21 Extraordinary Facts About Paris

Paris is one of those intriguing cities you can visit a hundred times and find something new every time you go. Maybe that’s part of the reason people come back year after year.

Here are just a few of the reasons that make Paris such an extraordinary destination

Roller skating is not for the faint of heart

Every Friday night in Paris around 10pm streets are closed down for a huge pack of skaters. Starting at Place Raoul Dautry in Montparnasse with a 3 hour time schedule including wine and snacks you come back to the Montparnasse Train Station. This popular event was started by a small group of skaters that eventually grew so big the city finally allowed year round access to the roads.

 

Sign for Friday night skating

Are you ready?

 

Dogs rule!

Did you know Paris has a passion for dogs? So much that the population of canines is larger than kids!

 

Child feeding birds in Notre Dame Park in Paris France

Just as cute as our canine friends this little girl loves to feed the birds outside Notre Dame

 

Dog and Eiffel Tower

Yes, dogs rule in Paris! Even the artist David J. Rogers knows it. In fact if you like this print take a look at David J Rogers paintings! You should see his pug its adorable.

The “City of Lights”

Refers to the illumination of the mind and not the sparkling nuances of the night. Paris takes pride in bringing in the gifted artists, poets, musicians and intellectuals of the world.

 

Lampost on the Alexander Bridge in Paris France

Some Parisian illumination of the tangible kind on the Alexander Bridge.

 

Jazz band playing on a a bridge on Île de la Cité in Paris France

Now this is what I’m talking about illumination of the musical kind. A jazz band on a bridge on Île de la Cité.

 

Talking about lights

Did you know it takes about 80 kilometers or almost 50 miles of wire to light the Eiffel tower? Along with that are 20,000 flashing light bulbs that make a sparkling spectacle for five minutes on the hour. Winter time Ice Skating on the first floor is a popular winter experience for locals and tourists alike.

 

Eiffel Tower Light show at night in Paris France

Just take a look at all these lights! What I love is when they have a light show on the tower of different colors flashing like a huge neon sign!

 

The Eiffel Tower all lit up at night in Paris France

A little better view from Esplanade du Trocadéro

 

33 of 37 bridges

In Paris are illuminated after nightfall to make for a very romantic stroll with the one you love.

Irish roots?

Paris was actually founded by the Celts of the Parisii sect which gave the city its name Paris. Although the original name of the city was Lutetia Parisiorum which means “Mud Town”. The Seine must have had some muddy shores to get that name!

Just a little frivolous

So much for a Royal Palace. Did you know that the Palais Royal was never used by the French Royals as a home? Instead as a gift to his brother Philippe by King Louis the 14th it became a playground for scandalous escapades.

 

Palais-Royal gardens

Palais-Royal gardens in Paris France

What a guy!

Guy de Maupassant (the famed French writer) ate lunch at base of Eiffel Tower almost each day. His reason was that he hated the Eiffel Tower and that was the only place in the whole Paris from which he could not see it.

 

The Eiffel Tower view from park in Paris, France

How could anyone not want to see this everyday?

 

Huge fake out

During WWI, France built a ‘Fake Paris’ near the capital city to confuse German pilots to attack there instead of the real city.

One large step

During WWII to keep Hitler from visiting the Eiffel Tower the French Resistance disabled the elevator so the only way up was to take the stairs. Hitler never went.

 

Looking up through the Eiffel Tower from the ground in Paris, France

It’s a long ways up!

 

Who would have thought?

What is Paris’s most visited attraction? The Louvre? The Eiffel Tower? Notre Dame? Nope, its Disneyland Paris!

Perk

Most American’s don’t realize this but tipping in Paris is not expected. A service fee for tip is included in your bill. But if you want to leave a little extra one or two Euro’s is fine. It just might bring a smile to the face of your waiter. A rare thing indeed!

 

Grave truths

(a) What grave site is the most visited in Paris? Would you believe its Jim Morrison of the “Doors”? Its true! Even though Oscar Wilde. Sarah Bernhardt and the famous composer Chopin are buried in the same cemetery Jim’s wins hands down at Pere Lachaise

 

A couple sitting at an outdoor table or al fresco at a restaurant in Paris France

Love sitting outside sipping coffee at a Parisian Brasserie

 

(b) Still on the cemetery note a visit to Saint Vincent is in order. This has to be one of the most extraordinary resting places in Europe. Check out the site of Paris’s own beloved children’s author Marcel Aymé. The monument in his honor is based on his book “Le Passe-Muraille” translated “The Walker Through Walls. The story is about Dutilleul a man of 42 years finds he has the ability to walk through walls. Along the rock wall is a bronze depicting exactly that, a man walking through it!

