Top Interesting Fun Facts About Paris That You Didn’t Know

Paris has many different faces, it’s a city rich in culture, art, design, beauty, and history. Whether you are standing in line to see Mona Lisa, trying to take that perfect picture of the Eiffel Tower, searching for the yummiest croissants or just wondering through Montmartre, a trip to Paris must be on everyone’s bucket list.

Currently, Paris is ranked as the second most visited city, since it welcomes over 19 million visitors annually and it sits ahead of popular cities like New York, London, and Singapore, it falls behind only the world’s most-visited city, Bangkok.

Unraveling the Mysteries of the City of Love

Let’s delve into the fun facts Paris has to offer – Read below 👇

Paris is known as the “City of Light,” but do you know why Paris got this nickname? In this article, we are revealing this and many other surprising fun facts about Paris, so keep reading!

#1 City of Light

This interesting fact about Paris is known to many, but only a few know why Paris gained the name of the City of Light (or “La Ville Lumière”).

There are two theories about Paris’ nickname.

  • The name comes from the 17th century and the Age of Enlightenment. Intellectuals would flock to the city to share ideas and innovations, with these intellectuals being the “lights.” The name is clearly referring to the high concentration of writers, artists and academics that have always been drawn to the city.
  • Another theory explains how Paris was one of the first European cities to adopt street lighting and that’s why it got its nickname “City of Light”. Of course, today, the Eiffel Tower also brightens the area at night with its sparkling lights.

Paris is also called the City of Love, the Fashion Capital of the World, and the City of Art.

Fun Facts Paris - City of Love

#2 The Louvre is the world’s biggest art museum

The Louvre is the world’s most extensive art gallery and museum, it has over 38,000 pieces of art within its walls, including the most famous painting ever, the Mona Lisa. In 2018, 10.8 million visitors passed through the doors of The Louvre, making it the most visited gallery on planet Earth!

Louvre Paris - Fun Facts about Paris

#3 The Eiffel Tower is not the most visited monument in Paris

Contrary to popular belief, the Eiffel Tower is actually not the most visited monument in Paris! The Eiffel Tower is ranked fourth among the most prized monuments in Paris. The Eiffel Tower was very unpopular when it was built. While it’s one of the most loved and most visited structures in the world today, Parisians were not originally fans of the Eiffel Tower.

The cathedral Notre-Dame ranks first, followed by the Sacré-Coeur Basilica and the Louvre Museum. Be sure to visit them all when in Paris!

Fun Facts Paris

#4 Did you know there is one dog for every 7 Parisians?

There are more than 300,000 dogs living in Paris. Dogs are truly man’s best friends, but Parisians are taking it to a whole other level. In Paris they are truly caring about their pets, spending nearly half a million dollars just to make sure their dogs are getting the best treatments, it’s not uncommon to see their owners treating them to a doggy spa session. In MEININGER we love doggies too, take them with you when travelling, they are more than welcome to stay at our hotels.

#5 Second-busiest underground network in Europe

The most popular way that locals get around Paris is by their underground train system, around 5 million people per day use Paris Metro. After Moscow, it’s the busiest underground network in Europe.

MEININGER TIP: Count your stations when using their metro  – who knows where you could end up otherwise, as Paris Metro system doesn’t announce their stops like most major cities.

Paris underground - Paris fun facts

#6 French came up with the military “dress code”

Paris is the fashion capital, most of the famous fashion brands are French brands (Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Jacquemus, you name it). Of course, they were the ones who came up with the military clothes too. Camouflage clothing in the military was first used by the French, the word “camouflage” roughly translates to “make-up for the stage”.

#7 First “Bloody Mary” was made in Paris

The famous “Bloody Mary” cocktail was invented in Paris at the Ritz Hotel. Legend says that this popular cocktail was made for the famous novelist Ernest Hemingway! Hemingway requested for a drink that didn’t smell like alcohol, so he was given vodka mixed with tomato juice.

#8 The French army still uses carrier pigeons

The French army is the only one in Europe that still has carrier pigeons in its ranks. They are kept at the Mont Valérien close to Paris, these pigeons can be used to carry out transmissions in case of a major catastrophe.

