paris was a Roman city called Lutetia. Translated from Latin, Lutetia means marsh or swamp, and it was meant to signify the little island that was situated in the Sienne that would later become Paris.
The city would later become ‘la cité des Parisii’ after the Gaelic people who lived there – the Parisii. This would later evolve to the name Paris that we have today. The name Lutetia is still visible on some old signs in Paris today.
7. There is only one stop sign in all of Paris
A slightly more obscure fact about Paris is that there is only stop sign to be found in the entire city. The image of cars driving around and beeping their horns at one another is very famous and for good reason.
The French population have a rule when it comes to driving and that is that the driver on the right side of the road always gets the right of way. They believe that this does an ample job of controlling the traffic and preventing accidents in the city. The stop sign is located in the city’s wealthy 16th arrondissement.
8. The Eiffel Tower was supposed to be temporary
The first image that comes into most people’s minds when they think of Paris is the Eiffel Tower. The iconic structure is one of the most famous landmarks in the world and attracts millions upon millions of visitors every single year.
Interestingly though, the tower was only meant to be a temporary installation. The tower was erected for the 1889 World fair to mark 100 years of the French Revolution. It was never taken down because of an antenna that was on top of it that was being used to transmit signals, an interesting fact about Paris.
9. The Eiffel Tower is the most-visited paid tourist attraction in the entire world
It should come as no surprise that Paris is one of the most popular cities with tourists in the entire world. The city has a reputation for being romantic and beautiful and it is also home to some of the continent’s most famous attractions.
The Eiffel Tower is, in fact, the most-visited paid tourist attraction in the entire world. The iconic structure attracts 6 million paying visitors each and every year. Some of them even choose to climb the 1,665 steps that lead all the way to the top of the tower.
10. The Main bell in Notre Dame Cathedral weighs 13 tons
Interestingly, while the Eiffel Tower may be the visited paid-for attraction in the world, it is not the most visited tourist spot in Paris. That honor belongs to the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral.
The iconic cathedral is seen as the finest piece of French architecture. It most recently survived an intense fire in early 2019 which threatened to put an end to its history. Thankfully, it is being reconstructed.
The most astonishing thing in Notre Dame, aside from its obvious beauty, is the main bell for the church which weighs an incredible 13 tons. That is roughly the weight of three elephants. The bell is rung on special occasions such as Christmas or Easter or to signify the appointment of a new pope or the death of someone significant in the church or in France.
Paris is one of the most popular cities in the world and it is a place that is full of little hidden gems and treasures. Its enduring beauty and fascinating culture means that Paris should be on everybody’s travel bucket list.
I hope that this article on Paris facts was helpful. If you are interested, visit the City Facts Page!