 

Wall monument of a "Man walking through a wall" at Marcel Ayme's grave site in Paris France

Is this an awesome work of art or what?

 

Rich real estate

Where do the top 1 percent rich want to live? On the Champs Elysees! Behind Bond Street in London its the most expensive real estate in Europe.

 

Back to the dead people

Know how many are buried in the Paris catacombs beneath the streets of Paris? Six million! Yes, that’s 6 million with over 200 miles of tunnels. Just try to find your family member in that. Good luck….

 

The underground Paris catacombs in France

Gruesome!

 

Oh Stop it

There is only 1 stop sign in all of Paris

 

Amazing and caring people

The Paris Mosque cared about the persecuted Jews during WWII so much so that they gave them Muslim I.D.’s so the Nazi’s wouldn’t throw them into Concentration camps.

 

 

Minaret tower of the Grand Mosque in Paris France

The minaret tower of the Grand Mosque which is actually the largest mosque in France.

 

The cloister or garden inside the Grand Mosque in Paris France

Isn’t it loverly inside?

 

What’s new?

Want to hear something funny about Paris? Pont Neuf  which means “New Bridge” is the oldest bridge built over the Seine.

 

Pont Neuf Bridge in Paris France at night

Pont Neuf Bridge Photo credit: Michiel Buijse / Foter / CC BY-NC

 

A little weird?

Yes! Saint Denis from 2 A.D. was beheaded by Romans for his faith. Rumor has it after the dastardly deed he picked up his head and carried it to what is now the St. Denis Basilica in Montmartre. There is a statue there depicting the incredible event.

 

Entrance into Saint Denis Basilica in Paris depicts St. Denis being beheaded

The entrance showing St. Denis loosing his head

 

No sheepish people here

Paris has half timbered houses! Dating back to the 15th century on what is now the one oldest street in Paris are a couple restored homes. In all probability these building were built as inns for the sheep farmers transferring the herds to sell at market. You can find them on Rue Francois Miron.

 

Historic half timbered houses on Rue Francois Miron in Paris France

An unexpected surprise!

 

Quite a Metropolis

Out of all the metro stations in Paris there is only one named after a woman, Louise Michel who herself was a socialist. Another interesting fact is that one of the stations, Arts et Métiers was built to look like a submarine. Originally they were going to call the metro “La Compagnie du Chemin de Fer Metropolitan de Paris but was later shortened to metro for Metropolitan. May I add Thank you to whoever changed the name to metro? What a mouthful!

 

The Arts et Metier metro station in Paris France

Was that a whale that just swam by? Photo by Stephen Butterworth

 

22 Comments:

  1. Wow this is definitely bigger than our want to do in Paris list! Will be copying some of them to our list. Can we write in to you for more tips when we plan for Paris?

  2. Awesome facts! I love that they’re such dog lovers! The photo of the pug reminds me of Marie Antoinette. And I have a pug too!

  3. We were engaged in Paris so it holds a special place in our hearts. I didn’t know many of these fun facts about the City of Lights! Interesting list.

  4. Love this list! It makes me want to go back to Paris to go rollerskating 🙂 We were only there for 15 hours and most of them were spent in line for the catacombs or watching the Bastille Day fireworks. It was totally amazing.

  5. Wow! Extraordinary facts indeed. I didn’t know Maupassant hated Tour Eiffel. I love this list. Taught me so much. I think I’m going back to Paris soon.

  6. Bwahaha these are awesome facts! Thanks for showing a really unusual and pretty hilarious angle to Paris. Eating lunch at the bottom of the tower because he hated the look of it is my favourite ><

  7. Interesting facts! especially about the amount of lights on the Eiffel tower, and the guy who ate his lunch underneath! Paris was my first trip abroad, I went with my best friend at the tender age of 18! just over 10yrs ago now! how time flies! I would love to go back though 🙂

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  8. Love it! I was familiar with only 4 out of 21! I’ll definitely look out for the rest my next time in Paris. Thanks for sharing, Nancy!

  9. Love this list, it makes me see Paris in a different light. I can take it when I go back 🙂

  10. I was born and grew up near Paris but I learnt some funny facts here! 😀 I love #8 (Maupassant & the Eiffel Tower). Well done!

  11. These are really cool facts! I love finding out things like this 😀

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