#9 The Love Lock Tradition

Have you ever seen the love locks on the Pont des Arts Bridge in Paris? This quirky tradition started in 2008 when couples would write their names on a lock, attach it to the bridge, and throw the key into the Seine River as a symbol of their love. Although the locks have since been removed due to weight restrictions, the tradition continues on other bridges around the city.

The Love Lock Paris
The Love Lock

#10 The Parisian Kiss

The “bisou” or the Parisian kiss is a distinctive way of greeting friends and loved ones in Paris. It’s a kiss on both cheeks, starting from the left and moving to the right, and is a common way of saying hello and goodbye in the city.

#11 The Paris Syndrome

One of the weirdest facts about Paris. This condition is most frequent among Japanese visitors. The Japanese media often describes Paris as the most romantic destination in the world and places model-looking people all dressed up on the streets of Paris, which gives the Japanese a slightly wrong perception of Paris. So, usually, when they arrive, they are super disappointed because the city can’t live up to their unrealistic expectations.

The Paris Syndrome - Fun Facts about Paris

#12 Parisians declined Tom Cruise’s request for becoming an honorary citizen

The government of Paris passed a resolution to prohibit Tom Cruise from becoming an honorary citizen of the cityAs you may know, Tom Cruise is a member of Scientology, a controversial religious organization, that France has classified as a cult. In 2005, Tom Cruise wanted to become an honorary citizen of the city of Paris, but the government of Paris blocked that move because of his affiliation with Scientology.

Paris is a city of love, history, culture, and beauty. With its iconic landmarks, rich culinary scene, and vibrant arts and fashion scene, there’s something for everyone in this magnificent city. Whether you’re interested in history, art, food, or fashion, Paris is the perfect destination for a truly unforgettable experience. If you are still not convinced read our article about 5 reasons for a city trip to Paris!

Fun Facts Paris: FAQs

1. What is Paris often referred to as, and why?

Paris is often called the "City of Light" (La Ville Lumière) because it was a place of enlightenment in the 18th century and because it was one of the first cities in the world to have street lighting.

2. How old is the city of Paris?

Paris is over 2,000 years old. It was founded in the 3rd century BC by a Celtic people called the Parisii.

3. Is the Eiffel Tower the original symbol of Paris?

No, the Eiffel Tower, although now an iconic symbol of Paris, was initially met with widespread criticism from Parisians when it was erected for the 1889 Exposition Universelle (World Fair). The original symbol of Paris was Notre-Dame Cathedral.

4. What is unique about the Louvre Museum in Paris?

The Louvre is the world's largest art museum and a historic monument in Paris. It was originally a fortress before it became a royal palace and was eventually turned into a museum in 1793.

5. Is Paris known for any food in particular?

Paris is world-famous for its cuisine and is the birthplace of many iconic French dishes such as croissants, baguettes, escargot, and crème brûlée. It is also home to a high number of Michelin-starred restaurants.

6. What role did Paris play in the fashion industry?

Paris is often considered the "Fashion Capital of the World" because it is home to many world-renowned fashion designers and hosts significant fashion events like Paris Fashion Week.

7. What is the importance of the River Seine in Paris?

The Seine River is the main waterway that cuts through Paris, and it has played a crucial role in the city's economic and cultural development. Many of the city's landmarks, including the Louvre and Notre-Dame Cathedral, are located along the river.

8. Is it true that there's only one stop sign in Paris?

According to local lore, Paris had only one stop sign which was located in the 16th arrondissement. However, as of 2012, it was reportedly removed, so the city now might not have any stop signs.

9. What is the significance of Montmartre in Paris?

Montmartre is a historic and artistic neighborhood in Paris. Known for its bohemian past, it's home to the Sacré-Cœur Basilica and was once the stomping ground of famous artists like Picasso and Van Gogh.

10. Are there any unusual laws in Paris?

Yes, one example is that it's illegal for women to wear pants in Paris unless they are holding the reins of a horse. This law, however, is not enforced and is more of a historical relic.

Looking for a central hotel in Paris?

Our hotel is located near city center, which gives our guests access to the entire city with ease via excellent public transport connections.

Visiting Paris soon?

Located in the 12th arrondissement right by the Porte de Vincennes Metro station on Line 1, the MEININGER Hotel Paris Porte de Vincennes enjoys the best transport connections to the landmarks of the French capital. You can get to the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and Champs-Elysées using public transport quickly and without hassle.

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