18 Facts You Didn’t Know About Paris

Whether you call it the “City of Love”, the “City of Lights”, or “Le Beau Paris”, this magnificent city inevitably finds itself on every traveler’s bucket list. Before you visit, check out these facts about Paris that you probably didn’t know.

  1. You better make sure you’re as fit as a fiddle when you visit the Eiffel Tower because it takes 1,665 steps to reach the top! Of course, you could take the easy way out and just use the elevator.
  2. Paris got its nickname, the “City of Lights” not because of its electricity, but because it was the city of enlightenment, attracting writers, artists, and academics from all over the world.
  3. Other than the Paris we know and love, there are about 38 cities named “Paris” in different parts of the world, most of which are in the United States.
  4. There is actually a condition called “Paris Syndrome” which causes symptoms like depression, excessive sweating, anxiety, and hallucinations among some visitors when they realize that the real city of Paris doesn’t live up to their romantic expectations. We blame Amélie.
  5. There are no “STOP” signs in Paris. Pretty surprising for a city that large, right? There used to be only one stop sign in the entire city of Paris which was found in the 16th arrondissement at the exit of a construction company. However, it was removed in 2012.
  6. Unsurprisingly, the Louvre is the most visited art museum in the world. Originally built as a palace, it houses over 35,000 works of art and 380,000 objects. Want to see every single item there? It will take you about 10 months.
  7. An urban legend states that there are 666 glass panes in the Louvre pyramid because that was the number cited in the official brochure during construction. However, the truth is that there are 673 panes. Yes, The Da Vinci Code got it wrong.
  8. While it was believed that Napoleon was extremely short, the truth is that he was a very average 5’ 6”. Enemy propaganda? We think so.
  9. Paris was once a Roman city called “Lutetia” meaning swamp or marsh. It was later renamed as “la cité des Parisii” because of the Parisii tribe that lived there, and finally became Paris in 360 AD.
  10. The RER or Réseau Express Régional was originally supposed to be called “Métro Express Régional Défense-Étoile”. The acronym, however, would end up being MERDE which translates to shit and we’re pretty sure no one would want to ride that.
  11. There’s a replica of the Statue of Liberty in Paris that faces the one in the United States, symbolizing the camaraderie between the two countries.
  12. The most iconic landmark of the city, the Eiffel Tower was once considered a monstrosity by many French intellectuals who openly protested its construction. One such gentleman, Guy de Maupassant actually chose to eat his lunch at the bottom of the tower every single day because it was the only place in Paris from where he couldn’t see the tower. Wonder what he’d think of it today…
  13. The biggest bell in the Notre Dame Cathedral is called Emmanuel and weighs more than 13000 kilograms. That’s about the weight of 7 hippos.
  14. There are more dogs than there are children in Paris. We can live with that.
  15. It was technically illegal for French women to wear trousers right until 2012! Talk about being the fashion capital of the world.
  16. If you are a fan of Espresso, there are more than 200 places in the city where you can grab one for less than a Euro.
  17. During the First World War, France actually built a fake Paris to confuse German bombers. It was complete with a Gard Du Nord and Champs-Elysées and was on the northern outskirts of Paris. That’s pretty clever if you ask us.
  18. The municipal government of Paris passed an official resolution prohibiting Tom Cruise from becoming an honorary citizen of Paris because of his association with Scientology. Aww, Tom.

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