Want to know more things about Paris that you probably didn’t know? Here are the most interesting facts about Paris that will help you learn more about this French capital.
Paris is undeniably one of the most beautiful cities in the world and the most visited receiving over 30 million visitors every year.
Though this French capital receives an impressive number of visitors, not everyone dives deep to learn about all the Paris facts beyond its famous attractions.
So to make sure that you know a bit more about the city, I’ve compiled a list of all the fun facts about Paris – you probably know some but I am sure you’ll find a number of eye openers you didn’t know about before.
For easy navigation, I am breaking down these Paris facts into categories.
Fun facts about Paris
Interesting facts on Paris
1. Paris has 5 statues of Liberty
This might come as a surprising Paris fact to many as the most known one is in New York but Paris also has a number of its replicas of statues of Liberty.
Actually, even the one in New York was gifted to the US by the French – something I am sure not many people knew.
2. Paris has one of the most famous paintings in the world
The Louvre Museum in Paris houses the most prestigious and most famous painting in the world, the Monalisa by Leonardo da Vinci.
Even though the painting is popular, so many people are always surprised by how small it is when they see it in real life – it is 77 cm x 53 cm to be exact.
Related post: Best day trips from Paris
3. There are 20 arrondissements in the city
Paris is segmented into 20 different arrondissements which can also be referred to as districts.
4. Paris is referred to as the city of light
I am sure almost everyone knows this as one of the facts in Paris. But what most people don’t know is how it assumed this nick name.
A number of people assume that it got its name from the impressive lights that come from the major tourist attractions of Paris at night, or the illuminated lights in Paris at Christmas but that’s all incorrect.
Paris is called the city of light because it was one of the first European cities to install street lights. This was commissioned by Louis XIV in the 17th century to put more light on the streets as a way of restoring the city’s safety that had deteriorated due to the recently concluded wars.
But up to now that nick name is so popular making the city even more special. Now that’s one Paris fact that I am sure you didn’t know about.
5. Paris has an underground city
Paris is undeniably a beautiful city but it also has darkness beneath its walls – a full city of darkness commonly known as the Paris underground city. This city is called “The Catacombs”.
Even though today the Catacombs are one of the places to visit in Paris to learn more about the city’s history, it’s still a dark place that holds over 6 million remains of Parisians.
Pro tip* It might be a “dark city” but it’s also a must-visit. So make sure that you don’t miss visiting it – and to avoid spending hours in the queue, buy yourself a skip the line entry ticket.
But if you want to get a deeper understanding of the Catacombs, their history and get access to a section closed off to the public, book yourself this tour with knowledgeable and professional tour guides.
6. Seine river turns part of Paris into 2 islands
For tourists, especially those visiting Paris for the first time, it’s hard for them to believe that there are 2 remaining natural islands in Paris and that is all thanks to the Seine river.
With the islands of Île de la Cité which is the biggest and also famous for having the Notre Dame cathedral and L’île Saint-Louis (all of which are connected by bridges), Paris can proudly say that it also has islands.
Aside from those 2 natural islands, there is also a man-made island called L’île aux Cygnes. However, those are not the only islands that ever existed on the Seine – some were filled in to join the mainland and some just disappeared.
Pro tip* The best way to take in all the views of the famous places in Paris is by cruising the Seine. It even gets better when you take the cruise at sunset.
You get to enjoy an amazing sunset with a backdrop of some of the buildings and on return, you’ll be treated to the shimmering lights that come from all those popular attractions – It’s such a beautiful scene that should not be missed. And if you’re visiting Paris with your loved one, cruising the Seine is one of the romantic things to do in Paris.
And while at it, don’t forget to book the Seine cruise in time to avoid last-minute Chaos. I always use Get your guide for all my tours as they have professional tour guides and I know I can always cancel the ticket if something comes up and I can’t take that tour.
7. The very first “Bloody Mary” was made in Paris
One of the interesting facts about Paris is that the famous cocktail, Bloody Mary was first made in the French Capital.
Though there are a number of legends about who truly first created Bloody Mary as a number of people have claimed that honor, what is clear is that this classic cocktail that is enjoyed by a number of people originated from Paris.
8. The tradition of “love locks” did not start in Paris
This might come as a surprise to so many people to learn that the tradition of love locks didn’t actually start in Paris.
However its easy to see why most people might have thought that since Paris is usually associated with love locks compared to any other place in the world.
So if not Paris, where did this tradition start from? The tradition of locking padlocks started in a small town of Serbia, as a result of a failed love affair between 2 young lovers (Nada and Relja).
And since the relationship failed due to the infidelity of Relja which broke Nada’s heart, the young women in the town decided to start locking padlocks with their names and those of their lovers on the “bridge of love” and later throw the keys into the river as a sign of a life long commitment without infidelity.
And later on, everyone in the town and Serbia started locking padlocks as a sign of love which then spread all across Europe. But Paris being the “city of love”, it became the forefront of locking padlocks on bridges that so many people mistaken it to be the origin of this romantic activity.
