100 Paris Facts: From The Revolution, To The Impressionists, To Today

Paris is the capital city of France.
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Across the globe, and in every country, there are capital cities that all have their own distinctive history, important events and way of life.

Facts about any of these cities are absolutely fascinating.; a fact about Mexico City in Mexico, for example, is that it is the oldest city in the Americas whereas facts about Tokyo include that it is the largest metropolitan in the world and that it was once a small fishing village. Paris is another one of the world's most well-known capital cities and is often viewed as a bustling, romantic destination packed full of history, culture, arts and literature.

This article is packed full of facts about Paris in France so whether you want to know more about Notre Dame, the Eiffel tower or why Paris is known as the City of Lights, all will be revealed, so read on.

Must-Know Facts About Paris

When most people think about this French city, the Eiffel Tower or world-class bakeries might spring to mind but the information about Paris included in this section gives anyone a great overall knowledge all about Paris that would be great for any family quiz or trivia board game night.

1. Paris is the capital city of the European country, France and is located in the Île-de-France region.

2. It is the most populous city in the country with an estimated population of over two million people.

3. The Seine is a 775km long river that flows through the heart of Paris and into the English Channel.

4. Centuries ago, when settlers were first reaching the muddy banks of the river Seine, Paris was originally called Lutetia Parisiorum.

5. There are several things that Paris is most famous for but some of these include its cafe culture, the impressive Eiffel Tower, the Louvre museum and Notre Dame.

6. While many believe Paris got the nickname of the 'City of Lights' due to its boulevards and bridges, this is actually a misconception. In the 17th century when King Louis XIV was on the throne, and after a long period of unrest in the country, he gave the Lieutenant-General of Police the task of making Paris safer. His response was to add lights to all main streets and asked residents to illuminate their homes in order to prevent criminals from hiding in the dark.

7. One of the biggest holidays in France is Bastille Day which is celebrated on 14 July. It commemorates the storming of Bastille, which was a military fortress and prison and this event helped bring in the French Revolution.

8. The name Paris comes from its first inhabitants, the Gallic Parisii who lived on the banks of the river from the Iron Age through to the middle of the third century.

9. 20% of people in Paris come not only from outside the city but outside of the country.

10. The Champs-Élysées is perhaps the most famous street in Paris. It is incredibly long and is full of cinema, restaurants and shops. It is also the street on which the Arc de Triomphe is located and where the Tour de France ends.

11. Paris has over 30 million visitors to the city each year who travel there as tourists to explore the city.

12. The total area of land that Paris occupies is 105.4 square kilometres.

13. The currency used in Paris is the Euro. Before 2002 it was the French Franc.

14. The average age of a person living in Paris is 42.3 years old.

15. Across the globe, there are 46 other cities named Paris including in America, Canada, Indonesia and Turkey.

Paris History Facts

The Pont Neuf is the oldest bridge that goes across the Seine.

The history of Paris dates back to 259BC so it is based on over 2000 years of fascinating history. The city's past has helped shape how the city is today and with these historical facts about Paris, you'll find out so much more about how it has changed over the years.

16. The French Revolution began in 1789 and lasted ten years. The people of France overthrew the monarchy and took control of the government. It completely changed the social and political structure of the country and a major part of the revolution was the storming of Bastille, a fortress located in Paris.

17. Paris founded the second university in the whole of Europe, the University of Paris in 1150.

18. Impressionism was a type of art that began in the 19th century where the artists used thin, small brush strokes to apply paint to their canvas in order to capture an impression of what they were looking at rather than it looking completely realistic. Claude Monet, one of the most famous impressionist painters was born in Paris and his works of art include Poppies, The Water Lily Pond and Impression, Sunrise.

19. There are many other famous artists who made Paris their home over the years including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Salvador Dali and Ernest Hemmingway.

20. In 508 Clovis I, who was the first king of the Franks, made Paris the capital of his empire.

21. In 1328 the city, which was the most populated in Europe at the time, was struck by the Bubonic plague which resulted in the death of thousands of people.

22. Napoleon Bonaparte is a well-known historical figure as an excellent military commander who made himself the Emperor of France in 1799. He reigned for 15 years before being overthrown and in that time he oversaw the expansion of the Place du Carrousel, the building of two Arcs de Triomphe and the Paris Bourse.

23. Beneath the streets of Paris lie 200 miles of underground tunnels. These are known as the Catacombs and many of them contain skulls and bones. They were originally mined in the 13th century in order to build the city but did not end up being used for this purpose.

24. Potatoes used to be illegal in Paris, and, in fact, the entirety of France as it was wrongly believed that they caused diseases. They were illegal for 42 years until a pharmacist in 1772 managed to get Parliament to change their mind.

