10 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 the 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, Paris is a city that will capture your heart for sure.
A trip to Paris must be on everyone’s bucket list, since it is one of the top ten most-visited cities in the world! Currently, Paris is ranked as the second most-visited city, since it welcomes over 19 million visitors annually. Paris sits ahead of popular cities like New York, London, and Singapore. Paris falls behind only the world’s most-visited city, Bangkok.
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.
#2 The Louvre is the world’s biggest art museum
The Louvre is the world’s largest art gallery and museum, it has over 38,000 pieces of art within its walls, including the most famous painting ever, Mona Lisa. In 2018, 10.8 million visitors passed through the doors of The Louvre, making it the most visited gallery on planet earth!
#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!
#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.
#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 which 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 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 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.
Those suffering from Paris Syndrome don’t just suffer disappointment; they can experience hallucinations, dizziness, sweating, and more. While Japanese tourists are reported to be the most afflicted, visitors worldwide suffer from Paris Syndrome each year.
#10 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 city. As 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.
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If you are still not convinced read our article about 5 reasons for a city trip to Paris!