You can read more about how this tradition of locking padlocks on bridges was birthed in Serbia from here.
9. Paris doesn’t have any “STOP” signs on its roads
Now if you come from a country whose roads are marked with “STOP” on every turn you make, you’re in for one big surprise. It’s one of the facts about Paris, France that blows everyone’s mind that hears about it.
Actually, even the one stop sign that ever existed at the exit of a construction company in the 16th arrondissement magically disappeared which makes Paris a “STOP” free city. But Parisians still make it work with other numerous road signs.
10. Paris has 450 parks and gardens
Paris is the heart of picnics and this could be thanks to the 450 parks and gardens spread across the city. Though they’re many, the most famous ones are the Tuileries Garden and the Luxembourg Garden.
This means that whichever part of the city you’re in, you can always chill in the park or take your loved ones for a picnic.
11. Its free to make videos in Paris
If you thought that one has to pay thousand of Euros to record any kind of commercial video in Paris due to its immense beauty, you’ll be surprised. It’s absolutely free.
Well unless you’re going to film at locations like museums, parks or swimming pools – that’s when you pay.
No wonder so many filming happens in Paris every day – whether it’s movies, commercials, etc. Yes most of the movies filmed in Paris didn’t pay for filming locations. However, you need authorization from the officials if it’s a big production.
12. Paris is the world capital of Fashion
There is no city in the world that speaks and understands fashion like Paris. No wonder it is referred to as the world fashion capital.
With world-class luxurious fashion brands like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Balmain, Dior, L’Oreal, etc from France, there is no doubt that Parisian and French designers at large set the tone when it comes to fashion.
Related post: Famous landmarks in France
13. It costs 200,000 Euros to become a taxi driver in Paris
One of the other interesting facts about Paris is that it costs 200,000 Euros to be a taxi driver. Now you might be wondering, why and how does one pay such a huge amount of money for a job that doesn’t even pay that much a year.
To clarify that, the 200,000 Euros are for the taxi license fee that taxi drivers pay to be able to operate as self employed taxi drivers in the city. Need more clarification? There are 2 ways one can obtain a driving license in Paris;
- For free from the government body. But no one wants to take this route since it has a waiting period of over 14 years. Well that’s even worse than going to college to be a doctor since it doesn’t take that long LOL.
- Buy the license from a taxi driver who retired or stopped driving for some reason. Now this is where that insane amount of money comes from. There is no set amount to sell it at but rather use the current free market price to get its value. And that market price always floats around 180k to 200k Euros.
Honestly, this has to be a long-life passion for one to invest all that money in a license. No wonder there are not so many self-employed taxi drivers in Paris compared to other big cities.
Interesting Paris facts for tourists
14. Paris has the largest art museum in the world
One of the other interesting facts about Paris is that it has the largest art museum in the world – The Louvre Museum. The museum which was constructed in the 12th century sits on an area of 72,735 square meters.
It also houses over 38,000 objects including the world’s famous painting – Mona Lisa and other extraordinary paintings making it one of the best museums in Europe and the world at large.
Also, its location next to the Seine River makes it in a prime location perfect for visiting other attractions next to it.
Pro tip* Since the Louvre museum is one of the most visited places in Paris, it gets really crowded in that it can take you even up to 2 hours queuing for the ticket.
So to avoid the long queues, make sure that you get yourself this skip-the-line ticket before your visit. You can also opt for this guided tour to maximize your visit.
15. Paris has the most beautiful Avenue in the world
Though it is an unofficial claim, Avenue des Champs-Elysees is believed to be the most beautiful Avenue in the world.
Dotted with trees on either side of the street, this 2- kilometer stretch located between the Place de la Concorde and the Arc de Triomphe is home to some of the world-class luxurious boutiques, nightclubs, flagship stores, and museums.
On top of that, a number of important events like the Bastille Day military parade, the arrival of the Tour de France and the most beautiful Christmas lights in Paris take place here.
With all that, its hard not to see why the Avenue des Champs-Elysees is believed to be the most beautiful avenue in the world.
16. Notre Dame cathedral is the most visited attraction in Paris
This might come as a surprising Paris fact since most people imagine that the Eiffel tower is the most visited landmark in Paris.
To give you proof, the Notre Dame cathedral received approximately 13 million visitors and the Eiffel tower received almost 7 million visitors according to 2019 data.
This goes to show that Notre Dame receives almost double the number of people that visit the Eiffel tower.
Pro tip* Due to the fire that set the roof of the cathedral a blaze, Notre dame was closed off to visitors as they finish the renovations.
This obviously has impacted the number of people that visit the Cathedral but in normal times, the Notre Dame cathedral is the most visited landmark in Paris while the Eiffel tower ranks fourth.
17. Paris has 37 bridges
Paris is a city that is well connected with a number of bridges. With 37 bridges in total, you ought to see some.
Some of the most famous and beautiful bridges in Paris that are worth visiting include Pont Alexandre III which is considered to be the most beautiful bridge in the world, Pont De Bir- Hakeim, Pont Neuf which is the oldest standing bridge in Paris, and Pont Des Arts which is commonly known as the Lovelock bridge.