25. After the outbreak of World War I French authorities built a pretend Paris on the outskirts of the city in order to try and trick German military.

Parisian Landmarks And Attractions

The Louvre was originally a fortress.

Paris is known for many famous structures and places including the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre Museum and Notre Dame Cathedral. This section explores these landmarks and attractions from the city of Paris in more depth.

26. The Pont Neuf, the New Bridge, was the first modern bridge in Paris when its constructions finished in 1607 but it is now the oldest standing bridge across the river Seine.

27. There are at least three replicas of the Statue of Liberty in Paris. The most well-known one stands on an island in the middle of the Seine and faces towards the actual Statue of Liberty in New York which the French gave to America as a gift.

28. There are at least 65 films that feature the Eiffel Tower as an important part of the movie including Ratatouille, The Man on the Eiffel Tower and The Moulin Rouge.

29. The main bell in the Notre Dame Cathedral is called Emmanuel and is tuned to F sharp. It has a staggering diameter of 2.6m and weighs over 13,00kg.  

30. The Eiffel Tower was built as the centerpiece of the World's Fair in Paris in 1889 and was originally meant to be demolished after 20 years, however, it was decided it was too useful to tear down.

31. If visitors to the Eiffel Tower want to reach the top, unless they take the elevator they will need to climb 1,665 steps!

32. The Louvre is the world's largest art museum and is recognized the world over for the metal and glass pyramid in its main courtyard. It houses over 380,000 pieces of art including the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo but only displays 35,000 to the public.

33. Notre Dame is the most visited place in not just Paris, but all of France. Before the unfortunate fire that occurred in 2019, the cathedral had over 14 million visitors a year.

34. Repainting of the Eiffel Tower is done by hand and it has been painted 18 times since it was first constructed. It takes 60 tons of paint each time and colors it has been painted include red, yellow-brown and brown.

35. Although named Disneyland Paris, the attraction isn't actually located in Paris but 30km away in a place called Marne-la-Vallée.

36. Since 1889 the Pont Neuf has been listed as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture, making it a national heritage site.

37. The Louvre was originally a fortress when it was built in 1190 and later became a royal palace before becoming a museum in 1793.

38. Paris has one of the biggest sundials in the world. The Place de la Concorde is 23 metres high and originally stood in a temple in Egypt.

39. The Ponts des Arts bridge became known as the love locks bridge as over a million locks were attached to the bridge by couples who wanted to add a symbol of their love. They were all removed in 2015, however, as they were a safety concern having caused structural damage to the bridge because they had a combined weight of more than 45 tons.

40.  Located in Paris, the Flame of Liberty Statue was a gift from the Americans to the French and is a replica of the flame from the torch on the Statue of Liberty.

Fun Facts About Paris

We have already included so many interesting facts about Paris so we thought it was time to add in some fun facts about Paris as well. These light-hearted facts are sure to help you see why it is a city that so many people like living in and visiting.

41. The City of Light at one point had only one stop sign which was situated at the exit of a construction site. It disappeared sometime between 2012 and 2014, however, so now there isn't one stop sign, there are zero!

42. The streets of Paris are filled with wonder and there are over 6000 to explore. The shortest street in Paris, the Rue des Degré won't take you long to walk down though as it is just 5.75m long.

43. The oldest tree in Paris is a locust tree and it is over 400 years old.

44. In France every city must have a street named after Victor Hugo, the Les Miserables author and in Paris, this street can be found near to where he lived.

45. There are more dogs in the city than there are children.

46. In Paris in 1895, the first-ever public cinema screening took place.

47. There is a man in Paris called Jim Haynes who invites strangers round for dinner every Sunday. He has been doing this for over 30 years.

48. Many train stations in Paris have pianos in them that can be played by anyone.

49. Carrier pigeons are still used by the French army and they are kept near Paris at the Mont Valérien.

50. Paris has an official baguette law which outlines the exact size and consistency the bread must be.

51. Being a taxi driver in Paris is expensive. To get a license, they must pay 200,000 Euros first!

52. In Paris there is a fake building that hides the ventilation system of the Réseau Express Régional.

53. To be able to look at every piece of art on display in the Louvre for just 30 seconds each, you would need to be in there for 35 days.

54. On average, there a ten commercial or film shoots that take place in Paris every day.

55. The XVIth arrondissement (district) in Paris is so large that it has two zip codes; 75016 and 75116.

Facts About Parisian Culture

It's unsurprising that a city so steeped in history has an extremely rich culture and long-lasting traditions. This section reveals just some of the Paris facts and information that make the city and its people so very special.

56. Paris is best known as an international hub of fashion design and had produced many world-famous design houses including Dior, Yves Saint Laurent Givenchy, Hermes and Louis Vuitton.