Related post: Big mistakes to avoid while traveling in Paris
18. It takes 2 hours to walk from the south point to the north point of Paris
Paris is a very walkable city and it’s actually the best way to see all the famous landmarks and the hidden gems of Paris.
The city might be assumed to be theoretically big which it is true but it’s not that big compared to other popular cities in Europe.
This means that in just 2 hours, you can walk from the north part to the south part of the city with ease. This makes seeing the city easier especially if you have just 1 day in Paris.
Eiffel Tower interesting facts
19. The Eiffel tower was initially a temporary structure
Despite the Eiffel tower being the icon of France and one of the major landmarks in Europe, it wasn’t always like this. In fact, no one anticipated that it would be one of the most visited attractions in the country and in the world.
It was initially constructed to last for just 20 years and later destroyed but after seeing how many people embraced it and how many people traveled from a far just to see it, that forever changed the history of Paris and France in general.
And now, its the international symbol for France and a bucket list item for a number of travelers.
Pro tip* While visiting Paris, the one thing you should not miss is visiting the Eiffel tower. Climbing the tower offers breathtaking views of the city of light.
But since it’s a famous Parisian landmark, you’re guaranteed to find long lines – so the best way to skip those long queues is to buy this online skip the line entry ticket.
And if you prefer having a tour guide to learn more about the iron lady, then this guided tour is the perfect choice for you.
20. The Eiffel tower was considered ugly at one point
Forget the current times where millions of people flock to see the beauty of the tower plus the millions that dream of visiting it at one point in life, this wasn’t the case at the time of its construction.
When Gustave Eiffel (the man who constructed the tower and named after him) presented his proposal to build the tower, so many influential people at the time opposed him claiming that they were going to destroy the untouched beauty of Paris with a “useless piece of metal” that would overshadow meaningful landmarks like Notre Dame, Louvre museum and Arch de Triomphe.
Actually, the famous writer, Guy de Maupassant thought it was too ugly for his eyes that he ate his lunch right below the tower as it was the only place his eyes couldn’t see it while in the city.
But in the present day, it is one of the most beautiful landmarks in Europe and the entire world as a whole.
21. It’s illegal to distribute images of the Eiffel tower at night
I am sure this is one of the facts on Paris France that most people overlook. It is considered illegal to distribute these photos because the 200,000 lights that illuminate in the night are considered a work of art that are copyrighted by the artists.
So try not to clash with the French law by not distributing night photos of the Eiffel tower even if they’re taken by you.
And when I say distribute, I don’t mean posting those phots on your social media – that is totally legal. But what is illegal is printing those photos and selling them.
Related post: The ultimate guide to visiting the Eiffel tower
22. The Eiffel tower is the most valuable icon in Europe
The tower is the most valuable landmark in Europe. It is estimated to be worth 435 billion Euros.
Paris history facts
23. The first photo of a person ever taken was in Paris
The said first photograph of a human person was taken by Louis Daguerre in 1838 at the Boulevard du Temple street. And thanks to him and Paris, photography has become a big deal all across the world.
24. The oldest standing bridge in Paris is called the New bridge (The Pont Neuf)
It might come as a surprise but its actually a Paris fact. By the time The Pont Neuf was constructed, there were a number of old bridges and it was the newest and hence the name “New bridge”.
But as time went on, the “old bridges” all collapsed and they had to construct new ones which meant that the “New bridge” was no longer the newest but its name couldn’t be taken away.
So as of now, its the oldest standing bridge in Paris even if the name says “New”.
25. Paris was originally a Roman City called “Lutetia”
Having conquered the city of Parisii in 52 BC, the Romans who had been trading along the river, changed the name from Parissi to Lutetia.
26. The French people were the first to use the camouflaged army uniform
If you were wondering where the entire world got the idea of the camouflaged army uniform, now you know.
With the creative minds of Parisians and the French people in general in terms of fashion, it’s not surprising that they came up with this idea that the whole world embraced.
Facts about Paris for kids
27. Paris is the capital city of France.
It is also the largest city in the country. Paris became the capital of France in 987 A.D
28. Tree counting is an official job in Paris.
Well for that lucky or unlucky person- depending on how you’re looking at it, the government pays him/her to count all the trees in Paris.
The current official standing is at 484,000 trees with more to be planted in the coming years! This makes Paris one of the most treed cities in Europe.
29. Paris is one of the oldest cities in Europe
Having been established in 987 A.D, Paris ranks as one of the oldest cities in Europe. It’s actually older than a number of countries around the world.
30. Paris’ Subway system is the second busiest in Europe
Paris’ subway system known as the Paris Metro is the second busiest in Europe just after the Moscow Metro serving 5.23 million passengers every single day. It also ranks 4th in the world.
There you have it, folks. I hope you learned something from these Paris fun facts as I had so much fun and learned a lot while putting together these interesting facts about Paris.
Do you know of any other facts on Paris that I may not have included here, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comment section and I will add them on the list.
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