57. Whilst the city of light is a description of Paris based on the actual illumination of the city, it also refers to the fact that Paris was a key part of the Age of Enlightenment, where people across Europe began to change their ways of thinking and started to questions what changes could be made to improve society.

58. The oldest coffee shop in the world is located in Paris and was founded in 1686.

59. There are more than 9,000 restaurants in Paris and 1,780 bakeries.

60. Every year there is a contest held in Paris to find the best baguette maker.

61. There are over 170 museums in Paris including the Museum of Perfume, the Museum of Magic and the Musee d’Orsay.

62. Paris has the most libraries in the world, with 830 located in the city.

63. The majority of Parisians identify as belonging to the Roman Catholic faith.

64. There was a law in Paris that used to forbid women from wearing trousers but after 214 years this ended in 2012.

65. Food and wine play a very important part in socializing in Paris.

66. Cafes in Paris often have their outside chairs facing the street to allow their customers to people watch.

67. The people of Paris have a strong interest in art and children as young as four are often taken to exhibitions.

68. There is a chain of ice cream shops in Paris called Berthillon and they are so popular in the summer that people queue down the street!

69. There are popular flea markets that take place in Paris that date back two centuries.

70. Cabaret is famous in Paris due to the likes of the Moulin Rouge and there is a cabaret called the Crazy Horse that can still be visited today.

71. Paris is held as one of the most important cities in the world due to its business opportunities, politics, travel and tourism and fashion.

72. Paris is home to some of the best orchestras, operas and ballets in the world.

73.  Paris holds several prestigious fashion shows each year that attract celebrities from around the world.

74. By law, a garment can only be considered haute couture if it is made in Paris.

75. In Paris, and in the whole of France, it is customary to always say hello and goodbye.

Cool Facts About Paris

If you want to know some cool things about Paris, then this section is especially for you. It includes plenty of interesting facts about Paris for kids that people may not already know and is guaranteed to make you feel like getting on a plane and visiting the city of Paris straight away!

76.  Paris has warm summers and cool winters where temperatures can drop below freezing.

77. Roman ruins still exist in Paris, with some dating back to the 1st century.

78. Paris hosted the FIFA World Cup in 1998 and France won.

79. The Centre Pompidou, which is a museum of modern art, was built with all its plumbing on the outside.

80. The Paris Metro was built in 1990 and is so efficient that no two stations are more than 500m apart.

81. Paris has one of the world's largest sewer networks and even has a sewer museum that is an incredibly popular attraction.

82. The French army was the first to use camouflage and began wearing it during World War I. The word camouflage roughly translates to 'make up for the stage'.

83. The first-ever photo of a human being was taken by Louis Daguerre on a street in Paris in 1838.

84. Someone in Paris has the job of counting and documenting the trees in the city. On the last count, there were 470,000 trees.

85. In Paris, at the corner of the streets of La Croix-Faubin and Roquette there are five concrete plates that are embedded in the asphalt of the road. These are what remain of a French guillotine.

86. There are many myths, Paris facts and history about what lurks under the city but in 1984 a real-life monster was spotted in the sewers! After investigation, it was discovered that is was a crocodile that had come all the way from the Nile!

87. The motto of Paris is ‘Fluctuat Ner Mergitur’ which roughly translates to 'rocked but does not sink'.

88. Paris Syndrome is a term used to describe the sense of disappointment that some people feel when visiting Paris as they feel it isn't as beautiful as they thought it would be. Symptoms of Paris Syndrome include feeling like others are being hostile, sweating and sickness.

89. There are 14 underground metro stations in Paris that are no longer in use.

90. There is a secret group in Paris called Les UX who break into historic sites in the city in order to carry out repairs.

91. Lighting up the Eiffel Tower can take as many as 20,000 bulbs.

92. The oldest house in Paris was built in 1407 and is located at the 3rd arrondissement on 51. Rue de Montmorency.

93. There is an underground lake underneath the Paris Opera House and firefighters use it for swimming practice.

94. There are more than 450 parks and gardens in the city spanning over 1200 acres.

95. The Tour First building located in the business district of Paris stands at 231 metres tall, making it the highest skyscraper in France.

96. The river Seine is labelled as toxic and is too polluted for swimming.

97. Paris is home to the largest market in Europe; the Rungis International Market.

98. Walking from the north to the south of the city takes two hours.

99. There was a flat in Paris that lay empty for 70 years, even though the rent was always paid. When whoever paid the rent passed away, the flat was finally entered and a Boldini painting worth $2 million was found inside.

100. When the Eiffel Tower was first built, Parisians thought it was ugly.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for 100 Paris Facts: From The Revolution, To The Impressionists, To Today then why not take a look at Vermont facts, or Treaty of Versailles facts?

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